telling our story

Lynn Ellingson
Lynn Elling, founder, served as a World War II Naval Officer on a Landing Ship Tank in the South Pacific
Lynn Elling
Lynn Elling, 2016

Our organization, World Citizen, begins with the story of a young naval officer, named Lynn Elling, who served in the South Pacific during WWII where he saw the carnage of the battle of Tarawa and knew that there must be a better way. From that experience, he was with the mission of creating a world without war. Lynn Elling passed away February 14, 2016, at the age of 94. Lynn and his wife Donna grew their family to five children, ten grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

Lynn’s journey began with the founding of World Citizen in 1972 and sharing an idea that he had learned from a social worker in New Jersey. This idea was to dedicate schools as Peace Sites. In 1988, the first Minnesota Peace Site, Longfellow Elementary School in Minneapolis, was dedicated and since then hundreds of sites have become dedicated Peace Sites. These Peace Site dedications were amazing celebrations of community coming together. Each site developed their own commitment to peace and conflict resolution. Plaques were hung, gardens were planted, and peace poles were placed. Lynn’s dream of a world without war was becoming visible.

In 1996, Lynn Elling co-founded the Nobel Peace Prize Festival. The festival became a collaboration between Norwegian Nobel Institute and five midwest Norwegian Lutheran Colleges held at Augsburg College, Minneapolis. It has now evolved into The Peace Prize Forum.

World Citizen identified a need to invigorate and empower communities to educate for a just and peaceful world. Peace isn’t just a one-time occasion but action taken for a desirable way of life for all. Thus the idea of communities of peace through Peace Education was created. This program offers an opportunity to emphasize the process of becoming a peace educator through participation. Here relationships with other Peace Makers are formed as we listen to relevant speakers on national and international topics related to our Five Peace Actions, share ideas for peaceful homes, schools, and communities, and problem solve together. Participants become both teachers and students of Peace Education.

We believe that everyone has the responsibility to educate for a just and peaceful world. We are ready with the next steps. Our hope is that you would be our partner in turning this dream into a reality.