Imagine a world where conflict is acknowledged as a natural occurrence, and training in nonviolent responses to all kinds of conflict is a universal expectation, a daily part of general education, and a pre-requisite for any leadership position.
Today, between 100 and 200 people, mostly children and families, have participated in Peace Practices and expressed their joy at the fun, community, and depth of learning involved. Imagine what might be possible with 3,000 participants! When would there be enough momentum to know that the peace in the lives of a few today will be in the hands of everyone in the next generation?
The problems that we face today seem to grow despite our commitments to end them. It’s almost as if our efforts to solve big problems get no traction; there is a gap between what we believe we are doing and our actions under pressure in complex situations. How is it that terrorist attacks and industrial warfare are still possible when so many around the world aspire to live in peace?
That was the question most raised at Training Across Borders 2015, the international conference at which curriculum author Brandon WilliamsCraig was invited to introduce Peace Practices to leaders who practice the peaceful art of aikido (a core part of his curriculum) while living in conflict zones. Aikido practitioners from around the world gathered to train together and build relationships, because aikido practice can reveal whatever stops us from practicing peace when we are faced with conflict. These conflict professionals noticed their own avoidance of difficult issues, even while sharing tools for reshaping the fear of conflict into an opportunity to train in nonviolence. As colleagues, we noticed how easy it is to play it safe, to do whatever we have always done. Perhaps this is what Peace Practices really offers during this season of gratitude and new beginnings. One can discover a new practice of peace on earth, and resolve to keep a "beginner's mind" once again, and return to being a student so that we might all train together.
We believe that peace is possible through the ongoing training of individuals and the commitments of whole communities to training collectively in what we call "conflict done well". As a one of a kind curriculum that unites verbal and physical nonviolence to real-world everyday conflicts, we believe that Peace Practices is a map to peace at the local, national, and international level. But we need your help to get this curriculum into the hands of leaders around the world. The basic need is as simple as your response can be. If you support Peace Practices through a donation, you help us directly. An introduction to a philanthropist you know, or to a friend with a passion for finding funding to make the world a better place would widen our horizon and deepen our impact. A gift of your time can make a new relationship or deepen our existing sense of community - of working together to really make a difference, rather than wishing the cause well and calling it good.
This is the time of year that charitable giving reaches its highest level. A Blackbaud Idea Lab report (downloadable file) looking at 2013 showed that over 33 percent of charitable giving happened from October 2013 through the end of the year, with 17.5 percent in December alone. This year, as you decide where you will invest your generosity, let's make a commitment together that we can take action on in a very real way: a communal new year’s resolution that allows thousands of students to be impacted this next year and positions Peace Practices to serve more communities. If you want peace, there is nothing left but to directly supportand join alongside those who work for it. Aspirations for peace do not change daily life until there is a practice to make them real.
We are ready to bring classes, instructional videos, group facilitations, and toolkits that can reach around the world, through translation and peace partnership projects, into classrooms and board rooms. We have local, national, and international partners, all of whose fingers are crossed that you will help our organization take the next steps and find the financial support to be able to reach out and empower them. Your donation toward our $15,000 goal can put a map toward Peace on Earth in the hands of thousands more students of all backgrounds and social strata and position us to better meet leaders across diverse communities who are ready to commit to a trained peaceful existence. Together we can shift from unrealistically avoiding conflict toward actively training ourselves and our children in peaceful means for when it matter most.
Learn more about Peace Practices, and watch videos of some of our children's classes here.
See the details of our financial goal and what it pays for on our website here.