2017 Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

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Always right to teach | A child about brave children | And their love power

From October 25 – 28, my daughter, Kaiya and I were in Birmingham, AL for the 2017 Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference.

This was the third peace and justice related conference she and I attended this year, and just as in the past, it was a special and remarkable experience.

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Youth and Religion: Potential Linchpins for Peace

Today I moderated a live streamed panel discussion, Youth and Religion: Potential Linchpins for Peace. The panel featured an outstanding lineup of youth and religion experts and leaders: Imrana Alhaji Buba, Founder of Youth Coalition Against Terrorism, USIP Generation Change Fellow, and Nigerian youth leader; Aubrey Cox, Senior Program Specialist on Youth at the U.S. Institute of Peace; and Melissa Nozell, Senior Program Specialist on Religion & Inclusive Societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The three of them authored the USIP Special Report, Implementing UNSCR 2250: Youth & Religious Actors Engaging for Peace.

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Media and Arts for Peace

On May 25th, my friend and colleague, Honey Al Sayed and I facilitated a launch event for the online course, Media and Arts for Peace, created by the United States Institute of Peace and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.. The event was held at the United States Institute of Peace and looked at how creativity, storytelling, and strategy help peacebuilders, civil society actors, social enterprises, and policymakers incorporate media and the arts into their work in ways that break cycles of violence and transform conflict.

We brought together an outstanding range of artists, musicians, international policy experts, and educators to perform, inspire, and tell their stories!

2017 Gandhi-King Conference with Kaiya

This year I returned to the wonderful city of Memphis, TN to attend and facilitate a workshop at the Gandhi-King Conference. This was my sixth time attending the conference and this year the experience was that much more special because I got to share it with my (just turned) five-year old daughter, Kaiya.

There are a number of reasons why I love this conference, which happens every year and always takes place in Memphis. This year I facilitated a workshop, “Podcasting for Peace” during which I and the participants co-created an episode of the Peace Frequency – a podcast series I host and produce at the United States Institute of Peace. The series taps into the stories of people across the globe who are making peace possible and finding ways to create a world free of violent conflict. Through the co-creation process, participants learned about how the podcast series came to be and some of the ways in which I structure the episodes and facilitate conversation with guests. That was the main reason I came to Memphis, but the day to day experience is worth documenting.

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Peace Frequency Podcast – Community Based Peacebuilding Series

This month I had the great privilege of helping co-facilitate and design the USIP online course, Community Based Peacebuilding: Engaging Youth. The main instructor for the course was Dr. Alison Milofsky, who is a brilliant, dynamic and gifted facilitator. Part of the course experience involved four great interviews on the Peace Frequency podcast. Alison and I co-hosted these episodes and were able to bring some great stories and perspectives into the course.

Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Mark Brimhall-Vargas. In this episode we explored the different definitions and types of dialogue and discussed some of the important complexities involving race, class, gender, sexual orientation and other dimension of identity.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Ariana Barth. In this episode Ariana shares her experience facilitating dialogues with youth who come from communities engaged in intense identity based conflicts.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Dominic Barter. In this episode we speak with one of the world’s most well-respected practitioners of dialogue who sheds light on concepts such as community, relationship, justice, and conflict.

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Peace Frequency Special Episode w/ Guests, Arthur Romano, Elavie Ndura, Nadine Bloch, and Kazu Haga. In this special episode we celebrate and interrogate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by speaking with four scholars, practitioners, and activists who have immersed themselves in nonviolent movements in unique and distinct ways.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Jeff Guerra. In this episode we speak with a Colombian DJ and producer whose music is helping build and spread messages of peace across lines of cultural, racial, and ethnic difference.

Peace Frequency Podcast – Conflict Analysis Series

During the month of November, I had the pleasure of helping facilitate a United States Institute of Peace online course on conflict analysis. Throughout the month the main instructors in the course, Jeff Helsing and Matt Levinger, gave learners a look into some of the basic principles of conducting a conflict analysis and the various frameworks that aid individuals and organizations in doing this work. We interviewed several amazing peacebuilders on the Peace Frequency podcast and heard them share how their experiences in the field have shaped their understanding of conducting an effective conflict analysis.

Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Candace Karp. In this episode we hear about some of the lessons Candace learned working for the United Nations in Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Sharon Morris. In this episode we learn about Sharon’s work with youth and the difficulties that come with conflict analysis in that it can open up festering wounds of a community harmed by violence.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Lisa Schirch. In this episode we dive into the origins of the peacebuilding field, the various definitions of the practice, and the diversity of conflict assessment frameworks utilized by various organizations.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Matt Levinger. In this episode we look at USIP’s conflict assessment framework and some of the guiding principles behind conducting an effective and sensitive conflict analysis.

 

Peace Frequency Podcast – Strategic Peacebuilding Series

During the month of October, I had the pleasure of helping facilitate a USIP online course called Strategic Peacebuilding. The main instructor for the course was George Lopez, who took about 40 students through an amazing educational journey exploring the 7 components of strategic peacebuilding. Part of this journey included four episodes of the Peace Frequency podcast series, where George and I interviewed prominent peacebuilders about their work. Take a listen to the series. Enjoy.

Peace Frequency w/ Guest, George Lopez. In this interview we touch on topics of how the peacebuilding field has evolved and adapted overtime and how the concept of “strategic peacebuilding” came to be.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest, Nadia Gerspacher. In this interview we talk about community policing and advising.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest Maria Stephan. In this interview we explore the world of nonviolent, civil resistance and the implications of her award-winning book, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.

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Peace Frequency w/ Guest Fiona Mangan. In this interview we talk about establishing and protecting the rule of law in conflict affected environments and interviewing prisoners to learn about how justice systems are being implemented.