Monday, January 22, 2007

Putting All the Peaces Together

What's exciting about peace is that it's nonpartisan and pan-generational: a cause that transcends all boundaries and borders and beliefs. It never goes out of fashion; sort of like the word "cool", which has been in vogue since the 1940s.

The campaign to establish a U.S. Department of Peace is gaining momentum. First proposed during the administration of George Washington (yes, the concept of a Peace Department is as old as our country!), the idea has been revived and championed by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who is running for president in 2008.

The first Department of Peace conference took place in Washington, D.C. in September, 2005. The upcoming Conference, scheduled for February 3-5, 2007 (Friday through Sunday) promises to be a blockbuster event, drawing the likes of Deepak Chopra, Kucinich, Marianne Williamson, Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith (founder of Agape International Spiritual Center in L.A.) and Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson, and an ardent crusader to raise awareness of domestic violence).

Equally exciting is the Student Peace Alliance, formed at Brandeis University in March 2006 and now active in 15 schools across the U.S. Their mission is to bring a culture of peace to college and high school campuses nationwide while supporting the U.S. Department of Peace legislation.

In the words of Student Peace Alliance newsletter editors Jennifer and Natalie, "We, as students, have the ability to truly shape the course of modern history. The Student Peace Alliance is the embodiment of youthful strength and dedication to create the world in which we want to live: peaceful, progressive, unified and abundant with opportunities for positive growth. We invite and challenge you to join us and others in creating history."

Because Gandhi's life and work is the key thread on which this and generally all peace initiatives are woven, it's intriguing to me to remember that the day I turned off the TV forever (in April, 1994) I was watching the film "Gandhi." Early on, he is shot. At that moment, I clicked the remote, and that was the last time I watched television. Can't say I miss it.

For further perspectives on peace, inclusive of other voices, please e-mail me and request Issue #63/September 2006 of my e-newsletter, What Shines. This issue is titled, "Pax Gaia: Putting All the Peaces Together."


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