Co-founder, Turkmenistan Youth and Civic Values Foundation
“Montessori stresses the need to communicate, to understand issues from another’s viewpoint, and to solve challenges by sharing perspectives and ideas.”
Kenyon attended Montessori school from kindergarten through 8th grade. He remembers a middle school exercise in which students were divided into groups—Democracy, Autocracy, and Anarchy—that were all required to complete the same tasks. He was in the Anarchy group, which faced the challenge of creating a “nation” without guidelines or rules. But the group managed to agree on guiding principles, form a government, and distribute its limited resources by consensus.
The lesson was so powerful that Kenyon replicated it as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Central Asia in 2003-05. While directing an English-language camp for 60 students, he conducted “SimCountry” and “SimWorld” exercises built upon his middle-school experience from a dozen years before.
“Montessori stresses a global perspective,” he says. “The sheer diversity of the world is valued for its own sake. My early education must have made an impact because my choices have taken me to many corners of the globe.”
A graduate of Harvard University and Georgetown Law, Kenyon Weaver created the Turkmenistan Youth and Civic Values Foundation with 5 other returned Peace Corps Volunteers in 2006. He is also a co-founder of the online Caspian Business Journal and was previously a law clerk at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Photo: Courtesy Kenyon Weaver