The inaugural Joan Shears Peaceful Pathways Awards at Jabiru Community College in Brisbane were made possible by a coalition of peace groups subscribing to a fund to award a Year 12 and a Year 10 student. The Queensland branch of WILPF donated towards the awards.

Joan Shears OAM dedicated her life to working for peace and social justice. Jabiru has a commitment to peace as a core value and the awards celebrate young people who are engaged in peace-making, peace-building and peace-keeping in our community, and to link the school community with local peacemakers.

This support enabled awards of $550 to a Year 12 student and $250 to a Year 10 student, both of whom had actively demonstrated a commitment to peace, as well as nine smaller prizes for creative pieces submitted for exhibition under the theme “Peace is…”.

The inaugural award recipients

The Year 12 student’s commitment to peace was through their dedication to peace-making and peace-building through the Alternatives to Violence Program and to their modelling of alternatives to violence at school.

The Year 10 student has worked to build peace in many ways. They have shown compassion for the planet through initiatives like tree-planting and the Containers for Change recycling program.

Every project they come up with is about creating and spreading joy and peace in our community. For WILPF, this remains a core principle within our work, and we are proud to support any young person upholding the same values.

Hope for awards to expand to other schools

In thanking the peace group representatives, school principal Frances Missen mentioned there are 10 Brisbane schools with similar programs, and she hopes that the Joan Shears awards will continue to expand and deepen in future years.

A note

These awards replace an annual Long Tan award, which is made to students at many schools and colleges throughout Australia by the Australian Defence Force. By offering an alternative, we aim to reduce the normalisation of the Australian military within our schools. WILPF Qld hopes that this project can be expanded here and repeated in many States.

The image above is of representatives of the peace groups which contributed to the awards. WILPF members Norma Kleinschmidt and Valerie Joy are Nos 6 and 7 from the left.