Sunday, December 24, 2000
Respecting Diversity, Building Unity, Securing Peace
Today we live on the dark side of peace, having experienced only the images
of the endless suffering of war, so it is hard for us to see the relief to
be gained from ending all war. We are aware that war is the source of
suffering, and peace could surely relieve that suffering. The inevitable
result of this thinking brings a minimal definition of peace as the
absence of war. But, is it?
Another pillar of peace is more responsible attention to the environment by effectively using and also conserving our natural resources. This will require greater international cooperation and creative solutions to the problems of urbanization, transportation and food production and distribution.
Overcoming racial, national, religious, gender and ethnic prejudices is essential to the ultimate peace and prosperity of humankind. Overcoming centuries of hate and division will require development of new incentives for cooperation and reduced tolerance for bigotry through education and public policy.
As these pillars of peace continue to be redefined, information will play an ever more central role. As access to information becomes universal, sorting, analyzing and responding to myriad confusing pieces of information will require new levels of skill and insight. Just as in the management of our environment, new issues of responsibility will emerge for access, management and distribution of information worldwide.
Ultimately peace rests on our collective values and an awareness of the purpose of life. Spiritual values are a potent reality in the fabric of human society and in the lives of the vast majority of the world's inhabitants. We must realize and reaffirm traditional values of trust, integrity and family unity. Respecting diversity while building chords of unity will secure the peace.
The prospect of world peace will require new ways of thinking and acting, within our families, our communities, our nations and in our interdependent global community. Traditional values will underlie new unifying approaches of consultation, cooperation and coordination. It will be uncharted territory. Effective education and communication will emerge as central pillars of this glorious peace we cannot as yet, but will, define. The first step now is to generate a "world alert" to the issues of peace that can galvanize a process that will last decades, even centuries, as we work together to create an ever-advancing civilization.
Dwight W. Allen Was Keynote Speaker for the Recent 10th Annual Baha'i Human Rights Awards Banquet in Oxnard. he Is Professor of Education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and Co-author, With Entertainer Bill Cosby, of "American Schools: the 100 Billion Dollar Challenge."
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