Dialogue For Peace I

Dialogue For Peace II

Dialogue For Peace III

Dialogue For Peace IV

Dialogue For Peace V

Words of Support
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Second Dialogue for Peace - April 26, 2002
South Asia and the Middle East:
Crises and Possibilities

Letter from Angana Chatterji


Dear Community,

The second Dialogue for Peace was held in Namaste Hall, on April 26, 6-9.45 pm.

About 175 people attended and it was a powerful event. Namaste Hall was potent and sacred with peace messages, music, candles, flowers, and the energy of commitment.

I thank all members of the staff, students, administration, and faculty for their support, words of encouragement, guidance and help. I am immensely grateful.

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A. The evening opened with Judith Kate Friedman, Linda Hirschhorn, Alison Lewis, Elisabeth Stuart, singers from 'Vocolot', a music group that fuses folk, jazz and cantorial vocal traditions. Their music, rooted in universal heart, social conscience and Jewish soul, communicates a powerful vision of world peace and reconciliation. Vocolot sings in English, Hebrew, Ladino, Yiddish, and Arabic, in original works and new renderings of ancient songs and texts.

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B. Following which, there were three panels: 1. Enabling Peace in Israel/Palestine. 2. Hindu Fundamentalism in India. 3. War, Reconstruction and Nation Building in Afghanistan.

4. The speakers were:

Richard Shapiro, Professor, Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies.
Hanan Rasheed, National Executive Secretary, Palestinian American Congress.
Mitchell Plitnick, Advocate, A Jewish Voice for Peace.
Angana Chatterji, Professor, Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies.
Ravi Rajan, Professor, Environmental Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
Iftekhar Hai, Scholar, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance.
Farhad Azad, Chair, Arts & Humanities Committee, Society of Afghan Professional.
Latifa Popal, Founder, Peace and Reconciliation.
Randall Hayes, Director, Rainforest Action Network.

5. There were numerous and valuable contributions from others present.

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C. Speakers addressed issues connected to nationalism, citizenship, secularism, war and peace. Speakers were from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist heritage and affiliations. Speakers said:

1. That the Israeli State must stop the brutalization of the Palestinian people and take accountability for the Palestinian diaspora. That the future must ensure a Palestinian State that peacefully coexists with the sate of Israel.

2. That India must commit to a secular and democratic society that addresses the entrenched oppressions based on caste, tribe, class, gender, religion, ethnicity. That violence in the name of religion has to stop. That India must accord full and executable rights to minority groups, including Muslims, Christians, tribals, women, and various other communities.

3. That the international community must support Afghanistan in her reconst ruction. That we must question the politics of international aid and internal inequities that govern the distribution of resources.

4. That they condemned the September 11 attacks on the United States, and the fabric of resistance connected to the use of terror. That the long term response of the United States, the worlds most powerful democracy, must be mediated by concerns of a just peace for her citizens and others worldwide. That the US adopt a sustainable energy policy that allows her to broker peace in the Middle East. That those in the United States working with social and environmental justice must call for citizens action and governmental resolve in the US toward domestic justice and ethical foreign and trade policy.

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D. The Dialogue For Peace Received Words Of Support From Numerous Scholars, Activists and Concerned Citizens Worldwide Including:

Ashok Babu, Director, Vasundhara, Orissa, India.
Medea Benjamin, Director, Global Exchange.
Dorsey Blake, Pastor, Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, and Vice-President, Community Learning, University for Creation Spirituality.
Sharad Chari, Professor, University of Michigan.
Partha Chatterjee, Professor, Columbia University.
Bina Chaudhury, Co-Founder, California Institute of Integral Studies.
Ahmad Dallal, Professor, Islamic History, Stanford University.
Steven Goodman, California Institute of Integral Studies.
Abdul JanMohamed, Professor, University of California, Berkeley.
Smitu Kothari, Scholar-activist, Lokayan, Delhi, India.
Michael Lerner, Rabbi, Tikkun, Berkeley.
Adi Patel, Janvikas, Ahmedabad, India.
Sudhir Patnaik, Kashipur Support Group, Orissa, India.
Penny Rosenwasser, Peace Activist, Middle East Children's Alliance, Coalition of Jews for Justice, and Bay Area Women in Black.
Jim Ryan, California Institute of Integral Studies.
Agha Saeed, Professor, University of California, Berkeley.
Madhu Sarin, Scholar and Activist, India.
Joseph Subbiondo, President, California Institute of Integral Studies.

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E. WHY CERTAIN SPEAKERS AND TOPICS:

Through the Dialogues for Peace, the commitment is to address injustice and ally with those marginalized, and to support non violent struggles. We seek to build communities of peace, hope and solidarity. We seek to address and give voice to issues that are under represented at CIIS and in the Bay Area.

The Dialogues seek to explore issues in some depth. In doing so, we are aware that there are numerous, multiple and complex positions held by stakeholders related to issues of enormous social and political significance. We understand that our forums are not representative of all these positions.

In the invitations extended for the Dialogues for Peace, the call is to invite 'People from multiethnic/national, diverse faith and political backgrounds, involved in responding to the above through diverse strategies...' This being so, for the second Dialogue for Peace, we invited speakers who addressed violence and injustice in India, Isreal/Palestine and Afghanistan.

We did not invite speakers yesterday that would justify the mistreatment of Palestinians by the Israeli State, or the bombings in Afghanistan. We did not invite speakers who would justify the planned carnage against Gujarati Muslims in India recently. We did not invite speakers that support armed and violent responses to injustice.

The Dialogues for Peace respond to the all important task of foregrounding marginal perspectives and building emancipatory community. My colleagues, li felong commitments and practices, guide me in these decisions.

I am also thankful that the Dialogues are only one very humble effort in the diversity of all ongoing and forthcoming actions here at CIIS, in the Bay Area, and globally to build emancipatory community.

With gratitude,

Angana Chatterji

Please send questions, suggestions or thoughts to Angana Chatterji at achatterji@ciis.edu or call 415.575.6119.

audio & design by jason shanks