I Need Your Help: Asking You To Support Emerging Peace Leaders

Support Emerging Peace Leaders:
What you can do to make a difference in 4 people’s lives, and in the world 

Dearest friends, family and colleagues around the world –
I need to ask for your help to make a difference in 4 peoples lives and their countries

I am writing to ask you for help. As many of you know I have recently taken up the role of Co-Leader of Hacettepe University Peace & Conflict Studies Global Peace Institute. There we are creating what is an exceptional MA (masters) programme to truly and deeply train, inspire, educate and empower people from all over the world with the skills, knowledge, capabilities and confidence they need to make a difference – in their communities, their countries and globally. We have an incredible student body – people coming from many different backgrounds, including from deeply war affected countries, and united by their common commitment and dedication. 

We are now trying to make it possible for four remarkable individuals: Sarwat Sharif and Aftab Ahmad from Pakistan, Shakila Enayatzade from Afghanistan, and Georgiana Mariana Rus from Romania to join us for the coming academic year beginning now in January. These four individuals are receiving ‘Future Leaders Scholarships’ from the University, but we still need to raise funds to support their living, accommodation and travel.

[To support directly click here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-emerging-peace-leaders/x/9643078#home%5D

Sarwat, Aftab and Shakila are coming from countries deeply affected and wracked by war and violence. Billions of dollars have been spent in equipping and training people for war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are…I am…asking for your help to raise a few thousands Euros to support Sarwat, Aftab, Shakila and Georgiana to spend one year getting one of the best graduate degrees in the world in peacebuilding, so they can make a real and meaningful difference in their communities and countries, in the world.

Fantastic 4 Thank you

You might be able to donate 5 Euros / dollars / pounds. You might be able to cover the entire costs for one or all four of them. You might know someone who can help, or be able to hold a bake sale, car wash, raise funds at your school or company to help them. For all four to cover all costs for their degrees for 1 year we need about 24.000 Euros in total. The rest we are providing from the university.

I need to raise these funds in 1 week for them to be able to come take part in time. I’d like to ask you to share this with anyone you know who may be able to help, and to get back to me directly at jacobsen@peaceoperations.org if you can.

I believe in Sarwat, Aftab, Shakila and Georgiana, and I believe we can make a difference. It’s time to say: we’re tired of the continual war and violence and use of violence fuelled by so many from heads of state to outraged groups. I want to believe in something better. I want to do something better. I want to help support and enable those who will make a difference in their countries and the world to be trained in peacebuilding.

Please – help us by donating directly even if just a few dollars / euros / pounds / yen or any currency, or as much as you’re able, and by forwarding this as broadly as you can through your networks, to friends, family, colleagues and others. This will make a difference, but we need you to help make it happen.

I’m asking you to help us change the world, and to change the lives of these four people by making this possible for them.

Thank you…for helping to make this possible, and for helping us to do something concrete and real to make a difference in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and in the world.

Emerging Peace Leaders: A Permanent Campaign You Can Help Succeed!

At the same time, this campaign is about much more than just raising support for Sarwat Sharif and Aftab Ahmad from Pakistan, Shakila Enayatzade from Afghanistan, and Georgiana Mariana Rus from Romania – though that alone would be an entirely worthy and important cause. We’ve decided to make this a permanent scholarship to support emerging peace leaders from around the world to take part in the Hacettepe University Peace & Conflict Studies international MA – quickly becoming one of the best in the world for people truly dedicated to learning how to DO peacebuilding in practice – in their communities, their countries and internationally. 

The scholarship will be dedicated to supporting extraordinary people: people of courage, people of dedication, people of inspiration, passion and commitment – people working to make a change in their communities, in their countries – often in deeply challenging and difficult circumstances. It will go to women working in their communities to overcome and prevent violent against women. It will go to youth and elders in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere working to inspire, mobilise and encourage people to unite to end the violence in their countries, to reach out across divisions, to rise for peace and stop the wars affecting their people. It will go to people in Israel-Palestine, Cyprus, the Congo and elsewhere bringing people together from ‘across’ conflict parties to go through their MAs together and build the trust, confidence, mutual understanding and real skill and commitment they need to support effective peacebuilding. It will go to people in Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, the United States and other countries deeply affected by armed violence and help them study concretely proven and effective methods for reducing and preventing armed violence.

It will go…to people who are rising to do what is necessary and make a difference in this world. To people…being the change we need to see. And we’re asking you to be part of this.

Whether you can help by donating 5 $ or Euros or 5000 or 50.000, or by sharing this further through your networks, or by joining and reposting/sharing updates and information – or organising a car wash, bake sale, school fundraising, dinner with friends who come together to support…whatever you can do…you can do something. You can help, and make an opportunity that will change people’s lives and support peacebuilding in their countries possible. And for that…we thank you. I thank you.

In peace, in dedication,
Kai Frithjof Brand-Jacobsen

Co-Leader, Hacettepe International MA in Peace and Conflict Studies and Head of Peace Operations & Integral Development; and Director, Department of Peace Operations

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-emerging-peace-leaders/x/9643078#home

To Join the Support Emerging Peace Leaders Facebook Community go to:

https://www.facebook.com/SupportEmergingPeaceLeaders

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Living Peace – Statement from the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

LIVING PEACE
Final Statement
Living Peace Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates
Nothing is as antagonistic to peace as the human mind without love, compassion, and reverence for life and nature. Nothing is as noble as the human being who chooses to bring love and compassion into action.

This year we honor the legacy of Nelson Mandela. He exemplified the principles for which the Nobel Peace Prize is granted and serves as a timeless example of a truth he lived. As he himself said: “love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

He had many reasons to give up hope, even to hate, but he chose love in action. It is a choice we can all make.

We are saddened by the fact that we were not able to honor Nelson Mandela and his fellow Peace Laureates in Cape Town this year because of the refusal of the South African government to grant a visa to H.H. the Dalai Lama to enable him to attend the planned Summit in Cape Town. The 14th Summit, which was moved to Rome, has nevertheless permitted us to consider South Africa’s unique experience in showing that even the most intractable disputes can be resolved peacefully through civic activism and negotiation.

As Nobel Peace Laureates we bear witness that – as has happened in South Africa during the past 25 years – change for the common good can be achieved. Many of us have faced guns and overcome fear with a commitment to live with and for peace.

Peace thrives where governance protects the vulnerable, where the rule of law brings justice and the treasure of human rights, where harmony with the natural world is achieved, and where the benefits of tolerance and diversity are fully realized.

Violence has many faces: prejudice and fanaticism, racism and xenophobia, ignorance and shortsightedness, injustice, gross inequalities of wealth and opportunity, oppression of women and children, forced labor and slavery, terrorism, and war.

Many people feel powerless and suffer in cynicism, selfishness, and apathy. There is a cure: when individuals commit to caring for others with kindness and compassion, they change and they are able to make changes for peace in the world.

It is a universal personal rule: We must treat others as we wish to be treated. Nations, also, must treat other nations as they wish to be treated. When they don’t, chaos and violence follow. When they do, stability and peace are obtained.

We decry the continued reliance on violence as a primary means of addressing differences. There are no military solutions to Syria, Congo, South Sudan, Ukraine, Iraq, Palestine/Israel, Kashmir and other conflicts.

One of the greatest threats to peace is the continuing view of some great powers that they can achieve their goals through military force. This perspective is creating new crisis today. If left unchecked this tendency will inevitably lead to increased military confrontation and to a new more dangerous Cold War.

We are gravely concerned about the danger of war – including nuclear war – between large states. This threat is now greater than at any time since the Cold War.

We urge your attention to the annexed letter from President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Militarism has cost the world over 1.7 trillion dollars this past year. It deprives the poor of urgently needed resources for development and protection of the earth’s ecosystem and adds to the likelihood of war with all its attendant suffering.

No creed, no religious belief should be perverted to justify gross violations of human rights or the abuse of women and children. Terrorists are terrorists. Fanaticism in the guise of religion will be more easily contained and eliminated when justice is pursued for the poor, and when diplomacy and cooperation are practiced amongst the most powerful nations.

10,000,000 people are stateless today. We support the campaign of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to end statelessness within ten years as well as its efforts to alleviate the suffering of over 50,000,000 displaced persons.

The current wave of violence against women and girls and the perpetration of sexual violence in conflict by armed groups and military regimes further violates women’s human rights, and makes it impossible for them to realize their goals of education, freedom of movement, peace and justice. We call for full implementation of all UN resolutions addressing women, peace and security and political will by national governments to do so.

Protecting Global Commons

No nation can be secure when the climate, oceans, and rainforests are at risk. Climate change is already leading to radical changes in food production, extreme events, rising sea levels, the intensity of weather patterns, and is increasing the likelihood of pandemics.

We call for a strong international agreement to protect the climate in Paris in 2015.

Poverty and Sustainable Development

It is unacceptable that over 2 billion people live on less than $2.00 per day. Countries must adopt well-known practical solutions to eliminate the injustice of poverty. They must support the successful completion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We urge adoption of the recommendations of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons.

A first step to ending the oppression of dictatorships would be the rejection by banks of money arising from their corruption as well as constraints on their travel.

The rights of children must become part of every government’s agenda. We call for universal ratification and application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The widening jobs gap needs to be, and can be, bridged and credible action must be undertaken to give the millions of new labor market entrants a viable job. An effective social floor can be designed in every country to eliminate the worst forms of deprivation. People need to be empowered to claim their social and democratic rights and achieve sufficient control over their own destinies.

Nuclear Disarmament

There are over 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. As the recent 3rd International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons concluded: the impact of the use of just one is unacceptable. A mere 100 would lower the earth’s temperature by over 1 degree Celsius for at least ten years, causing massive disruption of global food production and putting 2 billion people at risk of starvation. If we fail to prevent nuclear war, all of our other efforts to secure peace and justice will be for naught. We need to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Meeting in Rome, we commend Pope Francis’ recent call for nuclear weapons to be “banned once and for all”. We welcome the pledge by the Austrian government “to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”.

We urge all states to commence negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons at the earliest possible time, and subsequently to conclude the negotiations within two years. This will fulfill existing obligations enshrined in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will be reviewed in May of 2015, and the unanimous ruling of the International Court of Justice. Negotiations should be open to all states and blockable by none. The 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2015 highlights the urgency of ending the threat of these weapons.

Conventional Weapons

We support the call for a pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons (killer robots) – weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without human intervention. We must prevent this new form of inhumane warfare.

We urge an immediate halt to the use of indiscriminate weapons and call on all states to join and fully comply with the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

We commend the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty and urge all states to join the Treaty.

Our Call

We call upon religious, business, civic leaders, parliaments and all persons of good will to work with us to realize these principles and polices.

Human values that honor life, human rights and security, are needed more than ever to guide nations. No matter what nations do every individual can make a difference. Nelson Mandela lived peace from a lonely jail cell, reminding us that we must never ignore the most important place where peace must be alive — within the heart of each one of us. It is from that place that everything, even nations, can be changed for the good.

We urge wide distribution and study of the Charter for A World Without Violence adopted by the 8th Nobel Peace Laureate Summit in Rome 2007.

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Attached hereto is an important communication from President Mikhail Gorbachev. He was unable to join us in Rome due to health concerns. He is the founder of the Nobel Peace Laureate Summits and we urge your attention to this wise intervention:

Mikhail Gorbachev’s Letter to Participants in the Nobel Laureates Forum

Dear friends,

I am very sorry I am unable to participate in our meeting but also happy that, true to our common tradition, you have gathered in Rome to make the voice of Nobel Laureates heard around the world.

Today, I feel great concern at the state of European and world affairs.

The world is going through a time of troubles. The conflict that has flared up in Europe is threatening its stability and undermining its capacity to play a positive role in the world. The events in the Middle East are taking an increasingly dangerous turn. There are smoldering or potential conflicts in other regions as well while the growing global challenges of security, poverty and environmental decay are not being properly addressed.

Policy-makers are not responding to the new realities of the global world. We have been witnessing a catastrophic loss of trust in international relations. Judging by statements of representatives of major powers, they are preparing for a long-term confrontation.

We must do all we can to reverse these dangerous trends. We need new, substantive ideas and proposals that would help the current generation of political leaders to overcome the severe crisis of international relations, restore normal dialogue, and create the institutions and mechanisms that fit the needs of today’s world.

I have recently put forward proposals that could help step back from the brink of a new cold war and begin restoring trust in international affairs. In essence, I propose the following:
• to finally start implementing the Minsk Agreements for resolving the Ukrainian crisis;
• to reduce the intensity of polemics and mutual accusations;
• to agree on steps to prevent the humanitarian catastrophe and rebuild the regions affected by the conflict;
• to hold negotiations on strengthening the institutions and mechanisms of security in Europe;
• to re-energize common efforts to address global challenges and threats.

I am convinced that each Nobel Laureate can make a contribution to overcoming the current dangerous situation and returning to the path of peace and cooperation.

I wish you success and hope for to see you.

This statement reflects the general consensus of the deliberations of Nobel Peace Laureates and Nobel Peace Laureate organizations gathered at the 2014 Rome Summit but does not necessarily bind any particular participant. For example, some organizations, such as the IPCC, by their constitution cannot endorse specific policy proposals.

* Participants in the Summit were the Dalai Lama, President Jose Ramon Horta, Lord David Trimble, Betty Williams, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman, Mairead Maguire and twelve Nobel Peace Laureate organizations: American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, European Commission, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, International Labour Organization, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, International Peace Bureau, International Physicians for the Prevention of War, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the United Nations.

Quotes and Reflections of a Peaceworker

Late December just before the holiday I had the opportunity to take part in a truly wonderful and inspiring programme with some wonderful, dedicated people from around the world – as part of the creation and development of IAHV (International Association of Human Values) new Peacebuilding unit. I was the trainer in the programme and co-worker with the participants and am a peace advisor to IAHV Peacebuilding. One of the participants took down a number of ‘quotes’ during the programme and sent them later to me and the other participants. This morning I had the chance to read over them, fixed a few to the exact wording used in the training, and added some further thoughts and context that had been brought out in the training but didn’t always make it into each ‘quote’. I’ve been encouraged to share them more broadly and hope they may be of interest. They are offered humbly and with commitment. Warmly, Kai 

Creating IAHV Peacebuilding

“Our words and how we behave as peaceworkers are the equivalent in our field to a surgeon’s hand when doing a surgery.” Continues: “Just as the slightest shake or mistake in surgery can cause harm, we also need to be intimately aware of how our words and behaviour are understood and perceived, and to ourselves model and manifest the values and practice we’re promoting.”

“Peacebuilders undertake to have nuanced understanding of the perspectives of all sides [of a conflict]”.

The Third Way (instead of Third Party) – referencing 1. that it’s not only about 2 parties, usually there are many; and also 2. that there are aways beyond (1) I’m right or (2) you’re right – hence a (3) third way: working to transform conflicts constructively and meet the legitimate interests and needs of all parties involved and work for (sarvodaya) well-being for all

“How can you improve any process/method/tool that you are using?” – promoting the idea of conscious and empowered practitioners – that every tool, method, model, approach has been developed at some time, and every tool, method, model, approach can be improved. Also: that they always need to be customised – ‘fit to purpose’ – for your needs and context, taking into consideration (in particular) culture, language, and people’s sensibilities, what has meaning, value, sense for them, and perceptions.

UBUNTU : Ubuntu (/uːˈbʊntuː/ oo-buun-too; Zulu/Xhosa pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼú]) is a Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to “human kindness.” It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally “human-ness,” and is often translated as “humanity toward others,” but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.[2]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_%28philosophy%29

UBUNTU+: the way it is often described by people in South Africa and by Nelson Mandela during his life and Archbishop Desmond Tutu is “I am who I am because of you. We are who we are because of each other.”

“Empathy does not mean you support a situation or one side, but rather asks you to have the courage to engage with why and in what way it has meaning and significance for that person – why it’s important to them – and to be able to recognise, understand and respect that.” And yes – from that – asks how you can engage authentically with that, with that person’s needs and lived experience, to address needs, transform conflicts, and engage them in peacebuilding.

“[Solutions emerge from] the cumulative impact of our Pb efforts over time.” with the important caveat: solutions and ‘results’ do not always emerge. In fact: very, very, very often they don’t – because, while people wanting to do peacebuilding and wanting to engage to help are often well meaning and well intentioned, they often do not engage with the integrity, authenticity and honesty needed – ie. to learn how to actually do peacebuilding and to really make a difference. I would suggest conservatively that 90% + of ‘peacebuilding’ interventions or what is done under that name or claiming to contribute to peace: 1. make little or not contribution at all / in any way to actually transforming conflict dynamics (other than perhaps for a few individuals) and 2. have little or no (positive) strategic impact on the conflict and on real peacebuilding. The concept of ‘cumulative impact’ is that efforts at many levels 1. are required and 2. ‘add up’ – however: most ‘peacebuilding’ today is done so badly, with little strategy, poorly planned, poorly implemented, not ‘joined-up’/linked/connected. While it gives people engagement, uses money, and makes people feel they’re doing things that matter, the truth is that it very, very rarely does. That’s not because ‘peacebuilding’ can’t or doesn’t work, it’s because the people doing it don’t do it with the integrity, dedication, authenticity, honesty or responsibility needed. It’s not that they’re not well meaning. Many of course are; and many are very committed and work hard. It’s that:

1. we haven’t developed the culture of authentic professionalism and capability. ‘Professionalism’ doesn’t have to mean with ‘budgets’, donors, etc. Professionalism means craft(!), skill(!), capability(!) – knowing what types of interventions and activities done in what ways i. have a chance of working and/or ii. definitely will not. People will say ‘peacebuilding is not an exact science’ and that ‘we often don’t have the resources or scale we need to really make an impact’. However: well over 90% of what doesn’t work in the field isn’t because we don’t know what to do; it’s because we haven’t bothered to learn it – or to learn past lessons from similar efforts and attempts, and what worked, what didn’t work, etc.;
2. we maintain that ‘hope’, ‘good will’ and ‘intention’ are enough. Would we accept that in any other field? Would you go into a multi-story building if it was built by someone who ‘hoped’ they knew what they were doing – or would you want people who love what they’re doing enough that they’ve dedicated their efforts to understanding how buildings stand, how they resist shock, how to design and build them to ensure safety and well being; and to have safety standards and verification that they’re followed. Would you go into open heart surgery with someone who ‘loves you’ and ‘means well’ but hasn’t loved you enough to train and learn the skills of a surgeon?

If we are truly serious about peacebuilding, if we really want to make a difference, it is important today to recognise: there is a  massive amount of extraordinary, relevant, practical and concrete knowledge, expertise and experience that has been developed. This is empowering! Just as we can learn to be doctors, architects, and many other fields of activity – if people are truly serious, truly dedicated, truly committed to making a difference – we can learn how to do that effectively. That doesn’t mean we will succeed. It also takes skill and the will and determination to do it – and the ability to plan, organise, and work well with others, often in challenging and difficult circumstances. It is incredibly empowering and exciting though to know that: yes – today – we can learn how to transform conflicts and prevent violence effectively. [That said: over 90% of our graduate programmes in the field today do not effectively/competently address or teach this because the faculty involved have themselves never been involved, trained or exposed to doing peacebuilding. This is an important issue/challenge our field needs to address to improve the training, preparation and ‘education’ of people in the field’]

“What is extraordinary about Gandhi, is that he was an ORDINARY human being, just as Mandela was, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Malcolm X, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Martin Luther King, the ‘tank man’. They shit just like you do, they get tired just like you do. For some of them they’ve seen and lived through things no human being ever should have to. They have inspired us with the courage and dedication of their actions and lives, and they could all be bastards at moments as well. Gandhi and others are extraordinary not because they were ‘saints’ or perfect, but because they were ordinary people who found it within themselves to do extraordinary things. They were human! Alive! Just like you and I.” In the context of: we do a disservice to these people and to understanding how change occurs if we ‘glorify’ them or raise them as ‘saints’. That makes us believe that it takes ‘exceptional’ people. Unfortunately there are also some in the field who try to present themselves as ‘geniuses’, ‘creators’, the ‘sources’ of the field – often in ways very disempowering making people ‘excited and inspired’ by what ‘they’ can do but believing that only ‘geniuses’ and ‘gurus’ can do it. What would help: a field that respects, admires and empowers that which is within each of us – the wonderful as well as the terrible and the huge mundane and beautiful spectrum in between – and helps us (and where we help each other) to learn and see how, as beautiful, ordinary people, we too can engage and make a difference.

“Try breathing only in for 10 minutes”. In the context of: there are many people who say ‘you have to start from within’ and others who say you have to address what’s out there in the world. The reality is: the world is at its most fundamental levels relationship and interaction. Ideas of ‘starting from within’ to make yourself ‘perfectly peaceful’ or only working to address what’s without without also working on what’s within, are both disconnected and often deeply unhealthy. People do not need to be ‘perfect’ to make a difference. Of course it’s wonderful if people work to have healthy, balanced lives and inner peace, integrity and well-being, but one of the best mediators I know is someone who is a borderline managing alcoholic, who’s had suicidal tendencies, who’s divorced and had trouble relations with his children. This man, who’s had an exceptional, difficult life, is an artist and genius when he’s brought in the room with conflicting parties. His ability to bring them together is…exceptional. I’m not in my arrogance and self-righteousness going to deny his gift or ability and say ‘no(!), you should be a perfect model of peace’. You don’t need to have a happy life to know how to design an early warning system. You don’t need to be peaceful in all moments to be a tactical or strategic genius in nonviolence – as Gandhi, Martin Luther King and hundreds of others themselves prove! This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work for inner balance, well-being, and to be models of integrity. It does suggest, however, that:

1. we should perhaps be less self-righteous/judgemental of others and not hold people to standards we impose, but be able to honour, respect, admire, learn from what they do and, if we feel more should be done or done better, engage to do that and bring that contribution ourselves;

2. we live in the world; we are part of a sensual, breathtaking, beautiful, and at times hurt, violent world. We carry much of this within us. Our environment and context matter – just as for plants, just as for all living things. If human beings grow up in environments/contexts where they are safe, respected, encouraged, that is a tremendous difference than if they grow up brutalised, raped, disempowered, without opportunity to go to school, without proper nutrition, etc. Neither context is ‘iron bound’ dictating the lives people will lead – but they do significantly shape and create conditions and opportunities. They idea of ‘try breathing in’ for only 10 minutes is that: as human beings we exist in our relationship and interaction with the world. Many teachings say that ‘the body is the lowest form’ and the ‘spirit is the highest’. I personally believe: the body, our sensual world, are extraordinary, beautiful, amazing. It does not and may not necessarily need to be ‘either’ ‘or’. We don’t need to value and praise one by demeaning and denigrating the other. That itself may be a reflection of a…contradiction, conflict within ourselves. Perhaps being able to intimately celebrate and value the beauty of body, mind and spirit, of physical, emoltional and intellectual, of the wonderful world within and without…and seeing how intricately, intimately and beautifully they are interwoven and connected…could be…healthy.

“How you walk through life, how you live your life, will enable you to reach higher levels.”  In the context of a discussion on meditation – that meditation should not only be an ‘act’, a moment ‘separate’ from our busy lives – a sanctuary of ‘peace’ which enables us to survive/handle a busy, turbulent world, but that we should endeavour to make our being and every moment ‘meditative’; also reflecting the interesting connection between breathing as central to the practice of meditation and…central to life; and the point that ‘achieving higher goals’ for ourselves is not only about doing that in ‘set contexts’ (ashrams, yoga studios, etc) but how we are in our every moment, in our lives, how we rise and respond, engage with, the actual world around us – ie. do we speak about peace, harmony, beauty, while remaining silent about drones, violations of human rights, massive wealth inequalities, etc? Do we find the peace of the fortunate, middle class and comfortable to care for the luxury of my own happiness, or do I choose to be a human being in the world and work for well being within and without? Is my mediation a casket or escape for myself from a world I find difficult and challenging, or empowerment for me to manifest and engage in that world to be the change I want to see

“’Meditators’ can find an inner well being, and then ignore the world around them. This actually is doing violence. It is enabling those with the opportunity and luxury to ‘retreat’ to their personal harmony; while sacrificing those without that opportunity to violence and injustice. Violence happens, violence can exist, not only because of those who do it, or the structures and institutions which embody it, but because of those who do pilates and meditation. What I mean isn’t that pilates and meditation are themselves violent. They shouldn’t be. The opposite: they can be deeply healthy. But in reality, how we often do them is to create a ‘sanctuary’ for ‘I’, for myself from the world without. At times this can be absolutely healthy and necessary; but when it becomes a ‘path’ of praise and celebration for my own virtue and well-being while I can turn my eye blindly to what happens to the world and to others, then it is the gun shot which kills soldiers and civilians, it is the lever or button that floods gas into the gas chamber, it is the firing button on the drone.”

“By doing service you are not being Self-less…..  you are fulfilling and defining Who You Are…. and Self realising. You are making a choice about who you want to be in the world and the world you want to live in. This isn’t negative. This is incredibly fulfilling and beautiful.”

“This idea of “perfect” is actually, I believe, deeply violent and ugly. It is degrading. It makes people feel ‘less than’.  Think of the magazines that show women how ‘women’ should look? How does that make you feel? Often deeply unhappy and bad about ourselves. This is a major factor in many people’s unhappiness and, in many cases, in suicide: imposing the idea of what is ‘normal’, perfect or good and calling everyone, everything else ‘abnormal’. Here’s what I say: you are gorgeous. In all our flaws, all our foolishness, all our kindness and faults – you, who you are, all of us, are beautiful. We are…an amazingly funky, absurd and wonderful species, and we would go a long way if we recognise and celebrate that, and don’t impose ‘models’, ideas of ‘perfect’.”

“When I practice, I watch videos of my best shots, and try to reproduce those best practices.” a quote by Tiger Woods

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Kai Brand-Jacobsen
Director, Department of Peace Operations – (DPO)
Co-Leader and Head of Peace Operations & Integral Development, Global Peace Institute Hacettepe University International MA in Peace Studies
Skype: kai_jacobsen
Telephone: +40752295555