When I first had the realization that probably every impossible problem on planet Earth had a solution, I admit I remained skeptical about one in particular: peace. I wasn't doubting the premise that humans can be peaceful (more on this another time), but I couldn't imagine Arabs and Israelis ever making peace, ergo I couldn't imagine how a peaceful world could exist.
But because Liz and I had so boldly declared that media could and should tell stories about possibilities, I kept my radar up for people and organizations who hadn't given up on that particular problem and were actively engaged in solving it.
After discovering OneVoice, I am no longer a skeptic. I'm hopeful and in a high state of curiosity to see when it will work, not how.
I first heard of OneVoice in the oddest of places, this 20-minute Charlie Rose interview with Craig Newmark. It's an interview worth watching, because a) Charlie Rose is a great interviewer with never-boring interviewees, b) Craig Newmark, self-admitted nerd and founder of Craigslist, is one of the coolest, intention-filled humans on the planet, and c) Craig talks about doing good and mentions OneVoice as one of his projects.
OneVoice's story begins with Daniel Lubetzky, the young, visionary leader behind PeaceWorks, a food company "guided by the theory of economic cooperation". In 2002, Lubetzky and PeaceWorks started OneVoice to put a stop to the derailing of possibilities for peace between Arabs and Israelis by fundamentalists and extremists. This month, Fast Company named Daniel's PeaceWorks Foundation and OneVoice among the Top 43 Social Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World. Check out the OneVoice video:
Of course, it's not all doves and olive branches. For instance, I was excited about a large OneVoice event planned for October, a Live Aid-type concert for Arab and Israeli people who want to have what everyone should have: security, freedom, the ability to live where they want and to raise their children without fear. It seemed a perfect segue into a new round of international peace talks, set to begin in Annapolis in November. And then I was disappointed when the event was canceled, broken up by the usual threats, controversy, and vitriol coming from the extreme edges -- another vivid example of the few hijacking the possibilities for the majority.
Now the peace talks in Annapolis have come and gone, and as usual, obstacles to peace remain. In our first blog in this series, Peace: Changing the Conversation to Connection, we quoted Pema Chodron's observation that in any conflict "both sides think they're right. So, the solutions have to come from a change of heart, from softening what is rigid in our hearts and minds." OneVoice has been bringing people from both sides together -- forming meaningful connections -- to work from a common aspiration for peace in their region, as fraught with difficulty, controversy, and history as that process is. I'm thinking they, and others who follow that aspiration of peace, will be able to create enough of those connections, person to person, to bring about a big enough change of heart to bring peace to the region. It's not impossible. It's happening.
If you'd like to add your voice for Arab/Israeli peace, click here.