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Darden Fellow John Hunter to Speak at TED
Feb 18, 2011 (04:02 PM EST)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Feb. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For over 30 years, teacher John Hunter, a Fellow of the Center for Global Initiatives (CGI) at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, has challenged students in his Charlottesville, Virginia public school classrooms to think big - really big - about world peace. Last year, an award-winning documentary film, "World Peace . . . and Other 4th Grade Achievements" gave international audiences an inside peek at 8-year-olds playing the World Peace Game, a hands-on geo-political simulation designed and led by Hunter.


On Friday, March 4, 2011, Hunter will speak at the annual TED2011 conference held live in Long Beach, California, where he will share his insights on teaching and learning about competition, cooperation, and non-violence on a global scale.

TED - which stands for technology, education and design - has become an Internet phenomenon, with its non-profit mission to bring together innovative thinkers to speak about "ideas worth spreading." Over four days, invited speakers, including Bill Gates, General Stanley McChrystal and dinosaur digger Jack Horner will give 18-minute presentations on "The Rediscovery of Wonder." Hunter's TED talk will be one of three delivered on the last day of the conference on the theme of "Only If. If Only." Also presenting on the topic will be "wrongologist" Kathryn Schulz and film critic Roger Ebert.

The film "World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements," produced and directed by filmmaker Chris Farina, chronicles Hunter's life story as it intersects with one class's eight-week adventure in international politics. Students play the roles of prime ministers, World Bank representatives, and arms dealers who must negotiate to withstand international crises, natural disasters, and climate change, while avoiding war.

"The amazing thing about Hunter's game," said Darden Professor Elizabeth Powell," is that many of its lessons are incredibly relevant for today's global leaders and managers who face the challenges presented by the game in real time. Every day, executives must operate in shifting global, economic and political contexts, and their decisions have serious consequences." Powell added, "Most importantly, Hunter models a distinctive kind of leadership, showing viewers how to lead in what Peter Senge called a 'learning organization.'"

As a CGI Fellow, Hunter is exploring with Powell how to use the film to trigger conversations about teaching and learning, leadership communication, and business and success. Following a recent screening and discussion in Powell's Management Communication class with Darden's MBA for Executives, one student said, "He is a remarkable teacher. I'm impressed by his way of creating trust and stepping out of the way to allow the children to come to their own solutions through discussion, debate and interaction." Powell hopes that students will draw parallels between Hunter's leadership methods in the classroom and their own leadership at work.

Recently, Hunter founded The World Peace Game Foundation, which will support the "development of collaboration and communication skills for resolving and transforming conflicts, and the development of the skills of compromise, all while accommodating different perspectives and interests."

Among the foundation's upcoming projects will be a World Peace Game Summer Academy to be held at Darden in July 2011. During one week, children will play the game, allowing a selective group of teachers and observers to see how the game works and to learn about Hunter's core teaching principles. During a second week, a group of Darden faculty and staff will be invited to play a trial version of the game, in part as a team-building exercise and in part to begin developing a similar game that can be used with Darden's MBA students and Executive Education participants.

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SOURCE University of Virginia Darden School of Business