Richard Chakrin

Richard Chakrin

Adjunct Instructor for The Center for Peace and Conflict Studies



Center for Peace and Cnflict Studies.

Richard Chakrin

Rich Chakrin has taught the class, Studies in Non-violence (PCS 2050) as an adjunct instructor for the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies for the last 25 years. Inspired and moved by the historical evidence of reconciliation as well as by brilliant stories of forgiveness offered in surprising and challenging situations, Rich brings the profound principals of non-violence and the mature options embodied in Emotional Intelligence into the classroom and, hopefully, into the present lives of students.

Deeply interested in the complexity of human interactions and the dynamic relationship between chaos and order, Rich presents an experimental and practical, Gandhian-styled approach that supports right action in this complex world. Equally important is his focus on the neurological underpinnings of peace. Relaxation techniques are empathized as a means of enhancing a person's empathy, attuned communication, impulse control and thoughtful decisions, all effects of a calm nervous system and all elements of a non-violent approach to life.

For the past 22 years, Rich has also shared this general approach with parents in various settings including classes sponsored by divisions of Oakland County Youth Assistance. As a trained community mediator, he has taught peer mediation and peace awareness at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

Philosophy of Education

My philosophy of education is shaped, to a large degree, by Gandhi's and Martin Luther King’s emphasis on equality, inclusion and responsibility. For example, I truly believe that each and every student I have had the pleasure to met is equal in value and intelligent in their own unique way. I truly believe that it is crucial that they find their own voice and be given the chance to express what is most important to them in both their reflection papers and their semester project. I truly believe that we must "be the change we would like to see in the world" (Gandhi) and convey whatever qualities we deem most valuable (such as respect, compassion, etc.) in our speech, action and thoughts. I truly believe education is important in real time and that we can begin immediately practicing the patience, courage, honesty, organization, inclusion and commitment that led to the success of nonviolent movements throughout history.

Philosophically, my own behavior, thoughts and voice must also comply with the principles of nonviolence. I strive to model the compassion, equanimity, emotional intelligence and organized dedication of my nonviolent heroes. I strive to create a safe environment where each student feels welcomed and where their diversity is honored as an important piece in the fabric of human potential. Simply, I strive to "be the change I would like to see in the world".

Another piece of my philosophical approach to teaching is to re-frame the educational process itself. I want students to know that they are not studying and writing for me or to earn grades. Rather, they are in this class to access their own natural intelligence and to begin searching for a heartfelt course of action that could potentially lead to their own experience of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Finally, the reason I enjoy teaching this class is that I get to watch students apply non-violent principles and move their life to a higher level of functioning. I watch them become better listeners, more empathetic co-workers, more compassionate parents, etc. Essentially, their growing commitment to emotionally intelligent interactions enhances both their lives and the lives of those around them.


  • BS in psychology from Harpur College (now SUNY at Binghamton) 1970
  • MA in education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City 1972