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Peter  Yarrow

Peter Yarrow

Musician & Activist

Peter Yarrow

Musician & Activist


Peter Yarrow has charmed, inspired, delighted, and just plain entertained generations of audiences since Peter, Paul and Mary first sang their way into the national consciousness in the early 1960s. As a member of the renowned musical trio for 49 years, he has earned five Grammys and an Emmy nomination, recorded eight gold and five platinum albums, and six Top 10 hits.

The late Coretta Scott King once proclaimed, “Peter, Paul and Mary are not only three of the greatest folk artists ever, but also three of the performing arts’ most outstanding champions of social justice and peace.” Yarrow’s gift for songwriting has produced some of the most moving songs Peter, Paul & Mary recorded, including “Puff, The Magic Dragon,” “Day is Done,” “Light One Candle,” and “The Great Mandala.” This musical creativity has always gone hand-in-hand with Yarrow’s commitment to social change.

During the last decade, Yarrow has devoted himself primarily to the work of heading Operation Respect (OR), an educational non-profit he founded. OR is dedicated to assuring children and youth a caring, safe, and respectful climate where students’ academic, social, and emotional development can take place in a welcoming environment conducive to learning. OR disseminates a classroom-based program called Don’t Laugh at Me through the generosity of The McGraw-Hill Companies. It has been utilized in a variety of ways, frequently in conjunction with other similar programs, by an estimated 22,000 schools in the United States, Hong Kong, Croatia, Canada, and elsewhere.  

Don’t Laugh at Me (DLAM) is designed to help establish a school and classroom climate that encourages acceptance of differences, is free of bullying, ridicule, and violence of all sorts, emotional and physical. The program incorporates music that reaches adults and children alike, opening their hearts and inviting discussions that lead to a greater sense of community and healthy deliberation. OR has distributed more than 160,000 copies of DLAM to educators and administrators, and it is available free of charge at: www.operationrespect.org.

The United States House of Representatives honored OR with a unanimous vote of commendation after only four years of its existence. In addition, the program was hailed by virtually the entire educational community as a key initiative in our nation’s response to the challenge of physical and emotional violence among children. Yarrow feels that this program is perhaps the most important advocacy effort of his entire career. Recently, he has done extensive work with the Sandy Hook community to help heal the wounds inflicted by the terrible incident, including his appearance on the PBS Special “Concert for Newtown.”

Yarrow has received two honorary doctorates from San Francisco State University and National Lewis University for his work in educational advocacy. In this presentation, Yarrow uses songs and personal stories to reflect his commitment to making the world a better, more just place for everyone. This program will inspire audiences young and old, and empower everyone who hears Yarrow to reach for the kind of closeness, affection, and respect that characterizes him as a singer, father, and humanitarian.

Speech Topics

Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Me

Creating a Community to Support all Children

Working Together to Bring About Change


Books & Media


Puff, the Magic Dragon