When I was a student, the words peace and the military were rarely uttered in the same sentence. I was for peace. That meant I wanted nothing to do with the military. When it came time for the draft, I became a conscientious objector. Fifty years later, I talk about peace and the military together a lot. In fact, I spend a good bit of my time building bridges with current and former members of the American military. It started out on a quirky way. I reconnected with a childhood friend who had been a career officer and ran a think tank to help people in the defense community think outside the clichéd box. We realized we had a lot in common and ended up doing the q and a session at a launch party for one of my books two days after 9/11.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding held its annual conference last week. With more than 600 attendees at an open day at the United States Institute of Peace and more than 300 at two more days for our members, it was by far the largest such event we’ve ever put on. We also learned more than we have in any other year. Some of that came in larger sessions, some of which had keynote speakers. These will appear on the AfP web site sooner rather than later.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding will be hosting its annual conference, PeaceCon this week, October 24-26. As usual, the first day is held at USIP and is open to the public free of charge. The other two days are at FHI360 and does have a registration fee. Over 450 people are registered to attend at least one of the three days. Also as usual, the conference will include plenary talks, working groups, and lots of discussions in the hallway. It is a time for professionals in the field to learn about cutting edge practices and to address some new challenges that are usually presented in the plenary sessions.
Peace Rewire Last week, my colleagues at AfP launched Peace Rewire, a new website growing out of our work on the links between neuroscience, peacebuilding, and spirituality. It is fascinating work that I helped bring to AfP. Both the site—and even more importantly work in these areas in general—mark an important step forward for our field. Origins A few years ago, I attended the second and third meetings of a series of conferences linking neuroscience and peacebuilding organized by Beyond Conflict and held at the MIT Media Lab. Later, Beyond Conflict, AfP, and the El-Hibri Foundation held a two day workshop to bring those ideas to the Washington DC policy and peacebuilding community. With the generous support for [...]