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Angie Hartley

Interview by Erik Lawson
May 2012

    Peace to me, means tolerance and understanding, an absence of fear, sufficient resources to sustain life, and a desire for reconciliation rather than revenge. It is achieved when people, no matter how diverse, can live amongst each other, find common ground, and forgive the wrongdoings from the past.  In my opinion, the key to both creating and maintaining peace is dialogue, or some other form of shared expression.

    Last year I worked as a Resettlement Case Manager at World Relief, helping refugees become self-sufficient upon their arrival to Spokane. The work that I did with World Relief helped me to perceive peace first as a result of understanding and tolerance. When two differing cultures come face to face with each other, the differences will remain a barrier to peace unless both sides try to learn and accept what makes each culture unique. This was obvious to me as I watched cultures clash numerous times in Spokane.
    Currently I am working as an English Teaching Assistant in Posadas, Argentina with the Fulbright Program. Peace is at the heart of the foundation of the Fulbright program, as stated by the founder, Senator Fulbright:
    
“The Fulbright Program aims to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs and thereby increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship.”
—Senator J. William Fulbright

    In order for peace to be more prominent, people must first open their minds and be willing to accept differences in the world around them. People must stop viewing the world through their own cultural lens, embracing rather than judging all that is different. This is especially important in Spokane in order to unite the various ethnic groups in the city. People must abandon the stereotypes that they have. A hijab does not make someone a terrorist and a low level of English does not mean someone is unintelligent. Until we stamp out these negative stereotypes, peace will not fully exist in the Spokane community.
    To promote peace, people need to teach others about the importance of the existence of peace in their own lives. People need to work together on a local level to diminish animosity and foster unified communities. There are many forms of possible participation; with local NGO’s, working with the local government, writing letters to the editor, and more. Further, people need to work in their local communities to raise awareness about creating peace on a global scale. People need to be aware of global conflicts and opportunities that exist to try to ease these conflicts.
    Finally, people need to work to convince society and the government that peace is a viable option. Many times people see war as the best answer for solving conflicts and see peaceful intervention as weak. Education on alternatives to forceful intervention is key in bringing about confidence in the feasibility of peace.
    Peace is both personal and collective; we must learn as individuals how to be at peace with ourselves and our own lives, as well as with the rest of the world. It can be both a state of mind and a political position.