Marquette University Peace Works

About the Program

MU Peace Works is a peace-building and conflict resolution program that aims to reduce violence by increasing young people's capacity to identify and resolve conflicts nonviolently. Through working directly with the principals, teachers, and students at participating schools, the MU Peace Works program trains faculty and students in peace-building skills and restorative justice strategies, and develops a sustainable peer mediation program.

The primary component of the MU Peace Works program is the Peace Works trainer-led lessons on communication skills, active listening skills, critical observation skills, mediation techniques, anger management skills, self-reflection, self-centering, and problem-solving skills. These skills and capabilities are taught utilizing games, exercises, group interaction, and reflection.

The secondary components of the program are teacher training which engages the classroom teachers with the MU Peace Works curriculum and developing a peer mediation program which enables students to apply what they are learning through the MU Peace Works curriculum.

Overall, the MU Peace Works program fosters positive youth development, the reduction of youth violence, and the transformation of students' interpersonal and group behaviors. As young people learn peer mediation and peacemaking skills, they are progressively transformed: Students identify themselves as members of a peacemaking community and, individually, they internalize the values and practices of peacemaking as a component of their lives. Through this personal transformation, the youth transform their schools and communities.

MU Peace Works Curriculum

MU Peace Works incorporates curriculum developed by the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking and elements of the nationally-recognized peer mediation model developed by the Peace Education Program.

Below is a partial list of the modules contained in the MU Peace Works curriculum:

  • Fostering Community
  • Defining Conflict
  • Respect -- Defining and Listening
  • Listening & Paraphrasing (understanding what is being said)
  • Dealing with Emotions
  • Nonverbal Communications
  • Conflict Resolution Prerequisites
  • Trust / Faith -- Problem Solving Win-Win
  • Mediation

The MU Peace Works staff works with the partner schools to develop a customized program, pulling from the 30+ MU Peace Works modules to deliver the instruction and results needed to address each school's unique goals.

Goals and Objectives

MU Peace Works program aims to reduce and even transform violence and other delinquent behaviors while encouraging the formation of peacemakers by training teachers and students in conflict resolution, reducing the number of disruptive behavioral incidents, transforming the individual student, and improving the qualitative climate of the community.

These goals are achieved through the following objectives:

  • Staff and students will form a working definition of respect and model respectful behavior
  • Staff and students will learn listening and conflict resolution skills
  • Students will learn basic mediation skills
  • Students will understand that peacemaking is highly participative and conflict resolution skills can be used to handle a variety of situations
  • Staff and Students will establish a restorative justice and peer mediation structure to handle conflicts


The MU Peace Works staff, in conjunction with the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, partners with schools to conduct a needs assessment, develop a customized curriculum using the 30+ MU Peace Works modules, and create a schedule for the Peace Works trainers to provide classroom instruction.

The life cycle of an MU Peace Works site implementation is designed to incorporate MU Peace Works as a sustainable and permanent component of those schools. To this end, it is essential for the MU Peace Works staff to work directly with the principals, teachers, and students in each school for the first two years.

After the initial year, the school takes responsibility for continuing this peacemaking initiative in the following years. At that time, the MU Peace Works Coordinator and trainer will return bi-weekly to offer technical assistance, training, and evaluation for alumni schools. Additionally, the MU Peace Works Coordinator and trainer conduct a one-day faculty training for teachers at alumni schools each August.

Track Record of Success

Marquette University has been a leader in peacemaking and conflict resolution for the last decade. Below are some recent data on the MU Peace Works program effectiveness in increasing the youth participants' capacity to identify and resolve conflict nonviolently.

MU Peace Works:
St. Giles Elementary School (Oak Park, IL)
  • 75% reduction in the number of students that were unsure or disagreed that faith has taught them how to handle situations
  • 67% increase in students who strongly agreed/agreed that they knew how many typical conflict management styles exist
  • 30% increase in students that strongly agreed/agreed that they have to pay attention to body language when communicating with others
  • 31% increase in students who strongly agreed/agreed that they know what "I" statement are and how to use them
  • 80% increase in student's self-awareness of how they respond to conflict
Peer Solutions Program: (partnership with Marquette University Law School)
Pulaski High School (Milwaukee, WI)
  • 25% decrease in suspension levels/discipline referrals in students after restorative justice intervention
  • 35% decrease in suspension levels/discipline referrals in special education students
  • 93% increase in restorative justice/peer mediation skills
Washington High School (Milwaukee, WI)
  • 80% reduction in potential expulsion referrals after intervention
  • 77% decrease in suspension or discipline referrals

Bring MU Peace Works to Your School

If you are interested in exploring if the MU Peace Works program will be a good fit at your school, please reach out to Patrick Kennelly (414) 288-8445.