[Catalyst #17] Summer of Peace - Compassion, Ebola and 11 Days of Global Unity
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
In the Summer of Peace teleseries we have heard many speakers talk about the importance of bringing inner peace practices into outer action, especially to transform difficult situations. Most recently, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, who operates schools for women in Afghanistan, described in an interview "the inner foundation for peacebuilding" that sustains her compassionate efforts (see Summer of Peace free recordings below).
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said it well in The Art of Happiness, "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
With compassion in mind, our lead article for this edition is about Foday Sajuma of Radio Moa in Sierra Leone, West Africa. We have up-to-date information from Foday, who is a courageous peacebuilder heroically running a community radio station in the heart of the Ebola epidemic. Foday is a friend and former colleague of Philip Hellmich, our Director of Peace. Foday and Radio Moa need our support so they can battle this horrific disease and help save the lives of potentially thousands of people. I strongly encourage you to stand with our brothers and sisters in West Africa and to support Radio Moa – click here. (Also, see Action of the Week.)
Ebola is only one example where we must marry compassion and action in this time of global crisis. We also must learn to express these soul qualities in our day-to-day lives in practical ways that make a positive impact on people around us.
When Stanford University asked if we would be promotional co-sponsors of their upcoming CompassionWeek 2014 conference in San Francisco November 10–16, 2014, we enthusiastically said YES!
We also have a wonderful piece by Sande Hart about Diversity in the Compassion Games — Survival of the Kindest. The Compassion Games start on September 11 and run through September 21 (International Day of Peace), so be sure to join the global activities and start training now — get your compassion game on!
Also, our close friend and partner Rick Ulfik wrote about the upcoming 10th Anniversary of 11 Days of Global Unity, which also takes place from September 11 through September 21. We are proud to partner with Rick and want to thank him for organizing an amazing 11 Days of Global Unity min-summit as part of the Summer of Peace. This free series will include dialogues with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, our beloved Barbara Marx Hubbard and many more. It will be an outstanding 11 days, culminating with special celebrations on the International Day of Peace. You can register free for the summit – click here; and, learn how you can participate in hundreds of 11 Days of Global Unity events around the world – click here.
Our member profile is from our friend Shajen Joy Aziz who shares how she overcame the loss of her mother and childhood home at the age of 12. Shajen's triumphant journey through hardships has made her a passionate and loved international teacher of Discover the Gift.
Finally, be sure to enjoy the free Summer of Peace recordings available in this edition. The range of topics is truly awe-inspiring! We've included an interview with award-winning musician Yuval Ron who is using music to bridge Israeli-Palestinian divides (see free recordings below and Featured Artist).
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama is a supporter of Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. In this video, His Holiness talks to a Stanford audience about the need for dialogue in resolving conflict, and the need for compassion that extends beyond creeds and beliefs.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is breaking my heart, as I am sure it is for you too.
It is a horrible situation. It is also personal for me as I have many, many friends in Sierra Leone, where I lived and worked for years; and, also in Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria, where I visited and supported peacebuilding programs as a staff member of Search for Common Ground, one of the world's leading conflict transformation organizations . . . [read more]
It is indeed a paradox that so many from what are considered developing countries wish to come to the West, where we have an epidemic of depression, isolation, and loneliness, while the U.S. alone consumes 25 percent of the world's resources. However, it is often these "third-world" cultures that offer some of the most profound wisdom and insights that have been garnered over thousands of years, while our own history spans a few hundred years . . . [read more]
We mistakenly think that being competitive and pushing ourselves hard is required for success. Research, however, is proving these theories wrong. Most of us don't stop to consider whether our self-critical and competitive attitude are helping us achieve our goals. We don't realize that they are actually standing in our way.
Scientific data shows that self-criticism makes us weaker in the face of failure, more emotional, and less likely to assimilate lessons from our failures. Studies are finding that there is a far better alternative to self-criticism: self-compassion . . . [read more]
Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), the Tenzin Gyatso Institute, Inc. (TGI) and The Charter for Compassion will host "Compassion Week" in San Francisco from November 10–16, 2014 with lead sponsorship from Dignity Health. This will include the 2nd Science of Compassion conference, the inaugural conference on Compassion & Healthcare, the 3rd Empathy and Compassion in Society conference, and The Charter for Compassion Day at the historic Fort Mason Center. During the weekend a "Living Compassionately" retreat will be held on the Stanford University campus . . . [read more]
Peace is a really big word these days. Inner peace, world peace, global peace ... So what is peace exactly? How do we obtain our own peace? Peace means many different things. As Ghandi teaches us, "We must be the change" and the Dalai Lama continually models for us that both peace and compassion originate with gratitude for life itself . . . [read more]
It often takes a transformative experience to reveal the water we swim in, and for me, it happened when the idyllic island of Cyprus where I grew up was descended upon by war. I was just a teenager, and I couldn't understand how it was possible to lose so much practically overnight. The question that really burned in my mind was, "Why?" . . . [read more]
To learn more about the film and future screenings, click here. The film directors will be interviewed in the Summer of Peace on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 9am Pacific.
Upcoming Conferences, Co-Sponsored by The Shift Network:
The Economics of Sustainability – Emerging Models for a Healthy Planet – October 6–9, 2014 – Fort Mason, SF, CA – The Economics of Sustainability conference is looking 50 years into the future. Our challenge is to bring forth a transformation of cultural and economic relationships so that environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic democracy become our way of life. Speakers include: David Korten, Michael Brune (Sierra Club Director), Osprey Orielle Lake, Randy Hayes, Lynne & Bill Twist, Ellen Brown, Randy Hayes and Georgia Kelly. To learn more, click here.
10XSummit – Igniting Change – Los Angeles – October 10–12, 2014, produced by PeaceLink Live. The 10X Summit is calling together like-minded leaders, organizations and celebrities from 10 social activist movements. For three days groups will unite causes and implement innovative solutions to global challenges and develop the sustainable systems, legislation and initiative that will actualize change. (Shift Network members receive a 40% discount when registering by August 18. To register click here and use this coupon code: Shift Network).
Join the Shift Network in supporting the 25th Anniversary Bioneers Summit Conference this October 17, 18 & 19 in Marin California! Practical solutions for the most urgent, paradigm-shifting issues of the day. (Shift Network members receive a 10% discount – use code "SNB14.") To learn more, click here.
JOIN the Compassion Games and make your community
safer, kinder, more just and a better place to live. By participating, players
are called upon to perform acts of service and kindness in our neighborhoods,
on the job, in service-providing agencies, and wherever their daily journey
takes them. The acts of service are organized projects or simple acts of
kindness to aid a neighbor in need or just for the pure joy of it! The 2014
Games will run from September 11 through September 21, 2014 and involves people
around the world. You can join now by clicking here!
JOIN the Peace Day Global Broadcast – September 20–21 – Organizations and individuals can submit brief videos (3 to 4 minutes in length) for consideration by our selection committee. The quality of the videos must be in alignment with the overall quality of the Peace Day Global Broadcast. A Preview of the 2014 Peace Day Global Broadcast can be viewed at www.unityfoundation.org. The process is to send the links for the videos to email@example.com by August 21, 2014. All submissions will be reviewed by September 1. A response from the selection committee will be sent to the senders by September 10.
The Eugene City of Peace organization has many resources for communities
working toward a culture of peace: click here.
Summer of Peace – Featured Speakers Resources:
Father John Dear was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His latest book is a must read - The Nonviolent Life
The Threshold Society, rooted within the traditions of Sufism and inspired by the life and work of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi, is a non-profit educational foundation with the purpose of facilitating the experience of Divine Unity, Love, and Truth in the world. (Founders: Kabir Edmund Helminski and Camille Adams Helminski.) To learn more, click here.
United Religions Initiative – a supported network connecting people across religions and cultures in the service of peace and justice. (Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian is the Executive Trustee) To learn more, click here.
Yuval Ron is a mystic musician being played like an instrument by his Beloved. Born in Israel, Yuval knew bomb raid sirens at the age of four. He later became a well-known musician in Los Angeles, including composing music for the academy award winning film, West Bank Story – a comedy about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Yuval's music expanded into peacebuilding when he brought musicians from different religions to play peace concerts for the Middle East. You will love Yuval's interview in the Summer of Peace on August 12, 2014. Also, Yuval's book, Divine Attunement, is a deep-dive into the science and mysticism of music. To learn more about Yuval, his music, books and workshops, click here.