Together with Veronica Pelicaric from Pace e Bene, I have been writing a Study Guide “Engaging Nonviolence: Activating Nonviolent Change in Our Lives and Our World”
The book has three parts:
- Exploring Nonviolent Power (sessions 1-6)
- Nonviolence in Practice (sessions 7-11)
- Planning and Strategy (sessions 12-15).
In the first part of the curriculum, we explore the ranges of violence and nonviolence. Direct violence is obvious; what is not so visible in our culture are the impacts and long range effects of structural and cultural violence. Connected to this is our understanding of power – which is normally viewed as power-over. But power in its broadest sense is the heightening of our capacity to act together creatively, strengthen our skills and knowledge and build a society that is compassionate and inclusive.
We begin using role-plays in the second part of the book so as to engage conflicts creatively. With better communication skills, we can grow together towards the goal of rehumanization, going from supremacy of the self and inferiority of others, to an attitude of seeing the equality and uniqueness of human beings. And we also turn our skillful means to looking at the environment, such a crucial topic in this day and age. The planet is crying out for us to shift from destruction and indifference to positive regenerative nonviolent action. We offer examples and stories of nonviolent environmental movements and campaigns, in order to inspire us to go forward in the third part of the book.
In part three we move into envisioning, crafting, analyzing and planning so that participants can implement nonviolent actions in a strategic way. People change by doing and engaging fully and now is the time to expand and deepen our understanding of nonviolence, replacing cultural and structural violence with skillful means rooted in respect for all creation. This goal is the background for all our actions.
When we combine the understanding of the mind with the inner truth and wisdom of the heart, nonviolence follows naturally. As said before: we need to educate ourselves, understand and creatively engage. This books offers a basic toolkit, and introduction, to do this and it is the hope of Pace e Bene that it will provide a useful guiding lamp that will help turn the tides.
In solidarity with all those who are willing to be part of the new reality.
Nina Koevoets and Veronica Pelicaric