If every town and village in the world could call on its own trusted ‘agents of transformation’ – respected people who had learned since childhood how to embrace the energy of conflict and provide a strong enough ‘container’ for conflicted parties to listen to each other ‘for as long as it takes’. It would become normal for every country to install an Infrastructure for Peace.
Pioneered by Mandela in South Africa, this is a network of skilled councils who would be immediately involved if a dispute arose, and who would set in motion their preferred cultural methods of transforming that dispute. These councils operate at national regional and local levels, where those who are respected and loved in the community are put in charge of developing a safety strategy for the area they are responsible for. This safety strategy is known by everybody and put into action as soon as there is a sign of conflict.
Imagine a world in which we made heroes out of those who put their lives on the line so that others don’t get killed. They intervene to stop killing, mediate between warlords, rescue child soldiers, persuade young people not to become suicide bombers, negotiate cease-fires, free hostages and build bridges between people who hate each other. These are some of the most courageous and determined people on earth – just imagine if they became our heroes and heroines, their stories told on the front pages.
Imagine a world in which we systematically trained peace-builders in every part of the planet in the skills of Gandhi, Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, developing the kind of courses that combine the practical skills of peace building and non violence with the development of inner intelligence or self knowledge that can bridge the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Imagine if graduating from such a course became a basic qualification for standing for election to any public office! In future, community energies are focused on building and developing a safe society, because once people feel safe, they can learn to be transparent and trusting.
The community becomes knitted together in such a way that ‘strangers’ or ‘immigrants’ are formally welcomed to the area and shown the values of the community. Those values include respect for others, hospitality and asking for what you need rather than taking it. People tend to know all their neighbours and are able to look into their eyes and ask for help when they need it.
To counter-balance the sense of marginalisation and the persecution of people because of their group identity, we envisage the growth of local initiatives guiding youth to visualise a better future, to re-integrate in the society, and to revive their cultural meaning.
The Pioneer for this Constellation is Dr. Scilla Elworthy
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