Secretaries General

 

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   I am because you are. I do not live in isolation[Ubuntu].

Christine Atieno: Fellow Peace Researchers, I take this opportunity to thank you for entrusting me with the enormous task of being your leader. I am extremely humbled by this gesture. Wisdom from our forefathers and mothers beholds that leadership is about service to humankind and not vice versa.

Peace research is infinite. Sustainability of peace may be threatened at any given time. Our current world faces myriad of disheartening vices that are threatening peace. As peace researchers we are called upon to continuously advocate for dialogue through peaceful means. It is our global duty to seek redress towards innovative pragmatic solutions to address and resolve conflicts within all spheres of the global order. “Foremost to attain peace, one’s own introspection is needed. You must interrogate and investigate who you truly are[Acharya Swamishree Maharaj]

The responsibility of co-existing peacefully is bestowed upon us individually as human beings. I urge each one of us to constantly seek inner peace in order to exude the same to humankind and surrounding environment. Let us protect the environment because we all belong to the earth. “If you destroy nature, nature will destroy you” [Wangari Maathai]. Let us focus beyond our continental confines and embrace the ideals of a global outlook so that together we can achieve milestones in inter-continental peace relations.

International Peace Research Association thrives for greater heights in global peace research. We must synergise our energies and efforts in peace research, build on quality research work and initiate continental programmes and produce multiple publications that would influence global peace policies in different disciplines. Through our (you and I) cohesive deeds and collective empathy, we envision a better world for the generations to come. But first, we must take the individual step to “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD[Mahatma Gandhi].

Peace-mongers we are and peace-mongers we shall remain to be!

Christine Atieno - Co-Secretary General,

International Peace Research Association

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Matt Meyer: Peace and Conflict Studies “founding father” Johan Galtung famously predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union ten years before its fall, and—in 2004—put forth a series of fourteen empirical reasons why the U.S. empire was in a state of irreversible decline. 

In Galtung’s view, the U.S. republic would continue post-empire, but go through a period of fascism unless or until a grassroots-based series of participatory and justice-based institutions (what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as “beloved communities”) would turn the republic towards more truly democratic and socialist endeavors. 

From a U.S. perspective, especially but not solely based on the last several years, it is easy to see signs of the turn towards right-wing populism. It would neither take exhaustive research nor a biased perspective to find amble evidence of increased domestic as well as international militarization; outbreaks of consistent xenophobic and ethno-nationalist violence; increased sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-intellectualism; increased repression especially of human rights’ defenders; rampant corruption while protecting and increasing corporate power; Christian zealotry aligning with other religious fundamentalisms; increased fraudulent or questionable elections, the scapegoating of Muslims (especially Muslims of African descent): in short, the basic characteristics of defined fascism.(Lawrence Britt: https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html) The U.S. empire is surely in drastic political and economic decline, but it is striking out in all directions as it gasps its death throes.  

Organizing and educating for peace with justice within the U.S. today requires a special seriousness; being elected Secretary-General of a global scientific movement such as the International Peace Research Association brings that responsibility, for me, to an entirely new and personal level. It is clear that the empires and former empires of the Global North owe our neighbors, colleagues, and human family a debt of immense and almost incalculable proportions. Solidarity and reparations must be more than a materialist or fiscal reality; we must work together to resist: to repair and to reconcile generations of people caught up in unjust treatment, oppression on the most basic levels of essential survival. We must turn the world upside down. 

On the positive flip-side, it is up to all of us to imagine and to create constructive programs of economic, political, educational, philosophical, sociological and empirical alternatives. While those of us living in countries rich with the trappings of wealth might appear to have the privilege of special insights and creative opportunities,

     

On the positive flip-side, it is up to all of us to imagine and to create constructive programs of economic, political, educational, philosophical, sociological and empirical alternatives. While those of us living in countries rich with the trappings of wealth might appear to have the privilege of special insights and creative opportunities, it is more often true that the richness of community-based contact—of indigenous, experiential transcendence over short-term individualistic competitions—contributes more heavily to emerging peace endeavors. Peace studies founding mother Elise Boulding urged us to “begin learning from Africa, not just about it,” and it is high time we took Elise’s perspectives and example to heart. [Sutherland and Meyer, Guns and Gandhi in Africa—Pan African Insights on Armed Struggle, Nonviolence and Liberation (Africa World Press, 2000)].

There can be no question that one of the reasons I enthusiastically accepted the nomination for and election to IPRA’s top position was because of my excitement about working with young scholar-practitioners from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. My Co-Secretary General, Christine Atieno, not only has the academic strengths to lead in the growth of IPRA, she is deeply rooted in Kenyan and African movements for positive social change. Even in the short time since our tenure in office began, we have led seminars on intense trips through Rwanda, Nigeria, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. We are joined by an extraordinary team of Council members and colleagues ready to grow the field and the organization along with it.

RIGHT NOW is a great time to get involved…there is enough good work for everyone!

One job of the IPRA Secretaries-General, as Christine and I both asserted at the time of our election, is to maintain clear, consistent, positive, and open lines of communications. But we assert that positive communication and cooperative work is a two-way street! We look forward to hearing from you, and to pave new roads by working and walking together.

Matt Meyer - Co-Secretary General,

International Peace Research Association

  
       
 

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