Tag Archives: Writing

Introducing Our New President, Andrea W. Doray

Carmel Mawle is the founder of Writing for Peace and serves as President of the Board of Directors.

Carmel Mawle, Founder

By Carmel Mawle, Founder and Past President

One afternoon, in April of 2012, a group of writers gathered around a table in front of a Denver coffee shop. Herb gardens bloomed and spilled from pots as we brainstormed with a vibrant coffee-infused energy. We were all members of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, all of us deeply moved and inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests that had survived it’s first brutal winter. As sunlight filtered through new leaves, we imagined a future for Writing for Peace, a simple idea that had begun the autumn before with a young writers contest that sought to develop empathy. On this magical afternoon, our annual journal and it’s title,  DoveTales, was first conceived along with a million other brilliant ideas. Andrea W. Doray was at the table that afternoon and, as we reminisced the other day, she said she could have leapt over the table in her enthusiasm to be a part of Writing for Peace.

We’re now putting together our fifth DoveTales, and how far we’ve come in these short five years! Andrea W. Doray, an award-winning journalist and poet, has been an integral part of  Writing for Peace from the beginning. I am thrilled now to announce that she will be stepping in as President of the Board of Directors. In addition to her mighty pen, Andrea brings with her a wealth of experience in publishing, public relations, and marketing that promises to propel the organization forward during a time when empathy, compassion, and writing for peace is more important than ever. Watch for her inspiring monthly President’s Corner in our blog, the first of which appears below!

Congratulations, Andrea, and thank you for your commitment and service on behalf of a more peaceful world!

President’s Corner:

We Write … That’s Our Superpower

by Andrea W. Doray

 

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Andrea W. Doray, President

For my recent birthday, a friend who knows me well presented me with a coffee mug that says: “I write … what’s your superpower?” She knows I believe, as most of us do, that our words make a difference. And that is, after all, the reason I write.

Of course, as may also be true for you, I write because I have to, because it’s as essential to me as breathing. There’s nothing unique in this sentiment. All the writers I know feel this way to one degree or another. Just thinking on paper through the marvelous and mysterious world of words, through the various lexicons of language, satisfies something crucial in us.

I also write because I feel that I personally have to do something about the world and the way I view it. And when I despair – as I often do – about refugee camps and the ravages of war, about kidnappings, torture, and rape as a weapon of war, about the devastation that war inflicts and then leaves in its wake, I want to be of some use, to put my hands to work. I yearn to offer what little expertise I have as an aid worker to make things right.

In short, I want to be a superhero.

But I have wise friends who remind me that I already have a superpower. When I need to put these hands to work, I grab my pen. I think on paper. Like you, I provide information and education, I create awareness, I ask for action, and most of all I try to spark a measure of considered thought from decent people around the globe.

Through Writing for Peace, we model for young people the ways to make a difference with their words through cultural understanding and acceptance. We model for governments the ways a movement can start and evolve to bring about awareness of and support for issues. We model for the world the ways peaceful activism works to bring about change.

We are so powerful.

I look forward to our many initiatives, including our journal, DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, which has been lovingly nurtured and edited by our past president and founder Carmel Mawle for five issues. Have you see the Peace Correspondent, our just-launched news magazine, spearheaded by board member Elissa Tivona?

Writing for Peace Advisor Mary Carroll-Hackett led a stellar Youth Summit in 2016, which brought students from around the globe together for conversation and problem solving. Watch for news about the 2017 Youth Summit later this year.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve as president of Writing for Peace – an organization that, since its founding five years ago, has allowed me to pursue my passion, my desire, my absolute need to bring peace to the forefront of the world’s conversations.

If what we write prompts someone else to think about something differently, to support a position, to articulate their own thoughts, or to take peaceful action that advances worldwide – and local – understanding of human rights and social justice, we have made the difference we set out to make.

We write … that’s our superpower. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

 

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

Tree, by Azfar Ali Rizvi

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By Azfar Ali Rizvi

Among other things that almost all children universally share, is a tree. It could be the one in the backyard of our oldest house. The tree you played around. It could be the one you carved your name in, or the one you buried your pet cat under. Sometimes it’s simply the one you held close, while curiously looking at the funeral of your best friend’s brother. Or worse your own brother’s. Trees are our saviors, whether we acknowledge or not. They allow us to celebrate our gains and mourn our losses. They let us be.

This fleeting thought was triggered by news last year that the 007 Skyfall director Sam Mendes will bring to life the much loved British Author Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series. Blyton has left behind an unmatchable legacy– her books not only sold over 500 million copies across the world, but were also translated into 40 languages. Pippa Harris, co-founder of Neal Street Productions, the company responsible for this ambitious task, expressed her excitement over the development, saying, “The Magic Faraway Tree is one of the most loved children’s books series from an iconic author whose work has been adored by generations. To be able to adapt these for the big screen is incredibly exciting.”

So I picked it up again last week, and saw the merit in C.S. Lewis’ words: “ … a story worth reading only in childhood is not worth reading even then.” I can read it again and again, and find something new every time. Storytelling at it’s best, the series sparks imagination about peace, diversity and family values. It reminds of us the potential of love and coexistence in a small world. This is a story that opens a portal to another world in every week, and gently nudges the readers to accept contrasting nuances and cultures. As adults, we tend to forget this as we take the world head on, and life gets in the way of our understanding of stories.

A good story amuses us; a great story allows us to fantasize and bend this world and the situations we find ourselves in, to allow us to clearly focus on the moral aspects of what’s happening. Hence, I consider it a privilege to be a small part of WFP. Every year, we are treated to some of the most challenging, unique and diverse perspectives from around the world. WFP is simply championing the cause of barebones storytelling for peace. My allegiance is not just because I crave a peaceful future, but also because writing liberated me from the clutches of my past, and allowed me to soar to a better future. A future where I could be with my tree and carry it on my sleeve.

 

Azfar Ali Rizvi, Writing for Peace Adviser2Azfar Rizvi is a proponent of social justice, and a driving force behind interfaith, cross-cultural and pedagogic initiatives across three continents. He is a Toronto based documentary filmmaker, Photographer, an academic and a cross-platform communications strategist.

Originally from Karachi, Azfar experienced extremism in his early years after surviving violent ethnic cleansing first hand. The incidents shook him to the core and he started exploring reasons behind extremism through this writing; something that evolved from local dailies to covering systemic national issues for news and current affairs publications across Pakistan. Before transitioning into television news and documentaries, he took to presenting radio with the country’s first English radio network at the time.

Learn more about Azfar Rizvi here.

 

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Writing for Peace News

Activism Update From Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace Adviser“Black Americans, Indigenous peoples and immigrants who are standing up to highlight the injustices they suffer on a daily basis are creating a long overdue teachable moment for whites in the United States.  Whites who believe in equality, an end to prejudice and equal justice for all are standing with them; together we can make transformational change on racism and prejudice.”

Follow the latest Popular Resistance developments here.

 

DoveTales “Nature” Edition Update

DoveTales "Nature" CoverPurchase your copy of DoveTales “Nature” and support Writing for Peace! To all those who have ordered books for yourself, family, and friends, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Book sales help to cover the substantial costs of funding our mission.

DoveTales are available through our website here.

 

 Copyright © 2015 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

A Gift of Empowerment, by Melissa Hassard

Melissa Hassard, Writing for Peace AdviserI grew up in the South, the daughter of a misogynist who physically abused both his wife and her son. I remember spending a lot of time in my room with books and journals, trying to escape the yelling, trying to escape the dark mood in our home.

My father did well at his work and we had money, that was never an issue, but his demons were deep — he the son of an abusive father and raised by an abused mother. His youngest brother died accidentally, but at his mother’s hand, and so thick was her trauma and mental disease, that she was committed for the rest of her life in Dorothea Dix, the state mental institution in North Carolina.

And while it’s true that women suffer at the hands of men, so do men suffer at the hands of women. In this world of wars and violence, we must listen to the voices that advocate for peace, compassion, and empathy. We ourselves must also speak out.

Writing, to me, is a way of not only expressing yourself, but also — when you find your voice and learn to use it — a gift of empowerment, a gift which comes with the responsibility of speaking up for those who cannot, and speaking out against the inhumane and the wrong, the cruelty and injustice in this world. In that voice, we also find our work.

I am deeply honored to have been asked to serve on the Writing for Peace Advisory Board.

Melissa Hassard is speaker, writer, poet, mother, womanist, and activist — currently residing in North Carolina.

Her background is public relations, advertising, and travel, and she considers herself a student of the world, who loves travel, history, culture, and language.  Writing is as much a part of her life as breathing.

Partner at Sable Books and founder of Women Writers of the Triad, she is blessed to work with writers on meaningful projects — from helping writers publish, to teaching writing to survivors of domestic abuse, to organizing local community workshops and readings.

Her essays and poems have been published in various journals, is she is now revising work for a first book, that will no doubt take her years to finish.

Learn more about Melissa here.

Writing for Peace News

  • 2014 DoveTales “Contrast” Edition Released

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace Our Second edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, is available for purchase. The 2014 issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winner, and the following contributors:

Jodi Alonso
Cassandra Arnold
Maggie Bàra
Henry Braun
Loraine Caputo
William Cass
Lorraine Currelley
Colin Dodds
John Garmon
Diane Giardi
Mark Goad
Veronica Golos
Sam Hamill
Dawnell Harrison
D. Iasevoli, Ed.D
Allan M. Jalon
Shelley Kahn
Richard Krawiec
Paula Dawn Lietz
Cory Lockhart
Shannon K. Lockhart
Veronica Marshall
Sandra McGarry
Iwona Partyka
Sy Roth
Andrew Sacks
Carol Smallwood
Julia Stein
Samantha Peters Terrell
Bänoo Zan

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Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.