Peacemaking is at the heart of our Academy’s mission. But what do we mean by “peace”?
PEACE IS ACTIVE.
We train peacemakers because peace must be made, created, grown—it does not just happen.
Peace is not the the absence of conflict, but the creation of something good.
CONFLICT IS UNAVOIDABLE, VIOLENCE IS NOT.
Conflict between people is simply a normal part of life; in the course of living in relationship with others, we frequently encounter times when what we want or need appears to conflict with the wants and needs of others.
Violence between people, on the other hand, is when someone in conflict uses their strength or influence to forcibly meet their needs or wants—such as by taking something, making fun of someone, or physically hurting another—while ignoring the needs of the other person. This is rarely, if ever, necessary in life.
CONFLICT SHOULD BE TRANSFORMED, NOT AVOIDED.
Conflict is unavoidable, so instead of trying to avoid or escape it, we should embrace it.
Conflict is an opportunity, because it gives us the chance to understand ourselves better, choose to build relationships with others instead of making enemies, and find new creative solutions that can meet everyone’s needs. Conflict is an opportunity for choosing cooperation and collaboration instead of competition.
PEACE LOOKS LIKE A SAFETY, COMPASSION, AND GROWTH IN OUR LIVES AND COMMUNITY.
Peace means that people are safe. This is more than immediate physical safety—people need healthy environments, access to medical care, emotionally safe communities, and welcoming hospitality. It means people do not need to live in fear.
Peace means that people practice and experience compassion with each other and themselves. It means people live knowing they are connected to everyone else—their actions affect people, and they are affected by the actions of others. We seek the best for everyone else because we know that when others do well, so do we… and when others suffer, so do we. We choose compassion because peace means being present with the pain of this world and seeking to heal it, not ignoring or running from it.
Peace means that everyone has the opportunity to grow. This is more than mere physical growth—we want everyone to grow in maturity, in confidence, in wisdom, in kindness, in relationships, and in stability. Peace means that we stand up and work for our own growth, and that we help and protect—not harm—the growth of others.