Category Archives: North America

USA: Culture of Peace: The wisdom of the 8th-grade Peace Flame Keepers

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE .. .

An article by David Wick from the Ashland Daily Tidings reprinted by the Global Campaign for Peace Education

As the World Peace Flame was lit at the Thalden Pavilion on the Southern Oregon University campus on Sept. 21, Ashland was recognized internationally. A unique part of this ceremony was the role of the newly formed Flame Keepers, made up of students from Kristina Healy’s class at nearby Ashland Middle School. They volunteered to keep the World Peace Flame lit by refueling the oil lamp every Friday during the school year with 100 percent sustainable biomass lamp oil, and keeping the lamp and enclosure clean.


A member of the Ashland Middle School Flame Keepers group tends to the flame. (Photo: Ashland Culture of Peace Commission)
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After 11 weeks of Flame Keeper experience, they were asked two questions:

Why is it important to have a World Peace Flame?

What do you like about being a Flame Keeper?

Here are their responses:

Lauren Drabik: The Peace Flame gives hope for peace and it can help change the world and make it a better place for new generations. It is a big honor and there aren’t very many in the world, and you get to be part of something so big! It’s just special to do.

Kendra Caruso: The World Peace Flame brings people together and it helps everyone know there is peace in the world. The Peace Flame represents how everyone is one in the world. I really like it because I was chosen to be handed the flame (during the Sept. 21 lighting ceremony) and I handed it off to someone else who lit the flame. That was a huge honor! I felt like I was a part of the whole celebration of the flame. I think it is really cool to have Flame Keepers because it is a huge honor and because you are doing good for the world and I believe giving back is really nice.

Samara Penn-Kout: Having a World Peace Flame, especially in our small community, is really nice because its being part of something bigger. There are only two in this country and we are helping and being the representatives in the United States and the Northern Hemisphere. We are part of something greater to share with anybody. I love being a Flame Keeper because I feel so good about my actions, it is a big responsibility, and it is really nice because it feels like we are helping peace around the world.

Tara Vivrett: It is such a reminder for people to stay peaceful where they are and it is a constant thing going that you can always look to. It feels like being included because we’re being part of it and we are keeping it going. It is also something you can tell to people around you and that feels good.

Levi Predpelski: It is a reminder every day. Every time I see it I am reminded, “oh ya, be peaceful every day and don’t forget about it.” It is being part of something bigger than myself, it is about community and it is not just about me, it’s about everyone.

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Question related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?

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Finley Taylor: It is important because it shows us that peace isn’t just one day of the year. It is every day. And it is always there in the background and we should focus on making the world a more peaceful place. It feels like I am doing something important that changes the world. It’s just a good feeling.

Kade Price: It is important because then we know we will have peace all around the world. I like how I can be a part of peace.

CJ McDonnald: It brings people together and it makes you feel peaceful when you are around it, then every place you go you have this going on. It is a huge responsibility and I like refueling the flame with my friends.

Cash Cota: It shows you how much you should enjoy peace and that everybody should enjoy peace and not just certain people. It also shows that our culture is very peaceful as a community and that we deserved it because we can resemble peace a lot and we can also show other people how to be peaceful around the world. I like it because it is really cool to be part of something that no one else has done at this age, and it is also fun just being with friends and enjoying peace together.

Tara Lusk: It is important to represent how peace is all around us, especially in Ashland, a small community town that has a lot of organics and very community (focused). It is nice to have the World Peace Flame represent how peaceful we are here and how we get along together. It’s really fun; I like the responsibility of it. It is a little bit stressful at times, but overall it is a really nice experience.

Madeline Bolin: It reminds us that we should be constantly trying for peace, like always not just one event. The responsibility and knowing that we are helping to achieve peace.

River Collins: Having the World Peace Flame shows triumph over hate and is a check point in our history to accomplish peace. It is fun and because people see me as a peaceful person, not angry and more peaceful. This supports the change in the world.

Kristina Healey (teacher): I think it is always wonderful to have a reminder about peace. Peace in your own mind and heart and community and all the way beyond. And to know that they are originating from the same place of peace here on our planet. I like that I was able to do it, to be the vehicle to keep it (a focus on peace) going here in Ashland. I really loved to see the kids and how they we saying, “Oh this is so much responsibility, I don’t know if I can do it,” and just to empower them that we can do it if we all work together. We check that calendar, we go over (to the World Peace Flame Monument across the street) and we go through the directions. (The students) have felt very privileged and responsible about keeping the flame going for people who come and visit the Peace Flame in Ashland. We talk about it in class and some of the kid’s families have gone over, outside of class to see what it is all about. Anything to remind kids, our school district, our city that we are not finite, we are connected, we are bigger than that. So having the Peace Flame here reminds us of the importance of the commitment to peace.

When we wonder what peace really means, go ask an eighth grader at Ashland Middle School.

Email comments and questions to ashlandcpc@gmail.com. The ACPC website is www.ashlandcpc.org; like the commission on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AshlandCultureofPeaceCommission;

follow twitter.com/AshlandPeace on Twitter. All are welcome to join the ACPC’s Talking Circle at 11 a.m. each Tuesday and Community Meeting at 4 p.m. each Wednesday, both at the ACPC office, 33 First St., Suite 1, diagonally across Lithia Way from the Ashland Post Office.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

USA: Season for Nonviolence begins 5th Season

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by John and Bev Titus in the Urban Citizen

The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund is proud to announce the fifth annual Season for Nonviolence initiative. Joined by Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, and the City of Urbana, the 140th International City of Peace, this year’s Season for Nonviolence is taking place Jan. 30-April 4. The 64-day national educational, media and grassroots campaign is dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and our communities.

The Season for Nonviolence was organized in 1997 to commemorate the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With a growing foundation of support, the Season for Nonviolence has become an important educational and media opportunity to bring communities together, empowering them to envision and help create a nonviolent world, one heart and one program at a time.

This year’s Season for Nonviolence kicked off this week with the Great Kindness Challenge. The Challenge is a bullying prevention program for Pre-K through 12th-grade students that creates a culture of kindness.

Students are encouraged to perform as many acts of kindness as they can throughout the week. Last year, more than 4,500 students from the Urbana City schools, Graham Local, West Liberty Salem, and the Mechanicsburg School districts took part in this global event. Some schools chose to extend their week of kindness to one month, and many committed to practicing and promoting kindness throughout their entire school year. Our students joined with more than 10.5 million students in nearly 20,000 schools representing over 100 countries to carry out more than 500 million “Acts of Kindness” in just one week!

Everyone in our Urbana City of Peace community is invited to join in the challenge and support our youth in their efforts to be kind. A family-friendly version” of the “Great Kindness Challenge” was created and used by more than 1,600 community members last year to provide ideas for random acts of kindness that can be practiced at home, at work and throughout our extended community. Visit the “Kids for Peace” (Great Kindness Challenge) website to download the Family Edition checklist at https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/familychecklist/.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?

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Cities of Peace exhibit at UU

The 2019 Season for Nonviolence will include the International Cities of Peace exhibit displayed at Urbana University’s Sara Landess Room, Feb. 11-May 6. The Cities of Peace exhibit opens Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. with a panel discussion. The panel members include Fred Arment, Executive Director of the International Cities of Peace; City of Urbana Mayor Bill Bean; Bev Titus, co-founder of the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund; and students from Urbana and Champaign County schools, to discuss local efforts to create a culture of peace within our community and support “Cities of Peace” around the world.

The International Cities of Peace exhibit consists of 12 panels that represent “Cities of Peace” around the world as well as the newly designed Urbana City of Peace panel. The “Cities of Peace” exhibit panels address the issues of: what are Cities of Peace, are Cities of Peace important, what is a culture of peace, fostering our peace economy, and “International Cities of Peace” locations. The Cities of Peace exhibit will open Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. with a panel discussion.

To conclude this year’s effort, the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund will offer another free 6-week “Nonviolent Communication” workshop for community members, high school students and Urbana University students. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is an approach to living that has roots in Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence. The concept refers not only to physical violence, but also to any other way we “attack” others or ourselves, such as through judgment, criticism, and blaming.

Many of us long to hold others and ourselves with consideration and respect, but we sometimes find it hard to live these values in daily life. NVC gives us practical tools for embodying these values in any situation.

Diane Diller, an NVC trainer certified by the Global Center for Nonviolent Communication, will share how this practice helps us to communicate in a more loving and respectful way.

The community is invited to attend these workshops Mondays, March 18 through April 22, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. in the Moore Conference Room, located in the Urbana University Student Center.

To register for the Nonviolent Communication Workshop and find out more about the Cities of Peace Exhibit please call Stephani Islam at 937-772-9246. Space is limited and the class is free, so please RSVP.

USA: Appalachian Peace Education Center

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

Excerpts from the website of the Appalachian Peace Education Center

In 1982, APEC opened an office in Abingdon, Virginia, representing small peace groups in coalfield  and agricultural communities such as Big Stone Gap, St. Charles, and Dungannan and Bristol. First focusing on education around nuclear disarmament, military spending, and cold war politics, the organization grew to oppose U.S. government’s intervention in Central America, and became involved in labor rights, conflict resolution, race relations, and opposition to U.S.-sponsored wars and military presence around the globe. APEC members demonstrated publicly for years against the U.S. initiating and conducting war in Iraq. APEC continues its work for peace and justice today, welcoming new peacemakers in the era of President Trump.


Current Activities

32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., March and Celebration
Abingdon, Virginia, Saturday, January 19, 2019

12:30 pm: “People Like Us: Building Allies for Justice” led by Jerry Hill. Charles Wesley UMC, 322 East Main St.
1:30pm: March begins at Charles Wesley UMC, 322 East Main St. We invite organizations to bring a banner or sign that identifies their group as part of this community event. (We’ll march 3 blocks to…)
2:00 pm: Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration – Abingdon UMC, 101 East Main Street.

A reception will follow the celebration. Please bring finger food to share if you can. This year, we are collecting canned goods at either Charles Wesley or Abingdon UMC to deliver to Faith in Action.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North
Film Screening and Discussion led by Filmmaker Katrina Browne

St Thomas Episcopal Church, 124 East Main Street, Abingdon, Virginia

Thursday, January 17th
Reception at 5:30 pm, Program at 6:00 pm

This documentary, first shown on PBS’s POV, describes a New England family’s discovery of their ancestors’ slave-trading past and how their present white privilege was gained generations ago.​ Event sponsored by St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

Bristol’s 2nd Annual MLK, Jr., March and Celebration
Monday, January 21st

1:30 pm – March – Gather on MLK Blvd. 
in Tennessee gather at YMCA; In Virginia gather at First Christian Church
2:45 pm – MLK Celebration at Bristol Train Station

Ocasio-Cortez Delivers Powerful Call for Justice as Third Women’s March Kicks Off in New York

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Common Dreams (reprinted according to a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License)

“Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid. Justice is about if we can stay with our children after we have them for a just amount of time.”


Demonstrators at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. on January 19, 2019.  (Photo: Susan Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

So declared Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Saturday, as the third annual Women’s March brought thousands of women to the streets of cities across the globe, though tensions within the movement have created rifts.

[click here for video of her speech]

The freshman lawmaker was among the speakers at a march in New York City.

Social media users captured images from the many affiliated marches that took place:


@NYCLU: America is for all of us


@IlhanMN: Representative Ilhan Omar speaking at Minnesota march


Mustafa Santiago Ali @EJinAction

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Questions for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

The post-election fightback for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

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Truthdig @Truthdig Women make waves by the thousands at Washington D.C.


Women’s March – IL @womensmarchIL Watch the full video of the Young Women’s March Rally in Chicago! Fighting through a snowstorm to rise up and raise their voices


@ChinaKatSun #LosAngeles Country


TicToc by Bloomberg @tictoc Women’s March: From Lodon to Berlin to Rome from New York to Washington, D.C


Jennifer L. Blanck @JLBlanck #WomensMarch #Denver #Colorado

Canadian police block journalists from covering indigenous pipeline protest

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Nation of Change

While arresting indigenous pipeline protesters in northern British Columbia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) recently began prohibiting reporters from covering the demonstrations. In response, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a statement demanding that Canadian law enforcement cease restricting access to reporters covering the pipeline protest.


(click on photo to enlarge)

On Sunday, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs issued a  statement  saying all five Wet’suwet’en clans, including the Gidimt’en, oppose the construction of oil and gas pipelines in their territory.

“The provincial and federal governments must revoke the permits for this project until the standards of free, prior and informed consent are met,” Phillip said in the news release.

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Question for this article

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

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Last October, LNG Canada announced its plans to move ahead with constructing the $6.2 billion pipeline. Although TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink claims that agreements have been signed with all First Nations along the route for LNG Canada’s $40-billion liquefied natural gas project, demonstrators argue that Wet’suwet’en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.

According to the RCMP, at least 14 people have been arrested for blockading a forest service road in order to prevent access to the pipeline. Journalists and several media crews attempting to cover the pipeline protests have recently reported that the RCMP is restricting access to the site and prohibiting journalists from witnessing further arrests.

“Authorities in Canada should immediately end the arbitrary restrictions on journalists covering the police breakup of the pipeline protest,” CPJ North America Program Coordinator Alexandra Ellerbeck wrote in a press release  on Tuesday. “Journalists should be able to freely cover events of national importance, without fear of arrest.”

“It sounds like the RCMP is once again using every tactic that they can to bend the law as much as possible to prevent journalists from gaining access to sites,” said Tom Henheffer, vice president of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). “This is a tactic that is very commonly employed and is very difficult to fight against in the moment because [police] know that when you’ve got a bunch of officers with guns telling people what they can and cannot do, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether the law is on the RCMP’s side or not – because it takes too long for a journalist to get a lawyer, go to court to get an order to allow them to get on to the site.”

By restricting access to the demonstrations, Canadian law enforcement are attempting to control the narrative by preventing journalists from witnessing their actions. According to some reports, most communication from the site recently went dark due to an alleged satellite issue, but the RCMP issued a statement on Monday denying any involvement with the suspiciously beneficial disruption of communications in the area.

USA: Conference to explore effect of early childhood development on world peace

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from Yale University

In partnership with UNICEF and Queens University Belfast, the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) at the Yale Child Study Center will host an open house conference at the Omni Hotel in New Haven this Thursday, Nov. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The organizing question for the event will be: “Can early childhood development advance ‘The Culture of Peace?’”


Syrian girl holding up peace sign in a Turkish refugee camp. (© Radek Procyk – dreamstime.com)

“The goal of the ECPC is to shed light on the contribution of the science of early childhood development to creating a path to peace,” said Rima Salah, chair of the ECPC and assistant clinical professor in the Child Study Center. “Working towards a common goal of reducing and preventing violence against children, the unified group that makes up the ECPC recognizes the power of investing in the early years to build peaceful societies.”

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Question related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?

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At Thursday’s conference, the ECPC will provide an update on its research and advocacy efforts, including how it seeks to advance early childhood development, care, and education by building peace and fostering social cohesion among individuals, groups, communities, and nations. During the event, the ECPC will also officially launch its online platform, a resource that aims to help users build with “blocks of peace” for the children of the world.

Keynote speakers for the program include Pia Rebello Britto, chief and senior adviser of early childhood development at UNICEF; Sherrie Rollins Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop; and H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, founder of the Global Movement for The Culture of Peace, former under-secretary general and high representative of the United Nations. Presenters from six low- and middle-income countries will also discuss the early childhood development programs they are creating with colleagues at UNICEF and Queen’s University Belfast, Yale, New York University, and Harvard to build social cohesion and peace within their countries.

“The ECPC has brought together a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectored, and multi-dimensional range of experts who have worked in the fields of early childhood development and peace-building initiatives around the globe, that up to this point, have been working in silos,” said Dr. James Leckman, ECPC executive committee member and the Neison Harris Professor in the Child Study Center. “Science says that peace is possible — and the science of early childhood development can facilitate the development of a more peaceful world.”

The ECPC is founded on the idea that the global community must address the root causes of violence and conflict and that families and children can be agents of change for peace. The consortium is building an inclusive movement for peace, social justice, and prevention of violence through using early childhood development strategies that enable the world community to advocate peace, security, and sustainable development. For more information on the ECPC, visit the consortium’s website.

March For Our Lives wins International Children’s Peace Prize 2018

.DISARMAMENT & SECURITY.

An article from Kids Rights

The March for Our Lives initiators, who started the American mass youth movement for safer schools and communities and against gun violence, have won the International Children’s Peace Prize 2018.



Watch a short documentary about March For Our Lives 

Today [20 November], on Universal Children’s Day, David Hogg, Emma González, Jaclyn Corin and Matt Deitsch, received the prize from Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a special ceremony held in Cape Town, South Africa in the presence of distinguished guests and the world press. The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of the international children’s rights organization KidsRights. The young winner’s message each year reaches millions of people worldwide.

During the ceremony, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has been the patron of The International Children’s Peace Prize and KidsRights for more than a decade, said that March For Our Lives is one of the most significant youth-led mass movements in living memory. “The peaceful campaign to demand safe schools and communities and the eradication of gun violence is reminiscent of other great peace movements in history. I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can, no must, improve their own futures. They are true changemakers who have demonstrated most powerfully that children can move the world.”

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Questions related to this article:

Do you think handguns should be banned?, Why or why not?

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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March For Our Lives

David, Emma, Jaclyn and Matt co-initiated March For Our Lives alongside more than 20 other students, after their school was the scene of a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida this past February, with 17 fatal casualties. Personally affected by the tragedy, they responded by organizing the March For Our Lives event in the spring of 2018 to demand safer schools and communities and to protest gun violence. Hundreds of thousands participated in the rally and more than 800 sister marches took place that same day across the US and beyond. For David, Emma, Jaclyn and Matt, this was only the beginning. In the summer of 2018 the group took to the road, visiting 80 communities in 24 states leading discussions and advocating for the creation of safer communities.

They lobbied, held town hall rallies, and motivated thousands of young people to register to vote. The March For Our Lives movement has continued to be highly vocal and very successful.

Since its advent, over 25 US states have passed more than 50 pieces of legislation in line with their cause.
 
A call on the international community to halt violence in schools

Marc Dullaert, founder of KidsRights and the International Children’s Peace Prize, said that out of the extremely impressive group of nominees, March For Our Lives was this year’s most deserved winner, if only due to the sheer size of the movement that it inspired in 2018: “March For Our Lives has transformed a local community protest into a truly global youth-led and peaceful protest movement. The initiators have utilized the skills and knowledge of young people to generate positive change, whilst mobilizing millions of their peers, controlling the public narrative on the issues that matter to them, and making people in power listen. This will shape the way in which children’s rights are campaigned in the future.”

During the ceremony today, Mr. Dullaert called upon the international community to halt the surge in school violence witnessed internationally. “Schools must be protected as safe havens for children. KidsRights calls upon the international community to halt this issue and to prevent schools from becoming battlegrounds.”

Hall’s poetry about more than ‘black history’

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by Jeff Schwaner in The News Leader

“We all have poetry in us.” This is the first thing Neal Hall wants to be clear about. The renowned African American poet and medical doctor reads from his work at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in the Carter Center for Worship and Music at Bridgewater College.

While Hall is identified as an African-American poet, the demand for him to accept reading engagements is not limited to Black History Month. Hall has performed poetry readings throughout the United States and internationally in Canada, France, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal and India. He participated in Bridgewater College’s 2015 International Poetry Festival last January.


Photo: SUBMITTED / Steve Ladner

The Bridgewater reading is sandwiched between trips to India and Italy, both chock full of readings and public addresses.

In an email interview, Hall responded to questions of how being an African-American contributed to his evolution as a poet.

“What comes with the label of African-American or Black is this institutionalized, generational legacy of a trail of tears we are forced to walk. This trail and our tears make us uniquely sensitive to the suffering and exploitation of all men and women. It qualifies us and challenges us to stand up to be the true standard bearers and guardians of freedom for all,” Hall writes. “My poetry is influenced by and speaks not just to the surface pain of injustice and inhumanity, but digs deep into that pain, into the genteel socio-political-economic- religious constructs used to blur the common lines of cause that is our shared story. This shared story, the poetry reminds us, should unite us in our common struggle to be free.”

When asked if being identified as an African-American poet could be an obstacle to his expression, Hall responded, “If it is an identifier and/or identity, I did not create it to identify me nor to limit me. As such, one has to ask the larger question: Who created it for me and for what reasons?”

Across the work of four books, Hall’s poetic voice is insistent on his readers realizing their own will to be free, but also identifies the oppressor in its various institutional and cultural forms. “When you see that you are not free / you must say and do, to be free,” he writes in one of the poems from his first book. In the poems “White Man Asks Me” (“A white man asked me to / be less than a man so that he could / find a face-saving way out”) and “Dr. Nigga” (“…save my life / without  changing my life / when my white life codes blue”) Hall directly confronts and reveals the structure of racism.

For some of his readers this is difficult but necessary: “knowing that you are the cause and then the painful act of changing your behavior which has afforded and enriched you (relatively speaking) generating socio-economic advantages over your brothers and sisters.”

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Question for this article:

How can poetry promote a culture of peace?

Are we making progress against racism?

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Poetry is one way to face such formidable challenges. “We are the only obstacle getting in the way of our deeper expressions. I find my deepest expression in breathing air in and out deeply in the full realization of my connection, brotherhood and common humanity with all that exists. This connection, this brotherhood, our common humanity is seamless. It is the greed of man exploiting our fabricated man-made differences that has created seams in us, to divide us from our oneness. There is nothing complex nor complicated about man’s gluttony.”

Hall earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an M.D. from Michigan State University. He received his surgical subspecialty training in ophthalmology at Harvard University’s Medical School and was in private practice for more than 20 years in Flourtown, Pa.

Hall is the author of four books of poetry, Nigger For Life, Winter’s A’ Coming Still, Appalling Silence and Where Do I Sit, that deal with oppression and exploitation in American society.

The poet’s charismatic reading style has captured international audiences that go far beyond what any label as an African-American poet might mean. I asked him about the connection. “I have learned from my travels that the oppressors, oppression and their methods are the same all over the world and thus those who suffer from them are connected,” Hall wrote. “The oppressed all understand that their oppression is based in large part on gluttony/greed. The need for a source of continuous cheap labor and to rob people of their substance, their lands and resources often under the guise of religion, democracy, freedom, education, tradition, culture and self-serving charity.”

Few poets read in public as often as Hall. And Hall recognized this activity as a watershed moment in his development as a poet. “There in real time with the poetry of your heart and mind flowing from your mouth, you see yourself touching, moving audiences’ hearts and minds to feel and live the poetry you’ve lived and are re-living in the readings before them. There in real time, I learned to live in my poetry as much as my poetry lives in me.”

I asked him how that speaks to the mysterious relationship between writer and poem and reader.

“It is no mystery. What people get from your poetry is not only what you give them, but also the life experiences they bring to your poetry. And the life experience they bring to your poem can illuminate the words and impact far more — or less — in them than in you or your intent.

So when readers respond in a very surprising manner to a poem, does it make him feel differently about the poem?

“No. The poem is my poem and my experience. I can only feel what I bring to it and it to me. On the other hand, I do feel honored and grateful that others bring their different life experiences into play when reading about and connecting with my life experiences through my poetry. We are, as I have said, seamless! Poetry can bear witness to erase the seams man creates in us.”

Hall writes in one of his poems, “We are socialized and emotionalized to see / our plight in black and white.”

No such adhering to stereotype in Hall’s work.

The program is free and open to the public.

 

Researchers Develop Artificial Photosynthesis System that Generates Both Hydrogen Fuel and Electricity

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Dan McCue from the Renewable Energy Magazine

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, have come up with a new recipe for renewable fuels that could bypass the limitations in current materials: an artificial photosynthesis device called a “hybrid photoelectrochemical and voltaic (HPEV) cell” that turns sunlight and water into not just one, but two types of energy – hydrogen fuel and electricity. The paper describing this work was published on October 29 in Nature Materials.


Illustration: The HPEV cell’s extra back outlet would allow the current to be split into two, so that one part of the current contributes to solar fuels generation, and the rest can be extracted as electrical power. (Credit: Berkeley Lab, JCAP)

Most water-splitting devices are made of a stack of light-absorbing materials. Each layer absorbs different parts or “wavelengths” of the solar spectrum, ranging from less-energetic wavelengths of infrared light to more-energetic wavelengths of visible or ultraviolet light.

When each layer absorbs light it builds an electrical voltage. These individual voltages combine into one voltage large enough to split water into oxygen and hydrogen fuel. But according to Gideon Segev, a postdoctoral researcher at JCAP in Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division and the study’s lead author, the problem with this configuration is that even though silicon solar cells can generate electricity very close to their limit, their high-performance potential is compromised when they are part of a water-splitting device.

“It’s like always running a car in first gear,” said Segev. “This is energy that you could harvest, but because silicon isn’t acting at its maximum power point, most of the excited electrons in the silicon have nowhere to go, so they lose their energy before they are utilized to do useful work.”

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Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

Are we making progress in renewable energy?

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So Segev and his co-authors – Jeffrey W. Beeman, a JCAP researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, and former Berkeley Lab and JCAP researchers Jeffery Greenblatt, who now heads the Bay Area-based technology consultancy Emerging Futures LLC, and Ian Sharp, now a professor of experimental semiconductor physics at the Technical University of Munich in Germany – proposed a surprisingly simple solution to a complex problem.

“We thought, ‘What if we just let the electrons out?’” said Segev.

In water-splitting devices, the front surface is usually dedicated to solar fuels production, and the back surface serves as an electrical outlet. To work around the conventional system’s limitations, they added an additional electrical contact to the silicon component’s back surface, resulting in an HPEV device with two contacts in the back instead of just one. The extra back outlet would allow the current to be split into two, so that one part of the current contributes to solar fuels generation, and the rest can be extracted as electrical power.

After running a simulation to predict whether the HPEC would function as designed, they made a prototype to test their theory. “And to our surprise, it worked!” Segev said.

According to their calculations, a conventional solar hydrogen generator based on a combination of bismuth vanadate and silicon will utilize only 6.8 percent of the solar energy striking the cell and store it the form of hydrogen fuel. All the rest is lost.

In contrast, the HPEV cells harvest leftover electrons that do not contribute to fuel generation. These residual electrons are used to generate electrical power, resulting in a dramatic increase in the overall solar energy conversion efficiency. For example, according to the same calculations, the same 6.8 percent of the solar energy can be stored as hydrogen fuel in an HPEV cell made of bismuth vanadate and silicon, and another 13.4 percent of the solar energy can be converted to electricity. This enables a combined efficiency of 20.2 percent, three times better than conventional solar hydrogen cells.

The researchers plan to continue their collaboration so they can look into using the HPEV concept for other applications such as reducing carbon dioxide emissions. “This was truly a group effort where people with a lot of experience were able to contribute,” added Segev. “After a year and a half of working together on a pretty tedious process, it was great to see our experiments finally come together.”

The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis is a DOE Energy Innovation Hub.

The work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

USA: Marquette University Center for Peacemaking celebrates 10 years

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article by Donna Sarkar for the Marquette Wire

The Center for Peacemaking celebrated its 10-year anniversary Sept. 13 at the Haggerty Museum of Art, marking a decade of exploring the power of nonviolence.


Video of anniversary event

A reception featured speeches from founders of the center as well as members of the board of directors. A $1 million grant was announced during the ceremony to continue development work in the community. 

The Center for Peacemaking was founded in 2008 through the vision of Marquette alumni Terry and Sally Rynne. The center operates several programs for students that support research promoting peace and nonviolence. It is the only such center on a Catholic university campus in the United States, Terry Rynne said. 

Patrick Kennelly, director of the center and a Marquette University alumnus, said the center’s impact is clear. “Peace education has transformed the lives of Marquette students, and Marquette peacemaking initiatives have addressed indignities and communities locally and around the globe,” Kennelly said. 

Zoe Gunderson, a junior in the College of Communication said she recently started working at the Center for Peacemaking as a communications assistant.  She said she noticed the welcoming atmosphere right away.

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Questions for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

University campus peace centers, What is happening on your campus?

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“The students involved seem to be really dedicated and passionate about nonviolence movements and other related issues, and I’m really glad I joined,” Gunderson said.

The center also works to recruit students and build curriculum for the peace studies major and minor offered in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“Undergraduate time is a place where students can change new things,” Terry said. “It’s our call as Christians to help serve students and the power of nonviolence is just so wonderful. The number of students involved grows exponentially each year.”

During the ceremony, the center recognized its partnership with Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.  It gives students and faculty access to the agency’s international projects, experts and resources. 

Ellie Lyne, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and a research assistant on the Park Initiative project, which promotes reducing crime in the Near West Side neighborhoods, said learning about the power of nonviolence is beneficial and the center has taught her how to have tangible impacts on the community.

“I’ve also worked with professors over the summer to research how to solve domestic violence and eviction in Milwaukee, and we are close to reaching some answers,” she said.

Kennelly said he has witnessed graduates of the peace studies program working around the globe using skills of nonviolence learned at Marquette to address indignities and solve dense social issues.

“Our faith calls us to show love to one another and our enemies in times of crisis,” Kennelly said. “That is the mission I hope students (take away).”