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MISSION STATEMENT

Praxis Peace Institute is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that is dedicated to systemic peace, social and economic justice, environmental sustainability, and informed civic participation. To serve these goals, Praxis provides cutting-edge educational programs and promotes productive relationships among academics, activists, students, and citizens. Praxis supports a systems approach to peace and social transformation through inquiry, education, imagination, and civic participation.

History

In spite of the many peace organization formed in the 20th century, more people were killed in wars during the past century than at any other time in recorded history. Praxis Peace Institute was formed from an inquiry into the systemic reasons why war persists and how we might learn to forge peace.

The Institute's original focus was on learning and teaching peace-building skills, which included conflict resolution, mediation, and effective communication. Though learning and practicing these skills are an integral part of achieving peace, they are not sufficient.

The successful conferences we held in the early 2000's made it clear that the root causes preventing peace are multi-faceted and are related to each other in complex ways.

This led Praxis to expand its investigations into systemic causes of war by examining cultural and economic indicators of war and peace.  We explored how economic interests and specific economic models led toward war. At the same time, we began to search for cultures that avoided war or that built ethical and peaceful means of dealing with conflict into their economic and social systems. This led Praxis to the Mondragón Cooperatives in Spain, where we have held annual seminars since 2008, and since 2013, we have sessions at the Basque Parliament's Department of Peace where we learn about the integration of respect, ethics, and peacebuilding skills that build cultures of peace.

We also address climate change and environmental sustainability and their relationship to achieving climate justice. Our 2014 conference, "The Economics of Sustainability," acknowledged the problems inherent in our economic system and suggested solutions that require a re-thinking of our cultural story and economic aspirations. The solutions are technically possible, as many scientists have confirmed, but this transformation requires public support from informed and committed citizens.

What We Do

Praxis Peace Institute produes cutting-edge educational programs that address the structural problems impacting social and political decision-making. These programs focus on learning the lessons of history and applying them in a broad context. They bring together individuals working on separate problems to illuminate the connections between economic, social, cultural, and environmental issues. Our programs also promote ethical and empathic relational skills and focus on reaching peace through the transformation of individuals and society. Ultimately, we see our activities as contributing to a Peace Synthesis, a combination of conscious actions by individuals and communities that allow peace to emerge as a natural byproduct.

Engaging Citizens
The greatest hindrances to Democracy are not terrorism, a despotic ruler, or controlling special interests --- they are apathy, hopelessness, and cynicism. Informed and active citizens can transform an atrophied polis into a vibrant community of change agents. The educational programs that Praxis creates have the intended purpose of inspiring citizens to help transform society into vibrant, empathic communities.

Transforming Culture
Praxis Peace Institute's programs include the examination of culture. How does culture manipulate agreement? How do peer pressure and the need to be accepted determine behavior? How do the media, entertainment, educational systems, family traditions, business interests, advertising, and political agendas shape public thought? Critical thinking and creative imagination are necessary components in imagining a different reality. Research, education, and the examination of cultural myths are crucial components in understanding where we have been, where we are now, and how to transform a culture to embody empathy and peace.

Promoting Sustainability
Praxis Peace Institute's activities explore the economics of sustainability, promote living in ways that honor the earth, respect its carrying capacity, and acknowledge the Rights of Nature. The concept of "enough" must be part of the economics of sustainability, as we live on a finite planet with finite resources. Praxis supports social and climate justice as ways to eliminate poverty and health-related maladies affecting vulnerable populations. The Institute supports science and scientists that are leading the way to 100% renewable energy sources for all purposes. The 2014 conference, "The Economics of Sustainability," that Praxis hosted in San Francisco focused specifically on these themes.

Fostering Productive Relationships
Praxis Peace Institute's programs, conferences, and workshops embody a systems approach to solving structural impediments to peace, environmental sustainability, social and economic justice, and healthy cultures. These activities create a connective tissue that breaks down silos and engages thought leaders, political leaders, researchers, advocates, and activists across many fields and disciplines. Our relationships with the Mondragón Cooperatives in Spain and with local non-profit organizations are catalysts for deepening understanding and learning.

The Praxis Think Tank - A People's Think Tank
After nearly two decades of assembling some of the most cutting-edge ideas and research, hosting conferences for deeper inquiries, and publishing reports, a book, and quarterly newsletters, Praxis is ready to reactivate the think tank. Refashioning it as a People's Think Tank is a way of crowd-sourcing ideas that will engage academics as well as activists, footnoted papers as well as in-the-field reports. Since Praxis means the process by which a theory is enacted or realized, we are casting a wide net in seeking solutions to the challenges facing us at the beginning of the 21st century. The goal is to create educational materials and actions plans. To date, the Praxis Think Tank has hosted an invitational conference on the Sixth Extinction, published a book, published an evaluation on the results from a conference on democracy and civic participation, and published a report on the first seven Mondragón seminars. The purpose of the People's Think Tank is to provide an environment for deep inquiry, sharing of information, generating new ideas, networking among thinkers and activists, and creating action plans.



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Praxis Peace Institute
P.O. Box 523, Sonoma, CA 95476
Tel: 707-939-2973, Fax: 707-939-6720, Email: info@praxispeace.org

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