Our centre is a new initiative which has moved to France recently from Loch Goil in Scotland. We are an international centre for educational work in all aspects of peacemaking and global educational research. We are primarily an academic study centre and have guests coming on study retreat from all over the world. our key feature is a huge library of over 12,000 books plus associated resources. We publish a journal (The only academic journal in the world on the nature of love) and run courses and seminars on a regular basis. We have an annual conference on St Mary Magdalene, for example and the whole question of whether she visited Southern France in the aftermath of the crucifixion. We speak both French and English, and our workaways need to be able to converse in one of these two languages.
Our centre is based in the small village of Betete in La Creuse, a beautiful department of Limousin, in the Aquitaine region of France. It is close to the larger towns of La Chatres, Gueret, Montlucon, and Boussac, and not too far from Limoges, capital of Limousin, where there are excellent national and international transport links including an airport flying cheap flights to the UK.
Our centre is an academic institute, which was first set up in 1991 at the University of London, and has been at the forefront of intercultural, interphilosophical education for peace worldwide since then. Our Director, has visited and taught in over 35 countries worldwide, and is originally a British-Canadian dual citizen, now resident in France. We also have a resident black cat called Bysshe so anyone allergic to cats cannot come, sadly. Betete is surrounded by glorious countryside in all directions, and there are fine walks exploring the Petite Creuse valley right from our doorstep. Many famous artists, including Monet came and painted here in La Creuse region, because the light is extraordinary, especially at sunset. In olden times, this region was part of the domain of Eleanor of Aquitaine and formed part of the Plantagenet Empire. Richard 1st died just nearby, so the whole place is steeped in history.
We have an ecumenical daily meditation and prayer time so people need to be sympathetic to our fundamental ethos, which is using scientific and spiritual education as a vehicle for the advancement of international; and inter-cultural understanding. We have a huge collection of books on all aspects of global philosophy and spirituality, including Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Druidry, Paganism, Hinduism, Yoga, Judaism, Kabbalah, Sciences etc. so in your spare time it is a perfect place to undertaken private study, reading and writing. Our Peace Museum is a peaceful sanctuary from the strife of the world and we are working on numerous projects concerned with active mediation and conflict prevention in troubled parts of the world, and it is this which needs workaways helpers. Behind the Museum is a beautiful park with a large lake ideal for evening sunset strolls and the nearby forests have giant oaks which give shelter to countless birds, including birds of prey. At night on our terrace the cicadas keep up their melodic rhythmic sing-song. This is a blissful environment for anyone who is familiar with how higher education works, who loves books, who is either undertaking a degree at the present, or who has already graduated, and who loves the life of the mind and of research in higher studies. Freethinking and an inquiring mind are essential prerequisites for helping out here, as well as a real commitment to world peace and well-being.
With the current state of international relations going crazy, we are a haven of tolerant internationalism, with no enmity for any nation, tribe or religion, and we welcome guests from everywhere who love peace, truth and wisdom.
Please note that we are start up project, and have yet to install a functioning hot water system, so some more fastidious temperaments might like to give us a miss. We also tend to eat late, around 10pm, Continental time, so if you are the type that has to eat early and go to bed early, we are probably not the right place for you. We work hard in the day and party at night. We like it if you can show some flexibility in your approach to our own timetable and house conventions. Also, we are definitely not for you if you have anti religious tendencies, and are not seriously interested in comparative spirituality and interfaith studies. Nor are we the appropriate place for you if you already think you know it all, and have no space in your heart for new insights. But if you are prepared to learn, and to listen; if you are kind and compassionate and not judgemental in your attitudes, then we could just be the paradise you have been looking for.
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
Volunteers here can make great progress with their education and philosophical learning in all respects; if you like books and study, then this is the place to you. If you love ancient European and classical culture, you will feel like you have come home, and if French history and literature are what interest, or British studies, and English language development, then this is a place for advanced delights in those departments as well. It is possible, whilst resident here, to register for some of advanced courses run in house by the Institute, and academic advice and direction can also be given for those wishing to study at post graduate degree level through the centre.We have links to many peoples and cultures worldwide and are active in the field of intercultural and interphilosophical education, and has been busy since 1991 when we were set up at the University of London, so there are immense learning opportunities here for those who are self motivated and disciplined enough to make the most of our resources.
Research and educational help
Writing, editing, typing
Telephone and emails
Helping show tourists round the museum
Helping out around the Museum
Some filming and documentary making
We welcome helpers who have a lively mind and a good heart and who are interested in helping out with our thriving and dynamic peace museum project, as well as the work of our centre in general. We are happy to receive either volunteers who wish to help with us with the academic and research work underway, or someone who is also happy to help undertake general maintenance and help running the house and museum in a practical sense (cooking, housework etc.). Above all you must be flexible and positive in spirit, not moody and self-centred, but able to join the dots up in what we are doing here, and enthusiastic about helping out in all the various aspects of work going on here. This is a truly exciting project for the right person and you will learn an awful lot whilst staying with us.
English and French
We can offer your own room in the Centre, and all the comforts you would expect from a 100 year old French style village house which is like something out of a Flaubert novel. Free wif fi access, access to a huge reading library, study desk. Meals are shared with others staying in the Museum on short or long term visits and we hope you can contribute your bit towards to keep your room clean and tidy and also to help keep the communal areas of the house clean. We expect everyone to assist with normal duties like washing up, laying the table, clearing up after meals just as part of normal living. You can of course use the washing machine during your stay for keeping your clothes clean and fresh. If you have special dietary requirements we can accommodate most diets, if you give us warning in advance. We hold a daily meditation session to cultivate inner peace and expect everyone staying at the Centre here to participate in this enthusiastically. Some prior knowledge of mediation or spirituality is therefore advantageous, but not essential, as a willingness to learn and an open heart and mind are also important to bring along. Smoking is not permitted in the centre except on the terrace and outside, or at special events (parties and the like). Our general rule is: don’t do unto others what you wouldn’t like done to you, so courtesy and kindness are essential in the way we organise things here.
Volunteers who come to stay with us are in for the experience of a lifetime – an induction into the world’s philosophical literature. Each of the rooms of the peace museum is dedicated to a particular Muse and the contents of the room reflect the interests of that particular Goddess, as in Calliope (Politics, Economics), Clio (History, education), Erato (love, psychology, philosophy), Euterpe (film, fine art, visual beauty), Melpomene (law, conflict resolution, peace and war), Terpsichore (Music, dance, games), Thalia (Literature, poetics, drama, philology, languages), Urania (Natural Sciences). Depending which room you end up being allocated, you will be living and breathing amidst the resources we hold on that particular muse, but free to explore all the other 9 Muse rooms when appropriate. We also run educational projects here to do with peace and global studies from here so expect to find out all kinds of amazing new things about the planet we live in and how we can collaborate together across cultures, religions belief systems and international boundaries for the common good of planetary well being and peace. Betete is 30 minutes from our local railway station at Gueret, where regular trains run to Limoges international airport, and we are happy to collect you from Gueret on arrival. Please be aware, there are few public transport facilities in the immediate area, but there are occasional bus routes nearby to explore the local area on your days off. We are also only 3 hours from Paris by trains leaving from Montlucon or Chateauroux stations.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
4 hours per day 6 days per week. (max 25 hours per week) or 5 hours per day 5 days a week