BACKGROUND

In these times, we need peaceful relationships more than ever. Tragically, far too many of the world’s youth are exposed to countless forms of violence and have few models of alternatives to help them pattern their lives.

The Chechen version of Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation is the Friends International Library committee’s contribution to make these alternatives a reality. This trilingual story collection grew out of a wish to help young people learn the ways of peace and help them live a philosophy of love, as opposed to hate.

The vision of this project began with a small group of twelve-year-old students in Russia. After reading many of these stories in an English class with one of our committee members, they enthusiastically encouraged us to make Power of Goodness available for other young people. Following their advice, a team from Chechnya, Russia, Canada and the United States gathered stories that portrayed nonviolence and reconciliation, and produced this Chechen version.

Most of the stories are about actual events, some from the lives of young people. Several stories are from Chechnya. Discussion questions are available at the end of each story to stimulate thought and discussion. All stories are illustrated by youth ages 9-20 from Chechnya, Russia, Germany and the United States. In the front end papers, we are pleased to include art by Ingush artist Ali Hashagulgov and a quotation by Kunta-Hadji Kishiev. In the back end papers, we are pleased to include art by U.S. artist Maureen Sharon and a quotation by the 17th Century Quaker Stephen Grellet.

In order to bring Power of Goodness to life in many countries, we are continuing to collect exemplary stories from countries and cultures all over the world on themes found in all religions: kindness, reconciliation, forgiveness, love, equality, and respect. Power of Goodness will become available for publication in other languages and countries, as requested.

A teacher’s manual, created by the “Little Star” program of Peacebuilding UK and the Centre for Peacebuilding and Community Development in Chechnya is now available for Chechen teachers. Workshops for teachers are being held by the Little Star psychologists. The teachers learn ways to share and implement the stories with their students. Afterwards, they will be given ample copies of Power of Goodness and Little Star’s manual to take back to their school communities.

We dedicate this tri-lingual version to the memory of Tatiana Pavlova and Anne Friend who both worked so hard on the creation of Power of Goodness.

The Friends International Library Committee humbly offers Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation to the youth of Chechnya, their families, and their schools. May it be an education in life. May it, in some small way, help bring peace to our troubled world.

Friends International Library Committee:

Johan Maurer, Sylvia Mangalam,

Mikhail Roshchin and Janet Riley

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