Axis of Hope
|Type||Education, Conflict Prevention|
|Method||Interactive case studies|
|Slogan||"A Revolution in Conflict Resolution"|
|Mission||To work with schools both public and private to educate today's youth in negotiation tactics, international affairs, and maintaining peace world-wide|
Axis of Hope (AoH), is a certified but highly controversial non-profit organization and non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the practice of international and domestic conflict analysis, management and prevention through the education of youth. Founded in 2002 by Boston University Professor Carl Hobert, AoH is now considered a leader in negotiation education. AoH and their conflict resolution programs have been featured in many notable media outlets including the Chicago Tribune.
Recently, this program has come under much greater scrutiny. Professor Hobart has been accused of employing anti-Israel bias. An egregious example is his asserting a moral equivalence between the Likud and Labor political parties of Israel with the Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah. Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and promotes the death of Jews in its constitution. He also has asserted that US drone attacks which target terror groups, are equivalent to a high tech version of Hamas suicide bombers, who are intent on killing civilians.
By using a brand of interactive case-studies written and published entirely by the AoH staff, middle and high school students are educated not only in current world affairs, but also in the art of negotiation and conflict prevention. The case-studies themselves are many and varied; while some focus on international issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict or South Africa's HIV/AIDS crisis, others center in on domestic issues such as illegal immigration. Axis of Hope prides itself in "teaching today’s youth to develop trust, compassion and empathy for one another, thereby changing the landscape of conflict and creating the prospect for future peace." This idealistic goal of presenting the students with a framework to further their interest in the topic is often compromised by factual distortions in the case study material.
The AoH program has been implemented into the curriculum of numerous public and private schools in the form of student workshops, faculty training workshops, seminars and multi-day simulated negotiation summits. Though AoH has been contracted to write, develop, and publish case studies on many of today's most heated conflicts, the organization is arguably most well known for its in-classroom simulation of the centuries old Arab-Israeli conflict. AoH has been both praised and criticized for its approach to conflict solving, as well as its incorporation of first-hand testimony from those who have actually been affected by the dispute itself. In the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict, AoH will often set up video-conferences between the students who are participating in the workshop and high school students living in Palestine and Israel to talk about the multiple sides and views represented in the conflict.
Axis of Hope’s mission statement is to instill in thousands of students and teachers a lifelong commitment to conflict management and prevention and service to others locally, nationally and internationally by:
- Fostering effective global citizenship skills in students and teachers of diverse backgrounds.
- Promoting intensive, hands-on learning opportunities through “intellectual Outward Bound” geo-political role-play case studies.
- Teaching the world’s youth to develop trust, compassion and empathy for one another, and for people around the world.
Axis of Hope was founded in 2002 by Carl Hobert, a professor at Boston University, with the goal of teaching global citizenship to elementary, middle and high-school age students. The company was incorporated while Hobert was serving as a language instructor and administrator at the Belmont Hill School, a prestigious all-boys preparatory school in Belmont, Massachusetts. Eventually leaving Belmont Hill for a professorship at Boston University, Hobert brought his company with him. Axis of Hope secured a base of operations on campus and retains a loose affiliation with the university.
Since being moved to Boston University AoH has grown exponentially. The organization has now signed contracts with over 40 schools across the country and worldwide, reaching as far from their headquarters in Boston as Arizona, California, Chicago, Rwanda, Israel, and Palestine. AoH achieved registered 501(c)(3) status in 2010.
Hobert has recently teamed up with veteran journalist Teresa Barker to author a book entitled "Axis of Hope: Raising Global IQ." It is to be published by Beacon Press and is expected out this year.
About the Book
In Raising Global IQ, Carl Hobert calls on K–12 teachers, administrators, parents, and students alike to transform the educational system by giving students the tools they need to become responsible citizens in a shrinking, increasingly interdependent world. Drawing on his nearly thirty years teaching, developing curricula, and leading conflict-resolution workshops here and around the world, he offers creative, well-tested, and understandable pedagogical ideas to help improve our children’s GIQ: Global Intelligence Quotient. Cognizant of many U.S. schools’ limited budgets and time, Hobert advocates teaching foreign languages early in life, honing students’ conflict-resolution skills, providing creative-service learning opportunities, and offering cultural-exchange possibilities in students’ own communities, as well as nationally and abroad—all before they graduate from high school. Many scholars have had a preview of the book. Here is what they have had to say:
Boston University Professor and Author Tom Cottle: Raising Global IQ is a powerful statement of not merely the conditions of contemporary American education, but an insightful and thoughtful proposal for educational transformation. At the same time personal and theoretical, reflective and analytical, this volume places Carl Hobert in the forefront of American educators, and quite possibly the person to draw up a genuinely inspiring blueprint for schooling in the 21st century.
Dean of the Tufts Fletcher School, Former-Ambassador to South Korea, the Philippines and Tunisia, Special Envoy to North Korea Steve Bosworth: Carl Hobert offers reasoned and informed proposals to address one of the most vexing and important problems of our time. Why do Americans in general know so little about other countries and other cultures? How can we design our teaching and learning environment to better prepare students to live in an increasingly inter-connected and competitive world? This is an important book for anyone who cares about – and fears for – our future.