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Image by Joshua Newton


Just north of the NEIU PE Complex stands a tree with a scar on its north side, where a lightning bolt once struck.  Below the branches of the tree is where peace fires have been lit for over 20 years.  in 1996 Bruce Hardwick and Duane Kinnart, Ojibway firekeepers lit the fire for the first time, creating a place where people gather to reflect and share about their lives on the company of an accepting community.  Fire coals have been shared and given to world leaders such as the Dalai Lama and used in special ceremonies around the world. 



To symbolize the quest for global harmony, a peace pole was installed on the NEIU campus in 2000.  This pole bears the message "may peace prevail on earth" in four languages: Aramic, one of the oldest written languages; Esperanto, one of the newest languages created to improve international communication; and Tibetan and Hopi, which are the languages of two cultures that have promoted peace for centuries.



For many thousands of years, people of many different faiths and cultures have found clarity, peace, and awakening by walking the paths of labyrinths.  In the autumn of 2003, a peace labyrinth was installed on the campus by German architect, Johannes Matthiessen, and NEIU art students.  The chakra stones used for the labyrinth were carved by students at the Chicago Waldorf School.



In 2006, two feldspar crystals believed to be about 1.8 billion years old were installed on the NEIU campus.  These crystals were excavated by NEIU students from the same mountain region in the Black Hills of South Dakota that bears the Crazy Horse monument, which honors the culture, traditions, and heritage of Native Americans.  The crystals at NEIU were blessed at the installation by Cherokee Elder Momfeather Erickson.



A volunteer-based organization housed in the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics, has hosted annual conferences for over 20 years focused on creating peaceful communities.  T.E.A.M.'s dedication to the advancement of peace has resulted in the participation of many world peace leaders in events on campus.  For more information contact Dan Creely Jr., at 


NEIU welcomes people from all over the world to share their cultures and traditions in a peaceful environment.  over the years, many peace and spiritual leaders have visited our campus to participate in peace events, including Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, primatologist Jane Goodall, Angaagaq "Uncle" of Ice Wisdom from Greenland, spiritual leaders from Mongolia, Khama Lama Dr. Natsgdorj, and Ravi Shankar, Ajit Telang, and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev spiritual leaders from India, a group of Tibetan monks from the Drepung Monastery, and Native elders and tribal leaders from many nations.

People around the world join in by lighting the peace fire.  It's global and helps us connect to each other through the energy we are harnessing, through shared discussions of what peace means to them.  Fire ceremonies have been used to bring back feelings of connectedness that have been lost since 10,000 B.C. Different cultures such as the Egyptians, Irish, Eskimos, Cherokee, and Potawatomi believe in the fire's special powers to spread the energy around the world in hopes to create peace.  

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