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Taking Meaningful Action: Peacebuilding from Inner to International

By Alison Weeks

Last month, I travelled with my colleagues, Stephen Dinan, Ben Hart, and Philip Hellmich, to Washington, DC, for the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) annual meeting.

This year, as with last, there were more than 400 people from all corners of the country gathered to lobby our members of Congress on peace-building issues.

After 14 years and $8.36 million dollars per hour, our military action in Iraq and Afghanistan has not worked. There’s more instability and dissent in the region--not less. Terrorism by disenfranchised young men is growing. There are more than 60 million displaced people in the world--more than the 45 million shortly after WWII. Syrian refugees are pouring over borders while the US is debating whether we can take a handful.

FCNL has long used the moniker: “War is Not the Answer.”

But if not, what is?

Though these are complex socio-political realities that will require long-term transpartisan dialogue and solutions, here are three practical peace-building efforts that you can support TODAY:

  1. The Atrocities Prevention Board (AFB) is the holistic health-care equivalent to waging war. For a fraction of the cost ($50 billion vs. $500 billion plus for war), trained multi-lateral peace-builders are on the ground in hot-spots working to de-escalate conflicts before they start. There is extensive data on how and why this works. In the coming weeks, legislation will be introduced to give the AFB permanent authorization.
  2. Shortly after 9/11, Congress handed President Bush a blank check for war via the 2001 Authorization for the use of Military Force (AUMF). This has effectively taken the decision of when to wage war out of Congress’ hands. We need to repeal the AUMF and return the responsibility to Congress (and the people) to authorize war or not.
  3. Defeat legislation to block Syrian refugees. Urge your elected officials to welcome war- displaced people. Welcome those who have been impacted by US military actions.

And if you don’t agree with any of these, engage in meaningful transpartisan dialogue with your elected officials to support other non-violent, non-military solutions.

We hope that the powerful tools and resources that we provide offer you the peace and focus necessary to take meaningful action toward making our world livable for humanity far into the future

We need love--and we need solutions.

We need compassion--and we need to work steadily toward ending violence and war as a means to resolving conflict.

The Shift Network is committed to doing both--to nurturing our inner world and working to ensure the survival of our planet.

To take meaningful action, call or write your member of Congress TODAY using these easy-to-use FCNL tools. For our international friends, please consider using FCNL’s resources to engage with your government in whatever way is most effective.

PS -- Please let us know what action you’re taking today by emailing me at

Alison Weeks is The Shift Network’s Director of Business Development and Education.


The Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive The Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in:
2015 Catalyst, Issue 24: Peace on Earth -- Be Peace, Act for Peace

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