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Resources for Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization

I am the founder and outreach coordinator for The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative (www.ipcri.net).

We now live in very complex and challenging times. More and more people, in more and more parts of the world, are coming to the conclusion that all of us have important responsibilities associated with resolving a significant number of very serious challenges, which include (but are not limited to):

a) global warming and reducing carbon emissions
b) peak oil and reducing dependence on petroleum based products
c) global inequities and the tragic cycles of malnutrition, disease, and death
d) an increasing world population requiring more resources when many resources are becoming more scarce (with a special emphasis on the increasing number of people who are consuming resources and ecological services indiscriminately)
e) cultures of greed, corruption, and overindulgence have caused a crises of confidence in financial markets, and are in many ways slowing the restructuring of investment priorities needed to respond to the challenges listed here (and other challenges)
f) there still seems to be a majority of people on the planet who do not have a clear understanding, well-grounded in personal experience, of which basic elements of community life and cultural traditions lead to mutually beneficial understandings, which lead to cycles of violence—and why it is so important for people to achieve clarity on this subject.

In June, 2008, I completed a 161 page proposal titled “1000Communities2” (“1000CommunitiesSquared”) http://ipcri.net/images/1000Communities2.pdf.

The “1000Communities2” proposal advocates organizing and implementing Community Visioning Initiatives in 1000 communities (communities—or segments of rural areas, towns, or cities—with populations of 50,000 or less) around the world

1. which are time-intensive, lasting even as much as 1½ years (18 months), so as to give as much importance to developing a close-knit community as it does to

a) accumulating and integrating the knowledge and skill sets necessary for the highest percentage of people to act wisely in response to challenges identified as priority challenges
b) helping people to deliberately channel their time, energy, and money into the creation of “ways of earning a living” which are directly related to resolving high priority challenges
c) assisting with outreach, partnership formation, and development of service capacity for a significant number of already existing (or forming) organizations, businesses, institutions, and government agencies
d) helping to build a high level of consensus for specific action plans, which will help inspire additional support from people, businesses, organizations, institutions, and government agencies with significant resources

2. which expand on the concept of “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” (created by the “Teachers Without Borders” organization) so that such local community points of entry function as information clearinghouses, meeting locations, educational centers for ongoing workshops (on a broad range of topics related to the Community Visioning Process, and building the local knowledge base), practice sites for developing “teacher-leaders”, a location for an ongoing “informal” “Community Journal”, a location for listing employment opportunities—and provide a means of responding quickly (by changing the emphasis of workshop content) to new urgencies as they arise

3. and which suggest—as a way of emphasizing the need for an exponential increase in compassion for our fellow human beings—that communities (with the resources to do so) enter into “sister community” relationships with communities in other countries where there has been well documented calls for assistance with basic human needs.

The Fall, 2008 issue of The IPCR Journal/Newsletter includes 3 essays describing the “1000Communities2” proposal. Another more detailed introduction to the proposal is titled “Transitioning from Less Solution-Oriented Employment to More Solution-Oriented Employment”, and can be accessed near the bottom of The IPCR Initiative homepage (www.ipcri.net). The contents of the “Current Educational Materials Outreach Package” is also at the bottom of The IPCR Initiative homepage, and features the document “The “1000Communities2” Proposal: Creating a Multiplier Effect of a Positive Nature”.

The Worldwatch Institute recently published a “Letter to the New Education Secretary” which outlines the potential of emphasizing education strategies as a response to the economic crises http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5971.

The “1000Communities2” proposal is one way of using innovative educational strategies to create a multiplier effect, which will both bring to light the local and regional appropriate solutions, and accelerate the transition to solution-oriented employment.

The “1000Communities2” proposal includes over 150 quotes and excerpts from a variety of sources, which support the need for innovative solutions of an unprecedented nature. Many of the sources referred to represent “solutions already in progress”, and relate directly or indirectly to the question of actual employment and solutions at the local community level. Specifically, in the context of this website “World Pulse”, I would especially recommend

1) the sections on p. 134 “Food Summit Calls for More Investment in Agriculture” and “’This calls for innovative and imaginative solutions….’”
2) Section 9 (p. 47-59), which is titled “15 Suggestions for Preliminary Survey Questions” ( and which is Step 3 of a 15 Step Outline for a Community Visioning Initiative)
2) the discussion of Step 12 of the 15 Step Outline (on p. 38-39). Step 12 is “Summary Presentations and Job Fairs”, and includes the following commentary:

Special Commentary: By now, there will have been sufficient public discourse for those people with understanding about high level shifts in investment portfolios to have learned something about what directions future shifts will be leaning towards. The job fairs which come at the end of the CVI process provide opportunities for all key stakeholders in the community (businesses, organizations, institutions, government, etc.) to demonstrate their upgraded awareness—and their interest in the welfare of the community—by offering and facilitating new employment opportunities… and thus helping with a just transition from patterns of investment which in only limited ways represent solutions to prioritized challenges to patterns of investment which in many ways represent solutions to prioritized challenges. Note: As mentioned on p. 125, one aspect of this just transition can be that people who do deliberately focus their investments of time, energy, and money towards solutions identified by the Community Visioning Initiative being carried out in their community may receive, as encouragement, local currency. And then such local currency can, in its turn, be redeemed in ways which will be particularly helpful to people transitioning from less solution-orientedemployment to more solution-oriented employment.

Here I also provide the “Table of Contents” for the Appendix.

Appendix of “1000Communities2”
1. A Ten Point Assessment of the Most Difficult Challenges of Our Times
2. About Global Warming, Peak Oil, and Population and Consumption Patterns
3. The Transition to Sustainable Communities
4. Evidence of the Need to Increase Compassion for Our Fellow Human Beings
5. Examples of Humanitarian Aid Which Can be Explored Through “Sister Community” Relationships
6. Integrating Spiritual Wisdom into the Everyday Circumstances of Community Life
7. 105 Fields of Activity Related to Peacebuilding, Community Revitalization, and Ecological Sustainability
8. The IPCR Initiative Mission Statement

I sincerely hope that some of these ideas are helpful to readers of this “Sharing Solutions” section of World Pulse.

With Kind Regards and Best Wishes,

Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator
The IPCR Initiative

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