NAPF’s incoming CEO Rick Wayman delivered these remarks at the 36th annual Evening for Peace honoring David Krieger.
I want to start out by recognizing the outstanding staff team at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. These dedicated peacemakers work tirelessly to keep our organization running, all while working every day to create a more peaceful and just world.
Paul K. Chappell, our Peace Literacy Director
Sandy Jones, our Communications Director and in-house musician
Sharon Rossol, our Office Manager
Carol Warner, our Executive Assistant
Sarah Witmer, our Director of Development, who really went above and beyond to make this evening a success.
Thanks for everything that each of you do.
I have had the pleasure and good fortune of working with David for the past 12 years, first as Director of Programs, and more recently as Deputy Director.
I remember the first time I walked through the door of our headquarters on Anacapa Street in May 2007 for my job interview. I immediately felt at home, and knew this was an organization that I needed to be a part of.
Over the years, David has assembled an outstanding staff team. His charisma and relentless determination to achieve peace and nuclear weapons abolition has brought luminaries from all over the world into our orbit, through our annual Distinguished Peace Leadership Award and our impressive international Advisory Council.
Have you seen the list of people we have honored over the years? Sure, they came to Santa Barbara to receive an award, but they accepted the invitation because they all recognize the importance and the beauty of what David has created.
I have grown and learned an extraordinary amount in this time with David as my mentor. It’s truly an honor to have been selected by David and the Board to take over as CEO at the end of the year. Thank you, David, for trusting me to lead our organization as we continue to build upon your legacy.
The year 2020 is just a few weeks away. Weren’t all the world’s problems supposed to be solved by then?
Not only are the world’s problems not solved, but they seem to be escalating. A new nuclear arms race is underway. Wars and repressive state violence are on the rise globally. Climate change is having a greater impact not only internationally, but also in California. So many of us here and around the world are affected by trauma, addiction, racism, sexism, mass shootings, and extremism.
In our efforts to create a more peaceful world, it can seem like we’re facing immense adversaries and overwhelming odds. It can seem like we’re facing monsters from our worst nightmares.
However, I have realistic hope that continues to grow. I want to share with you a new plan we have for expanding our Peace Literacy initiative to give all of us the tools we need in our communities and around the world to meet and overcome these challenges.
Our world can no longer settle for peace as an abstract concept or sentimental wish. Our Peace Literacy initiative at NAPF teaches the practical skills and frameworks needed to create peace that is realistic, resilient, and sustainable.
Peace Literacy recognizes that to solve our current challenges, we need people to be as well-trained in waging peace as soldiers are in waging war.
This is why our goal is to design and distribute Peace Literacy curriculum. And to make this curriculum free for every student in every school around the globe, from kindergarten to college and beyond.
Paul K. Chappell, our Peace Literacy Director, brings his background from West Point and the Army to this unique and vital approach. He has assembled an impressive team of Peace Literacy educators who have developed curriculum and teacher training that gives students the tools to resolve twenty-first century conflicts, heal trauma, and navigate increasingly complex and powerful technologies, so that they can promote the flourishing of relationships, families, classrooms, workplaces, communities, nations, and our planet.
Our Peace Literacy curriculum is already reaching thousands of students in multiple countries. Peace Literacy is in increasing demand. We are uniquely positioned to provide it, and we can prove its broad applicability in part by applying its concepts within the nuclear abolition movement.
Peace Literacy addresses the root causes that allow nuclear weapons to exist. These root causes include mistrust, disillusionment, rage, and alienation. If we do not address these root causes, I don’t believe that the necessary policy change nor collective mindset change will occur to allow nuclear weapons to be abolished and stay abolished. In this way, Peace Literacy allows us to lean into our organization’s founding mission of ending war, abolishing nuclear weapons, and creating peace in the nuclear age.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can more fully apply what we’re learning through Peace Literacy to the work that we do for nuclear abolition.
Let me give you just one example. We collaborate globally with activists and organizations working for the abolition of nuclear weapons. As with most social movements, sometimes things as simple as not knowing how to listen, or not bringing empathy to the table, can derail us. If we can’t achieve these things amongst ourselves, how are we going to change the world? Peace Literacy brings the frameworks that we need to improve the movement’s effectiveness.
We’ve got some incredibly exciting and important projects in the works with Peace Literacy. We have pilot programs in numerous schools this year, and this is set to grow, along with the breadth of curriculum that we are providing to students and teachers.
We’re continuing to work with dedicated volunteers across the U.S. and Canada who are helping us to build hubs for Peace Literacy to thrive.
We’re expanding our partnership with Oregon State University in a number of ways. This includes a major research project at OSU to document the effectiveness of our curriculum with high school students.
We’re working to bring Peace Literacy training to community leaders in Nigeria to give them new skillsets and approaches in their work to counter extremism and Catholic-Muslim conflicts.
We’re working closely with Rotary International chapters and districts to develop Peace Literacy training modules for Rotarians.
And we are collaborating with one of the leading researchers in the United States on advancing technology and the urgent need for humans’ moral and ethical frameworks to catch up.
In an age when humanity has the technological capacity to destroy itself, Peace Literacy is survival literacy. Human survival requires that people are also taught the skills needed to thrive and flourish. Because Peace Literacy gives people the skills to not only survive, but also thrive and flourish as individuals, in societies, and as a global community, we are working to have education in Peace Literacy recognized as a universal human right by 2030.
All of this work that we are doing has been made possible by the vision of David and NAPF’s co-founders in creating an institution dedicated to achieving peace in the age of nuclear weapons. It’s only possible moving forward with the support of all of you in this room, and our many generous donors around the world.
Looking back on our first 37 years of existence, I am so grateful for the strong foundation that David has created. Looking forward, I am excited about the many possibilities we have to build on his legacy to make lasting, sustainable change in people’s lives, in communities, and in international relations.
David has not only helped us navigate through the nuclear age, he has also helped usher in a new age of Peace Literacy, providing new hope for the survival and flourishing of NAPF, our country, and our entire global community.
Thank you all – each and every one of you – for being here with us tonight to honor David Krieger. Please join me in a round of applause for David, thanking him for his distinguished career working for peace, and wishing him all the best in his upcoming retirement.