PAX POPULI: People to People Peacemaking: Pax Populi English Tutoring Program with Students in Afghanistan

On my other blog, ‘Pax-Dei as Missio-Dei’, I mentioned about the tension between Pax-Dei, Missio-Dei and Populus-Dei by trying to explain how the ‘Peace of God’ is the ‘Mission of God’ to the ‘People of God’. Here is a potentially model organisation that can inspire us in using education as the major tool in building peace in one of the most troubled countries in the world – Afghanistan. Visit their website and see what they do. This is a kind of excellent example for one who would like to start this kind of work from scratch. Alternatively visit this website: <http://www.paxpopuli.org/&gt;. In the meantime continue reading – loads of information about this organisation follows.
Enjoy,
Yours Merid Desta.

About Pax Populi
Pax Populi® — which is Latin for “the peace of the people” — is the people-to-people peacemaking program of the nonprofit organization, Applied Ethics, Inc. Rather than leaving peacemaking to politicians, we at Pax Populi look to ordinary people — educators, businesspeople, people of faith, artists, scientists, and people of goodwill everywhere — to heed the call to help advance peace.

The Mission of Pax Populi

Pax Populi’s mission is to put the tools of peacemaking into the hands of ordinary people through initiatives that advance peace through education and economic development within a framework of human rights.

We believe that knowledge, kindness, love, and justice are stronger than ignorance, violence, hatred and tyranny, but unless we are prepared to act accordingly, this belief would be no more than a hollow platitude. Pax Populi, however, is dedicated to advance peace through service to those facing serious conflicts.

Why Pax Populi?

We see the peaceful resolution of conflicts as one of the most basic and greatest ethical duties and one that is especially needed in this time of rapid globalization and widespread disputes arising through political, economic, cultural, and religious tensions. Peace, however, does not follow from isolationism, passive pacifism, or the mere display of good intentions through posters or bumper stickers. Peace is not a static state but an active, worthy struggle.

The current threats to human security are very grave. There has never been a time when it was in the capacity of so few to inflict such widespread suffering on so many. Many believe that the only way to fight fire is with fire, and yet, this is also a formula for escalating conflict. We firmly believe that ultimately the conflicts in Afghanistan and elsewhere will not be decided by the strength of weapons, but the strength of ideas. For that reason, we are committed to a peace strategy in which — through education and economic development within a framework of human rights — we support those who can help build stable, thriving societies. The road to a constructive peace may be slow and laborious, but unlike war, it is strong and sustainable.

What Peace? Everyday Peace

Many people think that when we talk about peace, we are naïve dreamers. That is incorrect. We do dream of alternatives to violence, but we are not naïve. We are not seeking a utopian ideal, but the everyday peace that permits people to go about their lives without living in fear or subjected to violence. We aim for a peace that is, in fact, the norm for most people around the world. This is what we call “Everyday Peace.” It is a state in which people can go to the market, to work, or their place of worship, without fear of attack. With Everyday Peace all young people are able to pursue an education, all adults can freely and fairly choose their political leaders, people can go about their business without threat of violence or corruption, and no one is denied their rights simply because of their ethnic group or gender. Those who oppose Everyday Peace are those who seek unfair personal advantage by use of force, dishonesty, or fear. Everyday Peace is not an ideal; it is a basic right of every person and a necessity for a flourishing society.

How? The Six Principles of Pax Populi

Pax Populi is committed to practical service that combines the courageous and compassionate spirit of the peacemaker with the creative and responsive intelligence of the entrepreneur. We seek to open the doors of peacebuilding to people everywhere. Our mission follows from our commitment to six principles, which are as follows:

Compassion: We recognize the suffering and hardships of others and want to respond;
Love: We recognize that we are part of one human family and reach out to others in a spirit of brotherly and sisterly love;
Understanding: For our actions to be strong and helpful, we are committed to knowledge and truth, and understanding the significance of both;
Justice: We are committed to the rule of law impartially applied in accordance with human rights;
Nonviolence: We are committed to nonviolence as the essential framework for developing trust and reconciliation;
Service: We are committed to acting on the above principles in a spirit of service.
In support of these principles, we have a twofold strategy: First, we reach out to friends from around the world to contribute to Pax Populi programs in accordance with their best abilities. Second, we back the development of a network of domestic peacemakers and their international friends so as to exchange ideas, provide mutual support, and respond effectively to problems.

An International Initiative Focused on Afghanistan and South Asia

There are many serious conflicts to which we could dedicate our efforts, but to be effective we need to be focused, and for this reason, we are concentrating our efforts especially on the conflict in Afghanistan and the related conflict between Pakistan and India.

Many people around the world see Afghanistan as a “lost cause.” Not us. We are sure that peace will eventually come to Afghanistan because we have come to know and admire the amazing strength and determination of more and more Afghans to create a new, strong, and stable Afghanistan. Those of us at Pax Populi who are not Afghans don’t pretend that we can bring peace to Afghanistan as if it were a product to be imported or a condition to be imposed. However, Pax Populi belongs to no country. Pax Populi is the constructive peacemaking that flows from the human spirit. As an international network of peacemakers, what we can do and are trying to do together is to help the Afghans bring peace to their own country by supporting them in their struggle to build a new, just, thriving and peaceful nation. We are all Pax Populi and we can help.

Activities

Here are some highlights of what Pax Populi has been doing:

Pax Populi Tutoring Services: Our primary work is focused on a peace through education program called Pax Populi Tutoring Services, and most of this has been in the form of English language tutoring. Currently, we have tutors in four countries — the US, South Korea, France, and England — who are all working to help students in Afghanistan to learn English via Skype. Our tutors are typically English as a Second Language teachers or university students, but, with some restrictions, our program is open to qualified fluent English speakers everywhere so long as they embrace the Pax Populi mission. Equally important, in the process of learning English, we are creating opportunities for constructive international engagements conducted in a spirit of friendship and brotherhood in which tutors and students are both enriched through the exchange
Pax Populi Network (PaxNet): We are in the early stages of developing the Pax Populi Network through which people committed to peace — both Afghans and their international friends — can network, share ideas, encourage each other, and alert others to threats
Pax Populi Clubs: Work is underway to develop university-based clubs that will extend our efforts into the area of economic development by establishing linkages between students in Afghan universities with international students with the aim of supporting the development of small-scale businesses
Pax Populi Educational Outreach: Through this program we have sought to bring students from Afghanistan to study in the United States
Pax Populi Peacemaker Award: Through this program, we have recognized outstanding contributions in people-to-people peacemaking
Food for Peace in Afghanistan: In 2008, when Afghanistan faced a severe food shortage, Pax Populi worked in cooperation with Bentley University and Oxfam America to build awareness of the problem and raise funds that went to Oxfam for its relief efforts in Afghanistan
Let’s Work Together

Although we are a small, volunteer-powered NGO, we aim to become one of the leading peacemaking organizations by drawing on the wisdom and active compassion found in people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa together with the creative entrepreneurship of people like Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs. We are responding to the urgent needs for peace with 21st century imagination and vitality.

We are living in a period of unprecedented opportunities for advancing peace. Peacemaking is a field for entrepreneurial innovation. Pax Populi seeks to draw on the enormous capacities of contemporary society to forge creative and innovative approaches to channel the goodwill, intelligence, and creativity of people around the world to advance peace.

Do you want contribute to the Pax Populi mission? Please let us know. Do you have ideas for advancing peace? Please share them. Do you want to join a network of active committed peacemakers. Contact us. Our email address is: info@appliedethics.org.

Please consider supporting Pax Populi people-to-people, institution-to-institution, and community-to-community initiatives to help create a more peaceful world. Individually, every personal effort to advance peace is very important, but acting alone our impact is limited— together, we can change the world.

What about you? Be a Pax Populite… be a peacemaker!

Pax!

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About Merid Desta

I am a very passionate and mature African-Ethiopian researcher/ peacebuilder/ manager/ leader/ who have been doing a research on peace and conflict in the horn of Africa. I have learned that both my under- and post-graduate studies need to be topped up with formal studies of theories and praxis of peace, conflict, justice, identity, nationalism, ethnicity, religion and other related theories. All the trusts, institutes, faith-based and other secular organisations in which I was involved in leadership, mobilising and training capacities, were committed to addressing all aspects of individuals and communities’ life. Being an advocate for all human beings to be released from their spiritual, physical, social, mental and economic poverty, with a view to enabling them to become fulfilled and responsible human beings who live up to the standard of their best capacity, was at the core of all my work and the people and teams whose ministry I led. I have been involved in interfaith; interethnic; intercultural and interdenominational peacebuilding, conflict resolution and management work in the capital. My family’s life has always been sacrificial. We have committed our lives and are preparing for more commitments to work initially among a few communities and regions in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan/ South Sudan and the surrounding regions. These nations of Eastern Africa have often been under enormous threats and incidents of civil wars, ethno-religious conflicts, genocide etc.

2 thoughts on “PAX POPULI: People to People Peacemaking: Pax Populi English Tutoring Program with Students in Afghanistan

  1. Thank you for referring to our work at Pax Populi. Our organizations have a common goal of doing what we can to help make this world more peaceful. The power of hatred and selfishness is very strong, but I believe that the power of love, understanding and generosity are stronger and so, step by step, we will do what we can to help make a kinder, more loving world.
    Peace.
    Robert McNulty.

    • That is true Robert; and thank you for your kind words. If we all, who believe in the vitality, impact and power of a selfless service recognise our interdependence and the necessity of our collaboration, I believe we can do things that we may not be able to do just alone – Seeing the big picture, putting the big puzzle in perspective, thinking globally; but at the same time acting locally and playing our role in our small world that will eventually complete the big picture – that will transform our world. You are doing an excellent job and keep it up – though challenges might be overwhelming.
      Merid Desta

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