Pax Populi®, which is Latin for the People’s Peace, is the people-to-people peacebuilding program of the nonprofit organization, Applied Ethics, Inc. Rather than leaving peacemaking to politicians, diplomats, or governmental organizations, we at Pax Populi look to ordinary people, students, and 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
The mission of Pax Populi is to put the tools of peacebuilding into the hands of ordinary people through education and economic development within a framework of human rights and moved by a spirit of love and respect for all people and the world in which we live.
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 idea would be no more than a hollow platitude. Pax Populi, however, is dedicated to advancing 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 a dynamic condition in which individuals and societies interact in ways that respect the dignity of all.
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. Conflict is an integral part of human life, but many believe that when facing conflict the only option available is to fight fire with fire. This, however, is a formula for prolonging and escalating conflict. We firmly believe that ultimately conflicts, be they in Afghanistan, Syria, or elsewhere, will not be decided simply 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 naive dreamers. Â That is incorrect. We do dream of alternatives to violence, but we are not naive. We are not seeking a utopian ideal, but the everyday peace that permits people to go about their lives without living in fear or being subjected to violence. We aim for the kind of 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 theÂ 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 to dominate others by force 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 Three Essential Principles of Pax Populi
Pax Populi is committed to practical service that combines the courageous and compassionate spirit of the peacebuilder with the creative and responsive intelligence of the entrepreneur.Â We seek to open the doors of peacebuilding to people everywhere.Â Our mission follows from our commitment to three essential principles, which are as follows:
- Nonviolence: We commit to responding to social conflicts and problems without violence, intimidation, or demeaning the dignity of others.
- Love-Compassion-Respect: We commit ourselves to a spirit of love, compassion, and respect for all people without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, or other factors of identity. We consider love, compassion, and respect to be part inextricably united and one cannot have one in a deep human way, without the others.
- Service: We commit to helping build a more peaceful world through personal acts 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 with their best abilities. Second, we back the development of a global network of peacebuilders to exchange ideas, provide mutual support, and respond effectively to problems.
An International Initiative Focused on Afghanistan
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 have been concentrating our efforts especially on the conflict in Afghanistan and, to a much lesser extent, the related conflict between Pakistan and India.
For decades, many people around the world saw Afghanistan as a lost cause. Not us. We believed that peace would eventually come to Afghanistan because we have come to know and admire the amazing strength and determination of Afghans to create a new, strong, and stable Afghanistan. Those of us at Pax Populi who are not Afghans never pretended that we could bring peace to Afghanistan as if it were a product to be imported or a condition to be imposed. Pax Populi, however, is a manifestation of the spirit of constructive peacebuilding that flows a recognition of the dignity of all people and the need to respond to suffering. As an international network of peacebuilders, what we can do and have been 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 were, however, shocked when –after working in Afghanistan for twelve years — we saw the Taliban resume control over the country. Does that mean that we were wrong and our efforts for nothing? We don’t think so. We are saddened by the turn of events, but not broken. We are not giving up on Afghanistan or the struggle for peace.
Here are some highlights of what Pax Populi has been doing:
- Pax Populi Academy: Our primary work is focused on peace through education.To this end, we have developed our own online school, Pax Populi Academy, which so far has focused above all on English language tutoring. Through this program, we have drawn on the assistance of tutors from over a dozen countries including the United States, India, South Korea, France, Scotland, and many other places. Our tutors are typically English -s-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 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. We may take up similar initiatives as circumstances permit
- Pax Populi Associations or Initiatives: We encourage peacebuilders to reach out and form associations with others who like them want to work to create associations so as to more effectively provide services for the advancement of peace. Â Such associations or initiatives may work directly through Pax Populi to establish linkages with groups or individuals in Afghanistan or other locations to advance the mission of Pax Populi to put the tools of peacemaking into the hands of ordinary people through initiatives to advance peace through education and economic development within a framework of human rights.
Let’s Work Together
Although we are a small, volunteer-powered NGO, we aim to become one of the leading peacebuilding organizations by drawing on the wisdom and active compassion found in people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela, 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. Peacebuilding 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 to 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 actively committed peacebuilders? Contact us. Our email address is: firstname.lastname@example.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 the impact of isolated actions is limited, but by working together, there is no limit to the good we can accomplish.
What about you? Be a Pax Populite… be a peacebuilder!