Sunday, September 22, 2013


OMNI CELEBRATES UN INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE, September 21, 2013,  NEWSLETTER #6.  Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace.  Annual OMNI DAYS celebrations began in 2003.   

My blog:  It's the War Department

“Terrible wars have been fought in the past because people thought that they could not live in the same world together, or because they thought their beliefs were in head-on collision with those of their neighbors.  Then, with time, they found that it was not only possible but necessary to make a working compromise that allowed for the differences.  They found that it was not only possible but necessary to accept the principle of diversity in human society.”  Dag Hammarskjold (form UN Secretary General).  Quoted in Hammarskjold: A Life by Roger Lipsey
“I wonder how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own.”  Howard Zinn

“If I define my neighbor as the one I must go out to look for, on the highways and byways, in the factories and slums, on the farms and in the mines, then my world changes.”   Gustavo Gutierrez, Founder of Liberation Theology

“As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the other members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him.  This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.”   Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man. 

“Abolishing war in the 21st century is not only realistic in the sense that it is possible, but also realistically necessary for human survival and well-being.   The peacemaking primate has the capacity to do so.”   Douglas Fry, The Human Potential for Peace, p. 262.

“As our hearts open to deeper understanding, our circle of compassion naturally enlarges and spontaneously begins to include more and more ‘others’—not just our own tribe, sect, nation, or race, but all human beings, and not just humans, but other mammals, and birds, fish, forests, and the whole beautifully interwoven tapestry of living, pulsing creation.   All beings.  All of us.”   Will Tuttle, The World Peace Diet, p. 293.

Contents #5 2012
UNIDP 2012
Messages from 2011
Dick, International Education and Critical Thinking
Show Films for Peace
OMNI’s National/International Days Project

Contents of #6 2013
UNIDP 2013
Planning for 2014

Show Films for Peace,
Dick, International Education and Critical Thinking

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Friday, 07 June 2013 00:00

2013 Peace Day Theme: Education for Peace Featured

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2013 Peace Day Theme: Education for Peace
The 2013 International Day of Peace theme has been chosen, it is "Education for Peace". 2013 is a vital year in which to engage larger numbers of people around the world in the awareness of Peace and the practices of PeaceBuilding. The United Nation's International Day of Peace (IDP) provides the focal point for thousands of NGOs globally, to inspire and engage many millions of constituents. Toward that end, the theme for the 2013 IDP, Education for Peace, was chosen on the inspiration of the U.N. Secretary General's Education First Campaign, an initiative to raise the political profile of education, strengthen the global movement to achieve quality education and generate additional and sufficient funding through sustained advocacy efforts. 

The 2013 Peace Day theme highlights education as an important path toward a more peaceful world as well as the crucial need for educational programming specific to the subject of peace.  
Achieving gains in education will have an impact on all the Millennium Development Goals as well, from lower child and maternal mortality, to better health, higher income and more environmentally-friendly societies.
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§                                 Education
§                                 PeaceBuilding Tools & PeaceBuilding Practices


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Culture of Peace Initiative 

August 2011
August 21, 2011

Dear Culture of Peace Initiative Participants and Supporters, 

The International Day of Peace is one month away.  Many observances will start sooner.  One focus of this issue is to help organizations create and disseminate press releases to raise awareness of your Peace Day events - and your year round peacebuilding practices.  Below that is information on some new or significant events - as well as ways to network and promote your organization or efforts for this year's global observance.

Press Release Tips:
It is important to obtain local media coverage to promote your event for the International Day of Peace.  In fact for many events, local coverage may be the most likely to occur.  Go to the websites of the top newspapers and TV and radio stations in your area to a link that says "Contact Us", "News Tips" or "Press Releases".  You should be able to e-mail or paste your press release into a form and submit it.  

The following link may be of assistance to you.  Sending press releases to on-line newsletters and organizations that have such newsletters, or Facebook pages, or blogs, may also help to promote your event and / or organization.  If your NGO has many local branches (and some of you have hundreds), you may wish to forward your Press Release to these various locations for their own use. 

Here is a Press Release Template - that you can use or adapt:

YOUR ORGANIZATION is...  Observing the International Day of Peace, Sept. 21

YOUR CITY / TOWN / LOCATION – This year much of humanity will conduct the largest global observance of the International Day of Peace ever on or around Sept. 21st.  Thousands of organizations and hundreds of millions of people worldwide observe this occasion.  Many events last for several days.  Some will start on this year's 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001; others will continue through Oct. 2, Gandhi's birthday and the International Day of Non-Violence.  One focal point across the entire planet will be the minute of silence at 12:00 noon, in all time zones worldwide, on Sept. 21 - as requested by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.



The International Day of Peace was established by a unanimous resolution of the United Nations in 1981. Its mission is to provide a common time period for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on or near a shared date, and to bring together efforts from around the world whose ultimate focus is to promote peace and sustainability.  This year marks the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Peace.  In recent years, this observance has included significant portions of humanity due to the proliferation of wireless technology, computers and cell phones, 

The United Nations announced earlier this year that the theme for this year's International Day of Peace 2011 is 'Make Your Voice Heard'.  In doing so it thanked the thousands of organizations who have 'institutionalized' this observance worldwide. 

Peace Day saves lives
.  Nations and governing bodies the world over are joining the call for peace through a range of activities including ceasefires, proclamations, and pledges for humanitarian aid.  Religious groups and educational institutions across the planet are conducting both educational and community service programs.  Many non-government organizations use this occasion as an opportunity to promote their year round efforts, whether their focus is on human rights, the environment, humanitarian relief, poverty, health care, disarmament or international cooperation.  World leaders and public figures call for participation; businesses and professionals create various types of promotions; individuals can participate in many ways - even privately, or with friends and family.  The combination of all of these activities creates long term impact, beyond the annual observance.  

One such peacebuilding effort, that (YOUR ORGANIZATION"S NAME) participates with, is the Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI), which is a UN-designated Peace Messenger program established by Pathways To Peace that includes thousands of organizations from around the world.  Pathways To Peace has been working with the United Nations to promote the observance of the International Day of Peace since its inception in 1981.  The Culture of Peace Initiative has promoted peace by bringing together previously unseen and unheard voices working towards peace, as well as uniting the strengths of established organizations to help create a worldwide 'culture of peace' for future generations.  For more information about Pathways To Peace, the Culture of Peace Initiative, and the International Day of Peace as well as listings of thousands of events worldwide, please visit , and .

Here is a link to a 3 minute informative and entertaining video about the International Day of Peace.   


####Updates of significant programs and promotional opportunities:
The EVENT LOCATOR on our websites
 for 2011 is open for all to use.  Please post your events on our websites and / or .  Events posted on either site automatically show up on the other site.  This will give your event the widest possible global exposure.  Events listed will also be included in our annual Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) report to the United Nations.  Thank you.
The Peace Wave:  There will be a Minute of Silence at Noon in All Time Zones Worldwide, as requested by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN and sponsored by Pathways To Peace on behalf of the Culture of Peace Initiative.  We are a network of thousands of groups working year round to produce and promote practical peacebuilding activities.  Many groups are actively promoting this 'Minute of Silence' and tens of millions of people will be doing this.  Together we can envelope the world with a 'Wave of Peace'.

For those who don't know, Pathways To Peace initiated this program over 20 years ago - and even called it The Peace Wave back then.  In fact, the idea for the Secretary General's annual request for the minute of silence at noon in all time zones actually stemmed from this program.  Of course, global technology wasn't what it is today.  In more ways than one, this is an idea whose time has come.  Peace begins within - but extends to wherever we take it.
Our FACEBOOK PAGE has 35,000 members! People and organizations from all over the world post there - and learn about, and network with, each other.  Check it

You CAN NOW SHARE this newsletter on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In by clicking on the icons at the top of this page - above our logo. 

Peace Wave Facebook event:  In keeping with the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's request for a Minute of Silence at Noon in All Time Zones Worldwide, we have created a Facebook event for this.  Please invite your Facebook friends to participate and share this.  Together, we can take this 'viral' and create a 'wave' of peaceful energies surrounding the planet and encompassing all of humanity.!/event.php?eid=184359108294303
Peace Day TV will be promoting The Peace Wave: The Minute of Silence at Noon In All Time Zones Worldwide during their Global Peace Day Broadcast.  Every hour throughout the International Day of Peace, their broadcast will issue a reminder for people to do this in their particular time zone.  These reminders will include lists of countries and major cities in the time zone for each hour, as well as public service announcements by world leaders and public figures reminding people to do this.  They will also list organizations that will be promoting this observance to their members.  If you would like your organization listed there, as well as on the International Day of Peace Facebook page, please send the name of your organization  and .  Thank you.
CPI participant: Peace Day TV's Global Broadcast:
  The two hour preview show is now available to embed on your website at this link .  You can also watch the preview at  or at the UN site located at: .  For more information on this 5 day long broadcast, which will run from Sept. 17 to Sept. 21, please .  This broadcast will feature films about people and organizations around the world that are doing something good for humanity, whether it's about hunger, poverty, humanitarian aid, human rights, the environment, disarmament or international cooperation.    

CPI participant:‎ 11 Days of Global Unity
: From the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/01 to the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Peace, 9/21, there is a global coalition promoting solutions with 11 themes of change to create a more peaceful, sustainable world.  These are: Unity, Interdependence, Environment, Economic Justice, Health, Children & Youth, Women, Human Rights, Freedom, Disarmament and The International Day of Peace.  Activities will range from volunteer and service programs to educational and interfaith forums.  Organizations can use this opportunity to promote their year round focus and / or particular aspect of the worldwide shift toward a 'culture of peace'.    Also, here is a link to their press release, in case this is of interest.  11 Days of Global Unity Press Release June 20, 2011

A Special CPI Program!  International Day of Peace / Peace Pals Art Exhibition / Ambassador of Peace Collection:
  As we approach the International Day of Peace, tens of thousands of events are being planned worldwide to focus on, educate and celebrate the theme of Peacebuilding.  The Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) is especially pleased this year to offer you the opportunity to host and exhibit the artwork of youth from around the world as part of your International Day of Peace program.  The Peace Pals Ambassador of Peace collection features artwork of youth between the ages of 5 and 16 representing 63 countries of the world.  Each artwork is a masterpiece giving expression to the hope, aspirations and inner beauty inherent within the hearts of youth everywhere. Included on each artwork is the message, "May Peace Prevail On Earth". The Exhibition is made possible through a joint collaboration between the Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) and Peace Pals International. To read more about how to organize your International Day of Peace -  Peace Pals Art Exhibition go to:
Our PROMOTIONAL VIDEO for the International Day of Peace
 has been updated to reflectthis year's 30th anniversary.  Feel free to circulate it in - and to - all forms of media.  After all, The International Day of Peace is just a few weeks away.  

Dedication:  We dedicate this issue to Grandfather William Commanda, the Algonquin spiritual leader, who passed away recently at the age of 97.  Elder Commanda was honored at the International Day of Peace ceremonies in Montreal, as "Pacifist of the Year" on September 21, 2006.  An Algonquin Elder from Kitigan Zibi Reserve, the great, great grandson of Pakinawatik, the hereditary Anishinabe chief who led his people to settle in their traditional hunting and trapping grounds in the Ottawa River area in the mid eighteen hundreds, Elder Commanda was also Keeper of three Wampum Belts of sacred and historic importance: the Seven Fires Prophecy Belt about choice, the 1700's Belt about sharing, and the 1793 Jay Treaty Border Crossing Belt about borderlessness.

More recently, Elder Commanda worked with Cercle de Paix – Circle of Peace, which represents Pathways To Peace and The Culture of Peace Initiative in   He actively promoted a "Culture of Peace" as he pursued his Vision for the Development of A Healing and Peace Building Centre on the traditional Spiritual Meeting Grounds of the Anishnabec People until the very end.  Migwetch for your teachings Grandfather and for being such an example to us all.   

May Peace Prevail On Earth

This newsletter is offered by Pathways To Peace, International Secretariat of the 
Culture of Peace Initiative, and a UN Peace Messenger organization. Pathways To Peace has been involved with the International Day of Peace since it's inception in 1981 and has nurtured this occasion from a single event of a few hundred people into an annual global observance that is inter-cultural and inter-generational in nature, and that reaches hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Pathways To Peace has created and maintained the dedicated websites for the International Day of Peace and the Culture of Peace Initiative; we produce and distribute this newsletter; we held a successful campaign to have the International Day of Peace listed on most calendars across the globe; we are continually involved with communications and planning about this annual event both inside and beyond UN circles. To learn more about our programs, networks, campaigns and support materials please see our websites. 

Pathways To Peace is a nonprofit organization, whose work would not be possible without our volunteers and your support.   Please click here to donate.


CPI Coordinator Michael Johnson
CPI Contributing Writer - Melvin Weiner
CPI Outreach Coordinators - Jordan Loder & Michael Kwan
Pathways To Peace is the International Secretariat for the Culture of Peace Initiative

Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) is a project of Pathways To Peace
PO Box 1057
Larkspur, CA 94977

PO Box 1057 | Larkspur, CA 94977 US

We Would Have World Peace If the Schools Taught Peace
By Dick Bennett
     During the debates over health care in the United States, I never read directly from or read about the leading nations of the world in good health and well-being.  One would think comparison with Denmark’s health care (free hip operations include a free rehab hospital in Spain) and health care in France (a free pre-natal nurse for every pregnant woman continuing post-birth), for  two examples, would be part of the deliberative process. 
       Likewise, I cannot recall, during recent US elections, comparisons with the political systems of other countries.  What has worked better in other democracies?   What are the alternatives to US elections that create more democratic results?   The British Parliamentary system?   Nations with workplace democracy?   Again, this kind of comparative knowledge seems essential if we are to make wise decisions for the future.   One would think every election would inspire close examination of the US process through comparison with other nations.
       That our political leaders do not provide this critical thinking is perhaps understandable, except in the genuine, rare leader.   The same situation prevails regarding the creation of world peace.    Our media and educational institutions might make international comparison fundamental to their mission of enlightenment for a well-informed citizenry  
in a democracy.  Our newspapers and television news programs and K through 12 and college education might bring us the programs and classes necessary for contradiction analysis (a basic tool for exposing fallacies and hypocrisy), for empathy, and for their offspring compassion.
      Let me give an example from the so-called “War on Terrorism” that has continued the “Cold War” to perpetuate continual wars that some commentators refer to as “permanent war.”   The U.S. declared its invasion of Iraq in 1991/Iraq War I, called “Operation Desert Storm,” the Gulf War, to be a heroic defense of conquered Kuwait, part of its global role as defender of freedom at home and abroad.   That Kuwait was a kingdom, Saddam Hussein had been given a green light by our Ambassador, and Congress facilitated lies regarding Iraqi atrocities against Kuwaitis, are only minor difficulties with this argument.    The main problem is the hypocrisy of our leaders.   No matter how much money was involved in congressional campaigns from the military-corporate complex (Exxon Pentagon), or no matter how much flag waving, war drumming, and lying pressured the public, had our congressmen and public been well-informed about US imperial history (empathy for the dozens of underdog countries and hundreds of thousands of people bombed and gunned) and in the techniques of fallacious deception (familiar for more than a hundred years), the congressional representatives would have been thoughtful and the public would have acted as citizens.  
     With this knowledge and skill, the media and the educational system can provide the perspective by which we can see through constructed meanings and see reality--of the “enemies” (political definitions) and the victims (napalm and shrapnel being a reality), and understand, too, the consequences of proposed and planned wars.   No one in power, no school or college, and few newspapers stood against the storm of bombs and bullets soon to begin.  And one main reason is that they did not even try to imagine the “enemy.”  They did not try to visualize the burned bodies, the destroyed homes, a nation in ruin.  And they did not try to conceive of the extended consequences, the hatred not only from relatives and friends, but by the sympathizers for fellow members of faith, or by the countless supporters of underdogs/haters of bullies.
     Listen to Moazzam Begg, a British citizen who was imprisoned and tortured by the US military as an “enemy combatant” for more than three years before being released without charge.
     “There wasn’t anyone I knew in the Asian community [in Birmingham, England] who supported Operation Desert Storm. . . .my father and I felt it was a demonstration of a particular kind of hypocrisy that seemed so typical of certain Western nations. . . .
     “Neither of us liked the Iraq occupation of Kuwait, which would have been the underdog.  But Kuwait was never the issue.  Several UN resolutions had clearly designated Palestine, Kashmir, and South Lebanon as occupied territories, and yet there was no concerted US action for liberating them.   In fact, Israel’s occupation of Palestine was wholeheartedly supported by the US.”   [Very few members of Congress remembered these facts, connected these dots, and apparently the same was true about the mainstream media and the public.]   Furthermore, where did Saddam get his weapons for the invasion of Kuwait?  “Iraq ‘s forces had been bolstered by weapons supplied by the US, UK and France in an attempt to check the spread of Iranian-style Islamic revolutions in the Arab world.”  What had the West done when Iraq invaded the Shatt al-Arab waterway in Iran?  Supplied chemical weapons to Saddam.”  
    Moazzam  Begg did not become a terrorist, but out of the knowledge they had about US contradictory, biased, violent  behavior regarding “good” nations and “bad” nations,  people all over the world did become terrorists and do today.
    But the US invasion did not have to happen, and would not have happened, or would have been restricted in scope (no Highway of Death), had they been well-informed about the history leading up to Operation Desert Storm and educated to question the rationalizations (the whole panoply of fallacies) employed to justify mass killing.
      Perhaps you have already thought that the existence of the enormous US Pentagon forces was another impetus to invasion as powerful as historical ignorance and lack of skeptical skill.   If you arm yourself you are prepared to use it, including anticipatorily, or as invaders say, to prevent attack.  Let our schools teach the nations of the world and teach our youth to examine and compare them with our own.   Teach Denmark and nations like it, that, instead of arming for “defense,” act charitably toward their citizens and people around the world. 

Moazzam Begg.  Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and KandaharNew Press, 2006.

On Sept. 23rd, 2011 there was a global web broadcast of the film Body of War, co-directed by Phil Donahue.  Any of you might host a House Party at OMNI or your home as a way to promote a shift towards more peaceful solutions to international conflict.  Check it out, along with other great Intl. Day of Peace inspired videos, at  Then, sign-up at OMNI to host a Body of War Movie (or another film you like), Watching Party of your own!  --Dick

This newsletter continues OMNI’s NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL DAYS PROJECT.  Half of the Project affirms nonviolent DAYs, such as Human Rights Day.  The other half offers alternatives to violent, imperial, or generally misdirected days, as with the following:
Feb. 14:  Standing on the Side of Love Day (formerly Valentine’s Day)
May, 2nd Sunday: Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day for Peace (Mother’s Day)
3rd Sat. in May: Peace Forces Day  (Armed Forces Day)
May, last Monday:  Day of Mourning for Victims of Wars (Memorial Day)
June 14:  Liberty and Justice for All Day (Flag Day)
June, 3rd Sunday:  Father’s Day for Peace  (Father’s Day)
September 11 (9-11):  Peaceful Tomorrows Day (Patriot DDenay)
Oct.,  2nd Monday: Indigenous Peoples Day (Columbus Day):
Nov. 11: World Unity Day   (Veterans Day) (Or Armistice Day in 1918 when WWI ended).
November: Fourth Thursday:  National Day of Gratitude and Atonement (Thanksgiving)
December 7:   Pacific Colonial War Day (Pearl Harbor Day)
December 25:  Love and Peacemaking Day (Christmas)


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