Category Archives: News Update

Ships with all-women crews set sail for Gaza, hoping to break blockade

From The New York Times Women in the World staff:

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Two boats packed with activists, politicians, and artists from around the world have set sail for the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to break a nearly decade-long Israeli blockade. The boats, named Amal and Zaytouna (“hope” and “olive” in Arabic, respectively), set sail on Wednesday from Barcelona, with only women comprising the crew for each vessel.

Among those aboard were Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead MaGuire from Ireland, American screenwriter and playwright Naomi Wallace, and Cigdem Topcuoglu, the professional athlete from Turkey who was on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 when the ship, in the midst of a similar attempt at breaking the blockade, was boarded by Israeli commandos. Topcuoglu’s husband was among 10 activists killed by the Israeli military in the incident.

Read more here.

 

NI’s unique role in Ukraine

NI is doing valuable peacebuilding work in forgotten Ukraine, and invites your support and interest. People are dying from the war every day in Ukraine. For the first time since WW2, the European continent has experienced annexation of a territory of one state by another. External interference and propaganda were used to escalate relatively minor internal tensions to the level of open violence and further – to a large-scale military conflict. The world is seriously discussing the possibility of sliding into a state of a “new cold war.”

The crisis in Ukraine has developed due to an intrinsic combination of internal and external factors. Violence was imposed on Ukrainian society through an armed intervention from Russia.  Foreign intervention on a limited scale, as it took place in April – June 2014, would never have resulted in a full-out war had it not been for the existing divisions and conflicts within Ukrainian society.

Our Role

In this situation Nonviolence International sees its task to help address current challenges by means of dialogue, education, and through the development of civil activities that bring down barriers, and bridge the fault lines in the Ukrainian society. Since the regional chapter of Nonviolence international in Russia closed because of the political situation in the country in the end of 2014, the focus of NI’s regional representative has been almost entirely on Ukraine. Over the past year in a half, activities have included:

Supporting the Ukrainian Peace-building School (UPbS) in

  • training local activists,

  • monitoring and analyzing the effects of local civil projects,

  • developing a “framework strategy” for the integration of IDPs and other conflict-affected groups, and

  • writing a book: “International experience of civilian peace-building in the post-Soviet space”.

NI also continues to coordinate the activities of the Eastern Europe regional network of the Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), including the support for long-term strategies such as

  • introducing peace education into formal and informal educational institutions;

  • practical work on conflict prevention and transformation, (including the development of dialogue practices on the community, interregional and inter-state levels); and

  • enhancement of the impact/influence of civil peace-building organizations.

Civil Society

Civil society has become a powerful force in Ukraine. According to recent surveys, civil society groups are trusted beyond official government institutions and even beyond the church. However, to capitalize on these levels of confidence, to match the high expectations regarding the role of civil activists in the transformation of Ukrainian society, they themselves need to re-assess their true role and potential impact, and to design strategies that will allow to maximize the “return” on their efforts.

Right now the regional representative is serving a unique role of planning and  coordination to enhance the contributions of Ukrainian civil society to the restoration of peace in their country: These include:

  • Surveying, cajoling, and coordinating diverse peace groups who compete for funds and attention.

  • Developing a strategic plan that supports peacebuilding in Ukraine and seeks some level of support / endorsement on the part of relevant government institutions and international organizations.

There is no military solution to Ukraine’s problems. Ukraine must heal its divisions and build a society that will pull the country back together economically, socially, and politically.

Peace Education Prize Nominations Open

For the 10th year, Nonviolence International is honored to direct the selection committee for the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize! We are thrilled to announce that the nomination period is now open until July 31 for the $30,000 prize. Please see below for information on making nominations.

El-Hibri Foundation - El-Hibri Peace Education Prize

Celebrating our 10th year of awarding the Peace Education Prize

The El-Hibri Foundation awards an annual $30,000 Peace Education Prize to individuals who have dedicated their lives to making outstanding contributions and demonstrating long-term leadership in building inclusive and socially just communities in the United States.

The Peace Education Prize is intended to celebrate and encourage individuals who embody the principles of peace, justice, and inclusion.

To date, nine individuals, including community organizers, scholars, and activists, have been awarded the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize. Previous winners have made a significant impact to building resilient, equitable, and inclusive communities through education, activism, and movement-building. Click here to learn more about them.

Click here to nominate a leader for the 2016 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize.

What is Peace Education?

The Foundation defines peace education broadly.  In our view, it encompasses a range of activities undertaken in a variety of settings designed to build thriving, engaged, inclusive and collaborative communities:

  • In community settings, peace educators lead appropriate interventions to conflict by promoting inclusion, equity, reconciliation, and social justice. Peace educators strive to make inclusion and the appreciation of difference and diversity widely embraced civic values and cultural norms.
  • In academic settings, peace educators teach and develop curricula or learning programs which promote and model inclusion. They provide knowledge and leadership skills to build collaboration across difference and lead conflict resolution and transformation. They promote respect for human dignity, human differences and human rights.

2016 Peace Education Prize Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Eligibility
Individuals based in the United States whose primary work is focused on domestic audiences are eligible. These individuals will have demonstrated:

  • Impact through leading significant initiatives, organizations, or movements that model inclusive practices and educate and/or build collaboration across diverse audiences;
  • Innovation through effectively implementing cutting edge techniques or approaches in community-building that reduce discrimination and promote mutual understanding, respect, inclusion and collaboration; or
  • Influence through the wide use of their approaches, techniques or programs to catalyze positive cultural change and community-building that can be sustained institutionally, and serve as exemplary models of inclusiveness.

This includes:

  • Social change activists or nonprofit leaders who have developed effective partnerships across sectors or implemented collaborative community-building initiatives that have demonstrably reduced discrimination against marginalized communities and affirmed human dignity using innovative programs and methods, such as social media, to reach and affect larger audiences;
  • Thought leaders who have produced influential works on inclusion, social justice and community-building that have significantly transformed cultural frameworks or narratives, or who have demonstrated by their own example significant social and moral courage and exemplary leadership in standing up for the rights and wellbeing of marginalized and vulnerable communities;
  • Policymakers who have successfully implemented significant inclusion, diversity and social justice initiatives across sectors or provided exceptional leadership in championing inclusiveness in community and educational settings;
  • Institution builders who have led and implemented significant inclusive community- building or collaborative social justice and ally-building institutional initiatives in academic (school or university) or practice (community or nonprofit) settings.

 

Selection Criteria
Finalists will be selected based on the following criteria:

Working across difference

  • Demonstrated leadership in building inclusive movements, or effective bridge-building across difference
  • Demonstrated commitment to reducing discrimination against vulnerable communities
  • Equipped marginalized communities or individuals with leadership and peacebuilding skills (collaboration and conflict resolution)
  • Raised awareness about the positive contributions of diversity
  • Demonstrated commitment to civic engagement

Creating unique and broad-based institutional impact

  • Demonstrated ability to build groundbreaking and successful institutions and/or organizations that reflect inclusion, and a commitment to diversity, accountability and transparency
  • Demonstrated success in building partnerships and collaboration
  • Demonstrated commitment to learning, evaluation and sharing best practices
  • Established credibility among a diverse group of stakeholders
  • Demonstrated ability to scale or reach wider audiences

 

Selection Process
The El-Hibri Peace Education Prize is implemented in partnership with Nonviolence International (NI), which manages an independent review process on behalf of the Foundation. Members of the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize Selection Committee include experts in community organizing and community building, as well as previous Prize Laureates. The selection process may include interviews with references familiar with the nominee’s unique contributions to building or institutionalizing inclusive communities.

Individuals may nominate themselves or others for this award. Click herefor the nomination form for the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize.

 

Timeframe

Nominations for all awards will be accepted online until July 31, 2016. The nomination form is only available online during this period.

Award winners will be announced in the fall of 2016 and presented at the El-Hibri Foundation’s annual awards ceremony.

 

Questions?

Please direct any inquiries to nominations@elhibrifoundation.org.

Apology Petition

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“Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil”.

(Epitaph at bottom of the Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial Cenotaph and Peace Flame to remember all the victims of the atomic bombings)

Seventy-one years ago the U.S. Government did the “unspeakable” and dropped atomic bombs on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, thus beginning the Nuclear  Age. The U.S. has never repented for the use of these weapons of indiscriminate mass murder. Moreover, it has continued to build even deadlier weapons which endanger all of creation. Today the U.S. possesses nearly 7,000 nuclear weapons, many of which are on hair-trigger alert, and proposes to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal. 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear Weapons

 

August 6 and 9, 2016— 71st Anniversary of the  US Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki  

 

The anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time of remembering the horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the work of disarming and dismantling the machinery of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons are sinful and idolatrous. Their research, production, possession, deployment and use are a crime against God and humanity. We decry the fact that the U.S. government plans to commit a trillion dollars to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years. 

 

On this August 6 and 9, we gather with people of faith and conscience across the globe to mark the anniversary with a daily presence of prayer and action. As citizens of the United States, we invite people to publicly ask God for forgiveness for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused the immediate death of more than 200,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more who died in the aftermath as a result of radiation poisoning. Pope Paul VI, in his 1976 World Day of Peace Message, described the bombings as “a butchery of untold magnitude.”  

 

We apologize to the people of Japan – and to the survivors of the bombing, the hibakusha – for our country’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we ask forgiveness for these atrocities. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we offer repentance for threatening to use nuclear weapons and keeping many of them on a first-strike hair-trigger alert. We firmly resolve, with God’s grace and mercy, to reject the false idols of nuclear weapons, and to embrace the life-affirming work of abolishing these weapons of terror.

 

Now is the time to pursue nonviolent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

 

(This petition was prepared by Scott Wright and Art Laffin. Groups sponsoring the petition include: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columbian Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project, the Sisters of Mercy–Institute Justice Team and Little Friends for Peace. To sign the petition please go to http://action.nonviolenceinternational.net/apology_petition. This petition will be presented to the Hibakusha at the August 6th White House witness. Please sign by August 5th. If you are not able to be in Washington, we encourage you to hold a vigil in your area on August 6th and use this petition. For more info contact artlaffin@hotmail.com)

Women’s Boat to Gaza Sails On

logo-2We are happy to announce that Naomi Wallace, a prolific playwright and academic, has been selected to join the US Women’s Boat to Gaza. She has written over 17 plays and taught at multiple elite universities. Along with many others, she has committed herself to standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people and ending Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza strip.

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Despite the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel, Women’s Boat to Gaza remains committed to the full and unconditional lifting of the blockade. This bilateral agreement will not improve conditions in Gaza on its own. Until the Port of Gaza is open for all and the Palestinians live free and without fear, the Boat to Gaza will sail on.
Read more: https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/news/the-freedom-flotilla-coalition-will-sail-until-the-israeli-blockade-of-gaza-is-permanently-and-fully-lifted

For the sake of Gaza’s women, men, and children, the illegal blockade of Gaza must end.