This story recently appeared in the winter 2012 edition of Harker Quarterly.
John Hunter, named one of Time magazine’s top 12 education activists, and voted “most influential” TED speaker, appeared at Harker in early October as part of the Common Ground Speaker Series.
Hunter, an award-winning teacher, discussed his invention of the “World Peace games,” a “geopolitical simulation” that is played mostly by students in grade 4 but is suitable for all ages. The game focuses on building real-world problem-solving skills. Students play various roles in the game, such as world leaders, cabinet members and even arms dealers. Some students are even given roles of great power, such as the ability to control the weather or determine if a business venture will succeed. Aside from facilitating, Hunter never directly intervenes.
Students must use the power they have been given in each role to solve the problems presented to them. Every country in the game must also have its asset value raised by the time it ends. “In other words, everybody has to win for the game to be won,” Hunter said. In addition, he makes Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” required reading for all students participating in the game.
The event included a viewing of a documentary film from 2006 that showed Hunter’s students working together to finish the game successfully. In the 34 years that he has been running the game for his students, Hunter said, “They have never failed to save the world. They do it in different ways every time.”