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Peace and Reconciliation
Nourishing Ideas > Philia in the Community > Peace and Reconciliation

Peace cannot be achieved through violence,
it can only be attained through understanding.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The goal of the Philia Dialogue is to contribute to the creation of a caring and inclusive society, one that values the contributions of all citizens. Ted Kuntz thinks that another way of saying that is that Philia's goal is to create a peaceful world. For surely there is no higher purpose or greater need in our society today than the development and nurturing of the skills and attitudes of peace making.

As the world becomes smaller through the advances in technology, travel, communications and trade, we are challenged to make our communities larger. In truth, all boundaries and borders are arbitrary man-made devices that shift and change over time. Most boundaries have the effect of creating divisions by including those on the inside of the boundary and excluding those on the outside. Nationalism and patriotism are based on a form of exclusion, of "us" vs. "them".

Individuals who are labeled as disabled know something about the effects of exclusion. They know that exclusion separates people, divides them, and creates arbitrary boundaries that need not exist. Through the act of marginalization and exclusion we lose the participation and contribution of people who can make a significant contribution to our society.

Ultimately, marginalization and exclusion breed resentment, hostility, anger and aggression. Humanity has a need for justice and fairness, and we all resist being treated as less than equals. But for most of our history we have been seduced into thinking in terms of arbitrary boundaries. Our care and concern extend up to those boundaries but not beyond them. It's not uncommon for our care to extend to the boundary of family, culture, nationality or citizenship, in the legal sense of the word. As a result, we perceive those on the other side of the boundary as "not our concern".

Our challenge is to view citizenship from a global perspective beyond legal definitions, national pride or cultural affiliation. Peace occurs when we recognize all individuals as citizens deserving of inclusion, respect, dignity, choice and justice, and when all are given opportunities for contribution.

As you reflect upon the notions of caring citizenship in this Philia dialogue, we invite you to consider the questions, "How big is your community?" "Who do you include and exclude?" "What is the consequence of exclusion?" Our goal is to envision an understanding of citizenship as caring, not controlling; as inclusive, not exclusive. When we have mastered Philia we will have achieved peace.

Peace is the wholeness created
by right relationships
oneself, other persons, other life,
our Earth,
and the larger whole of which
we are all a part.

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Click here for links to some peace and reconciliation initiatives around the world.
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