HOW We Began
City Council and Mayor voice support for a Culture of Peace Movement in Ashland
In 1980 David Wick (ACPC Executive Director) helped launch the United Nations NGO, Pathways To Peace which assisted the adoption of the UN's International Day of Peace in 1981. He also led the global Culture of Peace Initiative, a United Nations-designated "Peace Messenger Initiative".
In a February 2, 2015 Study Session representatives and supporters of the Culture of Peace Initiative - Ashland presented their proposal for a Culture of Peace Commission (CPC) at a City Council Study Session focused on the CPC. After holding meetings with each councilor over the past two months, CPI listened to concerns and built a new proposal around a one year pilot project for an Ashland CPC that will operate independently, but with a memorandum of Understanding with the City. CPI will formulate the Commission, comprised of many of the sectors of society in Ashland, many with unique conflict resolution and peacebuilding skills, and perform a State of Peace Report for Ashland, hold key events and trainings and provide unique services aimed at relationship building as various issues arise in the City. There will be a city councilor serving in a liaison capactiy with the CPC. After a year there will be an evaluation of the activities of the CPC and the issue of formally instituting it as a part of CIty Government will be considered. Thanks to all who found common ground and worked on true peace building to arrive at this key understanding. It will be voted on in the coming month.
Bringing the concept for a Culture of Peace to Ashland, Oregon, on March 17, 2015, the Mayor and Ashland City Council unanimously adopted the Culture of Peace Proclamation with the concluding paragraph stating, "NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council and Mayor of Ashland strongly encourage residents to work toward development of a Culture of Peace community, and pledge to lend appropriate encouragement and support to that effort." This was inspired by a citizen led group where alignment of values with the city government was found and then further developed.
On September 21, 2015, the International Day of Peace, the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) was launched. The Commission is a community initiative, an independent citizen’s commission which has grown organically from the ground up. It is made up of volunteer Commission Members and an integrally woven group of Action Teams who conduct the work of ACPC. The Commission Members have been chosen to represent segments of Ashland's culture. This includes: education, business, media, the arts, science, environment, spirituality, law, and habitat.
ACPC community benefit activities include: community talking circles, providing homeless and travelers a safe place to talk, peace education experiences through interfacing with Ashland School District and students, Peacebuilding skills training programs for volunteers, bi-weekly Culture of Peace articles in the Ashland Daily Tidings, development of a network of community non-profit organizations, leadership through values. Significant community impact has been established in one year.
The following videos of the study session include Eric Sirotkin's intitial presentation to the Study Session and then an extensive Q & A between Councilors and Sirotkin and David Wick.