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Network for Peace through Dialogue is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting grassroots communities, both local and global in order to identify and research common issues and solutions in the areas of making peace and promoting just action. Our objective is to provide a platform so that communities and societies can expand understanding, discuss their differences within a dynamic environment to help resolve conflicts and cooperate more fully. In all our programs we do so by analyzing, facilitating and fostering dialogue, identifying solutions and sharing information.
Network for Peace through Dialogue (NPD) currently operates within a structure of two programs.
COMMUNITIES IN DIALOGUE program and LIVING ROOM DIALOGUE program
The first and central program is the COMMUNITIES IN DIALOGUE (CID) program which, as described above, is a project that fosters ongoing conversations among international groups. We have divided this program into two sub-categories, which include:a) Shaping our future (Adults)
This is the ?adult component? of our program, where grassroots groups and interested individuals from around the world engage in a dialogue through the forum on this web site and face-to-face. The aim is participation from a range of cultures in order to deepen understanding among ourselves and broaden the perspective we then can bring to the critical problems we all face.
The current topic is "Community leaders in action.? This program is aimed at nurturing, sustaining and transforming community leaders through ongoing dialogue on community practice. It is targeted at bridging ideas on practices in the field and garnering inspiration for further action. Currently, there are participants, either as individuals or in groups, in the Philippines, Australia, Zambia, South Africa and the United States.
The last series of international dialogues was called "Neighborhood by Neighborhood, How can we build a Sustainable World?" Proceedings and outcomes from its culminating workshop in January, 2002 can be found in the book How can people of different cultures come together to make sense of our world? (Further specifications of this book can be found on the CIL website at www.cil-usa.org , under ?publications?).
This is the Youth Component of our CID program. It links youth groups across cities, nations and continents to learn from one another, ways of empowering themselves to promote the rights of children. The youth share their respective responses to successions of activities on the rights of a child?how they are involved in the political process in their communities and countries. Special emphasis is on youth?s right to such participation.
The Covenant of the Rights of the Child is the basis for this dialogue. It focuses on human rights as necessary for the development of peace. It aims at youth empowerment so that youth may grow in hope and learn to participate in democratic processes. It involves primarily those youth that are financially poor.
The youth groups involved in the United States come from all parts of New York City, St Louis, and Los Angeles. There are also youth groups from the Philippines and several countries in Africa who actively participate. They practice expressing their viewpoint effectively to make changes in situations that they determine to be unfair or hurtful to them and to others. They share with one another comments, questions and dialogue via forums on the NPD website.
The other aspect of our programs is entitled LIVING ROOM DIALOGUES (LRD) , ad hoc sessions on international experiences to expand cultural awareness, encourage mutual learning and promote international understanding among local grassroots groups.
The process is one example of a popular education process in that it:
- is inclusive and accessible to people with a variety of education levels,
- addresses the issues people face in their communities,
- is based on the lived experience of those participating in the learning,
- is participatory,
- is interactive.
There is always a topic for the discussion. Sometimes there is a person who has an experience to share and sometimes there are reflections from partner groups to discuss. 12 to 15 Living Room Dialogues are held yearly.
"I like the concept of Living Room Dialogues - its organizing purpose is the inter-linking of people on the ground from different places on the planet. Changes will come from the ground. We need to encourage this kind of conversation to develop thinking for a process of change. In the conversation all have something to say. This is a way to come to a common knowledge. This is the basis of what we have to do." 6/5/03
Recent Living room dialogues have included:
?Perspectives on Northern Ireland? ? November 9, 2005
?How are the Kids?? ? September 20, 2005
?Hope in Israel and Palestine?- September 8, 2005
"Security and Peace-Building In Israel and Palestine" - June 22, 2005"The World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child" - May 10, 2005
"Cuba, a Country of Contradictions" ? February 3, 2005
? Women and Children in the Congo? - April 25, 2004
Approximately 12 Living Room Dialogues are held yearly.
3) CIL staff:
full time: 1
part time: 6
volunteers: 205) NPD?s relationship/network:
Our organization has a formal working relationship with iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) ? the world?s largest non-profit global network which engages in collaborative educational projects to both enhance learning and make a difference in the world. iEARN hosts the electronic forum for both our youth an adult programs. iEARN?s conversational programs are mostly with schools while CIL-USA?s are mostly with neighborhood-based adult and young people?s groups. CIL-USA has partnered with eight young people?s groups from such organizations as the Incarcerated Mothers? Program (NYC), All Saints Youth (Harlem, NYC), Peoples Recovery, Empowerment and Development Assistance) (Bahay Tuluyan, Philippines), and a Place Called Home in (South Los Angeles, CA). Among the adult groups are COSE for elders (Philippines) and an HIV/AIDS mitigation project (Zambia). A comprehensive list can be found on our website ( www.cil-usa.org ) under partners.
In addition, NPD brings an international dimension to the local work that is done by our partners?In other words; NPD is different, in the sense that those partners provide direct service to the local community. We offer a link/network among these groups so that they can develop an international understanding, expand their horizons, and learn how other cultures operate. It also enables them to gain an insight into their own community.
- Kathleen Kanet
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