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10 Actions for a More Peaceful 2012

From the Peace and Development Collaborative Network

1) Examine how to create more peace in your personal life - If we do not have some degree of peace in our own internal lives, there is the question of how effective we can be in helping to build peace in our organizations, communities, societies and the world. There is no recipe for building peace, but there are many options that people have explored such as mediation, yoga, exercise, writing, reflecting, building community and more. Some key resources here are: Peace Revolution, Beliefnet.com, TheFetzer Institute, Charity Focus and The Daily Good.

2) Share your experiences and hopes for peace, as well as frustrations around conflict - This site is intended as an open resource where people can share both their success stories of helping to address conflicts around the world, and also ask questions/inquiry about ways to improve practice. If you have a particular success story, please share it with others. If you have questions/challenges that you would like input on please feel free to post it on this site in a forum discussion or blog and of course on other social networking sites.

3) Support Organizations working to effect change in the world - There are thousands of dynamic organizations around the world working to address conflict, build community, foster economic development and more. There are many ways you can support organizations such as contributing financially, volunteering, and more. I do not want to endorse specific organizations, but some resources that can be helpful in identifying opportunities include the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Interaction, GuideStar, Global Giving, among others.

4) Advocate for Preventing and Ending Conflicts - One of the challenges in conflict prevention is that often policymakers, NGO professionals, academics and others may have information about the potentially negative direction of conflicts. However, translating this information to effective policy changes often requires extensive advocacy campaigns by individuals, NGOs, religious groups and the larger civil society. Advocacy can mean anything from writing a legislature, talking with policymakers, taking direct action and more. For some useful examples of Advocacy Approaches see the International Crisis Group, Women Thrive Worldwide and the Genocide Intervention Network.

5) Mainstream a Conflict Sensitive Approach into your organization/company - Many organizations and companies around the world are beginning to look at how they can integrate a conflict sensitive approach (see the work of International Alert) throughout their external and internal operations. This means examining how an organization's internal hiring, procurement and other policies, as well as the external interactions and services can help to potentially reduce conflicts.

6) Get Additional Training - There are many different paths to pursuing a career in international conflict and related fields. If you feel like you might benefit from additional training there are many academic options, professional training programs, summer institutes and more that can help provide additional training and skills. See the Guide to Training on the Network.

7) Join an Existing Network - There are many academic and professional networking organizations that exist around the world that focus on conflict related issues. In the United States, the Association for Conflict Resolution is a network of practitioners, the Alliance for Peacebuilding is a network of organizations, the Peace and Justice Studies Association is a network of academics and activists, the International Conflict Management Association has an annual conference. Also see the Guide to Key Network Organizations.

8) Engage in Productive Dialogue with Others - One of the keys of addressing conflicts is building understanding and connections between people with diverse perspectives. There are many organizations working on facilitating and engaging communities in dialogue, conversation and discussion. Find an organization in your community, or start your own process. Some great resources in this area include Masterpeace, Sustained Campus Dialogue Network, Public Conversations Project , the Kettering Foundation, and the World Cafe.

9) Foster Sustainable Economic Development - One of the key ingredients in building peace in post-conflict societies is to help create sustainable economic opportunities for communities. This can be done through a variety of means, international development, social entreprenuership, socially responsible investing, lobbying for changes to foreign assistance programs and more. One of my favorite resources is Social Edge sponsored by the Skoll Foundation.

10) Build Community in your Own Life - There are many ways to build community in your own personal and professional circles. If you don't know your neighbors, invite them over for a party or gathering, start a new group to gather people around a common interest, look for exiting volunteer opportunities (see www.volunteerweb.org), contribute time and resources for helping others, etc.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions and lists for a more peaceful 2012.

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