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May The World Live In Peace

CAN WE TALK?

FAR BEYOND IDEAS
OF WRONG-DOING AND RIGHT-DOING
THERE IS A FIELD
I’LL MEET YOU THERE

  RUMI (13TH CENTURY)

 

As the poetry of Rumi says, we need to talk. Nothing happens until people meet each other, listen, share ideas, make friendships. This is Citizen Diplomacy. It seems that Rumi may have been an early “Citizen Diplomat”:

Citizen Diplomacy has been the primary “tool” of CrossCurrents International Institute since its beginning. How can we expect to have peace in this world until people learn to know each other, listen to each other and respect each other?

Program Activities

Since the founding of CrossCurrents in 1985, the goal has been to sponsor programs that bring people together.

The Mission of CrossCurrents is:

  • to promote peace and human development
  • to build connections across boundaries of cultures, nations, religions, political and economic systems
  • to raise the level of awareness about critical world issues

All programs are evaluated against these criteria. Geographic location is not a primary criterion. We believe that geography is secondary to opportunities that may open doors to fulfill our mission.

Current Programs

CrossCurrents sponsors on 3 - 5 active programs each year and 3 - 5 programs in the "pipeline" of development. In 2013, there are active programs in USA, Kenya, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Japan. Other programs under development focus on citizen diplomacy, arts and cultural exchange, food security and impact of religion on society.

USA – JAPAN FRIENDS FOR PEACE PROGRAM


I Hate War
from meredith kaufman on Vimeo.

Sixty-five years after the end of WW II, there are people from both Japan and USA who have not moved beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing. They still wish to “settle” who was right and who was wrong during WW II. The tragedies of war continue to shape their lives. This is not the focus of CrossCurrents International Institute.

The purpose of the CrossCurrents program is to move beyond the tragedies of war, to find common understanding, work together on joint programs and build new awareness in both countries. There are so many important issues upon which we will have greater success if we work together. Both Japan and USA have much to offer each other.

Since the major earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011, CrossCurrents has provided small assistance to people who have lost so much. This support has been directed through non-governmental organizations in Japan to individuals who continue to struggle in 2013 to put their lives back together. Japan is a wealthy nation with rich cultural traditions. Nonetheless, individual people need help and appreciate knowing that they have “friends” from USA and other countries who support them and who offer on-going assistance. This is the bedrock of peace and non-violence and this fits the mission of CrossCurrents---connecting people-to-people.

CrossCurrents has also been able to link with peace museums in Japan. There are more peace museums in Japan than in any other country of the world. We seek to establish links between the Dayton International Peace Museum in USA and peace museums in Japan.

Can you help? If you would like to donate toward this project you can do it here:


SOUTH SUDAN MEDICAL RELIEF PROGRAM

The South Sudan Medical Relief Program is directed by Dr. Jill Seaman, an American physician who has lived and worked in South Sudan since 1989. Based in Old Fangak, "Dr. Jill" is the only expatriate doctor in a huge territory with minimal infrastructure. Patients travel for days by boat, on foot, or carried on improvised stretchers, in search of medical care. Working in open air clinics and mud huts, the SMRP pioneers new treatments, and achieves remarkable results.

Lethal infectious diseases, such as kala azar, tuberculosis, and malaria, are Jill's main areas of expertise, and the focus of this program. We prioritize education of health care workers at many levels, so that medical help will be more available in the long run. Jill and her colleagues care for obstetrical complications, kidney failure, malnutrition, severe anemia, leprosy, and anything else that comes their way. 

In September 2009, Jill's work was honored with a MacArthur Fellowship. The MacArthur Foundation MacArthur Foundation selects 20 to 30 individuals each year for this award. Their selection criteria are "exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work."

Please watch the videos of "Dr Jill” for a more complete picture of this work. 

 


Dr. Jill Seaman in South Sudan
from Bruce Strong on Vimeo.

CrossCurrents International Institute provides the logistical support for this project that includes fundraising in USA, accounting and general administration.  The role of CrossCurrents ranges from sending payments for meds and nutritional supplements, to daily record-keeping, to raising financial support. In 2011, the clinic in Old Fangak served approximately 45,000 patients.

 

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photo photo

Please consider a donation to this project, click the button.  Your support will be greatly appreciated and carefully used.  Thank you.

MAJI MAZURI CENTER
Kenya Project

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Wanjiku Kironyo

The Maji Mazuri Center is located in the Mathare Valley slums of Nairobi, Kenya where over 500,000 people live in a small area without safe drinking water, sewer, electricity, permanent houses or streets. Crime is high. People die every day from AIDS infections. Children are left to somehow care for themselves. Often 6 year old children become the “parent” for their younger siblings. Life is fragile---death is common for these children.

The Maji Mazuri Center was founded in 1987 by Wanjiku Kironyo. She herself was raised on a small farm in rural Kenya and through an unexpected chance happening, she was invited to do her university training in United States. When she returned to Kenya she began teaching at the University of Nairobi in social studies. It was only then that she learned about the slum conditions located on the outskirts of Nairobi. She began to visit the women and children in the slums. She was committed to help.

In 1987, Wanjiku left her teaching post to spend full time on her “mission” of helping people to improve their lives and to move out of the slums. She founded the Maji Mazuri Center without financial support. It was her dream. Today, the Maji Mazuri Center serves over 2000 people everyday in programs ranging from micro-finance, to schools, to orphanage, to teenage sports and theater, to a farm where they raise food, to caring for physically and mentally challenged youth.

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CrossCurrents International Institute began working with Wanjiku Kironyo and the Maji Mazuri Center in 2000. The primary role of CrossCurrents has been to "network" the activities of Maji Mazuri in USA and to raise funds for the work in Kenya. Over the years, CrossCurrents has played a key role in the completion of a deep water well, the development of a micro-finance program for small business loans, support for orphan children (Maji Mazuri Children's Home), and an HIV-AIDS education program. In addition, CrossCurrents has played a key role in bringing Rotary International Clubs from western Ohio into this project. In 2012, the Rotary International has completed their program of assistance to develop the farm and vocational school for Maji Mazuri. This facility now supports over 200 children with education, food, shelter, and medical care.

There is a new vision unfolding for Maji Mazuri---the creation of a peace center where students will study and learn the elements of non-violence and reconciliation. It is the dream to create a center for young people and a place for national leaders from Kenya and other countries to come together, to meet each other, build trust, listen to concerns, cross over boundaries of mis-understanding. This is the mission of CrossCurrents and the mission of Maji Mazuri. People are invited to join this vision with ideas, resources, and expertise.

Maji Mazuri Children

If you would like to donate for this project, please click here:


SUBODHI INSTITUTE, SRI LANKA

The Subodhi Institute located nearby Colombo, Sri Lanka was founded in 1982 by Fr. Mervyn Fernando, a Catholic priest, writer, astronomer, scholar, and peace maker in Sri Lanka. The broad purpose of Subodhi Institute is “education for life”, working with youth to teach “skills” for living that are not taught in schools. Subodhi works with youth from all religious and ethnic backgrounds in Sri Lanka.

Subodhi Institute Grounds
Subodhi Institute grounds

students
Tamil and Singhalese youth in a workshop at Subodhi Institute

At Subodhi Institute
Fr. Mervin Fernando and Bill Shaw at Subodhi Institute

The origins of CrossCurrents work in Sri Lanka pre-date the existence of CrossCurrents, dating back to the 1970’s when William Shaw, President of CrossCurrents, first visited Sri Lanka and started the long path of learning about the country and building friendships in the country. These networks have continued grown over the years.

Through the support of foundations and individuals in USA, CrossCurrents has been able to provide financial support to Subodhi for bringing together school-age youth, 15 – 19 years of age, from diverse ethnic, social, economic, and religious backgrounds who have few opportunities to meet and know each other. These youth are Tamil and Sinhalese who speak different languages and do not interact within the Sri Lankan education system.

The underlying purpose of this work is to build understanding, friendship and leadership between youth from diverse ethnic backgrounds so that these young people can set the future course toward reconciliation in the country. This is a critical time in Sri Lanka due to the recent end of the civil war that has been raging for 25 years. Tamil and Sinhalese youth will steer the future course of the country. Because of language differences these young people have few places or opportunities for coming together. Providing a safe and harmonious meeting place is the purpose of this project at Subodhi Institute.

The large majority of participants in the programs at Subodhi are from the lower middle class and the working class families. They cannot afford to pay what it costs us to run the programs. The help from donors to CrossCurrents helps to keep these programs operating.

If you would like to donate to our Sri Lankan project, please click the button:


USA projects

CrossCurrents International Institute hosts visitors from around the world, organizing their program, providing accommodations and arranging opportunities for them to meet Americans in their homes and places of work. CrossCurrents is based in “middle-America”, and, as a result, many visitors experience another part USA beyond major metropolitan areas of New York, Washington, or Los Angeles. CrossCurrents has a small facility for hosting international visitors, sponsoring seminars on different international topics and offering translation services.

CrossCurrents is linked closely with Olney Friends School, a Quaker boarding school located in Ohio. Nearly half of the students at Olney are international students.

CrossCurrents is also closely associated with the Dayton International Peace Museum that focuses on education for peace and non-violence. The Peace Museum places emphasis on positive side of making peace, not on the atrocities of war and violence.

If you would like to donate to support the general work of CrossCurrents International Institute, you gift will be greatly appreciated and carefully used. Please click the button:


FUTURE PROGRAMS IN THE "PIPELINE"

CrossCurrents International Institute looks to the future to explore new opportunities for projects. Examples include:

  • Citizen Diplomacy---need to strengthen Citizen Diplomacy between USA and many countries like Russia and Iran and Cuba. Non-governmental people-to-people ties are so important in generating good-will, respect, knowledge, and peace. Americans need better understanding and appreciation of the “outside” world while people in other countries need to learn more about USA. Citizen Diplomacy is about education and relates direct to the mission of CrossCurrents.

  • Role of music in promoting peace: This interest fits well into CrossCurrents mission and CrossCurrents has sponsored exchanges of musical ensembles between USA and Russia. Music is the universal language---it is a powerful tool for diplomacy between conflicting parties. CrossCurrents is interested to support the exchange of musicians across cultural boundaries.

  • Global food security---people need food to survive! Without food security, there will be no peace on this planet. The focus of governments and funding agencies is on increasing crop yields. While this is important, it takes time and enormous amounts of money for research, development and implementation to increase crop yields. CrossCurrents has another idea---why not save the food that has already been produced. Estimates of post-harvest food losses range from 20 – 60% of all the food produced each year around the world, depending on the crop and location. These food losses start at the farm and go all the way up the food chain to the dinner table at home. If it were possible to save even a small percentage of these post-harvest food losses, global food security could be enhanced quickly, with limited research and limited funds. The potential payoff is enormous. This is an interest worth attention!

  • Vietnam and biotechnology: CrossCurrents has had long association with people and organizations in Vietnam. On a recent visit to Vietnam, many fresh ideas unfolded for joint programs in biotechnology (which relate to global food security). Vietnamese scientists are on the cutting edge of biotechnology and they want to link with counterparts in USA. CrossCurrents has these contacts both in USA and Vietnam and could facilitate these scientific exchanges.
  • Role of religion in society:---CrossCurrents is interested in interfaith dialogue and the impact of religion in different cultures and nations. Religion is important in the lives of millions of people in the world and yet, many academics and journalists and government officials give little attention to religion. Religions help shape values and ethics. Religions shape national culture and indirectly shape national politics. Throughout history religions have had both positive and negative impacts on society. Religions have caused wars and shaped peace. Religions have supported violence and non-violence. Religions have supported slavery and freedom of slaves. Religions have supported justice and injustice. We need to learn and listen and become better informed about the role of religion in our contemporary global world. How do we work with religious leaders to address issues such as economic poverty, war, health care and food security in the world? CrossCurrents is exploring these questions with the Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture and Peace at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand and with the Subodhi Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka. We are interested to connect with other organizations and individuals.

 

CrossCurrents International Institute
7122 Hardin-Wapak Road
Sidney, Ohio 45365
TEL: 937/492-0407
Use our Web Contact Form

 

 
"Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free."

The XIVth Dalai Lama

Website by Jeff van den Bosch