Pax Populi® — which is Latin for “the peace of the people” — is the people-to-people peacemaking program of the nonprofit organization, Applied Ethics, Inc. Pax Populi’s mission is to put the tools of peacemaking into the hands of ordinary people by supporting initiatives to advance peace through education and economic development within a framework of human rights.
We see the peaceful resolution of conflicts as one of the most basic and greatest ethical duties and one that is especially needed in this time of rapid globalization and widespread disputes arising through political, economic, cultural, and religious tensions. Peace, however, does not follow from isolationism, passive pacifism, or the mere display of good intentions through posters or bumper stickers. For peace to prevail, it must be stronger than the forces of violence and hatred. Our strategy, therefore, is to build a powerful network of peacemakers whose actions demonstrate that knowledge, kindness, love, and justice can win out over the forces of ignorance, violence, hatred and tyranny.
The current threats to human security are very grave. There has never been a time when the capacity of so few to inflict such widespread suffering has been so great. Many believe that the only way to fight fire is with fire, and yet, this is also a formula for escalating conflict. We firmly believe that ultimately the conflicts in Afghanistan and elsewhere will not be decided by the strength of weapons, but the strength of ideas. For that reason, we are committed to a peace strategy in which — through education and economic development within a framework of human rights — we seek to support those who can help build stable, thriving societies. The road to a constructive peace may be slow and laborious, but unlike war, it strong and sustainable.
We are also living in a period of unprecedented opportunities for advancing peace. Peacemaking is a field for entrepreneurial innovation. Pax Populi seeks to draw on the enormous capacities of contemporary society to forge creative and innovative approaches to channel the goodwill, intelligence, and creativity of people around the world to advance peace.
There are many serious conflicts to which we could dedicate our efforts, but to be effective we need to be focused, and for this reason, we are concentrating our efforts especially on the conflict in Afghanistan.
Many people around the world see Afghanistan as a “lost cause.” Not us. We are sure that peace will eventually come to Afghanistan because we have come to know and admire that amazing strength and determination of more and more Afghans to create a new, strong, and stable Afghanistan. Those of us at Pax Populi who are not Afghans don’t pretend that we can bring peace to Afghanistan as if it were a product to be imported or a condition to be imposed. However, Pax Populi belongs to no country. Pax Populi is the constructive peacemaking that flows from the human spirit. As an international network of peacemakers, what we can do and are trying to do together is to help the Afghans bring peace to their own country by supporting them and their struggle to build a new, just, thriving and peaceful nation. They will succeed and we can help.
Rather than leaving peacemaking to politicians, we at Pax Populi look to ordinary people — educators, businesspeople, people of faith, artists, scientists, and people of goodwill everywhere — to heed the call to help advance peace. Here is what we at Pax Populi have been doing:
Currently, our primary work is focused on a peace through education program called the Pax Populi English Tutoring program. We now have tutors in four countries — the US, South Korea, France, and Saudi Arabia — who are all working to help students in Afghanistan to learn English via Skype. Our tutors are typically English as a Second Language teachers or university students, but, with some restrictions, our program is open to fluent English speakers everywhere. Equally important, in the process of learning English, we are creating opportunities for constructive international engagements conducted in a spirit of friendship and brotherhood in which tutors and students are both enriched through the exchange.
We have also been engaged in helping Afghan students to study in the USA through our Pax Populi Educational Outreach program
We have recognized outstanding contributions in people-to-people peacemaking through the Pax Populi Peacemaker Award
In 2008, when Afghanistan faced a severe food shortage, we worked in collaboration with Bentley University and Oxfam America to raise both awareness of the problem as well as funds that went to Oxfam for its relief efforts in Afghanistan
Work is underway to develop Pax Populi clubs that will extend our efforts into the area of economic development by establishing student-to-student linkages with Afghan universities with the aim of supporting the development of small-scale businesses
Although we are a small, volunteer-powered NGO, we aim to become one of the leading peacemaking organizations in the world by drawing on the wisdom and active compassion found in people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa together with the creative entrepreneurship of people like Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs. We are responding to the urgent needs for peace with 21st century imagination and vitality.
Please consider supporting Pax Populi people-to-people, institution-to-institution, and community-to-community initiatives to help create a more peaceful world. Individually, every personal effort to advance peace is very important, but acting alone our impact is limited— together, we can change the world.
What about you? Be a peacemaker!