At this time in our world, we see the flames of war and uprising across the planet. We see nations not technically at war expanding their military budgets and ordering the next technological level of military equipment. This is part and parcel of everything that is NOT peace. So it is hoped that you take time to read some of the articles in this missive and give some consideration to the thought that peace has to be worked for as actively as some work for militarism and war. We won't get a productive and creative existence that recognises the value of all human beings in any other way.
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.
Finally, we have a featured article about a peace contest where you can win a free trip to New York to celebrate the International Day of Peace! The contest is part of 1 Billion Acts of Peace, a program sponsored by PeaceJam and supported by 13 Nobel Peace Laureates, the Summer of Peace and many partner organizations. The contest ends on September 14, 2015. To participate all you do is to share peace – click here to learn more. 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.