OUR STORY -- OUR VISION

"The Canadian Peace Initiative (“CPI”) is a process to simply provide the venues, support and guidance to ‘Open Space to Open Minds to Peace’.  The  CPI process is open, transparent, patient and committed, drawing people from all walks of life, freeing them from their stasis and mobilizing them.  All members of the Culture of Peace movement have to be leaders in their own right, drawing on their own potential and inner strengths, galvanizing, inspiring and energizing the peace movement.  Everyone is a peace leader and peace educator.  Every day we must take ownership of ourselves and our relationships: we can do anything we set our minds and hearts to; we do no harm, expect and demand no harm be done to us or others; no one is better than another;  we are critical thinkers, finding our own truths; education is our best investment and information our most important resource.   Building a healthy culture is about building healthy relationships – we can do that.   As we take ownership of peace others will follow – because it will be uplifting and empowering,  it will be infectious, and lead to sudden, massive, cultural change."     (As in all things peaceful, this enlightening statement is the result of many contributors and supporters.  The CPI process has led to the Canadian Culture of Peace Program.)  

Here is the story behind Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace.  We foresee Two Worlds: one world shows mankind, in pretty plain terms, the disastrous consequence of the current path of injustice ... the other shows a radically different path of peace. 
 
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "There are always two parties, the party of the Past and the party of the Future ... the Establishment and the Movement."  The message is that the choice is ours: past or future, the establishment or the movement?  The establishment is clearly failing us.  But if it's the movement that we want, if it's the future we want to live and thrive in, we will need an insurgent's attitude to get there. 

Here are our personal paths to peace: 
 
1. OUR VISION:  TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE THE HUMAN COST OF VIOLENCE, IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND WORLD
 
2. Our motto, borrowed from UNESCO: since wars and violence begin in the minds of men, women and children, it is in the minds of men, women and children that the defences of peace must be constructed.  http://www.peace.ca/unesco.htm
 
3. The threat we face: Post 9/11 events have made the threats much more obvious.  War has become total ... none can count themselves immune.  There is no place to hide.  There are no more civilians.  As the World's Scientists have warned us, during our children's lifetime "A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated."  We are the stewards.
 
4. The opportunity we face:  a radically different path.  An attitude of positive transformation and growth as human beings will mean inventing new doctrines, coining new tactics, being agents of change and seeing transitions throughout all of our institutions.   "We need to adopt the mindset of most professional futurists and become systemic optimists - those who believe that life can get better, but only if we fundamentally alter the way we think and do things.  We need to embrace whole-system change."  ( Richard Eckersley)
 
5. Our comfort and motivation:  the Carnegie Commission on Resolving Deadly Conflict concluded, "It is not that we do not know what to do - it is that we do not act". http://www.ccpdc.org/   In the words of Albert Einstein, "The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything."   And Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it's the only thing that ever has." 
 
6. Our common enemy:  "most violence is the result of unscrupulous leaders, out of greed for power and resources, who exploit their people into violence, provoking them with religion, racism, poverty, fear, etc."  We have a crisis of leadership, and followership that must be positively resolved. We must no longer follow "non-servant leaders".  We must no longer follow people who try to lead for their own self-serving greed for power and resources.  Having a common enemy should be a uniting factor for all peacebuilders.  Ask the question, "What does my leader stand for?"  "Is he or she part of the solution or part of the problem?"  If the latter, choose different leaders.  http://www.peace.ca/leadersandviolence.htm
 
7. The urgency: people are suffering and dying as we speak, for the want of peace.  Time is of the essence.  And with the existence of massive amounts of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, a mistake or act of madness could destroy the world and all life on it any afternoon (or at least devastate more than Hiroshima and Nagasaki).  I imagine that we all want a better world for our children, grandchildren and future generations - none want them to become victims of violence.  But they will, unavoidably, if we (you and I) do not act now to build a better world.
 
8. How do we take the radically different path?  Personally and as a world community?
 
First, through education.  Of absolutely anything that we can do, education is the best investment for a better world.  Personal education will give us the tools to build peace.  Generally improved education will empower the people to build a better world, decrease exploitation and achieve more justice and equity.  The United Nations (through UNESCO http://www.peace.ca/un2000celebration.htm ) and the Global Campaign for Peace Education ( http://www.peace.ca/globalcampaignforpeaceeducation.htm ) emphasize the importance of education in building a Culture of Peace.  A hint from Carl Rogers, "The only learning which significantly influences behaviour is self-directed, self-appropriated learning."  For beginners, see http://www.peace.ca/peaceforbeginners.htm and http://www.peace.ca/educationpartnerships.htm
 
Second, through choosing our own personal path to peace.  As Gandhi said, "Find your own truth."  Peace education and peace building is all about empowering people.  To help empower others, you must be empowered.  Each of us has the power and responsibility to build a better world for ourselves, our families and our communities.  Each of us has lots of opportunities (eg. in the institutions we currently live and work in) to lead our institutions into better performance for the public good.  If you do not see a suitable opportunity readily available, make your own.  After you have raised your own awareness and education about the issues affecting peace and violence, and it is recommended that you talk to a peace mentor(s), it is decision time.  Will you be part of the solution ... or part of the problem?  What difference will your life make?  What future will you create? 
 
Third, as a world community, we can take our cue from any civilized community (city, country) ... our best defence is in just law and order.  In the light of new knowledge, the human race must adapt its thinking.  We must positively transform the United Nations to provide international law and order similar to that provided within our countries.  Just as we have governing trustees, bodies of law and peacekeepers in our respective countries, we need the same force of law and order in matters of worldwide significance.  Uppermost, today there is no rational reason to have to resort to war to resolve disputes.  Sooner or later (preferably as soon as possible), war must be made enforceably illegal.  There are Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanisms which are much better than killing.  The war in Iraq has surely shown us that anything the world community devises is better than war.   In the process of transforming the United Nations, world leaders (we) will provide an example for other organizations.
 
Fourth, the crisis of leadership and followership must no longer be allowed to continue.  Educated and empowered people will not, and must not, allow unscrupulous leaders to exploit - anyone, anytime, anywhere.  Each one of us is a leader and follower, so we must continuously improve our leadership and followership expertise ( http://www.peace.ca/peaceleader.htm ).  Our educational structures must devote much more time and care to nurturing leaders and to understanding followership.  Robert Greenleaf, author of "Servant Leadership", tells us "The great leaders are seen as servants first."  Rotary International promotes "Service Above Self" and The Four-Way Test.  Our leaders' purpose is to serve the community people.  Our institutions' purposes, including businesses, are to serve and improve people's lives.   Leaders must embody values of trust, respect, service, justice, empathy, empowerment, foresight, ethical behaviour.  The best test - Do those served grow as persons? and What is the effect on the least privileged in society?  The best leaders cure problems before they become crises.  Leadership by persuasion has the virtue of change by convincement rather than coercion - its advantages are obvious.
 
9. Why now?  E-peace - Electronic peace is the new tool that has made all the difference in the world of violence.  We can no longer be unknowingly exploited by unscrupulous leaders, without recourse.  We now have the power through information technology to choose a radically different path.   E-peace is the Information Revolution use of computers and the Internet to disseminate information, communicate, network and dialogue with other peace builders and peace educators throughout our communities and world (eg. web sites, email listservers, alternative news sources and media, etc.).  Now we can mobilize, we can build upon each others achievements, we can prevent the destruction of secrecy and "psychological operations" ("PsyOps").  We can uncover violence in the making.  Information and education can build people - and information and people together are much more powerful and valuable than money alone.  Furthermore, the Information Revolution has initiated a Spiritual Revolution according to futurist William E. Halal "We will then enter an era of spirit.  You can see it starting today as people embrace values, beliefs and visions - all of those things that are essential to navigate through the mass of information, to find meaning and purpose.  The emergence of this era of spirit is going to become startlingly clear soon.  There will be a change in basic assumptions.  For example, the concept of the corporation will be scrutinized.  How are you going to justify corporate profit-taking in a world of values, meaning, and purpose?  The flaunting of wealth and materialism may be reversed as people reconsider the gap between the rich and the poor.  In about 10 years, certainly no more than 20 years, we will talk about a spiritual age the way we now talk about the information age."
 
10. Able servants with potential to lead will lead, and, where appropriate, they will follow only servant-leaders.  Not much else counts if this does not happen.  This is the great challenge to the emerging generation of leaders: Can we build better order?  As Robert Greenleaf indicates, "All of this rests on the assumption that the only way to change a society (or just make it go) is to produce people, enough people, who will change it (or make it go).  The urgent problems of our day -- the disposition to venture into immoral and senseless wars, destruction of the environment, poverty, alienation, discrimination, overpopulation -- are here because of human failures, individual failures, one person at a time, one action at a time failures. ... caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built."  We need to reconstruct ourselves as people and our institutions.  It's "Go" time. 
 
May all who pass through here travel in safety.
 
Regards,
Bob Stewart
http://www.peace.ca
ANNUAL PEACE EDUCATION CONFERENCE IN CANADA
http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2003.htm
 
Making an Impact: Your gift to the Canadian Peace Education Foundation will do much to reduce the human cost of violence in our communities and world through education about peace and the future in classrooms.  Your gift will have a critical impact on future generations.  You will enable youngsters to widen their sights by exploring alternate paths to transforming conflicts and building a better world.  Gifts of cash, securities, and planned gifts are welcome and may be sent to the Canadian Peace Education Foundation, Box 70, Okotoks, AB, Canada, T1S 1A4.  For more information, visit the website at http://www.peace.ca/foundation.htm

Also see the Overview of Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace and the Special Peacebuilding Role for Canada.

and a new Powerpoint overview of our vision:

NEWBUTTONPINK.GIF (519 bytes) Our Vision: To Build a Better World -                                           
                             With a Culture of Peace