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On April 6, 2016, over 125 people gathered for the dedication of Point of View, a peacebuilding research and conference center in Lorton, Virginia, dedicated to teaching and learning, research, and a commitment to engagement and practice. United States Representative for Virginia’s 8th District, Donald S. Beyer, Jr., said, “This [Point of View] unique human resource…is part of the new geography of hope.”

POVDedication GMUPresidentCabreraGMU President Angel CabreraGeorge Mason University President Angel Cabrera, expressing his full support, reminded us of the quote shared by Edwin Lynch, who, with his wife Helen, donated the land for Point of View, “We often hear that there are no frontiers left for our young people to explore. I must take exception to that comment, for not only do we have the largely unexplored frontiers of space and of our vast oceans, but scientists say we have not learned to use our minds beyond a fraction of their capabilities. We must seek to develop and use our minds, not to conquer one another, but to peacefully and constructively solve the conflicts that cause so much of the world’s grief. It is this frontier of the human mind that I challenge each of you here today to explore.”  Other remarks were given by GMU Provost David Wu, S-CAR doctoral student Fakhira Halloun, and S-CAR Dean Kevin Avruch.

The National Peace Academy, an affiliate of GMU S-CAR Point of View, recently launched a three million dollar comprehensive development campaign including a million dollar pledge to build the Elise Boulding National Peace Academy House at Point of View. This residence will allow for on-site peacebuilding training, conflict resolution, dialogue, and more. NPA President Kristin Famula said, “The NPA residence will give practitioners the space for intentional, personal reflective practice, while our affiliation enhances NPA’s ability to live into its mission as we promote and catalyze networking and collaboration opportunities among academics, practitioners, community organizers, and policy makers throughout the United States.”

NPA and S-CAR are part of a rich peace history in the United States of America dating back to the Carter Administration’s Matsunaga Commission calling for the establishment of a United States Academy of Peace.  Scholars and activists in this original push for a national peace academy approached George Mason University to house what they hoped would be a congressionally approved institution. As a result, the world’s first postgraduate degree program in conflict resolution was developed, and S-CAR was gifted the property known today as Point of View.

Lisa Huber, Dot Maver, Mark Chupp, Kristin Famula, Tara Stuart, Mike AbkinLisa Huber, Dot Maver, Mark Chupp, Kristin Famula, Tara Stuart, Mike AbkinNPA at Point of View offers a unique opportunity to support scholar-practitioners to facilitate, teach, conduct research, develop resources, and demonstrate what it will take to break the cycle of violence and to educate, train, and develop cutting-edge conflict resolution and conflict transformation skills and practices, thus institutionalizing peace and supporting safe, resilient communities.

Black Lives MatterAfter the non-indictment verdict in Ferguson, a national campaign for human rights called Standing on the Side of Love sent out this tweet, “How are you taking care of your heart today?” Of all of the commentary that has come out after Ferguson, and especially after the verdict, this one simple question caused me to pause. And after weeks of protests and the non-indictment in the Eric Garner case, again this bubbles up for me, “how are you taking care of your heart today?” And now, after watching and personally participating in peaceful (and sometimes non-peaceful) marches, protests, die-ins and dialogues…this has become my mantra: “How are you taking care of your heart?”

Because the fact of the matter is, none of these incidents is isolated – none of them is a one-time occurrence. They are part of an intertwined, interwoven system of discrimination and injustice – a system so ingrained in who we all are, that we have trouble even recognizing that it exists, much less telling others about it and having hope of ever untangling it. And if you are in a position of being someone who was brought up understanding the discrimination by living it every day, or if you have been working as long as you can remember to transform the system and are confronted with yet another example of the immensity of the work to still to be done, or wherever you are coming from in your life experience – these recent experiences are painful. And unnerving. And make us angry. So, how are you taking care of your heart?

Board members, trustees, and staff at the National Peace Academy have taken a range of personal responses – writing, marching, educating, organizing. And as an institution, we are reflecting on the events, reading the terrific, insightful commentary that has emerged, and contemplating the way we, as an educational peacebuilding institution, can best serve.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, NPA will continue to provide resources and tools (from partners and from YOU) illuminating the possibilities for exploring and acting on this issue through a peacebuilding lens and for creating the transformation that we have all been working towards. These resources include holistic, long-term tools for transformation like restorative justice, trauma healing, and truth commissions – tools that we have seen create lasting change in communities around the world — and that can be set in place NOW to begin changing the systems that exist in our own country.

In the meantime, we encourage you to pay attention to your heart. To whatever feelings are bubbling up inside of you since these events began unfolding and likely since before then. And to take care of yourself. While we protest and work together to transform the system, let’s pay attention to how we will continue this work for the long-haul, for it is an on-going process. Let’s consider how we interact with everyone we are dealing with, whether on the street, in a classroom, or in a contentious dialogue. Let’s listen to the hearts of everyone involved so that we create lasting change. And let’s protect our own hearts so that we can continue this work.

How are you taking care of your heart today?

Kristin Signature
Kristin Famula, President

Goodall Event imageThe Jane Goodall Center for Environmental Studies at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) in Danbury, CT, is hosting a lecture by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., on “Our Environmental Destiny”. As part of the National Peace Academy’s on-going partnerships with universities and colleges nationally, we are thrilled to be a sponsor of this event.

Please join us on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, at the Ives Concert Hall, White Hall, WCSU Midtown campus at 7 p.m. followed by a VIP reception at 8:30 p.m.

When ordering your tickets, kindly let them know you heard about this event through the National Peace Academy. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there.

Register for this event here!

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.‘s reputation as a resolute defend­er of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Kennedy was named one of Time maga­zine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for his success in helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn more than 160 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

Kennedy serves as president of Waterkeeper Alliance, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson River­keeper. He is a partner on the CleanTech investment team of Silicon Valley’s VantagePoint Capital Ventures, and is the environmental adviser to Napo Pharmaceuti­cals and co-host of the radio show “Ring of Fire”. He is also a professor of environmental law at Pace University School of Law and serves as co-director of the school’s Environmental Litigation Clinic. Earlier in his career, he served as assistant district attorney in New York City.

Kennedy was also featured in the acclaimed environ­mental documentary “The Last Mountain”, the Sundance 2011 official selection. The film examines the struggle to save Coal River Mountain in Coal River Valley, West Virginia-the last mountain in the area untouched by the mining practice of mountain top removal.

Among his published books are the New York Times best-seller “Crimes Against Nature” (2004); “The Riv­erkeepers” (1997); and “Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr: A Biography” (1977). His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Ange­les Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside magazine, the Village Voice and many other publications. Kennedy’s award-winning articles have been included in anthologies of America’s best crime writing, best political writing and best science writing.

Sunday, 24 August 2014 23:04

NPA at a Crossroads

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August 2014

Dear NPA founders, supporters, partners and friends,

Throughout the United States and the world we are experiencing many transitions. The National Peace Academy has not been immune to these transitions, and we would like to share with you, our longtime supporters, a shift we are making and some potential new directions for NPA.

As you know, the essence of NPA is stated in our founding document as follows:

The National Peace Academy supports, advances, and nurtures cultures of peace by preparing the next generation of peacebuilders who will bring their unique background to communities and the corporate, nonprofit, and government workplace. Through our learning programs we support the development of the full spectrum of the peacebuilder – inner and outer, personal and professional; and facilitate the development of peace systems – local to global.

Thus, since its founding five years ago, NPA has strived to offer programming and experiences that will build peace in the United States. We have created a strong foundation with a clear mission, values, and principles that build on a long history of leaders and organizations seeking to establish peace as a priority at a national level in this country. And our programs have spawned many ripples around the world.

One other task of this phase of the NPA has been to build an institution that embodies and sustains this essence statement. Our struggle has been to attain financial sustainability and, despite many loyal and regular contributors, we continue to find it difficult to maintain an independent organization with adequate staffing. In light of these struggles, in June, the staff at NPA, for the first time since our founding, became volunteers – continuing to support the day-to-day activities of NPA without compensation.

We are, therefore, at a crossroads. While we are clear on the purpose (essence) of NPA, we are exploring what functions NPA will play in this next phase. The NPA Board of Directors and trustees (including former staff) will be meeting in a retreat September 11-13 to discern what we believe are NPA’s priority functions going forward. As the functions become clearer, we can then determine the proper form or structure NPA will take in this next phase. We invite your support, ideas, and suggestions as we face this pivotal juncture.

The NPA board, trustees, advisors, and staff are exploring various possibilities for carrying on the vision of the National Peace Academy. In terms of form, we see as one option creating a partnership, either with a university or other national nonprofit organization, as a real possibility for carrying out NPA’s functions in a more sustainable way.

We are ever thankful to the NPA community for the faith given to us, from the early days of our inception more than five years ago, to lead and develop the NPA through its programs and daily operations.

As we explore the many possibilities and opportunities for NPA, we look forward to continuing to steward global cultures of peace. NPA is bigger than all of us and is a legacy that we can all carry forward.

With love and gratitude,

All of us at NPA

Our Next Steps

 

The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College, and the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) organized a conference on “Reconstructing Peace Studies: Assessing New Knowledge & Outcomes” from March 20-23 in Huntingdon, PA. Tony Jenkins, NPA’s VP for Academic Affairs, helped to coordinate the program in his role as a board member of PJSA.

The conference was developed upon the premise that institutions of higher education around the globe are being pressed to identify and assess program goals and student learning outcomes for every field of study. The purpose of this conference was to begin a conversation engaging these questions for the field of Peace Studies. The event was organized as a working conference to help determine how we identify, name and assess the knowledge, attitudes and skills that students studying in a Peace Studies program should encounter and develop as part of their studies, as well as assessment strategies at both course and program levels. Working groups were formed around several themes, including the social and political purposes of the field(s), knowledge, skills and attitudes, program assessment and methods for teaching peace studies. Working groups are preparing reports and several intend to continue working together to publish findings and host roundtables and workshops at the upcoming PJSA conference to be held in San Diego in October.

SingersINBand imageSingers in the Band” is a powerful documentary by Academy Award winning producer-director David Goodman that features unique and shocking actual footage of the process and actors in the military sex trade from the Philippines to US military bases in Korea. The film screening, panel and the participant discussion sought to provide an understanding of the cultural and political underpinnings that give rise to and sustain military sex trafficking and possibilities to confront these crimes against women.

An expert panel explored the issues and remedial possibilities. Col. Ann Wright, former career military and diplomat addressed violence against women in the military and in communities hosting US military bases; Rabbi Jon Cutler, a US Navy chaplain who appears in the film spoke to the military culture which normalizes abusive sexual behavior; and Ms. Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Founding Director of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders spoke of the possibilities of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 to address military violence against women.

Held at Fordham Law School, the event was co-organized by the International Institute on Peace Education and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders with the cosponsorship of Anglican Women’s Empowerment, The Biosophical Institute, CONNECT, Equality Now, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders: a project of I-CAN, The Interfaith Council of New York, The International Institute on Peace Education, Network for Peace Through Dialogue, Okinawa Women Act Against, Military Violence, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, World Council for Curriculum and Instruction.

Wednesday, 06 November 2013 13:06

4 new initiatives at NPA!

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community photoThe National Peace Academy has been effectively contributing to a culture of peace for five years and we are ready to increase capacity and do even more. Recently we applied our peacebuilding peacelearning skills to reflect and consider the next steps in our journey — you will love this because you have helped NPA get to where it is today. What follows are NPA’s next steps and we invite you to invest in making our impact even greater. We need your help to support four new/expanded NPA projects. Together we will build on our past successes and continue to take a holistic approach through the five spheres – personal, social, institutional, political and ecological. We know you will be as excited as we are by these possibilities. The following areas are prototype ideas still under development – places where we think we bring something new, can enhance what is already happening, or can build on what we’ve already done well. In the coming weeks, be watching for more information about each of these ideas.

  • Community Peacebuilding: Building Safe, Healthy, Sustainable Communities (Communities of Peace)
  • School Teacher and Administrator Training in Peace Education: Countering Violence in Schools and Communities (Professional Seminars in Designing Peace-based Interventions)
  • Communities of Practice: Learning and Planning for Change (formerly Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive)
  • National Dialogues: Convening Community Conversations about the Issues Important to Us and that Shape Society

So, here’s where you come in. There are three critical ways you can help NPA launch these initiatives:

  1. First, watch for more information about each of these prototype initiatives coming very soon! And help spread the word.
  2. Secondly, please let us know your thoughts on these prototype initiatives
    . As you learn more about each of these prototypes, we’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, questions and more! Email Kristin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  3. And thirdly, we ask you to make a personal investment in bringing about a culture of peace by donating generously to help NPA take these initiatives to the field as boldly as possible.

Thank you so much for your generous participation in this endeavor to bend history toward peace. In peace and gratitude, All of us at NPA

Tony Jenkins in MexicoTony Jenkins, NPA’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, recently spoke at the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District of Mexico City’s conference on “Building a Culture of Peace: Talks and Experiences.” The conference was a celebration of the Commission’s 20th anniversary that also coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID), a major supporter of peace education developments around the world. Held September 18-19, the conference featured the exchange of perspectives, experiences and strategies for building a culture of peace from academics, policy makers, activists and educators from throughout Mexico and Central and South America. Tony delivered a keynote on “Education for a Culture of Peace: Pedagogies for Personal, Social and Political Transformation,” illuminating educational strategies necessary for nurturing cultural change and transformation. Tony shared some of the experiences of the National Peace Academy and highlighted the importance of approaching peacebuilding with an educator’s mindset.

3 logosThe Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace (GAMIP) held its 6th summit in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 16-20 with 167 participants representing 55 countries.

The Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace is a worldwide community of civil society campaigns, organizations, committed citizens, and elected and appointed government officials from over 40 countries. The mission of GAMIP is to collaborate with and support governments and civil society around the world working to establish national ministries and departments of peace, and also to support efforts to develop local, regional, and national peace councils, peace academies, and other effective infrastructures for peace.

USA teamEach summit has been represented by several members from organizations in the United States. This year, The Peace Alliance, the National Peace Academy, and the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding collaborated and offered a joint presentation entitled, “The U.S. Story: Integrated Peacebuilding – local to global.”

Our shared oral presentation began, “our USA story is about three distinct integrated, intertwined organizations collaborating with each other locally and globally to co-create a culture of peace.” The story shared was of the history of peace in the United States, from one of the first peace infrastructures – the 12th century Iroquois Confederacy’s “Great Law of Peace” – to the founding of The Peace Alliance in 2004, the creation of the NationalPeaceAcademy in 2009, and the launching of the RiverPhoenixCenter for Peacebuilding in 2011. We made clear that the peacebuilding work of these organizations in the U.S. is an example of both building and modeling peace infrastructure.

The 2013 summit was designed as a space to dialogue about infrastructures for peace and as an infrastructure for peace itself. GAMIP describes a peace infrastructure as:

Traditional approaches to peacebuilding have tended to concentrate on one-off activities without a coordinated, systemic approach. Peacebuilding requires multi-level and long-term investments targeted at building capacities and structures that can help prevent, transform and address the roots of violent conflict. Peace processes – dialogue, reconciliation, mediation, peace education, restorative justice, etc. – require an institutionalized framework that provides continuity, social support and opportunities for the involvement of all stakeholders. Infrastructures for peace are an emergent and effective framework focusing on the sustainability of peace by developing capacities for coordinated responses to conflict.

The 2013 summit experimented with new methods for dialogue and collaboration. Some of the unique aspects of this summit included: a local coordinating team made up of just youth; funding that was largely crowdsourced and crowdfunded, allowing for anyone to participate; and the addition of restorative practices as a method for resolving conflicts that occurred during the summit.

This unique summit provided the space to increase awareness and understanding about infrastructures for peace and their essential role in sustainable strategies of peace promotion, providing practical tools for the development of infrastructures for peace, giving visibility to current infrastructures for peace, as well as peace infrastructure campaigns and projects around the world, and strengthening the engagement of the international community working on infrastructures for peace.

Many exciting outcomes emerged from the GAMIP summit. Highlights include:

  1. Asia pacific allianceAsia_pacific_allianceA proposal to establish a United Nations Resolution calling on the UN to support infrastructures for peace in governments and countries around the world was finalized, and petition signatures are now being collected;
  2. The Asia Pacific Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace was formally established, joining the African Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace as regional bodies affiliated with GAMIP to support the creation of and strengthen existing infrastructures for peace throughout their regions;
  3. Presentations and workshops were given by civil society organizations and government representatives sharing their work on a number of infrastructures for peace at all levels; from local peace committees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Ghana, peace organizations in DSCN3863Sierra Leone, and peace communities in Colombia, to city peace commissions, national peace academies and Ministries for Peace with national mandates, such as those in Costa Rica, Nepal, and Papua New Guinea, all represented at the Summit;
  4. Representatives from the United Nations Development Program and Summit sponsor the City of Geneva expressed their support for infrastructures for peace in contributing to building a global culture of peace;
  5. Summit attendees expressed ways in which they will create and support infrastructures for peace in their work around the world, including restorative systems of justice and conflict transformation, nonviolent communication, sustainable cities’ networks and practices for peace in military and security forces;
  6. GAMIP Strategic Objectives have been formalized to include Academic, Communication and Practitioner Committees to grow networking capacity, strengthen organizational development and support civil society and government campaigns working for infrastructures for peace around the world.

group photo1This summit was successful at a global and local level. Our USA team was inspired by the direct learnings and connections at the summit and was also encouraged to more fully collaborate with other peacebuilders in the U.S. As we shared in our presentation:

Just as transportation infrastructure would seem incomplete if it did not include methods by bus, car, and bike – U.S. peace infrastructures continue to expand with all their necessary ingredients: education, research, grassroots organizing and action, political leverage, policy advocacy, and outreach. And just as the transportation infrastructure would be less practical if all of the various pieces did not connect (if for instance you could not get to the bus station using a car or bike), U.S. peace infrastructures are less valuable if they are not connected to and supporting each other.

“Therefore, The Peace Alliance, the National Peace Academy, and the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding work closely together – like connective tissue – each functioning individually yet working in cooperation with one another – supporting the development of new organizations, enhancing the value of each, and modeling how to build peace in the United States and around the world, local to global.”

Click here to view videos from the summit!

Wednesday, 04 September 2013 16:54

IIPE 2013 in Puerto Rico

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IIPE2The 40th offering of the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) took place in Puerto Rico July 7-14, 2013. This year’s Institute was co-organized in partnership with the UNESCO Chair for Peace Education at the University of Puerto Rico and the National Peace Academy, USA (home of the IIPE secretariat).

Founded in 1982, the IIPE has now been hosted in 16 different countries in its 31-year history. Each gathering has brought together peace educators, practitioners and policy makers from around the world to explore issues of common concern and exchange strategies and best practices in educating for peace.

IIPE3This year’s theme, “Towards a Possible World Free from Violence: Pedagogies, Proposals and Politics for Human Rights and Peace,” was a big one. Engaged together as a learning community, participants strove towards a possible nonviolent world through inquiry into the complex and holistic nature of violence in all it’s multiple forms and manifestations. Efforts were also made to turn this knowledge into transformative action through an exchange of various pedagogies, proposals and politics. Transformative peace pedagogies inform and shape our learning strategies and are the basis for inviting others into reflection and engagement on issues of violence. Effective peace pedagogies have the potential to motivate learners to become agents of change. Our chances to affect change are exponentially increased when informed by strategic and sound proposals. Proposals for peace are built upon visions of a preferred future and are pursued through strategically designated and democratically derived plans of action. These proposals are made possible and also pursued through politics. Politics are the means and processes through which we engage in personal and collective action toward achieving change. As peace educators motivated by a vision of a world free from violence, all of these aspects of the educational and change process were considered.

IIPE 150x150The week culminated in an action planning session in which several post-IIPE committees were developed, including groups dedicated to advancing research and publications, critical race theory and peace education, and community action. These groups continue to dialogue and find opportunities to collaborate.

GMCP2logo-2-1-300x741Global Movement for the Culture of Peace (GMCOP), a coalition with 16 peace organizations throughout the world including the National Peace Academy, proudly announces the Second High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace convened by the 67th President of the General Assembly (PGA) Vuk Jeremic. A pdf invitation with all details can be found here. This historic forum will be on September 6th at the United Nations.

GMCoP is a civil society initiative advocating and networking to build and promote the Culture of Peace at the global, regional, national as well as the societal, communal and individual levels through the full and effective implementation of the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243) unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. For this, our inspiration and determination is founded on the shared reality that we are one interdependent human family belonging to Planet Earth.”http://www.gmcop.org

Special focus of the High Level Forum will be on the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Culture of Peace adopted by the UN General Assembly 13 September 1999. (A/RES/53/243). The role of spiritual and interfaith cooperation in promoting a global Culture of Peace will also be one of the important areas to be addressed in this year’s Forum.

The Eight Program of Action Areas of the Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243 Section B) will be put on the table in each panel. They include: education; sustainable economic and social development; human rights; equality; democratic participation; understanding, tolerance and solidarity; communication and the free flow of information and knowledge; international peace and security. These issues will be presented by the member states, UN officials, experts, inter-governmental, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society, youth, academicians, and religious leaders.

This UN-GA High Level Forum is intended to be an open opportunity for the UN member states, UN system entities, and civil society—including NGOs, media and private sector in discussing the ways and means to promote the Culture of Peace.

“Cooperation between civil society and the President of the General Assembly on such a high level is in itself a remarkable achievement. Working together demonstrates the quality of partnership already achieved in peace realization.

GMCOP has enjoyed a remarkable inter-collaboration in preparation for this event,” stated Martha Gallahue, edu-learner faculty with The National Peace Academy.

The event is free. Click here to register.

The High Level Forum on The Culture of Peace will also be live webcast at: http://webtv.un.org (Please note that it is not necessary to register to view the webcast.)

“The seed of peace exists in all of us. It must be nurtured, cared for and promoted by us all to flourish. Peace cannot be imposed from outside; it must be realized from within” ~ Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Founder of Global Movement for the Culture of Peace.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 03:33

NPA becomes a Beyond War Legatee!

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BEYOND WAR PASSES ON ITS LEGACY

BWlogoThe National Peace Academy is honored and delighted to have been named one of the Beyond War legatees. Given the alignment of our aims and philosophies regarding creating a “world beyond war” – a culture of peace – this evolution is indeed very much a good fit.

On December 15, 2012, the national/international organization Beyond War announced that, with its broad focus and historical approach to seeking “a world beyond war,” it was no longer needed as an independent organization. It stated that “What is needed is for all organizations to embody the principles of living beyond war in their work, and to collaborate and consolidate in building the new systems in the culture of peace.”

Thus, Beyond War named three “legatees” to receive its assets and to carry on its mission. The legatees are:

For more information please click here.

Read the full text of the announcement here and listen to the live interview with Beyond War president Elaine Hallmark on Ecotopia Radio KZFR (the first 22 minutes of the recording), “Beyond War: A Legacy of Hope”.

Friday, 15 February 2013 21:53

National Peace Academy Tour to Costa Rica!

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SAVE THE DATE: National Peace AcademyArenal
TOUR TO COSTA RICA
September 7-14, 2013

National Peace Academy is excited to announce a first-time opportunity to explore peace in Costa Rica with an NPA edulearner. Read the full itinerary here .

Tour beautiful Costa Rica, enjoy a unique peacelearning experience and support NPA.

frogsVisit a country known for PEACE. Have fun, sightsee and experience peace and peacebuilding first-hand from an insider’s view with Barbara Thorngren, NPA’s EduLearner Guide. Visit the UN-Mandated University for Peace and learn about the Ministry of Justice and Peace, one of the first in government in the world, visit E.A.R.T.H. University, Sarapiqui with its 400 bird species and rainforest, Laguna Jalapa Lagoon, take a riverboat tour, visit an indigenous territory, see Arenal National Park and its volcano, and the rainforest reserve of La Tirimbina.

hanging BridgeVisit beaches, see the exotic flora and fauna, explore the volcano, learn about the history, their commitment to peace and how the people are reclaiming their glorious landscape. Have fun and fundraise for NPA.

Travelling to Costa Rica

Air travel is not included in the price of the trip. For flight assistance, contact travel agent Vicki Aubert at 802-505-1055 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also make your own arrangements. Please note: All persons entering Costa Rica must have a passport valid for 6 months past the date of entry.

parrotFees and Fee Schedule

Fees: $3890 per person double occupancy; $315 single supplement

Deposit: $1,000 deposit is required by June 25, 2013 to save your space

Deposits and payments are refundable with written notice of cancellation received within 65 days or more in advance of departure, less a $350 per person non-refundable administration fee; 64-47 days prior to departure, a full refund less $500 per traveler. 46-32 days prior to departure, there will be no refunds.

For more information contact: Carrie McDougall at Ph. 802-479-7040 or toll-free: 877-479-7040.

To Register

Completed registration form and checks can be sent to Carrie McDougall, Cultural Crossroads, 20 Meadowcrest Lane, Barre, VT 05641. Make checks payable to Cultural Crossroads.

Download the Registration Form
Download the Flyer

Monday, 04 February 2013 21:51

Avenues to Accountability

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Anglican Women’s Empowerment, Network for Peace Through Dialogue, International Institute on Peace Education, National Peace Academy, World Council for Curriculum and Instruction, The Pasos Peace Museum, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom cordially invites you to Avenues to Accountability.

Please join us for a symposium on Militarism, Trafficking, Exploitation and Justice. Saturday, March 9 * 12:30-4:30pm

This Symposium will be a platform to discuss the theme of accountability for perpetrators of gender-based violence particularly focused on reforming immunity and injustice as addressed in the movie, “The Whistleblower.” Through candid conversation we will discuss the legal, political and human rights imperatives of these issues and identify ways forward including recommendations and concrete action steps.

RSVP by Feb. 22 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, please download the event flyer .

Thursday, 24 January 2013 18:26

NPA V.P. for Academic Affairs Speaking at UN

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The UN Interagency Framework Team for Preventive Action cordially invites you to a brown bag lunch event on:

Integrating Peace Education and Peacebuilding:
A Framework for Transformative Pedagogy

Wednesday 30 January 2013

1:00 – 2:30 pm

1 UN Plaza (DC-1), 20th floor Conference Room

John Paul Lederach describes peacebuilding as “a comprehensive concept that encompasses, generates and sustains the full array of processes, approaches and stages needed to transform conflict toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships” (Lederach, 1997). We can assume that ‘transformation’, which is at the heart of this definition, implies changes in violent attitudes, worldviews, culture, and gender relations (amongst many others) that are the underlying causes that exacerbate and sustain violent conflicts. Such transformations are pursued, among other ways, through deep learning. Unfortunately, the training and preparation of peacebuilders is often conducted from a very skill-based or rote approach that ignores the pedagogical dimensions that are integral to the transformative process.

Peacelearning is the philosophy and process through which the National Peace Academy (NPA) facilitates learning toward the full development of the peacebuilder. The approach emphasizes the facilitation of learning as an essential capacity of the peacebuilder and is directed toward both inward and outward change. It is a learner-centered process that is non-hierarchal and elicitive, seeking to draw forth knowledge from the individual learner and inviting learners to engage in modes of critical thinking and self-reflection that are necessary for internalizing the principles and processes of peace. In turn, it encourages learners to pose critical questions that may lead to new understandings and possible solutions to personal, interpersonal, social, economic, political and environmental problems for which no answers currently exist. This brownbag will introduce participants to the NPA’s work in supporting the full development of the peacebuilder, and serve to introduce the NPA’s framework for transformative learning.

About the Presenter:

Tony Jenkins is the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the National Peace Academy and also serves as the Global Coordinator for the International Institute on Peace Education and the Global Campaign for Peace Education. Prior to joining the NPA, Tony was the Co-Director of the Peace Education Center at Teachers College, Columbia University for 10 years. Tony has worked around the world supporting the development of “learning communities” of peace educators to address and transform local manifestations of violence through education and active citizen participation. Tony’s current work and research interests focus on examining the impacts and effectiveness of peace education methods in nurturing personal, social, and political change and transformation. Tony’s areas of expertise include teacher training in peace education, peace pedagogy, gender and peace, and disarmament education.

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Please feel free to disseminate this invitation to all interested colleagues.
Visitors without a valid UN pass, must bring a picture ID. Please be informed that there will be one organized pick-up at 12.45 p.m. in the DC-1 lobby for participants who do not have a UN pass which is needed to enter the building. We regret that arrivals after that time cannot be picked up and escorted into the building and will not be able to attend.

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We have set up a telephone bridge for colleagues abroad who cannot join in person. Please see the instructions below on how to use the telephone bridge:

Call + 1 212 906 6244

  1. Wait till the system prompts you for the conference ID
  2. Enter the “Conference ID” 2547, then press #
  3. Then the system will ask for the personal code
  4. Enter the “Personal Code” 5322, then press #
  5. Don’t press anything for the chairperson, just wait
  6. Say your name and wait online
  7. You are now joined to the conference

To dial the telephone bridge using skype (free of charge), please follow the instructions below:

  1. Search then add the “undp.hq” contact in Skype;
  2. Once added, double-click on the contact (undp.hq);
  3. Click on the green “Call” icon;
  4. You will hear an automated operator asking you to enter the extension;
  5. Click on “Call” from the top menu, then click on “Show Dial Pad”;
  6. Dial the number then wait for person to pick up the phone;
  7. Do the same for the telephone bridge (dial 6244; followed by Conference ID 2547; and Personal Code 5322).

We hope that you will be able to join us.

UN Interagency Framework Team for Preventive Action

Hosted by: UNDP, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Framework of UN agencies, programmes, funds, departments and offices to coordinate integrated initiatives for early preventive action

 

Saturday, 12 January 2013 03:03

Meet Sandy: NPA’s Director of Development

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Please help us welcome NPA’s newest team member

The National Peace Academy is very excited to introduce you to our newest team member: Sandy Sbar. As you know, several months ago we were thrilled to be in the position of being able to put out a call for a Director of Development. We were heartened by the overwhelming number of qualified candidates who wanted to join the team and see the National Peace Academy have success in the years to come. Sandy was the best fit and was absorbed into the team immediately. Below, meet Sandy, and next week be watching for a letter from her.

Sandra C. Sbar, Director of Development for the National Peace Academy, brings over twenty-five years of nonprofit fundraising, marketing and public relations experience, having served organizations that focus on health, human services and environmental issues. Recently, she has volunteered her fundraising skills to save a registered national historic site in New York City.Sandy Sbar

Prior to joining the National Peace Academy, Sandy served as Director of Development for such organizations as Nazareth Housing, SKIP of New York and Queens Botanical Garden. She led the development, marketing, events and product sales staff at the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York as Associate Executive Director; was Vice President of Marketing for United Way of Delaware; Director of Marketing and Publications for Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Director of Development and Public Relations for Kearsley Retirement Community and Director of Public Affairs and Development for Eagleville Hospital in Pennsylvania, responsible for writing and creating all publications, raising funds, advertising, marketing, branding and increasing public awareness.

In Sandy’s early career, she was as an educator, teaching English and art in Philadelphia Public Schools at the high school level and at a private school in the Philadelphia suburbs. She earned an M.A. in Education at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, and a B.S. in Education at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 17:28

NPA is Hiring

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Director of Development

The Director of Development is responsible for creating and implementing the fund development strategy for the National Peace Academy, USA. The position reports to the President and is responsible for achieving the fundraising goals of the organization. This includes nurturing key local, national and international relationships to meet the NPA financial goals.

Responsibilities:

  • Create and implement long-term and annual development plan and strategy.
  • Lead and manage the overall development effort to raise funds to support the annual budget.
  • Develop and implement strategy to grow donor base, with a focus on sustainable supporters.
  • Manage annual giving campaign; cultivate major gifts; and grow and manage endowments.
  • Train and lead other staff to support fundraising and marketing efforts.
  • Cultivate and nurture relationships with corporate and foundation sponsors, and individual donors.
  • Write grant proposals for corporate, foundation, and government funding.
  • Develop and implement comprehensive public relations strategy.
  • Develop and manage Board fundraising capacity.
  • Work in partnership with the NPA network to develop regional and national sponsors.

Education:

Bachelor’s degree and/or equivalent prior experience.

Qualifications:

  • Commitment to the purpose, principles, and processes of the NPA.
  • 3-5 years development experience in a nonprofit environment or educational organization – experience in educational non-profit preferred.
  • Proven track record of achieving revenue targets.
  • Ability and desire to work in a team environment.
  • Positive, flexible attitude with attention to detail.
  • Strong verbal communications skills and demonstrated ability to write clearly and persuasively.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and thorough understanding of strategic development.
  • Strong partnership building and event planning skills.
  • Thorough understanding of all components of a diversified funding base.
  • Good computer skills and knowledge of contact and donor database programs.

This is a part/time position offering $2-3K per month depending upon the number of hours the candidate is available to dedicate to NPA.

The National Peace Academy staff work primarily in a virtual environment from offices in three states. NPA’s Director of Development will have the capacity to work virtually and will preferably reside in or have easy access to NY, CO or FL.

We are accepting applications immediately; the position will begin on or before January 2013.

Send cover letter, CV, and list of three references to:

Dot Maver This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tuesday, 09 October 2012 01:49

NPA Celebrates International Day of Peace

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The UN International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21st. National Peace Academy took part in many events honoring this special day.

Nicholas Roerich Museum Event

Ambassador Chowdhury giving opening RemarksOn Thursday September 20, 2012 NPA hosted an event in cooperation with the Nicholas Roerich Museum and the International Day of Peace group. It was a dual celebration of the Tony Jenkins speaks at Roerich eventopening of an exhibit by artist Veronique San Leandro and the International Day of Peace 2012. Roy Eaton and Cecilia St. King were featured musicians and guests included Tony Jenkins, NPA Vice President for Academic Affairs; members of the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace; Ambassador Anwaral K. Chowdhury, former UN Assistant Secretary General and High Representative; Edgar Lansbury, NRM Board Chair; and Monica Willard, UN Representative for United Religions Initiative. Dot Maver, NPA President welcomed everyone with a reminder of our interconnectedness in this work and mentioned the Banner of Peace, designed by Nicholas Roerich who said, “Positive creativeness is the fundamental quality of the human spirit. Let us welcome all those who, surmounting personal difficulties, …propel their spirits to the task of Peacebuilding, thus ensuring a radiant future.”

Ringing the Peace Bell at the Rose GardenOn the official International Day of Peace, NPA President Dot Maver joined many of our colleagues at the series of events at the United Nations: the ringing of the Peace Bell in the UN Rose Garden, the UN IDP Youth Event, and a luncheon where Arthur Romano, Associate Professor at George Mason University and NPA Edulearner Faculty, facilitated a youth sharing.

Youth at UN IDP eventPush4Peace officially initiated its ninety day push for actions for peace in 2012. The formal ‘baton pass’ from Summer of Peace happened at the United Nations on the International Day of Peace 2012. In this photo, NPA President, Dot Maver, is joined by Stephen Dinan, Founder of Shift Network; Philip Hellmich, Director of Summer of Peace, and Fred Armant, Executive Director of International Cities of Peace.

Summer of Peace Baton PassTo see a video of these celebrations click here and click here to Take The Pledge!

Peace, Peacebuilding and Peacelearning: A Holistic Introduction
A 90-day Study Guide for Peacebuilders of all Ages

Certificate Program GraphicIn celebration of the International Day of Peace, the National Peace Academy is launching a free online curriculum, “Peace, Peacebuilding and Peacelearning: A Holistic Introduction.” This study guide designed for budding peace and community change leaders from children to adults. It is intended for both seasoned practitioners and those who are new to peacebuilding and who wish to create significant, meaningful and sustainable change in their personal lives, their communities, and the world at large.

The study guide is divided into three units, one each for children, youth and adults. The curriculum provides exercises and resources appropriate for the primary (elementary) and secondary (youth-adolescents) classroom. The adult curriculum is intended as an introductory self-study guide.

The 90-day curriculum is divided into 12 weekly lessons, requiring between 45-90 minutes to complete. Two weeks are given to each of the 5 spheres of peace of National Peace Academy’s program framework. The first lesson provides an introduction to all 5 spheres and the final lesson holistically weaves the 5 spheres together through practical applications.

The first 3 lessons for children, youth and adults are now available. Other lessons will be released weekly. A Teacher’s Guide is also available.

International Day of Peace & Push4Peace

This curriculum was developed to support Push4Peace, a 90-day global media campaign also launched on the International Day of Peace. Over the past few decades, there has been an exponential growth of peacebuilding efforts quietly emerging around the world. P4P LogoThis emergence has spread over multiple sectors of society and across a continuum ranging from inner to international peace. Under the banner of Push4Peace, a group of strategic partners is working to catalyze a worldwide celebration of these diverse efforts as part of a growing wave of peace. Their aim is to reach one billion people and inspire a billion actions for peace. Take the “pledge for peace” today! This curriculum is the National Peace Academy’s contribution to this effort.

The National Peace Academy invites you to join us for a special celebration of the International Day of Peace (one day early!) at the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City. This celebration also marks the opening of the new exhibit “El Pulso de lo Invisible” by artist and NPA supporter Veronique San Leandro. The artist has generously agreed to donate 25% of all sales during the exhibit to the National Peace Academy.

This special event will take place on Thursday, September 20, 2012 from 5:00 – 8:00pm with welcoming remarks beginning promptly at 7:00pm.

Don’t miss this marvelous opportunity to celebrate the International Day of Peace and to hear from Dot Maver, Veronique San Leandro and special guest Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations.

If you plan to join us, please kindly rsvp to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Roerich-Invite3-1The Nicholas Roerich Museum is located at 319 West 107th Street, New York, NY 10025 (between Broadway and Riverside Drive). The closest subway station is the #1 train at 110th Street.

The International Day of Peace provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982. In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. The theme of 2012 International Day of Peace is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.

Veronique San Leandro is a Spaniard born in France in a february of 1961. She has traveled the world from Africa to Asia and has been a New Yorker since 1989. She has a masters in psychology and in Spanish and latinoamerican literature. She is a polarity therapy practitioner, a Carlos Castaneda apprentice, and a painter and a teacher with love for transcendence. Click here for a full bio.

A statement about the exhibit from the artist: “El Pulso de lo Invisible” is a visual record born out of an application in mind by an individual (myself) who decided to try an alternative in its operating system. The present work is the result of one idea, one conscious decision: an application for clearing records replaying in the mind, instead of continuously reacting to the records making the wheel turn aimlessly in cycles. The clearing process, a specific way of dealing with the thoughts and situations that surface in one’s experience, put me through phases of “emptying” resulting in great transparency in my paintings. That process and its qualities is what this work depicts. Over 200 paintings now (7×10” to 16×24”) of acrylic paint on paper reveal, like a polygraph would the pulsating activity that animates the mind; a mind that on one conscious decision has willingly opened itself to higher degrees of organization. As the pulse penetrates the mind’s vault in increments of light, it obliterates the old records for the sake of the pure creative influx. We are talking about humanity rising to new degrees of evolution through exposing and letting go of the old subconscious programs. From homo sapiens to homo illumina.

The Nicholas Roerich Museum sustains an ongoing effort to spread public awareness of the intermingled roles of peace and culture, and the ways in which each sustains the other. Information and materials about The Roerich Pact and the Banner of Peace are always available. Throughout this century of wars and national struggles, the yearning of the public for ways of achieving peace has been great; the ideas of the Pact and the Banner provide a welcome answer to those yearnings.

Tuesday, 08 May 2012 17:59

Push4Peace: A Global Call to Action

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p4p logo 150x92Over the past few decades, there has been an exponential growth of peacebuilding efforts quietly emerging around the world. This emergence has spread over multiple sectors of society and across a continuum ranging from inner to international peace. Examples include growing interest in and practice of meditation, mind-body medicine, nonviolent communication, peace education, conflict resolution education, community mediation, restorative justice, interfaith collaborations, and UN, bilateral, and NGO-initiated community peacebuilding projects in conflict zones around the world.

In 2012, a group of strategic partners will catalyze a worldwide celebration of these diverse efforts as part of a growing wave of peace. Their aim is to inspire one billion people to take action in an emerging global movement to create a culture of peace. On June 13th the UN will announce the 100 day countdown to IDP 2012: Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future; at Rio+20 we will announce: Take the Pledge! I will take an action for peace in 2012. June 23rd is the kickoff event for Summer of Peace, leading to 11 Days of Global Unity (9.11 – 9.21). And on IDP 2012 push4peace will announce a ninety day call to action culminating in Shift Network’s Birth 2012 December 22nd.This period of celebration and action, which will be centered around the International Day of Peace on September 21, extends from June 13 through December 22. Here is the timeline:

  • June 13: 100-day countdown begins to the International Day of Peace 2012, announced by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
  • June 21–September 21: Summer of Peace 2012 – a ninety-day global celebration and call to action for inner and outer peace. The Summer of Peace 2012, ending on the International Day of Peace, will build momentum for Push4Peace.
  • September 11–21: 11 Days of Global Unity – a campaign that highlights 11 dimensions of change that call forth the values, spirit, and service needed to move us towards a culture of peace and a world that works for all.
  • September 21: The United Nations International Day of Peace is celebrated annually on September 21. At noon on this day every year, people around the world take a moment of silence for the prayer of peace: May Peace Prevail On Earth, and there is a united call for a global ceasefire. This year, EarthDance, Peace One Day, World Peace Live, Project Peace On Earth, Hope Sings, and others will host global concerts and events with an International Day of Peace focus.
  • September 22–December 21: Push4Peace – a ninety-day global call to action for peace beginning on the International Day of Peace (IDP). Under the Push4Peace banner, the UN IDP committee, PeaceJam, Summer of Peace 2012, the Birth 2012, and many other groups and individuals will come together to create a wave of peace action around the world.
  • December 22: Birth 2012The Shift Network’s Birth 2012 on December 22nd will mark the culmination of the six-month outpouring of goodwill and action on behalf of a culture of peace. We can only imagine what can be realized as all humanity comes together around a shared intention of peace and becomes the tipping point of transformation.

Imagine one billion people taking action for peace! And on September 21st at noon – a moment of silence will sweep the globe, from New Zealand onward … a wave of right relationship and wise stewardship in the spirit of peace.

The National Peace Academy joins the Push4Peace global movement by creating and dispersing an educational curriculum based on NPA’s 5 spheres of peace and right relationships. Watch here for more information about this special curriculum.

On April 24, 2012 the NPA co-sponsored and participated in a special public form in NYC on the topic of “Confronting Modern Slavery: Prosecuting Sex Traffickers.”

Tony Jenkins, NPA Vice President for Academic Affairs, facilitates a dialogue group to help generate citizen actions towards prosecuting sex traffickers.Tony Jenkins, NPA Vice President for Academic Affairs, facilitates a dialogue group to help generate citizen actions towards prosecuting sex traffickers.The sold-out event sought to elicit creative ideas for citizen action toward reducing human trafficking and prosecuting sex traffickers. After a panel of experts presented background information from international, national and local perspectives, 70 members of the audience met in small groups to brainstorm specific strategies.

While the small groups were conferring, the experts, Dorota Gierycz, Tanya Henderson, and Laura Russell, created their own idea for action. Inspired by the film “The Whistleblower,” a true-life story documenting the involvement of UN Peacekeepers in trafficking women for sex, they decided to ask women nominated for Nobel prizes to call for “Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Trafficked Women in Post-Conflict Bosnia.” UN representatives who were on the scene would be called to testify.

Some ideas that came from the small groups were:

  • Join the campaign to urge advertisers to withdraw their ads from Village Voice publications unless Village Voice Media cleans up its Backpage.com website. This website promotes sex slavery and child prostitution, critics say.
  • Involve people, especially young adults, through social networking sites, particularly Facebook.
  • Publicize the anti-trafficking hotline 888-373-7888. Set up the hotline so that victims can gently be encouraged to reveal their stories without fear of arrest or deportation.

A more complete round-up of actions will soon appear on the Network for Peace Through Dialogue’s website (the main event convener). Resources will also be shared on the NPA website. The program, held at Marymount Manhattan College, was also sponsored by Anglican Women’s Empowerment and the International Institute on Peace Education.

The National Peace Academy is co-sponsoring the upcoming event:

humantrafficking

CONFRONTING MODERN SLAVERY:
PROSECUTING SEX TRAFFICKERS

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Marymount Manhattan College
221 East 71st St., NYC

5:30 pm refreshments
6:00 – 8:30 pm program

Today, the trafficking of men, women and children is an egregious crime against those enslaved by the modern traffickers as well as an assault on the moral, legal and philosophic standards we accept as members of a global society. Our three panelists will look at the legal system currently being applied at state, national and international levels. Following presentations by the panelists, there will be participatory discussion to identify actions that might be taken to expand and strengthen efforts to prosecute, convict and impose appropriate sentences on sex traffickers.

PANELISTS

Dorota Gierycz– Senior Fellow, European Center for Human Rights and Democratization (EIUC), Venice and Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo

Tanya Henderson – National Director of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section (WILPF-U.S.)

Laura Russell – Supervising attorney of Family Law Unit of the Bronx Neighborhood Office and the Harlem Community Law Office of the Legal Aid Society, also Co-Supervising Attorney of the Domestic Violence/Immigration Unit

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Event Cost: $25

Click here to register online

You can also register by mail at:

Network for Peace through Dialogue
240 East 93 St. #3H
New York, New York 10128

SPONSORED BY

Anglican Women’s Empowerment; the International Institute on Peace Education-IIPE; the Network for Peace through Dialogue; the National Peace Academy

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iipe
npd

 

npa
Friday, 06 January 2012 15:03

$40,000 Matching Grant from the Biosophical Institute

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We are off to a great start towards meeting our 2012 financial goals with the gift of a $40,000 challenge grant from the Biosophical Institute. Meeting the challenge of this matching grant is very doable! Every two dollars you give will be matched with one grant dollar.

Please consider giving a recurring monthly donation of just $25 in 2012. With the Biosophical Institute challenge grant your $25 donation becomes $450 over the course of a year. We need only 275 people to accept this challenge to meet our goals.

Click here to help meet this challenge!

ubuntuThe Fifth Summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace was held last week in Cape Town, South Africa. Thanks to a generous donor, the National Peace Academy sent two representatives to learn and share their perspectives and experiences with peace education and peacelearning through the National Peace Academy. The theme of the summit, “Ubuntu in Action,” echoed the National Peace Academy’s operating principle that “right relationships” are central to a culture of peace and thus at the core of peacebuilding. Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu or “ubuntu” means “I am because you are” or as summit speaker Barbara Nussbaum explained, “we become more human through each other.”

Mike AbkinNPA board member, Mike Abkin, and Education and Outreach Coordinator, Kristin Famula, joined delegates from 19 countries on 5 continents, all working to build infrastructures for peace in their home countries. Mike presented the National Peace Academy’s role as part of a peace infrastructure in the United States and shared NPA’s understanding of peacelearning during a panel discussion on Peace Education.

Maike Abkin & Kristin FamulaPlease click here for a full report of the Summit, including important outcomes, such as the formal incorporation of the Global Alliance, adoption of its new name Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace, and information about its first Board of Directors. More information about the Summit program can be found at the Global Alliance website; and be sure to check back later as PowerPoints and other presentation materials and live-stream recordings are posted over the next few weeks.

PPI Alumni, Barbara Mallin, organizes events

The events, initiated by NPA alumni, Barb Mallin, will be bringing to Ohio, Captain Paul Chappell, director of the Peace Leadership Program for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Author of two books, including The End of War, Capt. Chappell continues to tour the country speaking at colleges, churches, and other organizations. He believes that it is time we end war and focus on creating peace.

Barb Mallin attended the Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive in 2010 and was inspired to work on peacebuilding in her community.

Barb explains, “as we began looking for sponsors for this peace event, it began to grow beyond our expectations”. Paul is speaking in seven different locations in Ohio between May 6 and 10, and 15 different organizations are endorsing the event. Passionate about his mission and tireless in his efforts to end war one day at a time, Paul is teaching us how to create a world where conflict is resolved peacefully rather than violently.

For a flyer about Paul’s May 2011 appearances in Ohio, click here .

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 11:34

NPA Courses at Case Western Reserve University

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NPA’s edu-learner faculty, Arthur Romano is the first National Peace Academy and Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence Teaching Fellow at Case Western Reserve University. In Fall 2010, Arthur offered two courses in the undergraduate SAGES program at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland.

sages2010 3According to the CWRU website: “Through SAGES, the Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship, students acquire the knowledge and analytical skills necessary to solve real-world problems, as well as the power to articulate their ideas effectively in both speech and writing.” The National Peace Academy courses, entitled Peacebuilding in the 21st Century and A Force More Powerful: Nonviolent Approaches to Social Change, are specifically designed to fit in this empowering and practical undergraduate seminar framework.

These courses provide students with an opportunity to explore both theoretical frameworks for peacebuilding and inspiring stories of peacemakers and communities from around the world that have committed themselves to positive change. The course design process was very much a collaborative affair, as Arthur, an accomplished international educator and Rotary World Peace Fellow,worked with NPA staff and friends and colleagues from Indonesia, Germany, India, Japan. And that list is growing as we continue to receive support globally.

Click here for Course Descriptions

The National Peace Academy courses, entitled Peacebuilding in the 21st Century and A Force More Powerful: Nonviolent Approaches to Social Change, are specifically designed to fit in this empowering and practical undergraduate seminar framework.

Peacebuilding in the 21st Century. This seminar serves as an introduction to the interdisciplinary fields of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. In this seminar, we will begin by critically examining various conceptions of the idea of peace and multiple ways that conflict and violence can be understood and analyzed. Thus, we will engage with the major theories of conflict analysis and foundational conversations around positive and negative peace. We will then ask, What are the processes peacebuilders use to change the world? What informs peacebuilding interventions? Do we have the capability for compassion, forgiveness, creativity, and reconciliation? Here students will be exposed to a multitude of approaches from around the world ranging from attempts at mediating conflict such as those offered by the United Nations to grassroots level community-building efforts. Students will be introduced to frameworks for mediation, negotiation, reconciliation, and social movement organizing. In all, students will be asked to consider what informs comprehensive approaches to peacebuilding, especially in light of the unique challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

A Force More Powerful: Nonviolent Approaches to Social Change. This course is designed to provide an introductory perspective on the philosophy and practice of nonviolence. It will take an international view beginning with the Civil Rights Movement in the US and exploring ways that nonviolence has been understood and applied abroad. This exploration of the freedom struggle in the US will offer practical insights into the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the core principles and action steps that he used to alter the course of this nation. We will explore other movements and campaigns to secure basic rights and justice in places such as Burma, Columbia, India, and the Niger Delta. These case studies will provide diverse opportunities to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of nonviolent strategies and the real personal challenges practioners face. In all, students will be asked to consider what informs nonviolent approaches to social change and how effective they think this method is, especially in light of the unique challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

 

Click here for Arthur's letter to students: An Invitation to Participate

“I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am.” UBUNTU

It is an honor to be working this semester as the first National Peace Academy and Inamori Center for Ethics Teaching Fellow at Case Western Reserve University. We are offering two courses this semester: Peacebuilding in the 21st Century and Nonviolent Approaches to Social Change. These courses provide students with an opportunity to explore both theoretical frameworks for peacebuilding (we use that term in a broad sense) and inspiring stories of peacemakers and communities from around the world that have committed themselves to positive change. In this age of profound interconnectivity, these courses have generated a great deal of excitement and the design process was very much a collaborative affair as I worked with NPA staff and friends and colleagues from Indonesia, Germany, India, Japan and that list is continually growing as we continue to receive support globally.

Cultivating a sense of embeddedness within multiple webs of relationships has been at the core of my approach to these classes and students have responded with intense interest in reaching out beyond the walls of our classroom. In a few weeks, we will begin to regularly skype-in practioners from around the world and engage them in dynamic conversation related to their work. We also have a number of guest speakers working nationally who will participate in our class. I also want to invite you to join us in supporting the NPA’s mission of expanding these conversations around peacebuilding by sharing a message with these students or any inspiring quotes, resources or stories you may have related to peacebuilding via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Further, in the upcoming months I am committed to sharing reflections from our experiences this semester and the voices of these young people on the subject of peace.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Arthur Romano
National Peace Academy & Inamori Center for Ethics and Excellence Teaching
Fellow
at Case Western Reserve University

Students gave enthusiastic feedback on the course, a couple of which were captured on video:

Devin shares insights from the class 21st Century Peacebuilding

I was expecting a class about nonviolent approaches to peacebuilding, and that’s (exactly) what I have gotten out of it.”

“The most positive features are the interactive activities we do and the discussions.

Video: Devin Reflects On NPA SAGES Course

Brittani Reflects on National Peace Academy Class

I expected we would be learning …about mediation and how peacebuilders succeed in creating peace and other methods of peacebuilding. I have learned a lot about… different methods of peacebuilding, especially in real world settings.”

“This course gives us new vision of the world.”

This course encourages students, “to provide their own opinions based on the productive study of historical facts.”

“This course is helping me explore my own values, morals, and interaction within the world.”

Video: Brittani Reflects On NPA SAGES Course

Arthur reflected on student reactions to the A Force More Powerful course as follows

While students filled up their toolboxes with nonviolent approaches to social change, they naturally wondered how such approaches might apply to the conflicts that directly impacted their lives and the lives of others around them. Week after week, students raised deep question about the challenges of maintaining hope amidst an often violent world, about strategies for transforming internal as well external conflict, and how models for peacebuilding and nonviolent social change might be adapted to various complex environments. Some students grew frustrated as they began to raise the question: Why haven’t we learned about strategic ways of transforming conflict and building on the strengths of our communities in school before?”

 

Click here for more of Arthur's reflections on the course

Arthur Romano: SAGES Reflections.

NPA’s edu-learner faculty Arthur Romano, the first National Peace Academy and Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence Teaching Fellow at Case Western Reserve University, offered two courses in the Fall 2010 undergraduate SAGES program at Case. Following are Arthur’s reflections on one of those courses.

It was raining and I was surprised how dim our basement classroom actually was when I walked in for the first time. Three students sat quietly in the dark. The room seemed cluttered with a space barely wide enough for me to make my way to the front of the room through a maze of seats, extension cords, and an overhead projector that blocked my way. I quickly found the lights, and began to work on getting the audiovisual system up and running. Soon the room was filled with the music of Michael Franti, Matisyahu and a mix of socially conscious hip hop jams. The students in the room watched me while others slowly began to make their way into the space. Some smiled and made eye contact as they strolled in, while most seemed intent of finding a desk and sitting down as quickly as possible.

I began my introduction of the class by talking about pedagogy, a technical word used to describe the process through which one teaches and learns. I explained that I would be using what some call an “alternative pedagogy”, a way of teaching that saw each individual in the classroom as holders of a unique and valuable perspective and that one of my goals would be to draw out those perspectives and experiences. I remember the mix of subtle smiles and apprehensive looks I received when I said, “in here your stories matter and your creative and critical thinking will drive this exploration of the social technologies of peace and our vision for pathways toward building strong, healthy communities.”

Before long the seats were rearranged from rows into a single circle in the center of the room, “the ways we organize our social spaces communicate who has power and help determine what we see as possible” I chimed in as I passed around note cards asking them to anonymously write down their hopes and fears for the course and what they wanted to learn this semester. We ended our first class by creating norms that we thought would help create a safe and vibrant learning environment and discussed how we would ensure that those goals would be met.

I could tell that the students were intrigued but also hesitant about the process and I learned later that many of the students had never participated in a classroom environment like this before. It wasn’t just the process that was so different, the content was completely new for most of them as well. Each week we read stories of successful peacebuilders from around the world. We used John Paul Lederach’s book, The Moral Imagination, as well as book entitled Positive Approaches to Peacebuilding. In those texts, we learned about peacebuilding activities ranging from the story of a group of women in Kenya who transformed local conflicts by changing the market in their town into a zone of peace, to gay and evangelical Christians in the US that sat across the table from each other and began to see each other’s humanity more fully through an honest and respectful dialogue on common ground.

These stories elicited strong responses from the students, who began to identify key similarities and differences to these approaches and to relate those learnings to the larger models of peacebuilding-in others words to see peacebuilding from both a more applied and holistic lens. While students filled up their toolboxes with nonviolent approaches to social change, they naturally wondered how such approaches might apply to the conflicts that directly impacted their lives and the lives of others around them. Week after week, students raised deep question about the challenges of maintaining hope amidst an often violent world, about strategies for transforming internal as well external conflict, and how models for peacebuilding and nonviolent social change might be adapted to various complex environments. Some students grew frustrated as they began to raise the question: Why haven’t we learned about strategic ways of transforming conflict and building on the strengths of our communities in school before?

Students grew increasingly inspired by the idea of a National Peace Academy, the role of which was to create transformative experiences and learning opportunities for growing numbers of people around the theme of peacebuilding. It was within this framework that we saw ourselves as part of a much larger family connected in many ways to those of you who are reading this, those of you who have supported NPA, brought it to your community and contributed with you intellectual, financial and spiritual resources. Our sense of connection was amplified by the tools available to use, as we received a special visit from NPA President Dot Maver and Skyped with experts working in the field around the world.

In my research I have been studying complexity and systems theory, and I believe the days of the isolated classroom experience are coming to end. The factory model with its need for control and repetition removed from the demands of context simply don’t make sense anymore. And in this age of global connectivity the limits of such approaches are all the more evident. We are not teaching on classroom islands but rather interconnected across various communities of affinity and interest. In African Philosophy there is the concept of ubuntu, “I am what I am because of who we all are.” In this way, the struggle, inspiration, and learning that occurred over the course of those four months while at Case western Reserve University had everything to do with all of you who are part of the NPA network and who are making something that was an impossibility before a possibility.


 In addition to teaching these courses, Arthur provided a program of Courageous Leadership Training, including conflict resolution skills, to Resident Assistants in the CWRU residence halls.

In this age of profound interconnectivity, these courses generated a great deal of excitement on campus. In the sidebar on the right are reflections from some of the students on the courses.

Sunday, 14 November 2010 10:58

Second Summit of the African Alliance for Peace

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The Second Regional Summit of the AAP was held 22-25 October 2010 in Abuja, Nigeria. Hosted by the Nigeria Alliance for Peace, the theme of the Second AAP Summit was “Building Institutional Capacities and Partnerships for a Culture of Peace.”

The African Alliance for Peace was inspired by and is associated with the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace. The vision of the AAP is to support the creation of a culture of peace and nonviolence in all African countries, including calling for structures in government and civil society to support a culture of peace. Its First Summit was held in 2008 in Accra, Ghana.The papers presented covered aap summit2010 group smlprevention of political and electoral violence in Africa, interfaith peace, the role and importance of institutionalizing peace through the establishment of ministries of peace in governments and of national peace academies, and next steps for peace in Nigeria. Mike Abkin, NPA’s Education and Corporate Affairs Coordinator, presented a paper on “National Peace Academies around the World.” All presentations included much discussion, inquiry, and interactive exercises.A highlight of the Summit was the showing of the film Soldiers of Peace: Stories from 14 Countries around the World and the ensuing discussion of it lead by two of its featured “soldiers,” Pastor James and Imam Ashafa. The Imam and the Pastor both presented papers of their own the following day. More about the film can be found at http://www.soldiersofpeacemovie.com/.

Click here for a report of the Summit, including the complete program agenda and communiqué.

Sunday, 14 November 2010 10:51

Signing of the Roerich Pact: Anniversary Summit

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bannerofpeaceIn October 2010, National Peace Academy President Dot Maver, who also serves on the Board of Directors of the Nicholas Roerich Museum in NYC, traveled to Moscow with Aida Tulskaya, Assistant Director of the Museum. There, at the State Museum of Oriental Art, they participated in the 75th Anniversary Summit of the signing of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace International Treaty. Russian artist roerichpactsigningNicholas Roerich drafted, in the 1920s, an international treaty that came to be known as the Roerich Pact. Culminating a worldwide movement supporting it, all 21 member nations of the Pan-American Union, including the United States, signed the treaty in a White House ceremony on April 15, 1935 (see photo). Later, other countries signed on, as well.

In the words of Nicholas Roerich, “Wherever the Banner is displayed, it recognizes the great achievements of the past, the present, and the future. It encourages each person to take responsibility for the evolution of the planet; it signifies the peace-builder; and it symbolizes the transformation of the individual and of society. It represents cooperation – the cornerstone of the emerging planetary culture – in all aspects of human activity.”

dot panelIn October 2010, the National Peace Academy was a co-sponsor of the first International Peace and War Summit organized by the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University.

Director of the center, Shannon French explained, “at most academic conferences, scholars within a select field who are already familiar with one another’s work read papers they prepared in advance and then exchange a few polite (or sometimes not so polite) comments. It is a pleasant exercise with predictable results. If humanity is to advance against its vital challenges – such as forging sustainable peace – we must break out of these patterns and try something new. I hope and believe that the Summit was something new.”

A diverse group of people from 15 countries, including scholars, poets, artists, musicians, veterans, serving members of the military, activists, policy-makers, health care professionals, business leaders, NGO leaders, teachers and students gathered for a week of deep conversations and learning. The full program can be found here.

Several panels were taped for U.S. public television (C-SPAN) and can be found here, including a panel entitled, The Future of Peace and War which features National Peace Academy President Dot Maver.

During the Summit, the NPA brought in Fumi Stewart, Executive Director of the World Peace Prayer Society, to dedicate a Peace Pole to the Inamori Center at CWRU. Fumi, with help from the Ruffing Montessori Middle School led a room filled with participants from various countries, cultures and backgrounds through a ceremony of heartfelt prayers and blessings that were to follow for each and every world nation. The Montessori flag bearers proudly carried their flags to the front of the stage and presented their flags as blessings were read for each country: May Peace be in Afghanistan, May Peace Prevail On Earth…..May Peace be in Belgium, May Peace Prevail On Earth…..May Peace be in China, May Peace Prevail On Earth. In addition to the students, many of the Summit attendants felt moved to join in the flag procession to carry forth the spirit of each nation.

The Summit also gave the National Peace Academy the opportunity to honor and celebrate Rinaldo Brutoco, Founder and President of World Business Academy, a Founding Circle Member, supporter and friend of the National Peace Academy. At the close of the panel For Profit and For Peace on Friday, October 29th, NPA presented Rinaldo with a Congressional Record from Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio recognizing Rinaldo for his service to humanity.

House of Representatives
Dennis J. Kucinich
of Ohio
In the House of Representatives
In Honor and Recognition of Rinaldo S.
Brutoco

Madam Speaker, I rise today in honor and recognition of Rinaldo S. Brutoco, a successful technical innovator, entrepreneur and businessman who has dedicated his life to transforming the consciousness of business to be a force for the common good. Mr. Brutoco consistently invests his time, expertise and personal resources to incubate peace-building, ecological sustainability and consciousness-raising initiatives.

As President and founder of the World Business Academy, he has worked to educate, inspire and assist business leaders to take responsibility for society. His work with the Academy led Deepak Chopra to select Mr. Brutoco as his “favorite intelligent optimist,” saying “Rinaldo Brutoco has provided a platform for harnessing the creativity and compassion of some of the best minds in the world to create a vision of the future of socially and ecologically responsible business. As we now enter a global economic crisis, Rinaldo’s ideas on the creation of true wealth that will benefit society will become even more valuable.”

Mr. Brutoco was instrumental in the founding of the National Peace Academy, a historic learning institution that focuses on peace through programs that develop an understanding of the self’s role in non-violent conflict resolution. The National Peace Academy is preparing the next generation of peacebuilders who will bring their unique background to communities as well as the corporate, nonprofit, and government workplace.

As Principal and CEO of the ShangriLa Group, Mr. Brutoco consults on the leading edge of business, renewable energy, international micro and macroeconomics, technology and finance.

Madam Speaker, please join me in honor of Rinaldo S. Brutoco a practical visionary, change agent and futurist who has compassionately devoted his life, extensive knowledge and considerable talents to the betterment of life on our planet.

(Appearing in the Congressional Record in October; Volume 156)

pjsaboardpic2010Tony Jenkins and fellow board members of PJSANational Peace Academy Director of Education Tony Jenkins participated in the 8th annual conference of the PJSA, held Oct. 1-2, 2010, in Winnipeg, Canada. The conference explored the theme of “Building Bridges, Crossing Borders: Gender, Identity, and Security in the Search for Peace.” Tony co-facilitated a workshop with Betty Reardon and Bryan Wright entitled “A Gendered Inquiry into Demilitarization.”

Tony is also a member of the PJSA Board of Directors, with responsibility for oversight of the organization’s external review services related to PJSA’s support of its members by providing a list of qualified peace and justice studies program expert evaluators. In 2011, in partnership with the National Peace Academy, Tony is planning to expand the external review function of PJSA by conducting research to develop guiding principles for establishing and evaluating university-based peace and justice studies programs.

Each year, the Global Issues Resource Center at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, organizes the International Summit on Conflict Resolution Education. The National Peace Academy co-sponsored the CRE Summits in 2009 and 2010 and will again in 2011.

Participants of the Ohio Colleges and Universities Reception and DialogueParticipants of the Ohio Colleges and Universities Reception and DialogueThe theme of the 3rd International Summit on Conflict Resolution Education, which was held March 26-27, 2010, in Cleveland, was “Building Infrastructures for Change: Innovations in Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) and Justice Initiatives.” The conference was an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and research on issues related to the development of infrastructure in CRE and justice initiatives. Presentations focused on innovations in the fields that are making broad impacts in local, state, national, and international communities.

NPA Director of Education Tony Jenkins and NPA Trustee Mark Chupp participated in the conference and hosted and facilitated a special reception and dialogue with Ohio-based universities and colleges that offer peace studies-related programming. The session helped to increase networking and collaborative potential amongst the universities.

Saturday, 13 March 2010 09:16

Deep Teaching: Growing Peace

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Mary Rivkin, PhD, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Maryland - Baltimore County; and Lou Ensel, NPA Trustee and ChairmanMary Rivkin, PhD, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Maryland - Baltimore County; and Lou Ensel, NPA Trustee and ChairmanDeep Teaching: Growing Peace is a project sponsored by The Biosophical Institute’s, Peace for Ethical Action and Creative Education project (P.E.A.C.E.). Tony Jenkins, National Peace Academy Director of Education, joined two other NPA trustees, Patti Bailie and Lou Ensel, and a larger committee of professors and teachers in a conference, at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to create a workshop for early childhood educators, integrating nature, peace, and spirituality in a way that teachers would better be able to address their students’ needs and development.

Tony Jenkins, NPA Director of Education; and Julia Torquati, PhD, Associate Professor of Child, Youth and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska – LincolnTony Jenkins, NPA Director of Education; and Julia Torquati, PhD, Associate Professor of Child, Youth and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska – LincolnLed by early childhood education expert, Dr. Ruth Wilson, and in design partnership with Patti Bailie and founding NPA trustee, Patty Roeding, the committee examined how nature, peace, and spirituality each play a role in a child’s development. Tony was instrumental in introducing peace education to the group and how the National Peace Academy could assist in bringing that aspect of the workshop into fruition.

The two-day workshop that was created at this conference, which included a facilitator’s guide, journal, and readings, was piloted at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and will be offered at least twice more in other areas of the country in 2011. The committee and authors intend to offer Deep Teaching: Growing Peace as part of the National Peace Academy’s National Certificate Program.

Sunday, 14 February 2010 17:05

Global Engagement: Infrastructures for Peace

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galogo smlThe National Peace Academy participates in the global movement to establish infrastructures for peace in civil society and governments around the world. Principally, the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace and its affiliated African Alliance for Peace are communities of individuals and organizations who support their national governments and civil society to invest in developing skills and infrastructures dedicated to the peaceful resolution of conflict, including the establishment of national peace academies and government ministries and departments of peace.

Mike Abkin and Dot Maver with Costa Rica President Oscar Arias, and Paul van Tongeren of the Global Infrastructures for Peace ProjectMike Abkin and Dot Maver with Costa Rica President Oscar Arias, and Paul van Tongeren of the Global Infrastructures for Peace ProjectNPA President Dorothy J. Maver and Education and Corporate Affairs Coordinator Michael Abkin represented the National Peace Academy at the Fourth Summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace, held in September 2009, in Costa Rica. The President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace laureate Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez, addressed the opening of the Summit. During the Summit, Dot presented a clinic on Infrastructures of Peace: National Peace Academies. One of the outcomes of the Summit was the decision by the Global Alliance to call for peace academies throughout the world as well as for ministries and departments of peace.

In 2010, Dot and Mike served on the Interim Leadership Council of the Global Alliance and participated on the international team planning the Global Alliance’s Fifth Global Summit, to be held in October 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Director General Golwa, Victor Ogunmakin, Biannca Pace, Oseremen IreneDirector General Golwa, Victor Ogunmakin, Biannca Pace, Oseremen IreneAlso, the Second Regional Summit of the African Alliance for Peace took place October 22-25, 2010, in Abuja, Nigeria. Hosted by the Nigeria Alliance for Peace, the theme of the Second AAP Summit was “Building Institutional Capacities and Partnerships for a Culture of Peace.” The papers presented in Abuja covered prevention of political and electoral violence in Africa, interfaith peace, the role and importance of institutionalizing peace, and next steps for peace in Nigeria. NPA’s Mike Abkin presented a paper on National Peace Academies around the World.

The Summit events concluded with a visit to the offices of Nigeria’s Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) for a meeting with IPCR’s Director General, Dr. Joseph Golwa and several of his division directors. Established in 2000, the IPCR is a Nigerian government think tank that conducts peace research, policy analysis, and interventions, including early warning and response in crisis situations both inside Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. IPCR is also developing peace education curricula for dissemination to primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.

Friday, 13 November 2009 13:21

A New Kind of Peace Movement

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The Times Record (Bath, ME) – 13 November 2009

sethinterviewBATH — The experts who make up the core organizers of the National Peace Academy have the credentials and track records to drastically reduce — or, ideally, eliminate — violence in the world.

They also have what they believe is the perfect retreat location: Bath.

Six of the academy’s key figures convened at Elizabeth Knowlton’s The Inn at Bath this week to plot the group’s next steps forward. Already on tap for 2010 are two intensive peace education conferences — one in Ohio and one in Colombia — and the launch of community discussion groups worldwide.

This crowd is not your father’s peace movement.

Lou Ensel, Bath resident and executive director of the Cleveland-based Biosophical Institute, serves with Dot Maver of Burlington, Vt., as a co-director of the academy.

He said the National Peace Academy stands out because of its interest in working in partnership with the military, not against it. The academy’s international, multifaceted approach to pre-emptively snuffing out warfare and creating safe, stable communities is exactly what the U.S. military has been calling for, Ensel said.

“What’s unique about this, as opposed to some other peace movements, is that the military is asking for this,” Ensel said.

“Our military — Secretary (of Defense Robert) Gates — is saying we need these soft measures now,” Maver agreed. “(Secretary of State Hillary) Clinton is saying that peacebuilding is a skill set we need employed internationally.”

The academy’s strategies and programs are too vast to round up in a concise way. So here are a few things in the works to illustrate what the group has in the works:

— The launch of the first Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive (PPI), a weeklong study next August at Wilmington College in Ohio aimed at giving attendees the tools necessary to identify conflict resolution resources in their hometowns and how to proactively cultivate peaceful communities.

— The latest edition of the International Institute of Peace Education conference, to be held in Colombia next July. The institute program has built a record of success in its 27-year history, and is now being brought under the umbrella of the National Peace Academy.

— An early warning system to determine when tensions in a geographic area are rising and sectarian violence is threatening to emerge. The early warning signs would trigger the deployment of a rapid response team of mediators and conflict resolution specialists to deal with the disagreements before they escalate. Maver recalled the account of Paul van Tongeren, a friend of the academy and secretary general of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, about the disputed Kenyan elections in early 2008.

“We heard the story here (in the U.S.) about how there was violence and conflict,” Maver said. “But it didn’t erupt into a full-blown civil war there. (Van Tongeren’s team) recognized key hot spots post-election and went there, on the ground, to work on mediating and resolving the conflict.”

Tony Jenkins is a member of the academy’s core team and a former director of the Peace Education Center at Columbia University in New York City, among other lines on his resume. During a Thursday morning discussion at The Inn at Bath, Jenkins told a reporter from The Times Record that crisis aversion, like in the case of the Kenyan elections, can only go so far.

“Just because you’ve prevented the violence, doesn’t mean you’ve changed the mind-sets that brought us to that point,” he said. “That’s where the education comes in.”

An ultimate goal of the group is to develop a brick and mortar National Peace Academy campus somewhere, to serve as a traditional academic complement to the organization’s current slate of intensive workshops and international outreach efforts.

For now, the academy calls the Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University — where academy pillar Prof. Mark Chupp works — its headquarters. Others in the academy’s core group include: Mike Abkin, a veteran of the Peace Alliance and Foundation for Global Community; Paula Guarnaccia, an assistant dean of arts and sciences for the University of Vermont; and Kristin Famula, who obtained a master’s degree in peace studies in Colorado and then joined the academy team just in time to coordinate a summit of 200 people in the business, political and educational communities earlier this year.

The group plans to continue returning to Bath for retreats, and is looking forward to big things.

“We’re helping to make violence history, and doing that in very pragmatic ways, through our connections in the education, government and business sectors,” Maver said. “Businesses recognize that without a strong and secure civil society and stable infrastructure, business can’t survive.

“Can you imagine a peace learning approach throughout our public school systems? Conflict resolution and mediation curriculums?” she continued. “There could be no more school shootings. … It is possible to eradicate violence.”

Thursday, 15 October 2009 14:01

Commonwealth Club of California, 15 October 2009

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talking2The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, in association with the Northern California Peace Corps Association, hosted National Peace Academy Director of Organizational Development and Operations Mike Abkin speaking on “Finally! A U.S. National Peace Academy.”

The presentation described the National Peace Academy’s background, status, and plans; what distinguishes it in the field; and how it contributes to peacebuilding efforts at home and abroad by working cooperatively with and through existing and emerging institutions and programs in government, military academies, business, and civil society.

postqaSince the event was convened by the Commonwealth Club’s International Relations Member-Led Forum, Mike also described, as an example of the dimension of the National Peace Academy’s work related to developing peace systems, the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace and the Global Alliance’s 4th Summit in September 2009 in Costa Rica.

Q&A and interactive conversation followed, in which attendees offered recommendations for potential National Peace Academy programs, partners, and research areas.

PEace and Justice Studies Association LogoNational Peace Academy Education Director Tony Jenkins attended the 7th Annual Conference of the Peace and Justice Studies Association from October 8-10 at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Peace and Justice Studies Association, the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, and the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking. The conference theme was “Exploring the Power of Nonviolence,” in recognition of the 140th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth.Dynamic workshops, panels, and films were offered from a wide range of disciplines addressing topics relevant to promoting nonviolent communities and practices. Topics included the nature, history, and skills of nonviolent approaches to resolving and managing conflict; economic and environmental justice; faith communities and nonviolence; and education in nonviolence at all levels including community education.

Tony Jenkins conducted a workshop that introduced participants to the National Peace Academy and the principle of peace as “right relationships” as defined by the Earth Charter. The National Peace Academy looks forward to establishing a more formal future partnership with the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

Thursday, 01 October 2009 01:55

Global Alliance Summit in Costa Rica

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opcer presariasdotpaulmikeNational Peace Academy Co-Director Dot Maver and Director of Operations Mike Abkin represented the National Peace Academy at the Fourth Summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace, held September 17-21, 2009, in Costa Rica. The President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace laureate Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez, addressed the September 17 opening of the Summit. (Pictured in the photo, L-R, are Mike Abkin and Dot Maver with Costa Rica President Oscar Arias and Paul Van Tongeren, Secretary-General of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, GPPAC.)

During the Summit, Dot participated in a clinic on Infrastructures of Peace: National Peace Academies. One of the exciting outcomes of the Summit is the decision by the Global Alliance to call for peace academies throughout the world as well as for ministries and departments of peace.

It is fitting that the Global Alliance has added the call for peace academies around the world to its mission. It is a call that has been linked throughout U.S. history with the call for government structures for peace, as demonstrated in the National Peace Academy’s historical timeline. Indeed, the stated purpose of the National Peace Academy focuses on the development of both peace systems and peacebuilders.

In his opening address, President Arias welcomed 102 delegates from 21 countries and announced the creation earlier that week of Costa Rica’s own Ministry of Justice and Peace. In his remarks, President Arias said that, “The task is only just starting. The creation of a Ministry for Peace…is not the final achievement, merely the making of a road to achieve sustainable order that would allow resolution of human conflicts without violence.”

Costa Rica is now the third country in the world to have a Ministry of Peace. The Solomon Islands and Nepal are the other two, and the Global Alliance has been instrumental in establishment of both the Nepal and Costa Rica ministries. The Global Alliance has held four Summits to date: UK in 2005, Canada in 2006, Japan in 2007, and, now, Costa Rica in September 2009. More about the Costa Rica Summit can be found at www.GASummit.org.

In the course of the Summit, the National Peace Academy made many connections that expand its network of potential collaborators throughout the world, including the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica, the Academy for Peace in Costa Rica, the World Peace Academy in Switzerland, and the Nonviolence Resource Center and Laval University in Canada.

Closing with another quote from President Oscar Arias, this one addressing the subject of peace and education: “Because my land is a land of teachers, we close the barracks, and our children march with books under their arms, not with rifles on their shoulders. We repudiate violence.”

The National Peace Academy recently co-sponsored the international conference Collaboration Across Fields: Implementation and Sustainability of Social and Emotional Learning, Conflict Resolution Education, Peace Education, and Civics Education, June 19-20, 2009, in Cleveland, Ohio. The conference addressed policy needs for conflict resolution education and peace education in K-12 and higher.

A full report of the conference, with links to PowerPoint presentations and a pre-conference reader, is available at on the conference website. That website states:

Built upon the first Inter-American Summit on Conflict Resolution Education sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Organization of American States (OAS) in March 2007, the goals of the 2009 Summit were policy implementation and sustainability. This was accomplished by bringing together international and national stakeholders to exchange successful examples of macro level policy design and implementation models.

While separate fields, each share a common goal of providing a foundation for the learning and growth of students.

Saturday, 06 June 2009 04:27

Report of BAWB Forum, 2-5 June 2009

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In June 2009, National Peace Academy Director of Outreach and Stakeholder Relations Kristin Famula presented a workshop at the 2009 Global Forum at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The Global Forum was hosted by the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, part of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case.

The BAWB Forum, themed “Managing by design in an era of Massive Innovation”, brought together 600 leaders of design, sustainability, business, policy, and management, who contributed their unique expertise to envision and design ways to meet today’s pressing social and environmental needs.

The workshop, focused on Business as a Force for Peace, invited participants to examine various ways in which business can advance the work for peace, specifically examining two initiatives: the National Peace Academy and Peace Through Commerce. The National Peace Academy part of the workshop centered on the design of the National Peace Academy and its future work as a catalyst for bringing together business, government, and civil society.

As an initiative still in its development phase, participants were very interested to hear about the NPA’s whole-system approach – working as an organic, dynamic organism that will be able to learn, reflect, respond, and transform – and thus an example of the sustainable design participants are working to build in their respective fields.