Skipping Stones magazine

Vol. 15, No. 4

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From the Editor

"As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others."
-- President Nelson Mandela of South Africa

Come, let us begin a dialogue to overcome:
Prejudice with Understanding
Hatred with Love
Injury with Forgiveness
Suffering with Compassion
Terror with Fearlessness

Art from the Peace CampSkipping Stones is calling for Sept. 11th to be observed as the Annual International Day of Dialogue. We invite all civic, social and educational organizations to recognize the importance of Sept. 11, 2001, in building a multicultural and sustainable world.

Out of tragedy rises opportunities for multicultural, interfaith, and global understanding of the many levels of diversity in our world -- diversity of faiths and traditions, cultures and customs, tongues and thoughts, expressions and experiences, and ecology that make our planet unique.

Art from the Peace CampWe believe that, like the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States, this positive way of remembering Sept. 11 will prove to be an essential step toward a more just and peaceful society. Becoming active peacemakers means initiating dialogue with friends and strangers alike. When we listen to others, and when we know their stories, they no longer remain strangers to us. Through dialogue we can develop understanding and cooperation between diverse segments of human society.

There are many ways to initiate and continue a dialogue across the spectrum of faiths, cultures, languages, and nationalities. Schools, local governments, faith-based organizations, and other groups have already established programs promoting understanding among people. These range from cultural presentations to one-on-one discussions and to interfaith services.

Art from the Peace CampHuman history has many examples of interfaith and intercultural dialogue and cooperation. This July our 8-year-old attended a week-long "Peace Village" summer camp where youth, 7 to 17, spent seven hours each day learning yoga, meditation, nonviolent conflict resolution and peace-making skills. They hiked a nature area, visited an organic farm and, of course, played together in a multi-faith setting at a congregational church. As I went to share what little I knew about meditation, I saw that the sanctuary was named "Thich Nhat Hanh Meditation Room." Naturally, we also practiced the Buddhist walking meditation technique he often uses.

In many cities, interfaith dialogue has already taken a stronghold. Using Sept. 11 as a focus can increase the effectiveness of existing efforts and encourage creation of new ways to learn about diversity. A better understanding of each other at deeper levels will reduce violent encounters in the future. Our powerful technological systems would then not be used for destructive purposes, rather they would remain as tools that bring about human comfort and prosperity.

Art from the Peace CampTime is ripe for observing a day of dialogue. We believe the United Nations, World Parliament of Religions, and many other non-governemental groups might be willing to sponsor such an International Day of Dialogue. The National Association for Multicultural Education has already adopted a resolution to this effect.

I invite you -- your familiy, friends and schools -- to organize events on or around Sept. 11th for the International Day of Dialogue in your home, school and community. Let's shape our global future by helping, healing, engaging in dialogue and understanding.



Skipping Stones Magazine
Volume 15, No. 4, Page 3

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