One month ago I ´ve been in Caux Forum (Switzerland) and was shocked to find that there is still people that think that “building peace” its about “big projects”, “speeches” and “public recognition”instead of a daily work, individual attitude towards conciliation and complete institutional change.
A Forum is not part of a curriculum but of a lesson of coexistence and exercise of peace-building. However, not everyone sees it this way and sadly become places to be witness of how hate is easy to build and grow faster than peace. It sounds pessimistic, but to tackle it we need to identify the root causes of hate and build smart strategies accordingly. A way to not “taking us by surprise” and after the shock we have not become just observers of processes that get out of our control but finally get ownership of Media, social media and institutional and political leader´s messages.
Trust*, exchange, acceptance and –in many cases- silence, have never been so needed as essential tools for innovating within the own institutions and from individual attitude, strength and passion for change.
Trust that you can, exchange with people with completely different expertise, accept diverse approaches and take silence as a resource to clean your thoughts and allow others to make their own path towards chaos without your complicity.
Peace initiatives at all levels must create mechanisms that assure that open processes are monitoring and any trace of hate is stopped and managed. There is a very important work of facilitation towards creating a peaceful atmosphere and we must be warriors of defending spaces dedicated to building peace. Institutions tend to trust and accept “internal wars” as part of their own challenges but if their goal is building peace, there is a higher and most ambitious goal that they must fulfil: a careful selection of people including those participating in Forums.
As Carl Stauffer (Academic Director of Caux Scholars Program) mentioned “ we have to name the violence that is within, in our structures, institutions,….”,
This is the true disease of current institutions: a good message but not a self-critical view from their own internal relations and the quality of their work in terms of results. During the post 2d war period, debate, reflection and deliberation were essential for building a new world, making of institutions the axis in which a new era arises. Trust in institutions were the new normal, instead of leaders, it is for this reason that global institutions as the United Nations become so relevant in leading the path. However, even if it was good for constructing a global model it has become a rusty, ineffective and a waste of resources.
It is precisely now that we can see that trust has moved the axis of power and is located within individuals because of the discredit of political leaders and none accountability/ transparency processes, and also because of the increasing influence of technology within social media. Even if all the above represents good signs of globalisation, it also demands to be reshaped and adapted. New challenges are marking a new agenda and new feelings that includes hate, fear, prejudice as never before, or at least, not the way it has been expressed. New shapes of hate are leading the path towards isolationist compartments of countries, people and organisations. Not precisely going back in time but taking old models and surprisingly trying to fix it into a complete different world dominated by a revolutionary technology and innovative influencers. The axis of power has moved and now we need to move accordingly. However, organisations are still ruling by the same codes and few changes that do not address the core burden for changing that is: themselves. Either in terms of human resources or participants in Forums, peace-building is a matter of being selective, demanding a close look into each of them. To shape a new era within resilience,individual potential becomes key and our main hope.
Hate is among us, is not part of “conflict areas” but of conflicts in pacifical areas that can -and must- make a difference by reshaping from within. One of the main principles is to accept that hate and confrontation is part of our reality and not a specific historical and geographical period and spaces. Creating mechanisms and accept that it will arise its part of a mature organisation. We must be selective, the more challenging the situation is, the more strict -although flexible- the rules are. Is it a contradiction? Being open and at the some time almost an elite? Not really, challenges, constraints and conflicts made us be strong defenders of principles from a tougher and effective way within new influencers and innovative mechanisms.
Peace-building is a daily attitude and a “simple” peace-building event is not that anymore but a results-driven act of peace that pushes into new codes that make of each participant a driver to change.
As the sculpture “Force of Nature”, current conditions are pushing us to take the lead and find solutions by maximising the potential of each individual. Change would not come from big projects, but big people with the correct attitude, strong and results-driven action and will for joint action.
Take the lead!
*Lorenzo Quinn, Force of Nature