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One Billion Acts of Peace

Report on the One Billion Acts of Peace Call, March 10, 2015

Welcome and Introductions

Marilyn Turkovich:  Welcome.  I am Marilyn Turkovich, Interim Director of the Charter for Compassion International.  I want to thank Lesa Walker (who volunteers for the Charter) for helping to organize the call and for taking notes. 

Today we welcome Dawn Engle from 1 Billion Acts of Peace (1BAOP).  Dawn Engle is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the PeaceJam Foundation which was launched to provide Nobel Peace Prize Laureates with a programmatic vehicle to use in working together to teach youth the art of peace. To date, 13 Nobel Peace Laureates, including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu serve as members of the PeaceJam Foundation which has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize eight times.

What I find so impressive about 1BAOP is the message that - everyone matters, everyone makes a difference and together we are unstoppable.



Dawn Engle:  Thank you for setting up this call.  1BAOP has come from 20 years of work running PeaceJam with Nobel Peace Prize winners.  Over this time, 1 million young people in 39 countries have participated with the Nobel Laureates in PeaceJam.  PeaceJam offers a year-long program, year after year, helping young people see the potential in themselves to create change.  As a result, young people become effective leaders.  

The idea behind 1BAOP is that the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates want to create an amazing global citizens’ movement where everyone is empowered to become an agent of change. It is ambitious.  We are working with 13 Nobel Laureates.  The plan is audacious.  We have wonderful founding partners, supporting the campaign infrastructure and tools- Google, Wells Fargo, others…   

Our website, shows people how to get started.  We want to develop a huge network of nonprofit organizations.   You can submit a form to become a member of the campaign and your work will be featured.  The campaign has 10 focus areas.  These are presented at the top of the website. The scope of the campaign is very ambitious.  The Nobel Peace Prize winners spent 2 years working on this campaign.  To build peace, we have to create the conditions for peace-  social justice and meeting basic human needs.  What will be causes of wars?  … lack of access to water and food, hatred, violence, poverty, etc. We have identified 10 focus areas to target for change.  We need change in the environment, education of girls, human rights, etc.  We really do believe that everyone matters.  This belief reflects the personal experience of each of the Nobel Peace Prize winners on the Board.  We have taught this to young people for 20 years. Also, we have great technology behind us to support us.  It is exciting that we have Google as a partner.  Google has committed to 5 years’ worth of work.  We want tools that allow global collaboration in a deep systemic way. We will create supportive technology that will be free for the entire world to use.  A new app will come online this summer.  We are having monthly Executive Committee meetings in Silicon Valley.  We want to provide an umbrella that will hopefully bring all of us together in a way we have not done before. 

Regarding my personal background:  When I was 19 years old, I began working for US Congress, for my state’s Senator.   I am from Detroit and was fortunate to be able to do an internship.  I learned a lot but learned some sad things along the way. It is hard to create change at the top level.  We have become paralyzed, polarized, and grid-locked.  It is upsetting that there is so little that our governments are doing.  20 years ago, I moved to Colorado and started something new.  I wanted to do grassroots work- rooted in each community and working with young people.  Young people are still open to thinking that the impossible is possible.  Now I have the wonderful opportunity to share what we have learned through the past 20 years with the world.  In the nonprofit world, we are all stretched thin and just trying to keep our own ship afloat.  Now, through PeaceJam’s 1BAOP, we are trying to make it easy to collaborate and become a member of this campaign and have everyone’s work count.  We will be bringing in local governments, cities, universities, high schools, elementary schools, businesses, all organizations.   

We are creating a campaign and infrastructure that allows people to come in as “tourists” and then they go forth as “guides”.   We are unleashing the goodness and greatness in everyone in a way that enables us all to work together.  We have incredible leadership from the 13 Nobel Peace Prize winners.  We hope that everyone will join us either as an individual or group.  Wherever you are, this campaign is for you.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu has nominated the campaign for the Nobel Peace Prize. The campaign is for 5 years. If you get involved now, you will be co-creating the campaign with us.


Open Discussion/ Questions and Answers

Marilyn:  Thank you Dawn.  We will open now for Q&A, comments, ideas, etc.

Brenda Robinson:  From Toronto. This is fantastic!  Are you familiar with the TVO program, “The Agenda” with Steve Paikin?  You would be a great person to be on his show.  Would you be willing to be on TVO program? 

Dawn:  Yes, I would be happy to do so.

Latifah:  Austin, Texas.  I don’t see anything about arts and culture and the role they can play to address peace and the focus areas. 

Dawn:  Arts and culture could be in the focus areas of community and education.  However, arts and culture can be used to address all areas. They are tools and methodologies that have been used by PeaceJam over the years.  We are documentary filmmakers ourselves. We capture the lives of the different Nobel Laureates on our Board.  We have an entire curriculum about the Nobel Laureates.  Our latest film is “Children of the Light.”  It is Desmond Tutu’s South African story.  When we show the footage through film, it is very powerful.  It is a wonderful way to change people’s hearts and souls and to engage people with each other.  I would love to hear more about what you are doing.

Marilyn:  Dawn, you just mentioned PeaceJam.  Can you give us background on PeaceJam?

Dawn:  PeaceJam is a 501(c)3, based in the USA.  My husband and I have worked on this for almost 20 yrs. It is an organization through which Nobel Peace Prize winners mentor youth.  We offer a year-long program.  We train the trainers.  A youth mentor uses the training and curriculum, working once a week with youth to increase awareness of self, community, and opportunities for change.  The youth look at the life story of a Nobel Laureate and what that individual faced and how he/she used the path of nonviolence to address an issue of concern.  Then they work one weekend side-by-side with the Nobel Peace Prize winner that they have just studied.    

This weekend in Colorado, we have the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Roberta Gbowee, who created a women’s movement.  She will be talking with the youth.  What a teacher, mentor, and guide for the youth!  During the weekend, youth present their projects to the Nobel Prize winner and then they work to carry them out.  Finally, youth report their project results.  We have 15 different PeaceJam youth conferences in different parts of the world.  We started PeaceJam working with high school youth and then created curriculum for middle schools and elementary schools.  We also have a program for youth in the juvenile justice system.  We have developed a program for the university level as well. We serve young people in Kindergarten through college.  Over 1 million youth have participated from over 39 countries.  We have just released an anti-bullying program as well.  It is brand new and has been very well received. 

Marilyn:  I was just on call with Christopher Kukk and Scarlett Lewis who have been invited by Vice President Joe Biden to be on the national Committee on Bullying.   I will be happy to connect you with them.

Ben:  Can you tell us about what the collaboration component of the campaign might look like?  How will the campaign be transformational?  How will small acts come together to make the overall global shift?

Dawn:  When you look at the website now, it is focused on getting started, the small acts.  It also highlights high-quality projects.  We offer 10 simple acts you can do in ½ hour.  We demonstrate to you how simple acts lead to greater impact.

Our next upcoming tool will explore and build collaboration.  The tool will evolve over time.   We are not there yet. We have all analytics from this first website. The second tool will be a mobile app.  It will be kind of like Pinterest for peace.  It is about building community around ideas, centering on the 10 focus areas.  We will use tools like Google Maps and Google Earth to support the project.  We will try to see where people connect and where they do not. 

The Nobel Peace Prize winners do not want people to do acts in isolation.  Instead, they want them to be able to collaborate and see the aggregate impact of the acts they are doing.   We want to offer a way for people/communities to get involved in issues across the world.  We also will have a lot of interaction with the Nobel Peace Prize winners.  We have the Hero Awards.   We will be giving 5 awards - best youth, business, non-profit, university, and up and coming peacemaker.   Nobel Peace Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel will recognize the five winners at the Hero Awards ceremony at the Monte Carlo Film Festival in Monaco.  If you log your project as an act of peace on the 1BAOP website, it will be considered for the award.  Also, you can email me directly at  Let me know about something/someone extraordinary.  June 14th will be the digital Hero Award ceremony.   Have I answered your questions?

Ben:  My “take-away” is the agile, iterative approach.  You have many allied organizations- founded on the need for global change.  It appears that you have aggregate impact as part of your “DNA”.

Dawn:  Yes, very true!  The Jane Goodall Institute will be a member of the campaign.   Dr. Goodall will be available to speak on behalf of 1BAOP.  Also, we hope to involve Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots programs.   We want a planet-wide shift of consciousness.

Kate:  Have you connected with the Rotary Club International?  They are 1.2 million community leaders.  Next January in Ontario, Canada, there will be one of only 4 global conferences of the Rotary in 2016.  I would like to invite you to that.

Dawn:  Yes, we have had great experiences in working with the Rotary Clubs at the local level.  It would be great to work with Rotary on a global level.  Rotary has added peace as one of their goals.  We would love to have the opportunity to attend the conference in Ontario and share.  Thank you!

Roger:  I have a question about the software you are developing.  Will it be “open source”?

Dawn:  Everything is owned by the PeaceJam Foundation.  We will make it free to the world.  It was really important to us from the start.  There are over 100 volunteers from Google who are on the team (they are passionate about making a difference in the world- giving 20% of their time). They are creating something for PeaceJam. There is no Google ownership.  All partners are the same.  Everything is open, free, and belongs to the world.  We also have the equivalent of $500,000.00 in Google AdWords for free.

Brenda:  Have you heard of Emmanuel Jal?  He is a former child soldier turned rapper.  He goes to all the schools and is based in Toronto now.  You should check him out.  He is a great musician and artist and is doing great things for peace.  He is also doing projects now to save the elephants.

Dawn:  Great!  Will do!  We would love to feature him.  If people know about other people who exemplify peace, please let us know.  We want to identify champions of the campaign.  We want people with a reach who can spread the campaign to all their networks.  Imagine the power!

Brenda:  Okay. I will follow-up and make the connection with Emmanuel.



Marilyn:  Thank you so much Dawn for your wonderful presentation on 1BAOP.  I’m sure Dawn will be open to receiving your ideas.  Tomorrow is the Charter’s Canadians4Compassion conference call.  We are discussing next steps for the Compassionate Canada campaign.  This Thursday, March 12th, the Charter is hosting a Compassion Games call- “Love This Place.”  The focus is compassion for the Earth.  Acts of kindness and a Mayors Challenge are being launched by Mayor Fischer of Compassionate Louisville. Check the Charter website events listings for times and links to register for these calls.