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World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements

World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements interweaves the story of John Hunter, a teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his students’ participation in an exercise called the World Peace Game. The game triggers an eight-week transformation of the children from students of a neighborhood public school to citizens of the world. The film reveals how a wise, loving teacher can unleash students’ full potential.

The film traces how Hunter’s unique teaching career emerges from his own diverse background. An African-American educated in the segregated schools of rural Virginia, where his mother was his 4th grade teacher, he was selected by his community to be one of seven students to integrate a previously all-white middle school. After graduation, he traveled extensively to China, Japan, and India, and his exposure to the Ghandian principles of non-violence led him to ask what he could do as a teacher to work toward a more peaceful world.

Hunter teaches the concept of peace not as a utopian dream but as an attainable goal to strive for, and he provides his students with the tools for this effort. The children learn to collaborate and communicate with each other as they work to resolve the Game’s conflicts. They learn how to compromise while accommodating different perspectives and interests. Most importantly, the students discover that they share a deep and abiding interest in taking care of each other. World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements will inspire others by documenting the unheralded work of a true peacemaker.

The Return of World Peace to The Paramount and Panel Discussion: A look at the film’s journey to date and the future

John Hunter’s work, as captured by this exceptional film, is particularly resonating with educators and school leaders today because students must learn to grapple with ambiguity, fast-paced change, and their place and responsibility in an interconnected and interdependent world. Many believe that the transformative classroom experience that we see John Hunter leading fosters a new found set of values and beliefs that better prepares students for global citizenship, giving them real practice in creative and collaborative problem-solving, high stakes communication, and decision making that is grounded in empathy and understanding of people from diverse cultures and perspectives. Since its first screening, John has been included in many international conversations and was the 2011 Most Influential TedTalk!

Joining the panel discussion is Chris Farina, film director and another hometown hero, whose previous local films include “West Main Street” made with Reid Oechslin, and “The James River” a WHTJ production made with another local filmmaker Paul Wagner. “World Peace” was a true labor of love that has since achieved international acclaim. The film has been included in over 15 film festivals in the US and beyond, premiering at the South by Southwest Film Festival, and has received several festival awards, highlighted by the “Best Film – Audience Award” at its international premiere at the Bergen International Film Festival in Bergen, Norway. Besides film festivals, the film has also been shown at the Pentagon, the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival, Harvard and Georgetown Universities, and will be screened at the United Nations 5 days after the Paramount screening. It has received television broadcast in South Korea, Israel and the Middle East, and will be seen across the country on US public television later this spring, distributed by American Public Television.

The Panel Discussion will be held after the screening of the film, which will begin at 4pm on Sunday, April 22. In addition to John and Chris, Jamie Baker from The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence. The panel will be moderated by Coy Barefoot host of WINA’s Charlottesville Right Now.

For more information about the World Peace Game, John Hunter, Chris Farina, the film, and much more go to the
World Peace Game website here!

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