Jacqueline Haessly, PhD, is a writer, teacher, coach, and the founder of Peacemaking Associates and the Milwaukee Peace Education Library. Her career has been dedicated to helping promote sustainable peace and justice through education, civil rights for all people, and equitable access to community resources. A graduate of the Sacred Heart School of Practical Nursing, Dr. Haessly began working as a public health nurse in the Milwaukee area in 1958. Throughout the 1960s, she was active in protests and marches against housing discrimination and the Vietnam War, and recalls that her position as a nurse “helped her see the connections” between the lack of healthcare and housing for all and discriminatory attitudes in policy and culture. During this time, she continued to study at Alverno College and completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of Milwaukee in 1971. The same year, she started working with the American Friends Services Committee teaching peace education units to area students.
The American Friends Services Committee’s peace committee was dissolved in 1973, after Dr. Haessly had developed a peace education curriculum focused on growth and social justice rather than antiwar messaging. In response, she and her husband established the Milwaukee Peace Education Resource Center and Peacemaking Associates in 1974 to continue her work. Dr. Haessly returned to the University of Milwaukee for a Master of Education in 1976, and continued her goals through her work supporting other organizations.
Dr. Haessly published her first book, “Peacemaking: Family Activities for Justice and Peace” in 1980, and began consulting for the University of Wisconsin and Milwaukee Public Schools in 1983. In 1985, she served as organizer of production for Peace Child, leading her to establish Creative Playtime, where she remains president. She was awarded a second Bachelor of Arts in religion and broad-field social studies from Cardinal Stritch University in 1992, and her work through the 1990s included travel as a delegate to the 1992 World Congress on Family and International Year of the Family, Family Life Peace Education Seminars in Costa Rica and Malta, and selection as a delegate to the United Nations in 1994.
In 2002, Dr. Haessly was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in interdisciplinary studies with emphasis on spirituality, peace, and transformational leadership by Union Institute and University after publishing her dissertation, “Weaving a Culture of Peace.” She converted the Milwaukee Peace Education Resource Center into the Milwaukee Peace Education Library in 2005, and continues to offer resources and education through its programming; as a lecturer for Union Institute and University, Edgewood College, Cardinal Stritch University; and as an independent consultant. Dr. Haessly is the author of numerous journal articles and 14 books, most recently a second volume of “Peacemaking: Family Activities for Justice and Peace” in 2011.
Building on her past outreach internationally and in the Milwaukee community, Dr. Haessly was appointed Wisconsin state coordinator for Christy USA in 2021, and she is active in the Peace and Justice Studies Association, the National Association of Mediation Education, the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, and other organizations. Among other honors, Dr. Haessly has been presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her decades of work on behalf of peace and community justice.