By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
The politics of peace is dear to my heart as it’s an essential ingredient for making the shift to a sustainable culture of peace.
It is easy to become disillusioned with political processes when we see polarized parties battling each other instead of working together to address critical issues. Yet, all you have to do is visit a country where people are struggling for violence-free elections and good governance to remember the importance of participating in a democracy and ensuring it thrives.
Many of us at The Shift Network are pro-actively engaged with our national representatives to lobby for issues such as the multinational nuclear deal with Iran (very important this month, click here to learn more!) and the Youth Promise Act, an innovative program to address the root causes of youth violence.
To advance this work, The Shift Network has developed relationships with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (the largest and oldest peace lobby), The Peace Alliance (one of the original co-creators of the Summer of Peace), and the Alliance for Peacebuilding (a prominent global peacebuilding association). Several of our team members, including myself, will join the FCNL’s “lobby day” in Washington, DC again this November. I strongly encourage you to join us for an illuminating and effective time (last year we had 400 people citizens lobbying our congresspeople on Iran on the Hill on one day). (See Movement News)
This week in the Summer of Peace we will feature exciting sessions on the politics of peace with Jim Cason of FCNL and Bob Baskin and Heart Phoenix of The Peace Alliance highlighting how you can get involved from grassroots to national levels. (Click here to register free.)
In this edition of The Catalyst, we have an article by our very own Alison Weeks about why and how to support the Iran nuclear deal. We must help stabilize the Middle East and prevent nuclear proliferation. I believe the Iran nuclear agreement is an absolutely essential step in the right direction (and make sure your congress people know you agree if you do).
We also have a profound piece from the Alliance for Peacebuilding on countering violent extremism through practical initiatives that go beyond the use of military options. This is a very well-thought out article and we are proud to support a Joint Statement on Countering Violent Extremism that was presented to President Obama.
Our good friend Matthew Albracht from The Peace Alliance has an excellent piece about bringing peace education to schools as part of their BeTheMovement initiative.
Glen Martin has a visionary piece on global democracy and our member profile is from Peace Ambassador Ella Matheson in the United Kingdom.
Our featured video is Erica Chenoweth giving a compelling presentation about how nonviolent civil resistance campaigns were twice as effective as violent approaches the past few decades. Our Shift Philanthropy this week is the Friends Committee of National Legislation and our partner spotlight is the Alliance for Peacebuilding. Finally, our featured artist is Murray Kyle from Australia.
In this TedxBoulder presentation, Dr. Erica Chenoweth shares compelling evidence that between 1900–2006, campaigns of nonviolent civil resistance were twice as successful as violent campaigns.
Dr. Chenoweth also was a recent keynote speaker at the the Campaign Nonviolence National Conference. In that 90-minute presentation, she went into greater details about her findings – click here to watch.
Last November, Shift Network CEO Stephen Dinan and I attended “lobby day” in DC with Friends Committee on National Legislation (www.fcnl.org), a 70-year-old organization that works by talking directly to elected representatives about a broad range of injustices. The focus of lobby day was the Iran nuclear deal, an issue that, at the time, was largely flying under the media radar.
As you know, it’s now front-page news, with critics spending millions of dollars to undermine nearly two years of international diplomacy.
So, what’s the deal with the deal? . . . [read more]
In West Africa, Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls and demolished towns; ISIS has sought to create a state through terror in Iraq and Syria. In the US, Dylan Roof murdered worshippers in Charleston citing White Supremacist ideology. Violent extremism has become a pervasive global issue, manifesting in many different contexts in the U.S. and around the world, threatening both human and global security.
Just as the last decade of U.S. foreign policy was defined by the “Global War on Terror,” the next will be known as the “Countering Violent Extremism” or “CVE” regime . . . [read more]
Schools are our main social avenue of learning. While the primary focus of teaching in schools is predominantly on academic skills, many feel that life skills are equally important.
We face conflict and sometimes violence at almost every stage and in every area of our lives. In fact, conflict that is not dealt with effectively can be one of the biggest detriments to success both in school as well as in life . . . [read more]
My heart is overflowing from the Building the New World Conference that just concluded here at Radford University in southwest Virginia. Shift Network leaders, leaders in spirituality, and visionary futurists came together with people from the international movement for a world parliament under our common passionate concern for the future of our beautiful Earth, its living creatures, and all humanity. Barbara Marx Hubbard was our keynote honored guest who spoke with us concerning the miraculous story of a universe that brings forth life, consciousness and love through some 14 billion years of evolutionary adventure . . . [read more]
Peace is not simply the absence of war, peace is the presence of social justice and environmental and economic well being; it is the business of government. There are so many crises in the world and we all know as peacebuilders and from personal experience how challenging and debilitating it can feel to address them.
I experienced one such moment in early 2014 when I profoundly knew I wanted to explore how inner peace could be translated into world peace . . . [read more]
Start Planning for the International Day of Peace — September 21, 2015. There are many initiatives offering ways that you and your family, school and/or business can participate in this global celebration of peace:
Find or create an event for the International Day of Peace – September 21 (click here)
Have your city become an International City of Peace (click here)
New Film screenings of Awake: The Life of Yogananda are now being shown in Australia and United States! You also can bring Awake to your yoga studio or community. To find a showing near you or to arrange for a screening, click here.
(The filmmakers were interviewed in the Summer of Peace, the recording is available for free.)
Summer of Peace – ARTE – July 18 to August 23, 2015 — European-based ARTE opens its antenna to peace movements and icons of the twentieth century with films that make us dream of a better world, concerts and documentaries. Be happy this summer. Peacefully yours. To learn more, click here. (You may need to translate the page in your web browser.
Peace Week Milwaukee – Raising the Voice of Peace – August 16–23, 2015. Designated the week of August 16–23, 2015, Peace Week Milwaukee is an opportunity for artists, activists, non-profits, faith groups, local businesses and other diverse organizations and individuals in our community who work so hard year-round for community action and social justice to highlight their efforts while raising a united voice of Peace. To learn more, click here.
River of Bliss! August 28–31, 2015 — A transformative adult summer camp “Restival" a 4 day/3 night retreat on the American river near Tahoe — just 2 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area in the historic Sierra Foothills. Unplug, reconnect with nature and community. Offers catered meals, participatory experiential activities like yoga, conscious dance, meditation, playshops, rafting (optional) and live kirtan. Register at: click here.
Twin Oaks Communities Conference – September 4–7, 2015 – Labor Day Weekend. If you want to live according to the values of cooperation, sustainability, and equality this conference is for you. The conference focuses on Intentional Communities, including models such as Ecovillages, Cohousing, and Housing Cooperatives, and the larger cooperative movement, including all kinds of cooperative and collective organizations. To learn more, click here.
3rd Annual Peace in the Park – San Francisco – Free Event, Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm at Golden Gate Park, SF — Join over 5,000 people in a rejuvenating day of peaceful activities for all ages and backgrounds — alcohol-free and vegetarian refreshments. To learn more, click here.
"We Do Not Die: Expanding Consciousness through Near-Death and other Mystical Experiences" at the Findhorn Foundation Autumn Conference, from 26-29 September 2015, plus 3-days of half-day post-conference workshops (30 September — 2 October, 2015). Our vision is for the conference to be interactive and collaborative, offering new perspectives from which to view our: purpose on a soul level, reason for our life’s direction and relationships; and, self-worth and the worth of our existence. Speakers include: Dr. Eben Alexander, Anita Moorjani, PMH Atwater and Mellen-Thomas Benedict. To learn more, click here.
The Parliament of the World's Religions – Salt Lake City this October 15–19. The world’s premier interfaith event is coming back to the United States bringing 10,000 people together from 80 nations and 50 faith traditions to commit to the challenges of war, violence and hate speech, climate change, and income inequity. Five nobel peace laureates led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, an Inaugural Women's Assembly for Global Advancement, religious scholars, faith leaders, and the heart of grassroots will round out 5 days of programming to mobilize the global interfaith movement. The Shift Network can take advantage of advance registration and reclaim the heart of our humanity in 2015 by clicking here.
The Peace Alliance – Be the Movement National Conference – Washington, DC – October 16–20, 2015! The conference will focus on the Five Peacebuilding Cornerstones of Be the Movement: Empowering Community Peacebuilding, Teaching Peace in Schools, Humanizing Justice Systems, Cultivating Personal Peace, and Fostering International Peace. Come together with like-minded allies from around the nation as we dialogue with, and learn from, some of the world’s most inspiring leaders and experts for a kind of peacebuilding think tank. Speakers include: Sylvia Boorstein, Congressman Bobby Scott, Phil Donahue, Rep. Pete Lee and Lynn Lee, Jeffrey Weisberg, Michael Skolnik, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf and many more. To learn more, click here.
Friends Committee on National Legislation – Building A Pathway to Peace: Annual Meeting, Quaker Public Policy Institute & Lobby Day – November 12–15, 2015 – Washington, DC. This November, we'll be asking Congress to prevent violence before it starts. The US too often waits until war or atrocities begin, and then it only provides military solutions. But it doesn't have to be that way. We believe that by paying attention to warning signs, the international community can respond before deadly conflict erupts. Participants will learn how to lobby from FCNL's expert staff; hear from congressional staff and other speakers; connect with people from your state; practice lobbying skills; meet with your representative and senators and hear presentations on peacebuilding. To learn more, click here.
Kia Miller and Tommy Rosen are so excited to announce the 2015 Recovery 2.0 Thanksgiving Retreat to Costa Rica from November 19–26, 2015. They will be back at Blue Spirit in Nosara for what is always a powerful and blissful Recovery 2.0 experience. The retreat always sells out. If this calls to you, apply today to secure your space.
Praxis Peace Institute: Cuba — November 29 – December 6, 2015 – Only 1 Room Left — Praxis Peace Institute, in conjunction with Cuba Educational Travel has prepared a spectacular program for our travelers. Lecture and Discussions with Cuban economists, historians, and journalists at Havana University and the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy. Visit agricultural cooperatives, organicfarms, and meet locals in their homes, and much more. Details and to Register: click here.
Collective Coherence: Co-Creating a New World – December 2–6, 2015 – Tao Wellness Center, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico —
HeartMath and Global Coherence Initiative Special Event: Come join us for a transformative experience in Collective Coherence: Co-Creating a New World, our fourth annual Mexico event. We will practice tools for Collective Coherence and learn how this accelerates our personal unfoldment into higher potentials. Energetic connectivity will be explored and why it is effective for co-creating a new world. Be sure to use code "Mexico1" when you register to receive the Early Registration discount rate. To learn more, click here.
World Peace Library – Free Resource — Be sure to take advantage of the World Peace Library, a wide-ranging resource on peace newly compiled by the Shift Network: It contains more than 300 inspiring talks and mini-workshops from individuals such as Archbishop Tutu, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Jane Goodall, Deepak Chopra, James O'Dea, Karen Armstrong, Chief Phil Lane and many more. With neuroscientists and lamas, faith-based activists and political leaders, this Library offers something for all in their peacebuilding efforts. The Shift Network has made the World Peace Library a free resource for all and encourages its use to promote peace in your families, schools, and wider community.
1 Billion Acts of Peace — a global community of everyday people performing thoughtful actions that contribute to world peace. The Shift Network is delighted to join Peacejam Foundation, Google, Wells Fargo, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and many others have come together to create the "One Billion Acts of Peace" Campaign — an international global citizens' movement designed to tackle the most important problems facing our planet. To learn more, click here.
• Subtle Activism Summit
• 11 Days of Global Unity
• Hakomi Global Summit
• Thomas Huebl 7-week course
• David Nicol 7-week course
• Arden Reece 7-week course
• Alison Armstrong 8-week course
• Miranda Macpherson 10-week course
• Lisa Schrader 9-month intensive
• Sally Kempton 7-week course
• Andrew Harvey 12-week course
• Hakomi 12-week course
• Enneagram 5-month intensive
• Tim Kelley 6-month intensive • Mirabai Starr 7-month intensive
• Co-creating Heaven on Earth Summit
• Global Indigenous Wisdom Summit
• Robert Moss 12-week course
• George Kao 12-week course
• Martin Rutte 12-week course
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) — The Shift Network is a proud supporter of FCNL. We strongly believe in their approach to lobbying for peace and their impressive track record over the past 71 years. You can join several Shift Network staff members at FCNL's lobby day in Washington, DC in November 2015. The Shift Network also has pledged company stock to FCNL. To learn more about FCNL, click here.
Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) is a global membership association of nearly 100 peacebuilding organizations, 1,000 professionals, and a network of more than 15,000 people developing processes for change in the most complex, chaotic conflict environments in the US and around the world. AfP amplifies the strengths of its members and works collaboratively on issues that are too large for any one organization to tackle by itself. To learn more, click here.
Australian medicine musician Murray Kyle is back with a brand new album, Arrow to the Sun. The songs were inspired by, in his words, "the powerful prayers that burn the flame of love through these times of transition." Murray's music is traditionally gentle, but now includes more persistent messages, for example on the beautiful song, "Agua Pura Vida," which communicates the need to declare peace on our waters and to stop poisoning them in order to ensure our survival. This latest offering is sacred, devotional music that inspires action. To listen, click here.