“How Do We Deal with Extreme Violence without Using Force in Return?”

Peace activist Scilla Elworthy posed this question to the audience at a recent TEDx lecture at the University Of Exeter, United Kingdom.

In the video below, Elworthy talks about how bullies use violence and describes the personal changes and skills needed to fight extreme violence without using violence in return. She points to modern and historical heroes—Aung San Suu Kyi, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela—and the personal philosophies that powered their peaceful protests.


GVON Exclusive: Watch an Award-Winning Nonviolence Film Through Oct. 2nd

As part of Global Voices of Nonviolence, EthnoGraphic Media has made their award-winning nonviolence film Little Town of Bethlehem available on VoicesofNonviolence.org through October 2.

Palestinian Boy Near Israeli SoldiersFrom the film: Palestinian child in front of Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem

Little Town of Bethlehem
Come face-to-face with the courageous struggle for a nonviolent solution to the crisis that has torn Palestinians and Israelis apart. Little Town of Bethlehem is a bold documentary by award-winning director Jim Hanon and producer Mart Green. It shares the gripping story of how three men born into the cycle of violence have chosen to risk everything to bring peace to their homelands. Sami and Ahmad are Palestinians; one is a Christian, the other a Muslim; and Yonatan is an Israeli Jew. Each finds inspiration through the example of Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Mahatma Gandhi’s sacrificial commitment to equality. At great personal cost, they join together in a heroic and dangerous cause.

In the city of Bethlehem, where it is said that God became man, these men stand side by side with those whose only desire is to be treated as equals, as fellow human beings. Their story brings the possibility of real hope to this embattled region and provides a model for resolution of hostilities throughout the world.

Visit LittleTownofBethlehem.org to learn more and watch the trailer. Screening licenses are available during GVON at 25% off.

Hope for the Holy Land Tour Starts Today

What’s the situation on the ground in the Holy Land today? What challenges need to be overcome? How are Palestinians and Israelis working to improve the situation for both peoples? How can Christians be peacemakers and reconcilers in the midst of this situation?

Mae Elise Cannon of World Vision, Sami Awad, executive director of Holy Land Trust, and Lynne Hybels, one of the founders of Willow Creek Church in Chicago, have teamed up to address these important questions and more as part of the Hope for the Holy Land tour, which starts today at Vineyard Columbus in Columbus, OH, and runs through September 30.

According to the brochure, the team is “Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, Pro-Peace, Pro-Justice, and Pro-Jesus,” interested in promoting “a sustainable Christian Church in the Holy Land,” and seeks “to improve the lives of children and communities.” This tour provides an excellent opportunity to hear voices of nonviolence, hope, and peace during Global Voices of Nonviolence (GVON), and to learn how you can be part of the solution.

In addition to Columbus, OH, the tour will stop at locations in the Twin Cities (Minnesota); Troy, MI; Barrington, IL; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; and Wheaton, IL. For details, refer to the Hope for the Holy Land brochure (PDF file), VoicesofNonviolence.org events calendar, and the specific venue websites.

The Origins of the U.N. International Day of Peace

The U.N. International Day of Peace had an inauspicious beginning in 1981 when the United Nations adopted resolution 36/67, which established the International Day of Peace on the third Tuesday in September. Few knew about or observed the day until 2001 when the day was changed to September 21 by resolution 55/282. The story about how that happened and how the day gained international prominence is the subject of this post.

In 1999, a young filmmaker by the name of Jeremy Gilley embarked on a journey to unite the world in peace on this one day in September. The films below tell his story. The first, a Ted Talk featuring Gilley, could be described as the Reader’s Digest condensed version; the second, The Day After Peace, is a full documentary by Gilley about his journey. Whichever one you choose to watch, enjoy this remarkable story of courage and perseverance.