You showed up in a big way. And, we want to thank you. Together, we raised $1.2 million to protect people living in conflict in South Sudan, Myanmar, the Philippines, the Middle East and North Dakota. You helped reunite families, prevent violence against women, protect children from being recruited as child soldiers, and negotiate ceasefire agreements. You helped save lives. And, we are grateful.

2016 was a great year for Nonviolent Peaceforce.

We expanded to new areas and saw increased recognition of unarmed civilian protection. Here is a short recap:

• Nonviolent Peaceforce was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016! The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, nominated NP saying, “Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Nonviolent Peaceforce would highlight and strengthen their work and the work of other similar organizations, at a time when worldwide tensions seem to be at a boiling point, and their work is vital and relevant,”. To read the letter that was submitted to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, click here: http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/images/Blog/2016_Nobel_Nomination_-_Signed.pdf.

• NP’s work and executive director, Tiffany Easthom, was featured in the documentary film, In Pursuit of Peace. The film has been shown at film festivals and in theatres in Canada, the USA and Europe. NP hosted film screenings in Lebanon, Minnesota, Belgium and France. To plan a screening in your community, please contact our U.S. office - we'd love to help you with planning! You can watch the trailer here https://vimeo.com/150351138.

• We explored new missions in Greece, Burundi, Thailand and Uganda. In 2017, we will work to set up programming and to continue assessing other new opportunities.

• We also had the opportunity to send a team to the Standing Rock community in the state of North Dakota in the USA. This is the first time we are implementing UCP programming in the USA and it represents a very important opportunity to demonstrate that even the wealthiest countries need to develop nonviolent responses to conflict. If you want to learn more about what the team is doing in Standing Rock you can read about it here http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/about-3/press-clips/642-nonviolent-peaceforce-sends-team-to-north-dakota-will-train-more-volunteers.

• For the first time in history the UN Security Council officially recognized unarmed civilian protection.

• Finally, we closed out the year with co-founder Mel Duncan receiving the Peace Maker of the Year from the Minnesota Fellowship of Reconciliation. As he received the award he recognized, "I accept this recognition not only on behalf of our unarmed civilian protectors who are on the front lines at this very moment but also on behalf of our other staff who keep NP running and our thousands of volunteers and supporters who have believed that another way is possible."

“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”
~ John F. Kennedy

(Photo by Chris Juhn)


A few weeks ago, a historical event occurred at Standing Rock. It wasn’t the decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to deny the easement, though that was historic. But something else happened — a ceremony where veterans asked forgiveness from Lakota elders for past wrongs committed by the U.S. military. This was a symbolic gesture that helps to erode old barriers and build new structures for peace. The work that NP civilian peacekeepers do everyday erodes barriers by creating space for dialogue and builds partnership to resolve conflict peacefully. Our teams work in some of the most violent conflicts around the world: South Sudan, Myanmar, the Philippines and Middle East.

As our supporters, you have asked us many times, “When will NP start working in the US?” That time has come. Your help is needed to raise $50,000 for staff and volunteers to provide prospective presence and create space for dialogue.

Read more: A role for unarmed civilian protectors at Standing Rock

Today in Pope Francis' message, Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace, he urges people everywhere to practice active nonviolence and notes that the “decisive and consistent practice of nonviolence has produced impressive results.” While NP is nonsectarian, we welcome such affirmations. Mel Duncan, NP’s Advocacy and Outreach director noted:

"As we struggle in a World War fought 'piecemeal,' nonviolent methods of protecting civilians are proving themselves effective in some of the most violent places on the planet. Indeed, more peacebuilders, conflict transformers, mediators, nonviolent resisters and unarmed civilian protectors are at work than any other time in history. We welcome Pope Francis' pledge of assistance of the Church in every effort to build peace through active and creative nonviolence. We need it!"

Read more: Pope Francis: Make Active Nonviolence Our Way of Life - A Statement for the 50th Catholic Church's...

Congratulations to Jane Wanjiru (NPSS), Jasper Peet-Martel (NPM), and Jenny Anne Apias (NPPH) for being selected for 2017 Rotary Peace Fellowships! We wish good luck to Ndenyele (Wilson), Omalenge(NPSL), Asha Ashokan (NPSS), and Rocky Ambago(NPSS) who have been selected as alternates.

This brings our list to 14 Nonviolent Peaceforce staff members who have received Rotary Peace Fellowships!

Jane Wanjiru will be studying at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand from January to April 2017 along with Hope Tichaenzana Chichaya (NPSS), who received this award last year. Jenny Anne Apias and Jasper Peet-Martel will be attending Uppsala University in Sweden starting February of 2018.

Jane Wambui Wanjiru, Women Participation Advisor, Nonviolent Peaceforce South Sudan, Rotary Peace Fellowship for Professional Development Certificate, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok Thailand.

“My role as Women Participation Advisor is to work with Women and Communities in general, to build their capacity using unarmed civilian protection, this then gives them the confidence to participate in decision making within their community as well as collectively finding ways to bring peace back into their local level. ...

My goal is to be a positive change maker and an educator especially on Peace, Conflict Prevention and Resolution. I also look forward to engaging in Community Service with other Rotarians as well as other Peacemakers for a lasting relationship and a lasting peace.”

 

 

Read more: NP protectors win Rotary Fellowships

A message from Tiffany Easthom, Executive Director

November 14, 2016

It has been a struggle for us at Nonviolent Peaceforce to decide if and how to talk about the US presidential election. As a nonpartisan organization, we do not take a position on the politics of any country. We do, however, respond and react to situations where hate, fear, isolation and misunderstanding may lead to violence. It is this concern that drives us to speak up now.

Like you, we are deeply troubled by the escalation of division that is resulting in hate speech, acts of intimidation and violence across the United States ̶ a country that is looked upon to be a standard bearer for equality and justice.

The Southern Poverty Law Center received reports of more than 200 election related hate crimes between last Tuesday night and Friday afternoon. These are incidents reported to one place only, suggesting this number may be just the tip of the iceberg. Public insults, physical attacks, burning of property, hate messaging through graffiti, speech, and social media have the potential to fuel outbreaks of violent conflict, if left unchecked.

Read more: #StandUpForPeace – More Than Just a Tagline

In his meditation on nonviolence, theologian Richard Rohr observes, “The toothpaste is out of the tube.... For the first time, on a broad basis, future reformations can come from the inside out and from the bottom up, in a positive, nonviolent way.” Beyond the brutal “breaking news,” profound changes are reforming our understanding of relationships with one another and the planet. People, especially youth, know that perpetual war will not sustain life.

Society is beginning to recognize that civilians trained in nonviolent tactics can and do effectively protect others in conflict zones around the globe. To date, 12 international nongovernmental organizations provide unarmed civilian protection in 17 countries. The success of nonviolence can no longer be denied or minimized.

Two major UN reviews and a report from countries that supply UN troops for Peacekeeping Operations have cited and recommended unarmed civilian protection (UCP) as practiced by Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP). Last September, the UN General Assembly unanimously passed 17 Sustainable Development Goals, goal 16 specifically promotes peaceful and inclusive societies. None of the remaining Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved without sustainable peace.

Read more: The Tooth Paste is Out of the Tube