Thursday, 03 May 2012 08:57

River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding: Jeffrey Weisberg

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Jeffrey Weisberg participated in the 2010 NPA Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive (PPI) where he refined and articulated his vision for the implementation of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding.

An update from Jeffrey:  September 2013

thumb Jeffrey WeisbergOne of the guiding principles that we learned in our work with The Peace Alliance and the Department of Peace campaign was to focus on the solutions and not the problem.  This single and simple principle is a significant key to the success of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding as a young organization.  I think of it as how Tai Chi masters work with energy, they don’t block it or fight it…they let the resistance move past with ease and grace.

Whenever introducing new things, we may find ourselves being ridiculed or worse, for trying to change the status quo.  Yet, as peacebuilders, we need to remember the Tai Chi masters approach and seek to understand the resistance and fear and build connections of trust and common ground.
One such area we are striving to introduce is the practice of Restorative Justice.  RJ  has the unique ability to repair and rebuild relationships when harm has been done. Communities the world over have attested through experience the effectiveness of this approach.
We believe we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in Florida to have RJ endorsed and embraced within the schools, the juvenile justice system and the wider community.  We’ve facilitated cases that have captured attention and demonstrated its effectiveness and power. We have a pending three year grant to work with the Department of Juvenile Justice, the schools are seeking alternatives to suspension and even the police are looking at ways of utilizing this approach.   To further boost our confidence and excitement, our Restorative Justice 2 day training has a waiting list for our October “Community Peacebuilding Month” offering.
However, the greatest victories are to witness the sacred opening of young people when sharing their truth and being heard.  Whether acknowledging the impact of their actions upon others, speaking their hurt and pain, recognizing their unmet needs or sharing their gifts and strengths, they learn that they matter.  This work of  empowering, energizing and supporting the awakening and decision making of young people is a paycheck times 1000.  Wherever we as peacebuilders can invite and channel leadership development and show interest and care, we will build a safer community and a more vibrant world.
Let us continue our efforts of Peace Education & Peace Leadership to manifest a world of Connection and Peace.  Read the original article below.
Original Report:  May 2012


river phoenix center for peacebuildingInspiration…… to breathe life into something, an idea that impels one to action.

When my wife, Heart Phoenix and I had the idea to start a “peace center” we began with the inspiration and life of her son, River Phoenix.  River’s creative expression was not only as an actor but his provocative thoughts and vision of a world living in peace.

It was for a long time our desire to build upon his legacy as an activist and contribute to the world through a “solution –based approach” to solving the many challenges we face at this time.   With a small team in Gainesville we established our guiding principles and developed the mission and vision of a model that could be translatable in other communities around the world.  It was then that I attended PPI to further develop our way forward through their support and guidance.

Jeffrey working with Peer Mediators at PK Yonge School at the University of FloridaJeffrey working with Peer Mediators at PK Yonge School at the University of FloridaLike a child, we never know what they will become as they grow into their fullness.  As we are seeing in the early stages of RPCP, this child has a life of it’s own that is inspiring, challenging and yet so far, without the rebellion that most 2 year olds have mastered.

I am a firm believer that violence is preventable, that peace is possible, that we can awaken to our full potential and magnificence to love and serve others and the Earth.  Yes, maybe at times I have my rose colored glasses on, but I choose to focus on what works, what’s possible, what we need to bring to bear in our endeavors of Peacebuilding.

river phoenix large“If I have some celebrity, I hope I can use it to make a difference. The true social reward is that I can speak my mind and share my thoughts about the environment and civilization itself.” ~ River Phoenix

We have received nothing but welcome and invitation from the local community to contribute what gifts and skills we have to offer while drawing upon the best practices throughout the world.   Our vision is that everyone learns to resolve conflict through healthy communication, thus breaking the cycle of violence and creating a safer community.

We know, that together we can do this, one action at a time.

The mission of RPCP is to enrich the lives of individuals, families and communities by providing and promoting the best practices and principles of peacebuilding and global sustainability.

Jeffrey Weisberg
Director of Programs & Outreach
River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding

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