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Theatre with Purpose for Dialogue about Fracking

22 Feb

Strike Anywhere (SA) is an ensemble of actors, musicians, dancers and visual artists that creates powerful works to raise awareness about issues that affect people and the environment. Their piece “Same River” is an interdisciplinary performance built upon interviews with members of a community about water.

According to their website, performers of Strike Anywhere “collaborate through an ensemble-based, improvisational process to create politically-charged, original works that addresses socially relevant issues. The permanent ensemble is comprised of world-class musicians, dancers, visual artists and actors.”

Fracking Affects the Community in Different Ways

David L’Heureux, Senior Editor at Rodale News, wrote a piece, “Fracking Takes Center Stage in New York Show,” about the New York-based performance group, Strike Anywhere and their upcoming performances of their show, Same River, which deals with the controversial issue of fracking. Fracking is a technique used by Oil and Gas Companies that forces chemicals and water into the ground to bring out possible gas reserves. The theatre piece addresses the potential environmental degradation to water resources as a result of the fracking process.

Towards a New Sustainable Economy: The Role of Education

12 Feb

What is Wealth?

Hazel Henderson, Futurist and founder of Ethical Markets Media, LLC  advocates for new thinking on what constitutes wealth and how we measure it.

Hazel Henderson was interviewed by “The Money Fix” below. In this video Ms. Henderson says:

“The real wealth of nations are the population and its talents and resources and of course the resources of the earth. Those are the real assets of any nation.”

The Money Fix podcast #1 Hazel Henderson

Henderson claims that money initially was a way of tracking various transactions between people. However, when the system grew people equated money with wealth. This philosophy of wealth and money according to Henderson created problems in “every local social system on the planet.”

More Paper Assets than Actual Goods and Services

One of the major problems with our current economic system is that we have 9 times more paper assets than people on the ground producing useful things like clothes and food according to Henderson. Before the major 1929 Depression Henderson said that the huge mountain of paper assets piled on top of paper assets resulted in eventual economic collapse. She predicted that there would be a similar collapse of the economy based on the imbalance in the economic system.

Hazel Henderson was interviewed for the above video in 2007. Her prediction about the U.S. economy tanking occurred. The U.S. economy went into a deep recession starting in 2007 and 2008 primarily due to wild speculation by Wall Street on exotic CDOs related to mortgage backed securities. The securities were packaged to appear healthy by major brokerage firms like Goldman Sachs. In reality these “securities” were toxic waste dump booby-traps waiting to go off. Companies like Goldman Sachs deliberately encouraged some of their clients to purchase these toxic waste dump financial products knowing that they would most likely fail. They bet against the very securities they sold to their clients in order to reap profits.

How Do We Achieve A Sustainable Economy in Harmony with the Environment?

Hazel Henderson says that 50% of all countries have a cooperative economy not necessarily based on money transactions. Instead it is based on caring and sharing. She calls it the “Love Economy.” In developing nations, 75% of their economies may be considered “Cooperative” economies.

How do we measure national well-being? The Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators include a systems approach that takes into account the dynamic state of our social, economic and environmental quality of life. Henderson promotes “Ethical Markets.”

Hazel Henderson offers 21st Century Strategies for Sustainability. In her article she says:

Reintegrating human knowledge, systems thinking and multi-disciplinary approaches to public and private decisions are widely recognized as necessary to address the human condition in this new century.

Why is our equal genius for bonding and cooperative behavior – even altruism not taught in business schools as the true foundation of all human organizations and our greatest scientific and technological achievements?

If a doctor makes a patient sick, a malpractice suit can be filed.  Economists’ bad advice can make whole countries sick – with impunity, as, for example, IMF economists’ advice worsened Indonesia’s economic woes in 1997.

How can we provide excellent education and jobs for the Youth of the World?

On Feb. 12, 2011 NPR had an interesting program from America Abroad Media, “The Arab World’s Demographic Dilemma: Young, Unemployed and Searching for a Voice,” about the problem in the Middle East of a majority of unemployed youth with little or no job prospects. There is a cycle of lack of good education for Youth in countries like Yemen, Jordan, and Egypt combined with a reduction of jobs provided in the public sector and small growth of jobs in the private sector. No wonder these youth are prime targets for extremist groups.

Where are the leaders of the world thinking about the future generations? The present generations have a responsibility to:

  • Educate the next generation to be well-prepared to tackle the realities of the world
  • Educate the next generation of youth to be critical thinkers who are problem-solvers
  • Provide dignified job opportunities for youth

This is a worldwide issue, not just something occurring in the Middle East. U.S. corporations have kept wages the same for over a decade and cut jobs. Many young graduates apply to hundreds of positions before getting even one interview. Is this reasonable?

It is time to rethink the economic ecosystem and create healthy economies that will employ the Youth of the World in every country. Simultaneously there is a need for providing better quality K-12, college and post-graduate levels of education to the world’s future generations. Creating a new sustainable economy involves preparing the next generation to meet the challenges they will confront. A healthy economy is based on good education of present and future generations.

The world is interconnected, we have a joint interest in helping the Youth of every country succeed.

What are your thoughts on the role of education and jobs in your country towards creating a new sustainable economy?

Poetry by 3 Year Old Children

28 Jan

You-Tube Features Children Who Recite Poetry and Stories by Heart

These young budding poets will amaze you with their ability to recite poetry with great feeling!

The Conversation: Child Poet a YouTube Star

Isabella reciting poetry

Remembering Dr. Elise Boulding: Great Mother of the Peace Movement

18 Jul

Dr. Elise Boulding, mother, peacemaker, educator, visionary, writer passed away on June 24, 2010 in Needham, Massachusetts at age 89.

Dr. Boulding, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Dartmouth College and Former Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association, dedicated her life to her family and students and to raising the next generation of peacemakers.  She also helped establish the National Peace Academy and served as the Honorary Chair of its Advisory Council.

Elise Boulding on a National Peace Academy: May 9, 2008

Elise Boulding: A Life in the Cause of Peace by Mary Lee Morrison

Her biographer, Mary Lee Morrison, founder of Pax Educare, Inc. wrote a profile on the webpage of the National Peace Academy that states:

Early perceptions of peace education were that it was education toward the abolition of war and that it was an “arm” of the peace research movement. In the years following the Second World War, and particularly in the last thirty years, new ideas have expanded the concept of peace education. Boulding’s writings and those of other feminists in the 1970s laid the groundwork for the work of later educators who embraced ideas of connectedness, caring and imaging and the importance of thinking globally and acting locally. Many of Boulding’s ideas predated contemporary thinking on the importance of ecological sustainability and the dangers inherent in “cultures of war.”

In 1979 President Jimmy Carter appointed Elise to the Congressional Commission on Proposals for a National Academy of Peace and Conflict Resolution, now known as the United States Institute of Peace. She was the sole woman appointed to the Matsunaga Commission. A look at Boulding’s role in the process leading up to the final Commission report and the subsequent founding of the United States Institute of Peace provides a fascinating look at the Commission process itself and the events leading up to it as well as a view of some of the inherent conflicts.

According to an article in the Boston Globe, she gave an interview with Alan AtKisson in 1990 called “Concentrating on Essence: From family to community to nation and biosphere, peace on our planet depends on the power of love” where she said:

“We can’t simplify the world.  There’s no wand we can wave to remove the complexities around us…So, in a profound sense, we have to take responsibility for living on the planet.”

Life of an International Woman Peacemaker:

In a 2003 interview with Julian Portilla of Beyond, Dr. Boulding said:

“I would say my 18 years as a full-time homemaker; peace building in the family, and raising kids to be peacemakers was a very important part of my life. I’ve always learned a lot from kids. I’ve done a lot of research on NGO’s and the role they have played on civil society; locally, nationally and internationally. I’ve studied a lot different fields, including women, fields of development, and especially the development of peace culture through history.”

Writings of Elise Boulding

Into Full Flower: Making Peace Cultures Happen by Elise Boulding and Daisaku Ikeda

  • The Underside of History: A View of Women through Time (New York: Halsted, 1976)
  • Building a Global Civic Culture: Education for an Interdependent World (New York, New York: Teachers College Press, 1988)
  • One Small Plot of Heaven: Reflections on Family Life by a Quaker Sociologist. (Philadelphia, Pendle Hill Press, 1989)
  • Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History (Syracuse, Syracuse University Press, 2000)
  • Into Full Flower: Making Peace Cultures Happen, Elise Boulding and Daisaku Ikeda (Dialogue Path Press, 2010)

Elise Boulding and the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue

Elise Boulding & Winston Langley, Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, & Dialogue, 9/20/08

Elise Boulding’s Message to Present and Future Generations

  • We have to learn citizenship in the United Nations and help develop it.
  • Go into any situation as an apprentice.
  • Remember women and children in any situation you are working for.
  • Include people of all ages in the conflict resolution process, but especially include young people.
  • Include art, music, dance, poetry and theatre in peacemaking. The human spirit needs that.
  • History books frequently emphasize “conflicts.” There are other stories that include cooperation and peacebuilding.
  • Have fun! If we get totally serious, it gets too heavy.  We have to lift our spirits.
  • Create a 200-year present envisioning process as a way to think about change.  Fred Polak believed that societies that have a positive image of the future are empowered by their own images to act creatively in the present.
  • I would advise people to spend some time doing some imagining about what kind of world they are working for. (Write it down and revisit it from time to time.)
  • There needs to be a second United Nations Assembly, a People’s Assembly made up of the 10,000 ethnic peoples that live across state boundaries.
  • Learn about the great role of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in peacemaking and creating treaties at the United Nations.

(See audio interview of Elise Boulding by Julian Portilla for detailed quotes.)

65th Anniversary of Trinity Nuclear Test: Time to Retire Nukes

16 Jul

Time to Retire Nuclear Weapons on 65th Anniversary of Trinity Test

Today, July 16, 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of the first explosion of a nuclear bomb code-named “Trinity”  in Alamogordo, New Mexico. As the Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) claims in their letter to the public:

Today- July 16, 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of  the first nuclear weapon explosion – named “Trinity”. Some have noted that, as age 65 is the traditional “retirement” date, now is the time for us to seriously work towards retirement for nuclear weapons.

Trinity Nuclear Test, Alamogordo, New Mexico, July 16, 1945

Our Common Humanity

In an interconnected world, there is no need to have nuclear weapons. These weapons make us less secure.

David Krieger, President of the The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, sent a message urging all people around the world to come to their senses and abolish these horrible weapons that threaten all life on this planet:

On this 65th anniversary of embarking on the Journey of Death, we must change course and move back from the nuclear precipice. The weapons are illegal, immoral, undemocratic and militarily unnecessary. The surest way to bring them under control is by negotiating a new treaty, a Nuclear Weapons Convention, for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.

The United States led the world into the Nuclear Age. President Obama has pointed out that the country also has a moral responsibility to lead the way out. This can be done, but not with a citizenry that is ignorant, apathetic and in denial. Sixty-five years on the Journey of Death is long enough. It is past time for citizens to awaken and become engaged in this issue as if their future depended upon it, as it does.

Resources on the Nuclear Threat and Reasons for Abolition


Nuclear Age Peace Foundation


Countdown to Zero – Official Trailer

Citizen Responsibility

Human security is a right.

In an interconnected world, each person has a voice. We each can educate ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities and our representatives to the truth about the fact that nuclear weapons make us all less safe.

Your Ideas on Nuclear Disarmament…

Peace Education: If Not Now, When? Lecture at USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, April 29, 2010 at 7 pm

25 Apr
Colman McCarthy, Peace Educator, will speak at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Theatre April 29, 2010 at 7 pm

Colman McCarthy, Peace Educator, will speak at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Theatre April 29, 2010 at 7 pm

Important Lecture/Q&A about Peace Education in San Diego

Date & Time:  Thursday, April 29th 7:00 P.M.

Location: Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre University of San Diego 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego CA 92110

Colman McCarthy, a former syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, is the director of The Center for Teaching Peace, a Washington DC nonprofit that works with schools to begin or to expand academic programs in peace education. He teaches at Georgetown University Law Center, American University, the University of Maryland, the Washington Center for Interns and two public high schools. Since 1982 he has taught more than 8,000 students. His books include All of One Peace, Involvements and I’d Rather Teach Peace. He is the editor of Solutions to Violence and Strength Through Peace, texts that are used in hundreds of universities and high schools.

Peace Educator Colman McCarthy said:

“Unless we teach our children peace, someone will teach them violence.”

Colman McCarthy will inspire everyone–especially educators, students, parents, and community organizers–regarding the importance of incorporating peace education into our daily lives.

The event is co-sponsored by University of San Diego’s: Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies and the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) and the Peace Education Group: Arising. The event is free and open to the public. There will be a book signing after the lecture at 8:15 p.m.

Colman McCarthy Speaks about being a PeaceMaker

2009 Woman PeaceMaker: Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan

27 Oct

Rubina Feroze Bhatti and TWO for human rights in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti and Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) for human rights in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti, a human rights and peace advocate, was selected as a
2009 Women Peacemaker together with three other women from around the world by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 2009 Women PeaceMakers

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 2009 Women PeaceMakers

Creating a Culture of Peace

The Culture of Peace is a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations. (UN Resolutions A/RES/52/13).

Ms. Bhatti is a founding member and general secretary of Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO), a non-governmental non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the development of a Culture of Peace, interfaith harmony, women’s rights, health and equality through its educational programs that creatively address issues of intolerance, sectarianism and discriminatory laws against both women and minorities. The educational and cultural programs of TWO help empower women to report on violence against women, provide counseling, legal aid and economic development assistance. Ms. Bhatti also works with media to raise awareness about these issues.

Taangh Wasaib: Women Peace Maker 2009

A turning point in Ms. Bhatti’s life came when she read the book “The Vision of Peace” by Nobel Prize Laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire. Ms. Corrigan Maguire stood up to the religious intolerance and bloody conflict in Northern Ireland in order to save her country from sectarianism. The personal life story of Ms. Maguire enabled Ms. Bhatti to decide to fully engage in the struggle for social justice in Pakistan in order to truly create a culture of peace within herself and within her community.

Since 1991 Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan has tirelessly dedicated her life to protecting the rights of women and minorities in Pakistan. She began her work when she helped fight blasphemy laws that targeted a Christian Pakistani man who was falsely accused of committing an offense against Islam.

In addition, Ms. Bhatti succeeded in helping to restore the joint electorate system in Pakistan. As of 2002 Muslims and Christians are legally allowed to vote for one another, thus creating a more just electoral system.

Taangh Wasaib: 16 days Campaign

Due to Ms. Bhatti’s efforts, people of all faiths in Pakistan are realizing the importance of protecting women from the effects of the 400 year old tradition of Wan’ni, where women are used to settle disputes and prevent revenge killings between families. Unfortunately, women given to the family “wronged” by another family, are trapped for the rest of their lives as bartering chips in order to end the cycle of revenge. In this inhumane cultural tradition the man who might have killed someone, is never brought to trial. Instead, their female family member pays the debt for the rest of her life by living as a virtual slave to the “wronged” family. As her movie “Wan’ni: Murdered Marriages” poignantly depicts, the woman given to the other family lives a life of sorrow because she cannot see her family or have her own family. The film also depicts Honor Killings and maiming and sheds light on the inhumane practices that lead to psychological, physical and emotional violence against women.

Taangh Wasaib: Wan`ni Murdered Marriages

Ms. Bhatti is working with legislators to change discriminatory laws against women and minorities in Pakistan.

Pakistani students supporting human rights and TWO Rally

University of Sargodha students join TWO Rally to Stop Violence Against Women

Ms. Bhatti’s approach to solving the issues of violence against women in Pakistan shows her determined step by step method of confronting every challenge that arises in the course of finding the best way to help others. First she established legal aid centers for women so they would understand their human rights to not be subjected to violence. However, Ms. Bhatti also realized women needed other forms of assistance to enable them to live happy lives. She then created counseling centers and educational skill-building centers. Then, in order to assist women to begin their own businesses, Ms. Bhatti established micro-lending programs to help women get started with their ventures.

In 1998, while teaching Chemistry, Ms. Bhatti started a dialogue Study Circle Group with students where the participants of all faiths discussed the problems confronting women and minorities in Pakistan of religious intolerance and sectarianism. The students assisted in gathering information to help solve the problems they identified. This process which continues today is a grassroots approach rooted in the local communities. There are now more than 1,500 volunteers working with the TWO in Pakistan.

Study Circle at Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) Pakistan

Study Circle at Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) Pakistan

The Transformative Power of Art and Theatre

Ms. Bhatti and her Study Circle Groups have written and performed more than 50 meaningful interactive theatre presentations on peace and human rights where the audience gets to complete the theatre piece through their own suggestions for how the play unfolds. This method builds trust and friendship between those attending the performances which have taken place throughout the Punjab and North-West Frontier Provinces.

Educational Programs in Schools and Communities

Ms. Bhatti has brought Human Rights education into more than 200 schools in Pakistan from primary, elementary to high school level students. Children perform interactive educational theatre presentations in their schools to bring awareness of human rights issues and how to protect the rights of all people, both men and women.

After presenting an educational program to a group of children who work in a brick kiln factory in Pakistan, Ms. Bhatti realized the need for these youth to have access to a school. One young boy approached her after the event and asked her, “What is school? Who studies in school? What are books?” She realized that bringing awareness of education was not enough to help these young people, so she arranged with the owner of the brick kiln to provide a room where children wishing to go to school would have the opportunity. A teacher was hired to come to the school room, and as of 2009, five children from this brick kiln community have passed the high school exam. This achievement is historic and unprecedented due to the difficult living conditions in many of these labour communal situations. However, through her determined effort to help even one child break the bonds of illiteracy, Ms. Bhatti and the TWO have forged a path for these young people to be able to know the joys of learning.

The Interconnection Between Religious Traditions

Ms. Bhatti read Punjabi literature of the Sufis which she feels truly gives a message of “peace, love and harmony.” She draws influences for her art and theatre productions from the stories and spiritual music of Sufism. She said that the scripts of Sufism reach people’s hearts and have the ability to bring people together, regardless of religious backgrounds.

2009 Woman PeaceMaker Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan speaks at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

The Next Steps for Peace

Ms. Bhatti wrote in her personal story of  being a Woman PeaceMaker,

“I have been focusing on promoting a culture of dialogue, collaboration and development partnership among and between various sections of the society and democratic governance. Through these dialogues, people’s perceptions about social problems (effects and causes), roles and functions of social and political institutions would be promoted.”

Today Ms. Bhatti is also concerned about the devastating effects of war on women, children and all humanity. She said that the root causes of war–poverty and lack of education–need to be addressed in order to stop violence both in Pakistan and the world.” Ms. Bhatti said,

“I want to do something for the next generation. Interfaith dialogue turns into friendship which then turns into helping humanity. Our Study Circle Groups continue to help identify commonalities amongst people of different religions.”

In 2005 Ms. Bhatti was one of 1,000 international women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to protect human rights and create a lasting Culture of Peace. Today, through her many activities and dialogues throughout the world, she is continuing her efforts to create a true Culture of Peace in Pakistan and for all humanity.