Friday, 1 May 2015

Expressions of Peace

Yesterday afternoon the last 6 Agents of Peace Vines were released to Vine and Twitter. As much as this concludes the original actions of the project, to disseminate 'peace' into something as small and concise as possible, it still leaves a whole other aspect of action to take. Spreading these definitions of peace as widely as possible.
So far the Vines have been generating some interest but not as much as I think they should based on the content being tackled. These clips have been designed to create a discussion and discourse on our notions of peace and what peace means to different people.
Questions are going to be raised because of these Vines.
Is peace just the absence of war?
Is peace managing to collateral damage from war?
Is peace harmonious discussion and living between differing cultures?
Is peace the realization of individual human potential?

Ultimately...what is peace?
Further, in what way does peace take place? In what context?
World Peace?
Community Peace?
A Peaceful Country?
Peaceful Lives/Life?
How broad is Peace? How individual is it?
Does peace for one person mean suffering for another? Can that be avoided?

There is every possibility of filling the rest of this post with questions on peace but that is the point of the Vines. These questions need to be examined even if it is only for 6 seconds at a time. The best way to generate topical discussions on these questions is to pass around the Vines on Twitter and Facebook. Send an email to a friend or pull a clip up on your phone and ask someone what they think of it.

Create the space for peace.

Here are links to the last 6 Peace Vines as well as a link to the NUPRI Vine page where all the past Vines are located.

John Schram
Daryl Copeland
Patrick Dennis
Ronit Yarosky
David Tal
Jessica Wilson

NUPRI Peace Vines



Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Question of Peace

Spring is finally making itself known. Early in March it felt like the seasons were beginning to change but it ultimately turned into a game of hide and seek. There would be hints of Spring only for Winter to drop a few inches of snow. That seems to be in the past though as the snowbanks are significantly smaller and the warmer mornings are becoming more and more apparent. Its nice to have to debate on wether I should take a coat or if a hoodie will suffice for the day.

In the last few weeks a number of new Peace Vines have been sent out into the world. Since the last update vines from Ian McKay, Yannick Tona, John Ralston-Saul, Fidraus Kharas, Tuula Fai and Faye Blais have been looped a total of 82 times. It sounds small compared to some vines which hit several million loops in a matter of days. There isn't an expectation that one of the Peace Vines is suddenly going to go viral and overnight the whole page is going to detonate. Most of the people who have millions of views on vine are ordinary people who post on a regular basis and who build a following and a viewership one vine at a time. In order to do this there has to be continuous and regular content being put up to sustain the followers attention. At some point a post will trigger something within the collective viewership and a sensation is born.
Largely Vine is about the simplicity and ease of sharing. It is a small bite sized piece of content that someone can view quickly several times and take time to consider over a cup of coffee. A viral Peace Vine would be a wonderful thing but there is an awareness that compared to most of the other content on Vine the AoP vine project is an outlier. Not that that is discouraging, quite the opposite, it is encouraging to the point of trying to find a way to ensure a viewership is built that recognizes the space this vine project is trying to create.

A short time ago it was mentioned two integral members of the NUPRI had released a new book. THE QUESTION OF PEACE in Modern Political Thought by Toivo Koivukoski and David Edward Tabachnick has received its first review both the Chapters/Indigo website and Congratulations to both of them on pushing the discourse on peace and the question of peace in the modern sense. An awareness of what peace means, as varied as the definition can be from one individual to the next, is important to understand. This is in large part what the Peace Vine project is attempting to do. Each of the Vines represents an individual understanding of Peace and not all of them may be the same but it is an opening for others to step in and consider each of these definitions as a portion of the larger idea of peace.

Check out the Vines:

Check out the Book:

Check out Twitter:



Friday, 13 March 2015

A Broader Understanding through Vine

3 new Peace Vines involving Eryl Court, Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims and Danielle David were released today.
So far a total of 13 Peace Vines are now out, floating the internet and hopefully providing thought about what peace is and what it means to anyone and everyone who encounter the definitions.
I has occurred to me that as varied as these Vines can be they are all striving for the same thing just in a different capacity. Understandably, there is only so much that can be said in a 6 second window. This is exactly the point. If you were to take the enormous category of
"peace" and cut it down to one breath what would it look like?
This is what these Vines are intended to do.
You may not agree with some of the definitions, you may agree with all of them or none. The perspective of this project is to create a space where you ask yourself about your definition of peace. Do you define your peace differently than Romeo Dallaire? Do you agree with Eryl Court? If you define it differently then why? How has your experiences shaped what peace to you means? How has it shaped what you feel world peace should look like? Is it done through diplomacy or something else? Is peace only the absence of war or is it something more specific like the ethical treatment of the disenfranchised members of society? Is it economic peace and if so what does it entail? Is it Democracy? Is it Socialism? Is it Communitarianism?
Our Peace Vines are intended to be the beginning of a greater discussion. This can only happen by viewing, sharing and talking about each of these definitions and finding how they fit into your perspective of peace and others understandings of peace.


Please share these posts. Comment on them. Discuss them with others.



Friday, 6 March 2015

Spring into Peace

I feel like we've reached the point where Spring finally feels like it is on the way to arriving. With the last week and a half being exceptionally cold it is a welcome relief to finally see some nicer weather. That isn't to say the cold has disappeared and all the snow is melting but it doesn't seem like it is that far off compared to last week.

Leading into this sense of Spring NUPRI is proud to announce the release of a new book by Dr. Toivo Koivukoski and Dr. David Edward Tabachnick titled The Question of Peace in Modern Political Thought. It is a collection of essays devoted to, as the title suggests, the question of peace. At this point I have only had a chance to skim the collection but there is a lot that has immediately grabbed my attention as far as contributors and titles involved. It also should be noted that along with editing the collection Dr's Koivukoski and Tabachnick are also contributors. They have also gathered together work from other Nipissing faculty such as Herminio Teixeira and David Borman. With some perspectives looking at Hegel, Spinoza, Heidegger, Arendt, Rousseau and Kant (among many others) this is a collection  I look forward to getting some time to sit down and immerse myself in.

More information and for purchasing options you can follow the below link to the publisher's website:
The Question of Peace in Modern Political Thought

In addition to the release of a new book NUPRI has released another 3 Vines concerning the definition of peace. Today's Vines include Brandon Salo, Althea-Marie Rivas and Bill Bhaneja. All of these and more can be found on the NUPRI Vine page (as well as on the Twitter page).

Brandon Salo Vine

Althea-Marie Rivas Vine

Bill Bhaneja Vine

More Vines will be out next week. Until then please share what is on our Vine page as much as possible. The more people these definitions reach the greater a discussion we can have about what peace is and what it means to each of us as individuals.



Thursday, 26 February 2015

3 New AoP Vine's Released

I am happy to announce 3 more Vines have been released over on the NUPRI Vine channel (simultaneously posted to Twitter). The new Vines showcase definitions of peace from:

- Saul Arbess, co-chair of the Department of Peace Initiative (Victoria BC chapter).

- Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children with his brother Craig. Marc is a major proponent in the creation of We Day which is based on the belief that every young person has the power to change the world.

- Peter Singer, a trained health professions who has spent the last decade working to finding creative solutions to many of the world's most pressing health problems. He is a professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

There are plenty more Peace Vines to come in the following weeks.

Our primary goal with these distilled versions of the "definition of peace" is to generate a discussion on the broader topic of peace. As more Vines are released you will see greater overlap in definitions, in a few cases almost word for word mirroring. This is not done intentionally. My work in trimming videos found on YouTube to fit the 6.5 second Vine format is merely to grab the clearest definition of peace put forward by the interviewee.
The choice of interviewee for the Vine project was partially random and partially based on name recognition.
It also must be noted the Vine project, at this point, does not encompass the entire 'Agents of Peace' archive it is a sampling of what is contained on the YouTube page and on the drives the project is housed on.

Thoughts and discussion are always welcome regarding the Agents of Peace project and the current Vine spin-off.



Thursday, 12 February 2015

Expanding Horizons

The Vine format has become incredibly popular in the short time it has been around (2 years). It provides short snippets of storytelling that can be watched, digested and shared incredibly quickly. It is truly amazing how something so short can create an impact and in such a clever and concise way.

Over the last few months NUPRI has been working to expand its horizons and its presence on the internet and across the study of peace. Vine is seen as an ideal format to help promote and quickly expand the horizons of peace. The limited nature of Vine forces us to synthesize the the clearest definition of peace from the numerous accounts we have in our archives.

This is the true challenge of Vine. How do you create something that is crystal clear in its message? How do you create something that is, at most, 6.5 seconds long from a definition that might run for over 2 minutes?
In some cases the definition is clear. The subject might have a definitive moment in defining peace and so it is a simply audio grab.
In other cases it is challenging. Sometimes it requires splicing between several different accounts of peace in order to bring the clarity Vine forces you into.

NUPRI is kicking off its Vine presence with 4 videos from Romeo Dallaire, Megan Campbell, Gordon Teti and Nestar Russell.

This is only the first few of a number that will begin appearing over the coming weeks. The intention is to start by releasing a few at a time with the hope that they will generate discussion on the topic of peace and how it is defined. Over the coming weeks you may notice some similarities in certain definitions. These first few are deliberately designed to provide 4 different aspects of peace but even in their difference there are some similarities.

Once more are released we are looking at setting up a narrative by collecting several different definitions together to allow for a sustained commentary on them.

If you are intrigued by the Peace Vines I encourage you to spend some time on the NUPRI YouTube Channel. Track down the original videos to understand the larger and deeper meaning behind each definition. Feel free to respond and provide your own commentary.

NUPRI YouTube Channel

Please share the Vines. The more people we reach the greater the discussion we can have.



Friday, 14 November 2014

Amnesty International: Write for Rights

This is a heads up, a call if you will, for the upcoming Amnesty International: Write for Rights event taking place on December 10th, 2014.

Over the last couple of months the Nipissing University Amnesty International Community Action Circle has organized several letter writing campaigns, which I have had the pleasure of attending. They are informal events involving both students and faculty (though anyone else who wishes to join is fully welcome). We spend time writing letters to various governments requesting an end to acts of torture against an individual, alternately we may write letters to someone who has been wrongly imprisoned as a sign of support for their cause.

December 10th this year is the annual Write for Rights event run by Amnesty International. The NU Community Action Circle has plans to run a large event open to everyone and anyone who is interested in writing to make a difference. There will be several causes to direct your letter(s) to, all paper, envelopes and stamps will be provided.

One of the reasons for engaging in a letter writing campaign is because of the tangibility of it. Sitting down and taking time to write something that is a physical representation of yourself is a drastically different experience than typing it up on a computer with a keyboard. With the increasing movement of the world into the digital realm letters and letter writing is becoming a obsolete art. Taking the time to put a physical effort into a letter carries more weight both physically and mentally than sending an e-mail.

There are still a few details to work out with the local Write for Rights event, they will be posted as soon as they are available.

To be added to the NU Amnesty International mailing list or for more details on this or any future event you can contact the event organizer Dr. Sarah Winters at: sarahw|at|nipissingu|dot|ca. I would include in the subject line "Amnesty International".

For more information on the larger event and to make a pledge to be involved in the campaign follow this link:

If you are interested in other ways to become involved with Amnesty International you can check out their Canadian website here:

Hope you see you December 10th.