Laura Shannon Prize Winner

The best weapon for peace

Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press

Publication Year: 2022

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The Best Weapon for Peace: Maria Montessori, Education, and Children's Rights

by Erica Moretti

2024 Honorable Mention in Humanities

Jury Statement

“Erica Moretti's book is an elegantly written work that fundamentally reshapes our understanding of Maria Montessori, the prominent educational theorist of the 20th century whose work continues to exert significant influence in contemporary times. Drawing upon an extensive array of historical sources stretching from Italy to India, Moretti skillfully delineates Montessori's core aspiration: the advancement of global peace through the nurturing of children into empathetic and tolerant world citizens. Her interactions with influential figures of her era, including scholars such as Anna Freud and, during her residence in India, the renowned social activist and pacifist Mahatma Gandhi, unveil a multifaceted persona that transcends her role as an educator, encompassing that of philosopher, anthropologist, and diplomat. Erica Moretti's book stands as an eloquent testament to the enduring and profound significance of Montessori's vision and to the responsibility that intellectuals and educators can shoulder in times of political upheaval and crises.”

Final Jury

Eliot Borenstein
Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies
New York University

Nicola Gess
Professor of German Literature
University of Basel

Gregory Kucich
Professor of English
University of Notre Dame

Heather Hyde Minor
Professor of 16th–18th century Europe in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design
University of Notre Dame

Susan Stewart
Avalon Foundation University Professor of the Humanities, Emerita
Princeton University