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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Please consider a donation to this project, click the button.
Your support will be greatly appreciated and carefully used. Thank
MAJI MAZURI CENTER
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
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.
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.
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
Tamil and Singhalese youth in a workshop 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
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
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
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"Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where
people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free."