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Welcome to The Common Ground Blog, created out of the recognition that sharing local stories and reviewing news media can play a powerful role in shaping public opinion, attitudes and beliefs.  We believe stories focusing on cooperation and on finding solutions are needed, as conflicts persist throughout the world.

We will bring you stories, from the U.S. and internationally, that promote understanding.  These will provide opportunities for dialogue and constructive suggestions that facilitate peaceful resolution of conflict.  By scanning the news, blogosphere and compiling stories of cooperation from Search for Common Ground programmes and projects, this blog aspires to be a source of inspiration and hope, and become a “go to” source of information often neglected by mainstream media.

The Common Ground Blog is an initiative of Search for Common Ground, an international non-governmental organization (NGO), headquartered in Washington and Brussels, whose mission is to transform the way the world deals with conflict – away from adversarial confrontation towards cooperative solutions.

We want your comments and contributions to help make this blog a lively place to search for our common ground.  Please feel free to contact us at cfreeman@sfcg.org.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Sie.Kathieravealu permalink
    August 7, 2008

    I am a peace activist from Sri Lanka. A welcome move. Need of the time. Conflict in Sri Lanka drags on with loss of lives and property with both sides adamant on their stand. It is the common people who are suffering.

    The conflict arose due to the turmoil in the country. The reason for the turmoil is the crooked politicians who want to make easy money at the expense of the poor people.

    Will you be able to do anything?

  2. Serhan Ogan permalink
    December 21, 2008

    The Returned Wealth of Nations

    If we look at a list of “powerful civilisations in history” we cannot help to realize how really “powerful” they were in terms of the size of land they occupied, and the level of dominance they have inflicted upon the people they have governed. Powerful nations today would be no comparison to history’s great giants.
    There is also another characteristic of that list that may seem obvious at the first glance but may also be terrifying to realize and perhaps should be alarming when applied to our current understanding of international relations. That feature is that they all have vanished, most of the time in carnage, inflicting tremendous pain and suffering to their people and the human race.
    One might say “So what? All empires rise and fall.”
    Well, I believe that the carnage increases exponentially in time due to ever increasing population and advancing weaponry or tactics. So although the saying; “history repeats itself” states that this apocalyptic progress is unavoidable, I still want to believe that the re-realization of this fact could, and should fuel a motivation for the people of politics in order to consider a unified effort to stop it.
    And if it can’t, the pain and suffering we will soon be on the verge of experiencing is so great that the human race’s existence could be jeopardized. There a signs, facts and unfolding events which show that this is unfortunately an ongoing process, rather than a pessimistic prediction of the times that are coming.
    Every great war in history is followed by a time of fake peace and pushed but mutual understanding since, the ruling and the educating part of the society has a vivid memory of the suffering the wars has brought upon. As soon as these generations disappear and the disturbing memories of war become boring documentaries and books that dust in the libraries, the war itself start to appear more as a “solution” to problems where the pursuit for peace seem to become more nonnegotiable and expensive.
    Usually the defeated side in the previous war or a silently developing nation at a forgotten corner finds the national will, space, time and funds to create a better and stronger force or tactic which catches the victor at a bad time when the hopes of everlasting peace has transformed into cuts in its military spending and quest for ever impossible political pursuit of international disarmament. Europe today has far less military spending and funds for new arms research compared to the times when it had mighty armies that dominated Far East, Middle East and Africa. Although the weapons in its arsenal are still highly effective, the strategy they are beginning to encounter seems to be capable of defeating even the most advanced military might. The September 11 attack is a first in history where an absolutely powerful nation in terms of weaponry could suffer such damage in the hearth of its nation. Not in any great war since the beginning of history a nation has experienced such damage when she possessed such an enormous military power. The new way of the weak seems to start challenging the mighty, a lot earlier and bloodier than thought.
    If this ever-looping course of history is not interfered soon and strong enough, the human race will bring its own demising apocalypse much earlier than the gods has promised.
    What is to be done?
    1. The wealth of Far Eastern, African and South American nations that has been confiscated by the powers of Europe during Colonial Times, must be returned to them to create a global fiscal balance, where huge economical gap among the world’s populations will be diminished, thus removing the reason of hate, fuelled by resentment towards the rich.

    2. The so called religious conflicts, (Israel-Palestine, Pakistan-India, …) should be redefined as conflicts of land and wealth, and addressed in terms of financial grants thus creating prosperity for the ones who are deprived of feasible land or access to any profitable resource. (Cashmere region)

    3. All above activities must be carried under the supervision of, to be re-defined United Nations Charter and Security Counsel, agreed upon by all means and by all nations, enforced and protected by the proportionally equal joint forces from every nation. Under a complete understanding and participation of every citizen on the planet.

    Sound like a utopia? Well, if not accomplished, the real utopia will be the world peace itself.
    To be continued…
    Serhan Ogan

  3. Rizalina C. Quilit permalink
    September 20, 2009

    World peace is attainable as long as people respect and treat one another fairly and equally, regardless of race, color, political opinions, financial status and religion. At an early age, children should be taught by their parents to respect other people’s views and individuality.

    • Barry Dwork permalink
      October 31, 2009

      For older generations of the world’s people who have been raised in an environment of fear of others, I believe that world peace can be attainable only if they perceive that it is in their self-interest to do so. Those who promote or govern through evil means have to perceive that the costs of doing so are greater than the benefits of cooperation with other ethnic groups, nations, etc. Examples of such a scenario might be, ironically, the long term threats from swine flu, global warming, etc. In other words, for these older generations of people, things have to get worse before they can get better.

      For the younger and current global generation, comprising Jews, Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims, etc., they are years removed from the era of bitterness that resulted from the Holocaust, displacement of Palestinian people, etc. They recognize that the huge price paid through bloodshed from wars during the last sixty years has not resulted in world peace.

      So groups such as Common Ground and all others working toward world peace must do everything they can to educate and promote this younger generation who will someday come of age to govern the world.

      Barry Dwork
      Silver Spring, Maryland

  4. Charles Abola permalink
    February 14, 2011

    Dear bloggers,

    I found a picture of the War Dance at the following URL:http://sfcg.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/war-dance.jpg. We are preparing some promotional material for Northern Uganda Tourism and are seeking permission to use the photo mentioned. It is not a commercial publication and will be used to stimulate some tourism
    activity in the region which is recovering from years of conflict.
    We could greatly appreciate your consent.

  5. March 4, 2011

    Adyan is a Lebanese NGO that works towards creating understanding and dialogue among the different religions in Lebanon and the world – and we all know how much solidarity is needed, now more than ever! Our activities range from creating films, debates, religious tourism trips, and online university courses, among others – whatever it takes to identify common areas between religions and spread values of respect and sympathy towards different spiritual experiences.

    On March 11, 2011, we are launching a documentary entitled “Aaks El Seir” which tells the story of personalities highly respected and valued within their religious communities, who walked against the current at times of confessional conflicts. They took the extra mile of helping others despite religious differences. The screening will take place at Palais UNESCO, Beirut.

    More about Adyan and the cause:
    For Adyan’s website, please visit http://www.adyanvillage.net
    For “Aks el Seir” event on Facebook, please visit http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=144469702279160
    For Adyan’s latest news and activities, please visit http://www.facebook.com/adyanvillage
    For Adyan’s Understanding Program, please visit http://www.understandingprogram.net
    For more info, contact us at 00961 70 484843

  6. June 15, 2012

    Something that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street can totally agree on (and which the New York Times refuses to publish):

    The END of PARTISAN POLITICS, the BEGINNING of WORLD PEACE

    George Washington, from his “Farewell Address,” 1796:

    “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge… is itself a frightful despotism.”

    The simple, comprehensive way to finally end partisan politics quickly and forever is to simply expand our worst-possible ‘single option’ voting method into Score Voting [aka Range Voting], where we will be able to give a score to each and every candidate that we favor (just like we do on the internet when we rate our favorite books, movies, and restaurants)—thus eliminating ‘spoilers’ (e.g.: If you like two or more candidates, you won’t be forced to select just one and thereby completely abandon the others!). Because they won’t have to win either polarizing party’s primary, many more candidates will run, and they’ll now owe their allegiance directly to US! Our smartest businesses—Amazon.com, the IMDb, the Olympics, et al—already utilize Score Voting to indicate the best selection likely to give us the greatest overall satisfaction. Actually, our legislators should be using Score Voting right now to select the best parts of lots of bills on the same subject—to quickly put together legislation most pleasing to the most people and already pre-approved without any pork-barrel legislation(!). But—best of all—Score Voting in politics will change the way we think about collective decision-making: it changes the ‘majority wins’ concept of It’s US against THEM into a communal spirit of We’re ALL in this TOGETHER! And considering the world situation, especially the powder-kegs in the Middle East, wouldn’t this be a good thing for World Peace as well?

    George Sanders (a Simon & Schuster author), Larchmont, NY 79335-18419
    http://www.VotingInSanity.org—a simple, not-for-profit, free, global humanitarian initiative
    @VotingInSanity

    P.S.: Unlike the difficulties of a Constitutional amendment, Score Voting can be initiated state by state and written in just two simple sentences, to be printed on every ballot—e.g.: “Voters can give a score from 0 to 100 to each and every candidate that they want (just like giving numerical grades on a school exam). Highest numerical total wins.”

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