Book: Pathways to Peace

YaleNews features works recently or soon to be published by members of the University community. Descriptions are based on material provided by the publishers.

Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families

Edited by James F. Leckman, the Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics; Catherine Panter-Brick, professor of anthropology, health, and global affairs; and Rima Salah, assistant clinical professor at the Child Study Center

(The MIT Press)

“Pathways to Peace” poses the question: can more peaceful childhoods promote a culture of peace? Increasing evidence from a broad range of disciplines shows that how people raise their children affects the propensity for conflict and the potential for peace within a given community. In this book, experts from a range of disciplines examine the biological and social underpinnings of child development and the importance of strengthening families to build harmonious and equitable relations across generations. They explore the relevance to the pursuit of peace in the world, highlight directions for future research, and propose novel approaches to translate knowledge into concrete action.

The contributors describe findings from research in biology, neuroscience, evolution, genetics, psychology, social sciences, and policy. They report empirical evidence on children living in violent conditions, resilience in youth, and successful interventions. Their contributions show that the creation of sustainable partnerships with government agencies, community leaders, policy makers, funders, and service providers is a key ingredient for success. Taken together, they suggest possible novel approaches to translate knowledge into concrete action.

World Peace Prayer Society

The World Peace Prayer Society is dedicating to uniting people around the world through the universal prayer, "May Peace Prevail on Earth." Here are a few highlights of a very busy year:

On September 19, 2000, we created Millennium Peace Day at the United Nations together with Pathways to Peace, the UN Department of Public Information, UNESCO and the Cloth of Many Colors Project. In the same week, we also dedicated a Peace Pole at the Pentagon in Washington, DC and participated in the Native American Prayer Vigil on the Mall by the Washington Monument. On September 30, our sister organization, the Goi Peace Foundation, held a spectacular event in Tokyo, presenting the "Declaration for All Life on Earth."

We also had a UN Day event dedicated to the Culture of Peace in October in New York. In November, we dedicated a Peace Pole at the site of the baptism of Jesus in Bethany Beyond the Jordan, in the country of Jordan, at a conference on Peace Through Tourism. We conducted Peace prayers at a number of Martin Luther King memorial events in January, and held the 7th Annual Earth Day Peace Fair at the World Peace Sanctuary in April. In May, we had Planet Peace Day for children at the Sanctuary, with Peace education activities for 250 school children.

In June, we dedicated a Peace Pole to the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics at the United Religions Initiative North American Summit, and had a World Peace Prayer Ceremony at the Hudson River Clearwater Revival in New York. In July, we had a Peace Festival at our Sanctuary in Scotland, and in August will have our 11th Annual World Peace Festival in Amenia, NY, celebrating All Life on Earth.

It has been a spectacular beginning of the new millennium, ushering in a true Culture of Peace. May Peace Prevail on Earth!

World Muslim Congress

For the last few years this eminent group has been busy organizing a cease-fire amongst the various groups in Afghanistan. Although the Taliban has emerged to occupy over 85% of the territory, the efforts of World Muslim Congress continue. There is a great need to coordinate the varied attempts being made to bring back Peace and security in Afghanistan. Reconstruction is also urgently needed.

For the last two years there have been meetings in Amman, Jordan to harmonize the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in that area. World Muslim Congress has been a participant in that conference, and presided over the first working session.

World Muslim Congress has aided in the recent conflicts in Mindanao and Jakarta. They have also been a presence for Peacebuilding in the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan.

World Goodwill

World Goodwill is an organised movement founded in 1932 to help establish right human relations based on the principles of brotherhood, human unity, sharing and cooperation and on the fundamental rights and freedoms embodied in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights. World Goodwill is a global service organisation working to solve humanity’s problems through the constructive power of goodwill and practicing the principle of non-discrimination in race, religion, ideology, and political and economic convictions. Its activities are essentially educational.

The objectives of World Goodwill are to:

  • Stimulate and encourage all people of goodwill everywhere to establish right human relations between races, religions, nations and classes through understanding and communication.
  • Assist people of goodwill in their studies of world problems and promote cooperation and sharing for the common good.
  • Cooperate with other organisations in constructive activities contributing to world unity, stability and right human relations.
  • Make available up-to-date information on constructive current action in the main areas of human life through publication of a quarterly newsletter and goodwill commentaries on issues of world interest.
  • Aid in establishing goodwill as the keynote of the new civilization.
  • Support the work of the United Nations and its specialized agencies as the best hope for a united and Peaceful world.

These goals have been actively pursued through:

  • the World Goodwill Newsletter, a quarterly publication highlighting the energy of goodwill in world affairs, and presented with a universal spiritual approach to topics of concern.
  • study papers dealing with some of humanity’s major problems.
  • publications in many languages presenting the principles underlying right human relations, and the fact of a divine Plan as spiritual reality working out in crucial areas of human affairs, including education, religion, finance, political and world events, etc.
  • commentaries displaying evidence of the emerging new age civilization with comment on current world events.
  • symposiums and forums which provide platforms for information and discussion of world problems and issues.

United Religions Initiative

a) The purpose of the United Religions Initiative is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of Peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. We are a global, grassroots organization, with locally active groups on all continents who are globally connected by the principles of URI. We are widely open to participation and collaboration. Any group of at least seven individuals including at least three diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions may be a member of URI.

b) Our Peacebuilding activities come under several of the paths, including Education, Environment and Culture, however, all are done as interfaith community actions. Despite the difficulties in the Middle East, the Israel Interfaith Association has continued a program in which Muslims, Jews and Christians come together to share their beliefs and thereby deepen understanding and trust. In Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi and other countries in Africa, URI Cooperation Circles have ongoing work that includes interfaith dialogue, education, AIDS prevention, economic development and conflict transformation. We have planned a program of multi-cultural and inter-religious conflict transformation workshops that would provide training of trainers in Uganda, Ethiopia and the Philippines. Our Manipur, India, group led a successful effort to have curfews lifted and violence reduced in their state. The leading work for our Circles in Korea is a program of religious education, presenting different religions to a diverse audience. And in Latin America, work ranges from Viva Rio’s program to turn in handguns (100,000 at a recent event) to creating inter-religious curricula for public schools programs in Argentina as a result of their new national law on religious freedom.

We continue to bring forth in all our endeavors a positive approach to Peacebuilding, notably through the use of the Appreciative Inquiry, an innovative methodology for organizational development, as well as through our commitment to include those voices not often heard.


At its 36th session, in 1981, the United Nations General Assembly, in conformity with its Charter, decided "to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as of the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of Peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways.

"The Assembly therefore unanimously declared, in a resolution (UN/A/RES 36/37) adopted on 30 November 1981, that the opening of its regular annual session in September, should be officially dedicated and observed as the International Day of Peace and should be devoted "to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples."

1983 was the genesis of the "WE THE PEOPLES" INITIATIVE. Responding to a request by Robert Muller, then Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Pathways To Peace (PTP) coordinated the International Peace Day Project, with citizens representing diverse organizations. By 1984, citizens in over 52 countries responded to PTP’s invitation to participate in the Project.

Expansion has continued throughout the world. In 1989, this Project/Initiative was granted Peace Messenger Initiative status by Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar, and officially renamed "WE THE PEOPLES" Initiative. ("We the peoples…" is the opening phrase with which the Charter of the United Nations begins.) The Initiative was formally introduced to all Peace Messenger Organizations and Cities on the International Day of Peace, Tuesday 18 September 1990, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, by the UN Peace Studies Unit.

This UN Peace Messenger Initiative, the "WE THE PEOPLES" INITIATIVE. is designed to provide a context to unite our strengths to build Cultures Of Peace for the children of this and future generations.

Unity And Diversity World Council

The UDC has been unfolding its four-year millennium Initiative: Unity-and-Diversity Person and Civilization. They encourage all to join in their programs or start new ones in their own locations. UDC focuses on interfaith activities such as their recent observance of an interfaith Peace Sunday in southern California their World Interfaith Network which holds interfaith celebrations and the completion and availability of the World Scripture project, which presents in one document an interpretation of the scriptures of the world’s religions from a modern perspective, so that they can be used with maximum effectiveness regardless of the particular faith to which the readers belong. UDC also supports and promotes the Millennium Peoples’ Assembly.

Tapestry International

Light a candle for Peace centers on a simple way to focus and unite all peoples.

The message is:

  • To bring the golden light of the candle flame, as a symbol of pure love, into our hearts and allow that love to awaken each cell as it travels through our body fields.
  • To send that love out to our families and friends, to our communities, to encircle the Earth and travel out to our brothers and sisters in space. This reinforces that Love is the answer-love’s truth dissolves the mask of fear and helps us remember that we are all part of one community.

"Our problems are made, and therefore they can be solved by man, for in the final analysis our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s future and we are all mortal."

John F. Kennedy

On September 11th 2001, Light a Cancel for Peace will hold a special ceremony and will do so each day of this special "Culture of Peace Week". A circle of candles will be lit, one for each state and country in which individuals or groups are Lighting A Candle for Peace each day. These Peace Ambassadors will be holding the energy in 20 states and six countries during that week and each day thereafter. Our earth and all life will be bathed in the strong and bright golden light of love so that love’s truth will generate Peace and happiness in each individual’s life and they in turn will create practical solutions for Peace and happiness in our world.

We invite you to include your voice in this mission made possible by many voices joined together as one. Let this energy of goodwill weave together all generations, all race and all cultures. We will continue to work until many people in every state and country join us in this practice.

Silent Minute

This simple but potent organization was founded around the famous "Silent Minute" of prayer for Peace by the British people when Big Ben struck 9:pm each night during WWII. The power of prayer was demonstrated when after the war German military officers wanted to know what the "secret weapon" was which had been used every night against them.

Silent Minute continues to encourage people everywhere to pray for Peace, in their own languages, and with many prayers. They particularly emphasize the opportunity given at this solar eclipse of August 11th. "Picture (the Sun) in your mind as you say this prayer: ‘Source of my Being, help me to live in Peace, and save my Home, the Planet Earth.’ It will be mirrored back to the earth via the sun’s rays, touching all living water around the globe — the seas, the rivers, the lakes, the wells. Water has a memory, so this will be carried over the coming days and months, around the globe –opening mankind’s hearts to the essence of Universal Love."

Peace Center / Theosophical Society Philippines

The Peace Center teaches that the long-term foundation of Peace-whether personal, social or international, is human character. Qualities include goodwill, benevolence, selflessness, and compassion towards other living beings. When these elements are absent, then no amount of treaties would ensure long-term harmony among individuals or groups. The Peace Center has a program that seeks to contribute to this long-term basis of true Peace. They have been conducting Self-Transformation Seminars with various groups, including young people, which promote self-transformation leading to inner Peace and external harmony. Included in the seminar are:

  • Review of one’s Map of Reality,
  • Clarification of Values,
  • Self-Mastery, and
  • Transcendence.

The portion on Self-mastery includes specific approaches towards resolving inner personal conflict (painful memories, resentments, fears), and resolving interpersonal conflict. It shows how an individual can strengthen one’s higher will and higher values to govern thinking, attitudes and behavior, rather than allow conditioning to dictate one’s behavior.