Friday, December 16, 2016

Pax Populi's Robert McNulty on Mahatma Gandhi and People-to-People Peacebuilding

“What can we do to respond to the challenge of unending war and pervasive terrorism? The most important thing is to recognize, as Gandhi did, that we are not powerless and that each and every one of us can act for the common good and join with others in a global struggle for peace… Gandhi was a master of people-to-people peacebuilding, but who were the people who followed him? Like us, they were ordinary people, with busy lives, who could ill-afford to put their lives on hold to work for social change. And yet they did. The stopped and they acted. And through their actions, they reminded us that change must begin with ourselves and our willingness to fight for a common goal.

The road to people-to-people peacebuilding starts with the simple commitment found in these three words, “I will try.” When we commit ourselves to try to be a peacebuilder, we will almost certainly have mixed results. There is value in act of trying, but conflicts will not suddenly disappear. And so our efforts may seem to be failures. But we try again, and it is that commitment to try and try again that is the crucial first step in being an agent for positive social change. That simple commitment to try is at the heart of Pax Populi’s people-to-people peacebuilding program.”

– Professor Robert McNulty, Founder, Pax Populi, at the Yi-CII The Business of Peace session in Vadodara, India, on October 22, 2016

Robert McNulty is a member of the Steering Committee of the UN Global Compact Business For Peace initiative. He is also the Director of Programs at the Hoffman Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University in Massachusetts, USA. Bob has also taught at Columbia University and State University New York at New Paltz. As part of his Business for Peace work at Bentley University, over several years, he has brought to Bentley scholars from universities in conflict zones to discuss how business and education can serve as a force for peace. Those scholars came from Afghanistan, Iraq, India and Pakistan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and four of the “Arab Spring” countries, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco. Bob has had a distinguished career in international business, specializing in the application of strategic communications to assist countries in their economic development efforts. He has lived in France, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore. Bob is the Founder and Executive Director the NGO Applied Ethics, Inc, which hosts the online school called Pax Populi Academy. Tutors from all over the world teach students in war-torn Afghanistan in the academy's virtual classrooms. There are quite a few teachers from India as well. Bob believes in the power of the individual to advance the process of peacebuilding. He will be speaking about "Peacebuilding in Troubled Times: Unleashing the Power of Business and Ordinary People."

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