URI offers training for youth certification in nonviolence

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KINGSTON, R.I.—May 21, 2009 –The University of Rhode Island’s Youth Nonviolence Leadership Academy will offer training from July 14 through 17 in Kingian Nonviolence for youths leading to certification. Sponsored by URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, the sessions will be held in Atrium 1 of Memorial Union, 50 Lower College Road, Kingston. The certification is based on the philosophy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bernard LaFayette, Jr., distinguished senior scholar-in-residence at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, will oversee the training. He was the distinguished scholar-in-residence and director of the URI nonviolence center for 10 years.

He is a noted Civil Rights activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and authority on the strategy of nonviolent social change. He co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was a leader in the Nashville Movement in 1960, the Freedom Rides of 1961, and the 1965 Selma Movement. He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962. King appointed him national program administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and National Coordinator of the 1968 Poor Peoples’ Campaign.

LaFayette, a president emeritus of the American Baptist College in Nashville, Tenn. earned his doctorate from Harvard University. He is the founder of the Association for Kingian Nonviolence, Education and Training Works and continues to travel worldwide to promote nonviolent solutions to societal problems.

Jonathan L. Lewis has worked as a Kingian Nonviolence educator for more than 10 years under the tutelage of LaFayette. As a Senior Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, Lewis has introduced Kingian Nonviolence in high schools, middle schools, and male/female correctional facilitates in Rhode Island. He has led training sessions in more than 16 states and in numerous countries. He has trained community organizers, “at-risk” and “gang” youth, educators, students of all ages, professors, community leaders, clergy, and correctional officers. He serves as the national director of Nonviolence Direct Action Training for The Gathering for Justice, a Tides Center project inspired by Harry Belafonte.

Victoria Christgau, a peace and arts educator for more 25 years, is founder and executive director of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. A URI certified Kingian Nonviolence trainer, she is a teaching artist for the Connecticut Commission on Tourism and Culture and a leading artist-in-residence programs for faculty and students throughout Connecticut. She is the founder and producer of the 18th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday Commemoration of Litchfield County, and founder and director of the Peace is Possible Chorus, which performs throughout the states. She has presented programs, lectures and workshops at such venues as the United Nations, Trinity College, University of Connecticut, HOT School Summer Institute and at URI. She works with LaFayette.

Space is limited. A $395 tuition fee includes training, meals and three nights of lodging. All youth must be accompanied by a chaperone. The $250 chaperone fee covers food, lodging and training. A $100 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration. All registration forms and fees must be received by June 15. For more information, please contact the Connecticut Center For Nonviolence, attention Victoria Christgau, at Vchristgau@gmail.com or 860-567-3441.