Slow Peace and the Long March

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This website documents the on-going story of educators who began their inquiry into peaceful practice at the Mahatma Gandhi Summer Institute for Building Peaceful Communities at the University of Alberta. It provides an account of our individual and collective journeys as we seek to develop our own approaches to pedagogies of peace. We approach education for peace as a particular form of education for democratic practice. We discuss challenges and successes as we seek to clarify our approach to education for peace and to understand our evolving idea of slow peace.

In light of the world wide CoVid-19 pandemic, we decided to create a special section of this site to celebrate ahimsa in all its forms. Please visit the "Circling the Globe with Ahimsa" page and if you have something you would like to share contact the site administrator (link at the bottom of the page).

We have adopted the label “slow peace” to describe the work we are doing. It grows out of an engagement with Gandhian principles and Rob Nixon’s understanding of slow violence. We begin with key Gandhian concepts such as equality, ahimsa, non-possession, non-exploitation, trusteeship, violence and nonviolence.

From these inspirations we have begun to articulate slow peace as proceeding from the following principles:

    • Beginning from the understanding that much of the violence in the world is slow violence that goes largely unnoticed because it happens overextended periods of time, is not necessarily contained to one geographic space, continues through practices and processes that are normalized and sanctioned, and largely affects the most marginalized and dispossessed people of the world;
    • That attention to any form of violence necessitates concomitant attention to a practice of nonviolence that would address it;
    • Our particular approach to peace and nonviolence follows from Gandhian principles;
    • Slow peace must begin by stepping back to understand the taken-for-granted practices that contribute to various forms of slow violence with particular attention to the ways in which those practices are embodied in the work we do as educators and researchers;
    • It is important to focus on a specific form of violence writ large as well as thinking about day to day practices that sustain this type of violence; and
    • To be effective, slow peace requires a commitment to sustained action through a variety of forms and practices.