New Jersey:  “What is the relationship between peace and justice?”

This question was asked of NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell at a March 8 event at the Peace Center at St. Joseph’s Shrine in Stirling, New Jersey. A group of about seventy long-time activists spent a sunny afternoon listening to Paul discuss “The Art of Waging Peace.”

Paul answered the question about peace and justice this way:

“I like to call this Peace Soup. Peace includes all the ingredients in the soup; justice is the liquid that holds everything together. Without justice, there is no peace.”

Another question was: “How do you make the peace movement relevant?”

“You emphasize the need for waging peace skills. These are practical life skills that can improve our personal lives and positively influence the lives of those around us. This is how the peace movement becomes a movement for all of humanity to work together.”

Manhattan:  Before an event at the Soka Gakkai International Center on March 13, as part of the SGI Culture of Peace Distinguished Speaker Series, Paul participated in a youth dialogue with college students and recent graduates, all members of this Buddhist association. They asked Paul how they could continue to move forward in activism against what seems like impossible odds.

Paul responded, “Less than one percent of the American population was actively involved in the women’s and civil rights movements. Less than one percent of the global population was involved in the movement to abolish state-sanctioned slavery. It’s only a small percent of the population that is needed to make positive change.”

He reminded them that to make positive change they must be well-trained, strategic, and creative.  “As soldiers are given excellent training in waging war, citizens must be given excellent training in waging peace. Focusing on peace leadership, the form of leadership practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., gives us the nonviolence training and the practical life skills to wage peace in our personal lives, our communities, and around the world.”

Northern Uganda:  Invited by the University of the Sacred Heart in Northern Uganda to teach a three-day Peace Leadership training, Paul interacted with participants that included people from South Sudan  and Uganda, along with American nuns. Decades of continuous war have resulted in unimaginable traumatic wounds.

“This is a humbling experience,” said Paul. “They are working on many vital issues, such as peace, justice, women’s rights, disability rights, domestic violence, substance abuse, abolishing the death penalty, reconciliation, health and human services, discrimination, and poverty. One of their favorite quotes during the training is from Elinor ‘Gene’ Hoffman who said, ‘An enemy is a person whose story we have not heard.’”