Yesterday was the International Day of Peace (http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org/). September 21st of each year is designated International Day of Peace. Although I knew intellectually that there was a designated day of peace, I did not know the date. Regardless, I have decided today to think about the concept of peace and how to build it into my life and the work I do.
Why was I drawn to the work that I do?
My motiviation stems in part from a sense of service and justice instilled in me by my parents. As a reflective practitioner, I regularly set aside time to consider my practice, my motivations and to check any obstacles and biases that may be present and impact my work.
A favorite quote of mine reminds me that I need to be concerned with the global humanity.
Ubuntu ungamntu ngabanye abantu
"People are people through other people".
This is a Xhosa proverb that I first read about in the book, No Future without Forgiveness, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Having studied Zulu, I was able to see the link of the words from a single root for people, which only emphasized the interlockedness and interdependence we all have with each other.
What will I do?
Although I work in the Staten Island community, and have lived here for more than 13 years, when I was graduating from high school, I thought I would be doing international development work. So, in honor of the International Day of Peace, I am going to spend more time considering the fate of peace in the world.
For instance, I am going to learn more about global initiatives related to reducing poverty and am going to look to participate in an interfaith dialogue. The UN General Assembly is in town and much of the press has been about the vitriole passes back and forth between our President and the leaders of Venezuela and Iran. Lost in the fray, are the events going on associated with that convergence of world leaders, that are working to improve the daily lives of humans around the world.
An example of linking the world need with means to do this is the Clinton Global Initiative (http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org), which focuses on partnering projects with corporate and individual donors. I was fortunate to participate as a facilitator last year; It was an interesting experience. A key emphasis was on Action. From my experience with large groups, one of the biggest obstacles is the ability of a group to balance the need for dialogue/decision-making with the desire and need to take action.
So, for my action, I will commit to read the coverage of news in two international newspapers to get a more balanced perspective on a weekly basis. One from Europe and one from Kenya. I encourage all of you to do the same.