Newark Peace Education Summit: The Power of Nonviolence
The Dalai Lama tops the marquee at the May conference in New Jersey.
"Peace is not theoretical," says Robert Thurman, founder of Tibet House U.S. "It is a very tangible, practical process."
goal of the Newark Peace Education Summit "is to look at programs,
policies, and methods that communities have used to establish peace, why
and how they work," Thurman says, “and how these practices can be
replicated in other communities in America and throughout the world.”
summit, which is being convened by Tibet House and the Drew A. Katz
Foundation, runs May 13 to 15 in Newark, hosted by the city’s mayor,
Dalai Lama, who was awarded the peace prize in 1989 for his commitment
to nonviolence in efforts to liberate Tibet and preserve its culture,
will be joined by fellow Nobel laureates Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi.
Williams won the 1997 prize for her work as founding coordinator of the
International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Ebadi received the 2003 prize
for her efforts to promote human rights, in particular, the rights of
women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. They will be joined on
panel discussions by other national and international figures who are
dedicated to fostering peace.
scheduled speakers are author and former child soldier Ishmael Beah,
spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, actor and mindfulness advocate Goldie
Hawn, former gang member James White, environmental activist Majora
Carter, and New Jersey congressman Donald M. Payne.
first day will focus on peace within and peace at home, because, as the
Dalai Lama has said, "We can never obtain peace in the outer world
until we make peace with ourselves." Presentations and workshops are
scheduled to explore the universal human need to live in a safe and
loving environment and ways that individuals can better manage behavior
and emotional responses, and thereby, avoid the use of violence.
second day will focus on improving schools and communities. Discussions
are to include ways to create better conditions for learning and how
organizations within communities can foster understanding between
the final day, presenters and participants will take a wider view. They
plan to discuss how tension between nations can be allayed without
resorting to war and how cultivating a better relationship with the
natural world can aid in the development of interpersonal peace.
summit will place particular emphasis on how Newark can become a more
peaceful, prosperous, and pleasant city, and the role that education can
play in that transformation. "True peace is the holy grail of urban
governance," Booker says.
organizers are encouraging civic and religious leaders, school
administrators, government officials, and community organizers to
participate, and plan to publish the results of the discussions for
leaders to use for the benefit of their own communities.
Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters