How does one consider achieving peace while living in a world that is currently confused, polarized and disunited? How do we live in a manner that leads to peaceful cooperation? We have, historically, tried various political and economic systems and yet we, as a society, continue to exist in a seemingly endless downward spiral with only brief peace-like respites. Given our current set of conditions, we can guess where it all leads if a fundamental change doesn’t occur.
It appears that humanity is in need of asking itself certain fundamental questions, such as: Who am I? What is the purpose for my existence? What do I believe in? How should I correctly act towards others?Once we begin to discern answers to these and other questions of value and character can we start to move ourselves and our society towards a more unified and productive direction. A direction that leads us out of ourselves and begins to widen our vision.
Deborah Levine, Editor-in-Chief of the American Diversity Report, and her15 books have been honored with the 2020 International BOOKS FOR PEACE award. The award was born from a project of a group of associations with the aim of enhancing the books (through a literary competition), featuring culture, people, sport, art, dealing with the topics of Peace in the round, not only between peoples, but of peoples: such as gender-based violence, bullying, racial and religious discrimination, social and cultural integration.
Today, in it’s 4th year, the international alliances have expanded to include:
IODHR: International Organization for Democracy and Human Rights – Norway
INSPAD – Institute of Peace and Development – Pakistan and European Union
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – European Union
AFRICAN NGOs DEVELOPMENT NETWORK – Africa
GLOBAL CAMPAIGN TO END CHILD MARRIAGE
MY BODY IS MY BODY – United Kingdom and USA
FAAVM – Federal association for the Advancement of Visible Minorities – Canada
IHRMWORLD – International Human Rights Movement – United Kingdom
NHRF – NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN FEDERATION – India
FUNVIC – FUNDACAO UNIVERSIDARIA VIDA CRISTA – Brazil
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
MUNDIAL DE EDUCACION PARLIAMENT
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR DIPLOMATIC STUDIES- Norway
NAIFA MARUF FOUNDATION – Bangladesh
SOCIETY FOR GENDER EQUALITY, EDUCATIONAL, ADVANCEMENT & STRUGGLES – Nigeria
Our world is burning up from within. We need action – now – to lower the earth’s temperature, to stop mass incarceration , child abuse, and human trafficking. And what about self-harm and self-hate? Why does our own spirit twist against us so violently?
Searching for more answers – or at least some deeper insights – I turned to the lives of three people burned by hate, and burning with love. The first is Vietnamese monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh.
A thousand mile journey starts with a step
Between whispers of war starts with a tone,
No one will dream of war to receive us with loneliness
When will it stop?
Dreadful scenes, rack-edged sorrows and rapid holocaust
Will this malediction still continue?
We have crossed the river
Have you ever entered a conversation with the best of intentions, only to end up in an argument? I suspect we have all had this experience and I’d like to suggest that one reason this happens so often is because of mind distance. When we try to communicate with people whose experiences and world views are very different from our own, we often run into invisible walls. It’s like trying to describe colors to a friend who has been blind from birth. No matter how much we try to explain what the world looks, sounds, and feels like to us, if the other person’s experiences have been significantly different, they will have trouble listening and understanding. In my work as an interculturalist, I encounter such mind distance on a regular basis.
For those of you who have not yet heard the story of the Maayan Babustan/Ein Bustan kindergarten, this is a Waldorf school, a kindergarten that is run in two languages – Arabic and Hebrew. The kindergarten is situated in the Arab village of Hilf, within the municipality of Bosmat Tab’un, 7 minutes drive from the nearby Jewish town of Kiryat Tivon. The kindergarten is attended by 27 Arab and Jewish children, in two age groups. The staff is also comprised of Arabs and Jews: in each class there is a Hebrew speaking teacher and an Arabic speaking teacher. In addition, we are pleased to have two interns, two young Bedouin Arab women who are fulfilling their “Year of Service” by working as assistants in the kindergarten, one in each age group.