Press Clip Source: Pax Christi Peace Stories
Date: November 30, 2016
Written by: Bishop Kevin Dowling, Co-President of Pax Christi International
Read original article: Here.

 

I begin with the well-known text from Micah (6:8): “... this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God...”

Who will ever forget the witness of over 1 million Filipinos, accompanied by priests and nuns kneeling on the ground in prayer (and soldiers who refused to intervene or act against them) – a peaceful protest leading to the downfall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986? How did this happen? Firstly, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to nonviolent social change, led dozens of nonviolent action workshops across the Philippines. After attending a workshop, Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila joined with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in calling for a “nonviolent struggle for justice.” These training workshops, along with a sophisticated election-monitoring mission led by nuns and priests, paved the way for the mass “people power” movement that prevented Marcos from stealing the 1986 presidential elections. The people challenged violence with nonviolent resistance – and won, and Marcos and his wife left the country.

Fast forward to 2014. In mid-2014, women living in the Bentiu Protection of Civilians area in South Sudan alerted the Nonviolent Peaceforce team living there that women were being raped and sometimes gang-raped by soldiers when they went out to gather firewood and water. The women reported that sometimes the soldiers would describe the assaults as part of their job.

Often older women took on these jobs to protect the younger ones, and hopefully to decrease the likelihood of attack. So these women had to choose between their personal safety and providing for their families’ basic needs. Nonviolent Peaceforce began accompanying the women when they left the camp, sending 2 or more trained civilian protectors along with them. In the year after this accompaniment was offered to the people, no woman was attacked when accompanied. Instead, the soldiers looked the other way.

Read more: Adopting active nonviolence and inclusive love in our commitment to a just peace

Press Clip Source: The Philippine Star
Date: March 10, 2016
Written by: Jose Rodel Clapano and Ghio Ong
Read original article: Here.

 

MANILA, Philippines – Peace advocates and civil society groups have acknowledged the key role that women play in preserving the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process and in ensuring that these are continued by the next administration.

“Women have proven themselves to be good at conducting listening workshops for Bangsamoro communities... It provided peaceful platforms for reflective expressions of their anger and frustrations due to the non-passage of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law),” said Xarifa Lao-Sanguila of the National Civilian Protection Monitor of Nonviolent Peaceforce during a forum held at Miriam College on Monday.

Sanguila urged women leaders to lobby with provincial peace and order councils to pass resolutions to compel the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to respect the ceasefire mechanisms.

“We need to institutionalize and strengthen women-led local early warning systems for war rumor management and information validation,” she said.

Karen Tañada, executive director of Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, said women should actively participate in the peace process.

Read more: Women play key role in peace process

Press Clip Source: Philippine Information Agency
Date: October 24, 2016
Read original article: Here.

 

NEW YORK CITY, Oct. 24 – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) presented the country’s experience on protecting the unarmed civilians caught in armed conflict in the Southern Philippines during a high-level briefing at the United Nations headquarters here in the city.

OPAPP, through its Undersecretary for Peace Accords Nabil Tan, tackled the present unarmed civilian protection component of the peace process between the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), sharing that this component has allowed multi-sectoral and proactive responses to the security issues, increased involvement of the civil society in a security infrastructure under the peace process, and provided specific interventions to women, children, and other vulnerable sectors.

Read more: PH peace official briefs int’l community on civilian protection mechanism

Press Clip Source: Post Bulletin
Date: September 24, 2016
Written by: Emily Carson
Read original article: Here.

 

To every problem, there are a variety of possible solutions. The people willing to imagine those solutions are possibilitarians.

The word possibilitarian was first coined by author and minister Norman Vincent Peale. It describes someone who recognizes and creates new possibilities. Peale thoughtfully advised, "Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities — always see them for they're always there."

I recently encountered two possibilitarians. First, Perry. Justin and I met Perry while checking out the downtown Rochester PlaceMakers Prototyping Festival. Perry and his PlaceMakers team identified several creative solutions to deal with the city's excess rainwater.

Perry, an engineer, showed Justin and I how small, inexpensive parts can lead to cost-effective solutions for existing water-related concerns. His enthusiasm for solution-finding was contagious. It was as if he saw the whole world through a lens of limitless possibilities. As he spoke, I began to imagine myself as an idea engineer, too.

The next possibilitarian I encountered was Mel Duncan. Mel gave a 1-hour presentation on the Nonviolent Peaceforce at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in town. The evening event was co-sponsored by Assisi Heights Spirituality Center, the First Unitarian Universalist Church, Pax Christi Peace Group, and Southeastern Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers.

Read more: Holy Everything: Don't fight reality, make a change for the better possible

Press Clip Source: Post Bulletin
Date: September 28, 2016
Written by: Rich Van Dellen
Read original article: Here.

 

Sept. 21 was the International Day of Peace. In 1981, the United Nations designated the third Tuesday of September as an International Day of Peace, then in 2001 changed the day to Sept. 21 every year.

Several groups sponsored two events in Rochester to celebrate this day. While the Post Bulletin listed these events in Faith Focus in the Sept. 17, weekend edition and the community calendar, I could find no other coverage. Given the urgent need for peace, they warrant more coverage.

Current wars are causing untold numbers of deaths, millions of refugees and diverting trillions of dollars from addressing the climate crisis and urgent human needs.

On Sept. 17, the first of the events, Mel Duncan, one of the co-founders of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, spoke at the Unitarian Universalist Church. He provided examples of the work done by Nonviolent Peaceforce, which is an unarmed, paid civilian protection force that fosters dialogue during conflict, provides a protective presence for threatened civilians and seeks to strengthen civil society.

Read more: Rich Van Dellen: We need to start turning toward international peace

Press Clip Source: Philanthropy Journal News
Date: August 1, 2016
Written by: Marna Anderson
Read original article: Here.

 

There are approximately 1.5 billion people currently living in countries where violence is endemic and nearly 60 million have been forcibly displaced by war. The images on social media, newspapers and the evening news show thousands of people fleeing their homes in search of safety and security. They are primarily civilians — people wanting to work, go to school, grow crops, take care of their families and live their lives in peace. But violent conflict has turned their worlds upside down, threatening their existence and way of life.

Nonviolent Peaceforce is a nonprofit organization that enters some of the most conflicted regions in the world to provide protection to civilians using unarmed and nonviolent strategies. A United Nations report from October 2015 states, “Unarmed civilian protection is a method for direct protection of civilians and violence reduction that has grown in practice and recognition. In the last few years, it has especially proven its effectiveness to protect women and girls.” Recognizing Nonviolent Peaceforce’s accomplishments in the field, the organization was recently nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize by the American Friends Service Committee, recipients of the Nobel Prize in 1946.

Read more: Transforming the World’s Response to Conflict

Written by Burt Berlowe, Minneapolis author, peace journalist and activist.

Lake state w Mel and Sarah 198

The unfolding story of Nonviolent Peaceforce that began at the turn of this century has laid the groundwork for building a lasting culture of peace in trouble spots around the globe. In recent years, NP’s pioneering international work has become a model for an increasingly popular peacebuilding movement that has become a powerful way to move beyond resolving a specific conflict to creating a sustainable environment for peace.

Across the United States and elsewhere peacebuilding is becoming an integral part of peace education courses and community-based conflict resolution programs and trainings. It has also expanded to include a broad range of contemporary issues that will help create and maintain peace and justice at the grassroots level.

Last May at its annual conference called Next Gen Peace an international coalition known as The Alliance of Peacebuilding addressed diverse topics in ways that would have been unimaginable a decade ago, including climate change, trauma healing, race relations, storytelling and violent extremism featuring speakers from 195 different organizations in 23 countries. Meanwhile, long-standing legislation has been re-introduced in Congress to establish a U.S. Department of Peacebuilding whose goals include teaching violence prevention and peer mediation to school children and expanding local violence prevention programs.

Read more: Nonviolent Peaceforce Pioneers Peacebuilding Movement