Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness: Transforming conflict into creative conflict

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Reem expresses a desire to know the other, otherwise impossible in the current political climate separating Palestinians and Jewish Jerusalemites. Her interest is not one simply driven by curiosity, however. Indeed, she is impelled by a longing for peace, for the cessation of injustices and losses that she sees for her own people, but also for Jewish Israelis:.

Sometimes I envy other countries because they live in peace, because they don't have this issue, they don't have to pass every day [through checkpoints]. So why should we suffer from these checkpoints? And why should Jewish people go and be in the army? Why should women, mothers, suffer?

From both sides it's not easy—all these accidents, all these injured people. You can save all this tragedy, save all these incidents, and live in peace and happiness and enjoy our life. Though this cri de coeur reveals despair about the conflict, Reem feels she has no choice but to hope. And she believes that the path to finding that hope is through "encounters with the other side," concluding that "this the only way.

Speaking of Palestinians, she says, "Some people find it not so easy to go to talk to our enemy," suggesting that this is the case for Jews too. She quickly adds, however, "I think that this is not the enemy. This view, also expressed by others in this organization, clearly prioritizes the shared humanity of people across political divides, thereby rejecting the obligation felt by enemies to maintain, according to Vamik Volkan, a "principle of non-sameness. Undoubtedly, she would agree with David Steele's claim that "to be in solidarity with all sufferers does not mean that all suffering is equal … [or] that all groups are equally guilty.

For Reem, her year involvement in the IEA has allowed her to travel into the worlds of Jewish Israelis and consequently to engage in empathetic commiseration with their situation of vulnerability and loss. She has contributed beyond this level by attending international conferences, at her own expense, representing the IEA. Several factors account for her involvement in the IEA. She, too, has felt a desire to know the other since her high school days, when she started learning Arabic.

As an Orthodox Jew, she recognizes the similarities of her religion with Islam and enjoys discovering commonalities. She has also been drawn to Arab culture due to her being a Mizrahi Jew, her parents having been born in Iran. Her connection to Palestinians devolves, in part, from being part of a minority within the ambit of the dominant Ashkenazi Jewish culture in Israel, and hence identifying with the experience of those culturally and politically marginalized, noting, "There is not enough room for my identity in Israel.

Aliza believes that personally encountering the other is essential and truly transformative, though it also demands getting past one's fears. Through her IEA encounters, she has learned to trust her Palestinian interlocutors, which has allowed her to move beyond her fears and to accommodate the other's narrative, a long process she also sees others in the IEA undertaking. Why are we in such a long conflict for a very long time? That work includes the founding and co-coordination of an IEA encounter group at her university several years ago, more recently organizing a dialogue group of students from Hebrew University and Bethlehem University in the West Bank, and succeeding after sustained effort in creating a Muslim prayer space at Hebrew University.

The first Intifada cut short his aspirations to continue his studies at a Palestinian university. Instead, he found work in West Jerusalem, first as a waiter in a hotel, later as a bookkeeper. He soon came to realize that there was a discrepancy between the way Jews were represented to him as he was growing up and the reality of the flesh and blood Jews he was meeting on a daily basis. He became curious about Judaism, asking about Shabbat and the Jewish holidays, but soon grew frustrated by the lack of available resources. When he discovered it, the Internet became a godsend in guiding his reading.

Books had their limits after a while, as he puts it in his broken English: "I read about the Jewish people from the books. I prefer to know the other from himself, personally. I ask him, "What do you find beneficial in a meeting like tonight's? It influences me the way I raise my children. I know the right thing. I raised my children in the right way. None of this is without cost; "inner struggle" and "internal conflict" are constant refrains throughout our conversation.

And there is the cost of confusion for Bassam's children. When he takes them to visit "Jewish" gardens and markets so they will move beyond constructed polarities and separations, they ask, "Why are their gardens so nice and ours are not? Don't we have our own markets? Why do we have to shop in the Jewish markets? A third cost is the loss of some Palestinian friends who saw Bassam and his IEA involvement either as "normalization" with the enemy or as a bridge, but one that is good for the Jews and not the Arabs. Bassam thinks they are wrong.

Yet the upshot is that he must live with ambiguity, a condition he passes on to his children as well. She concluded that violence was never going to end without taking a different approach. In fact, in Canada she had been a member of the right wing Kach movement, which followed the now infamous Rabbi Meir Kahane.

This, in part, might explain why she was "terrified" during her first meeting with "the enemy" at an IEA sponsored retreat where she met young men from Nablus "considered to be prime terrorists," as Nablus reportedly produced the greatest number of suicide bombers during the second Intifada. Recognizing that she "had been lied to by her society," this meeting "changed my life": "I made it my mission to learn everything I can about them and to be involved [in peacebuilding efforts].

Judith was active in the IEA's Reut Sadaka encounter group until four years ago but left it because she felt that, ultimately, it was "preaching to the converted. The only way to do it is to expose them to encounters.

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Judith sees it as her mission to influence the people in her community, to move them beyond apathy and fear, so they will learn about Islam but also become aware of the hardships that Palestinians have to endure in the current situation. Judith has persevered in her peacebuilding efforts in her community, though she has experienced a fair share of marginalization, including receiving hostile email and phone calls from neighbors. This concession became a minor triumph for Judith. We see in these four profiles different trajectories toward engagement with the other, in some cases requiring the individual to overcome ideological resistance and fear in order to take that first step of meeting the other.

Yet such world-travelling also offers the opportunity for substantial inner transformation.


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These four examples are not unique in suggesting that significant inner changes take place as a result of the encounter groups, including most importantly, perhaps, the capacity to see the other as a human being and of dropping the language of "enemies. Scott Appleby, when he declares, "[G]enuine peace emerges 'from the ground up,' through the quiet but persistent and profound efforts of people whose own hearts have been transformed and who have the courage to believe in and evoke the inner goodness of others. In addition to the process of humanization just described, the process of recognizing and accepting the other seems to lead, in effect, to a gradual acceptance of aspects of the other's narrative as legitimately describing the other's experience.

This might explain why, despite the continuing conflict, IEA members express hope for its resolution, if not in the immediate future, sometime down the road. As Peter J. Haas suggests,. To assert an answer to that question is already to presuppose a narrative that cannot be accepted by the other side. Hope resides in the possibility that each side will be able to change its Grand Narrative to allow some legitimacy to the Grand Narrative of the other. In an effort to understand the explicit role that religion plays in IEA participation, I ask members whether religious values constitute a source of their commitment to their organization's work.

From their perspective, these biblical commands make a demand on them as Jews to know and engage with Arabs and Palestinians in the region and, by extension, to work for peace. A few participants offer additional religious sources worth mentioning here. For example, at one point, Judith was part of the Hasidic Lubavitch sect, and the rebbe's "vision and mission was to bring the Meshiach [messiah].

He always said in order to bring the Meshiach, you have to act as if he was already here. A priest's job is to serve the people by bringing them closer to God. And that role is universalistic. We are all children of God, and Muslims and Jews and Christians are children of Abraham, at least spiritually. So I think as Jews we have an obligation to do what we can to make that happen, to build bridges so we all acknowledge that we are all brothers and sisters, we are children of God. Yehuda Stolov is guided by several sources in his work on behalf of peace.

He begins by arguing that the Bible commands the pursuit of peace, affirmed in this regard by halacha Jewish law. Having been a student at Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook's yeshiva as a young man, Yehuda tells me that his rabbi strongly emphasized "the need for loving relations between different nations, and the need for Jews to care for other nations. Muslim study participants also display common religious sources that support their involvement in the IEA, though fewer additional sources are mentioned by them. Several times participants offered this popular story:.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, speaks about a Jewish neighbor that used to try to irritate him by throwing garbage in his way every day. One day, he walked out of his home to find no garbage. He immediately went to the woman's house and inquired about her to find that she was ill and he offered his assistance. She was so moved and at the same time ashamed of her actions at his concern after all she had done to him. This is a prime example of being a good neighbor. According to Bassam, this story inspires his commitment to humanizing the other, while Layla identifies Islam as a religion of peace, signaled by the use of "Salaam" as the everyday greeting among Muslims.

Another interviewee, Marwan, talks about the historic Muslim protection of Jews and Christians under the "People of the Book" designation, adding that "the Prophet mentioned many times, 'If you have a Christian or a Jewish neighbor, you should treat them as good as you would treat your Muslim neighbor. As has been seen above, members are motivated by a variety of factors to participate in IEA encounters. Religious motivations may or may not exist at the level of conscious awareness for many of them, but upon reflection, they are able to link their involvement with the deeply treasured teachings of their respective religious traditions.

This is an important observation flowing from this study, as it suggests that religion might well have the capacity to mobilize people in the direction of peace and humanizing of the so-called "enemy. Interfaith Encounter Association members claim to have been personally transformed by their participation in their organization. For them, stereotypes have been broken and enemies have been re-humanized and are now perceived as people who also face the difficulties of the conflict.

Friendships have been forged, resulting, for some, in exposure to one another's families, homes, and cultures. In many cases, trust has been developed across the divide, the legitimacy of the other's narrative has been at least partially accepted, and fear has been concomitantly reduced. Everyone believes there will be peace some day, though some are not at all confident that it will arrive during their lifetime.

Still, they refuse to give up hope. This refusal fuels members' continuing participation in encounter groups in spite—or perhaps because—of suicide bombings, house demolitions, military incursions, and heightened tensions over mass arrests in the West Bank or civilian-targeting rockets from Gaza. The social impact of people's involvement in IEA activities is less clear. Members do share their exposure to "the other" and the positive experiences emerging from it with family and friends. Many report that close relatives are supportive; others say that responses to their involvement are not always enthusiastic.

But I'm older, I'm more experienced.

It doesn't help the coming of peace. Undoubtedly, there are many reasons behind the skepticism expressed by people on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli divide about the usefulness of interfaith dialogue for peacebuilding. I have already discussed the concerns expressed by social activists and some conflict resolution experts regarding the effectiveness of dialogue as such, particularly dialogue that sees itself principally as non-political.

In addition, a not uncommon argument is that dialogue should be accompanied by some kind of action, such as public protest or joint work between Israelis and Palestinians to, for instance, rebuild Palestinian houses demolished by the Israeli army. While the IEA has been involved in some joint projects e. I think the most effective action is the relations between the communities. I would wager that the skepticism of Ed's children, or of the Arabs Layla cites, is a reflection of the continuing public and political dominance of discourses advancing a realpolitik model for addressing conflict.

That model has clearly failed to bring about peace. Yet in the absence of solid empirical research, how do we know, indeed, that regularly meeting the other "doesn't help the coming of peace"? While it is impossible to determine this a priori, perhaps it is time to consider a paradigm shift on a broader scale, one that recognizes that a model of engagement, reciprocity, and reflection, applied by the grassroots through the diplomatic and political levels, could help show the way out of the trap of binary logic and zero-sum games of "winners and losers.

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I asked Ed how he sustains his commitment to hope and peace in the face of the ongoing conflict and the skepticism that surrounds him. He draws his inspiration from John Kennedy's words in his Inaugural Address, a perspective consistent with the IEA's views that, ultimately, it is the people who can build peace and make is sustainable: "All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days … nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.

The influence our culture has on the way we relate to others and how we generally respond to conflict. Where we draw strength from to live each day. Extending and enhancing our skills and ability to peacefully resolve conflicts. Brendan McKeague These four themes are inter-woven and form the fabric of the book.

The first theme is the most important because it deals with the foundation of who we are; our identity as a person, including our attitude to other people and to life in general. We are our relationships, and our happiness depends on the quality of those relationships. If we get the foundation right, everything else can be compared to it for consistency and stability. When something goes wrong, the foundation provides the starting point for finding the cause of the problem so it can be put right again. Click the button below.

Talks and Courses. One person using simple everyday tools can bring the dynamic peace that enhances relationships in a family or organisation, even when faced with strong competition or bullying. Dynamic peace can be achieved more easily when the whole group works to establish quality relationships but usually someone has to make the first move. You could be the one who triggers the change that brings dynamic peace to your family, workplace or community group.

Want to make a difference in the world? Join the millions who are educating themselves on issues that matter and then take nonviolent action to bring about change. It can be as simple as signing a petition. This was a radical critique of those supporters of the Allied and Associated Powers who justified entry into World War I on the grounds that it was necessary to preserve the balance of power in Europe from a German bid for hegemony.

In the second half of the 20th century, and especially during the cold war , a particular form of balance of power — mutual nuclear deterrence — emerged as a widely held doctrine on the key to peace between the great powers. Critics argued that the development of nuclear stockpiles increased the chances of war rather than peace, and that the "nuclear umbrella" made it "safe" for smaller wars e. It was a central tenet of classical liberalism , for example among English liberal thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th century, that free trade promoted peace.

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For example, the Cambridge economist John Maynard Keynes — said that he was "brought up" on this idea and held it unquestioned until at least the s. He made this argument in These ideas have again come to prominence among liberal internationalists during the globalization of the late 20th and early 21st century.

The iterated game hypotheses was originally used by academic groups and computer simulations to study possible strategies of cooperation and aggression. As peace makers became richer over time, it became clear that making war had greater costs than initially anticipated. One of the well studied strategies that acquired wealth more rapidly was based on Genghis Khan , i. This led, in contrast, to the development of what's known as the "provokable nice guy strategy ", a peace-maker until attacked, improved upon merely to win by occasional forgiveness even when attacked.

By adding the results of all pairwise games for each player, one sees that multiple players gain wealth cooperating with each other while bleeding a constantly aggressive player. Socialist, communist, and left-wing liberal writers of the 19th and 20th centuries e. Hobson , John Strachey argued that capitalism caused war e.

This led some to argue that international socialism was the key to peace. However, in response to such writers in the s who argued that capitalism caused war, the economist John Maynard Keynes — argued that managed capitalism could promote peace. Borrowing from the teachings of Norwegian theorist Johan Galtung , one of the pioneers of the field of Peace Research , on 'Positive Peace', [32] and on the writings of Maine Quaker Gray Cox , a consortium of theorists, activists, and practitioners in the experimental John Woolman College initiative have arrived at a theory of "active peace".

This theory posits in part that peace is part of a triad, which also includes justice and wholeness or well-being , an interpretation consonant with scriptural scholarly interpretations of the meaning of the early Hebrew word shalom. Furthermore, the consortium have integrated Galtung's teaching of the meanings of the terms peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding, to also fit into a triadic and interdependent formulation or structure. Vermont Quaker John V. Wilmerding posits five stages of growth applicable to individuals, communities, and societies, whereby one transcends first the 'surface' awareness that most people have of these kinds of issues, emerging successively into acquiescence, pacifism, passive resistance, active resistance, and finally into active peace , dedicating themselves to peacemaking, peacekeeping or peace building.

One of the most influential theories of peace, especially since Woodrow Wilson led the creation of the League of Nations at the Paris Peace Conference of , is that peace will be advanced if the intentional anarchy of states is replaced through the growth of international law promoted and enforced through international organizations such as the League of Nations, the United Nations , and other functional international organizations.

One of the most important early exponents of this view was Sir Alfred Zimmern , for example in his book The League of Nations and the Rule of Law. Many "idealist" thinkers about international relations — e. One version of this is the idea of promoting international understanding between nations through the international mobility of students — an idea most powerfully advanced by Cecil Rhodes in the creation of the Rhodes Scholarships , and his successors such as J.

William Fulbright. Another theory is that peace can be developed among countries on the basis of active management of water resources. Rather, they promote the idea of many peaces. They argue that since no singular, correct definition of peace can exist, peace should be perceived as a plurality. This post-modern understanding of peace s was based on the philosophy of Jean Francois Lyotard. It served as a fundament for the more recent concept of trans-rational peace s and elicitive conflict transformation.

In Dietrich enlarged his approach of the many peaces to the so-called five families of peace interpretations: the energetic, moral, modern, post-modern and trans-rational approach. Peace and conflict studies is an academic field which identifies and analyses violent and nonviolent behaviours, as well as the structural mechanisms attending violent and non violent social conflicts.

This is to better understand the processes leading to a more desirable human condition. This contrasts with war studies polemology , directed at the efficient attainment of victory in conflicts. Disciplines involved may include political science , geography , economics , psychology , sociology , international relations , history , anthropology , religious studies , and gender studies , as well as a variety of other disciplines. Although peace is widely perceived as something intangible, various organizations have been making efforts to quantify and measure it.

The Global Peace Index produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace is a known effort to evaluate peacefulness in countries based on 23 indicators of the absence of violence and absence of the fear of violence. The last edition of the Index ranks countries on their internal and external levels of peace. This index measures how fragile a state is by 12 indicators and subindicators that evaluate aspects of politics, social economy, and military facets in countries. It grades countries with 5 indicators, and pays the most attention to risk of political instability or armed conflict over a three-year period.

The most recent ledger shows that the most peaceful country is Slovenia on the contrary Afghanistan is the most conflicted nation. Besides indicated above reports from the Institute for Economics and Peace , Fund for Peace, and University of Maryland, other organizations including George Mason University release indexes that rank countries in terms of peacefulness. The longest continuing period of neutrality among currently existing states is observed in Switzerland , which has had an official policy of neutrality and general peace since for years as of From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

State of harmony characterized by lack of violent conflict and freedom from fear of violence. This article is about the idea of harmony and the absence of hostility and violence. For other uses, see Peace disambiguation. For the album by Eddi Reader, see Peacetime album.

Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness : Transforming Conflict Into Creative Conflict

For the Brazilian film, see Peacetime film. Main article: United Nations. See also: List of United Nations peacekeeping missions. Main article: Police. Main article: National security. Main article: Nobel Peace Prize. Main article: Gandhi Peace Prize.

Main article: Student Peace Prize. Main article: Culture of Peace News Network. See also: Peace museums. Main article: Pacifism. Main article: Inner peace.

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Main article: Satyagraha. Main article: Balance of power international relations. Main article: Democratic peace theory. Main article: Peace war game. Main article: Peace and conflict studies. See also: List of periods of regional peace.

Lecture 1 - Peace and Conflict Studies 164A: Intro to Nonviolence

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