International Committee for the Peace Council


About the Peace Council

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Also see:  > Accomplishments - 1995 - 2006  > Making Peace  > Current Annual Report  > Purpose and Commitments

About the Peace Council


The Peace Council is a diverse group of religious and spiritual individuals who are internationally known and respected and who have decided to come together, as the Dalai Lama wrote in a recent letter, "to understand one another and work together so that those of us who profess belief in our respective faiths can work for the common cause of humanity." He added, "I believe that such a joint effort can set the right example for the rest of the world."


The mission of the Peace Council is to demonstrate that peace is possible, and that effective interreligious collaboration to make peace also is possible.

In a world where religion too often is used to justify division, hatred, and violence -- and very seldom used to relieve these problems -- the Peace Councilors offer an alternative: the example of religious leaders working effectively together to relieve suffering and make the world whole.

The Inaugural Meeting

The Peace Councilors met for the first time in November, 1995. They agreed on a statement of purpose and commitment. From many faiths, they had a common concern with their responsibilities face-to-face with suffering. They identified seven interdependent threats to peace:

  • religious intolerance;
  • war, violence, and the arms trade;
  • environmental degradation;
  • economic injustice;
  • the population "explosion;"
  • patriarchy (cultures of domination, hierarchy, and control);
  • and oppressive globalization.

Peace Council programs are intended to relieve these causes of suffering and, by their examples, to help people and communities grow in the ways of peace.

The Peace Council supports local peacemakers in regions of special need. It gives practical assistance to local peace efforts and to "communities of peace."

The Peace Council also works with the United Nations, governments, and other non-governmental organizations.


The Peace Council began in 1995 with twelve members. It has grown since and may eventually include twenty to thirty members. A current list of Peace Councilors is available elsewhere on this web site.

Membership is by invitation to persons who are:

  • respected within their faith communities for how they live and what they do.
  • committed to working together in practical ways for peace, and to teaching by example.

Programs: General Principles

The heart of the Peace Council's work is a commitment by the Peace Councilors to help one another in the practical peace-making that has made each Peace Councilor a leader in his or her community. There is no single formula for the programs. They vary depending on what is needed in each area.

The Peace Councilors try to show by example that diverse faiths can work together "for the common needs of the whole community of life." They offer help to local peace initiatives in regions of special need, but only at the invitation of a Peace Councilor who already is active in the area.

The Council prefers to hold its annual meetings in places where the meeting itself can contribute to an ongoing peace process, and where there is an opportunity for a continuing presence or an ongoing program.

The first commitment is to listen and to learn. Peace Council actions or programs should respond to what trusted local peacemakers know will work best. In many cases the Council's first act in a place where people are suffering may be simply what Archbishop Romero called "accompaniment and presence:" planting seeds of hope and strength.

More about the Peace Council's methods: Making Peace

Programs: Examples, 1996 - 2006

  • The establishment near Bangkok, Thailand, of a shelter and community support group for victims of prostitution and rape, the Home of Peace and Love.
  • Support and participation in the Dhammayietra in Cambodia (at the invitation of Maha Ghosananda). This is an annual peace walk by Buddhist monks and nuns through heavily-mined combat zones.
  • Meetings of the Council in 1996 and 1998 in the state of Chiapas, Mexico (at the invitation of Bishop Samuel Ruiz García) to strengthen the peace process there.
  • Follow-up interventions for peace and human rights workers in Chiapas.
  • The establishment in seven Indian villages in Chiapas of community-based market gardening initiatives, women's bread-baking cooperatives, and revolving loan funds. The Peace Council also provided funds to create grain milling and weaving cooperatives in refugee camps in the highlands, and will provide equipment for indigenous health workers and local clinics.
  • Participation in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, including the organization of interfaith services in conjunction with diplomatic and NGO meetings in Geneva, Brussels, Maputo, Mozambique, Oslo, and Ottawa, and the organization of world-wide days of prayer for victims of land mines in 1996 and 1997. In two places (Maputo and Ottawa) the Peace Council's involvement with local religious leaders to organize the interfaith events resulted in the creation or the re-invigoration of local interfaith councils.
  • Support for high-level dialogue between representatives of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) and other Pacific Rim nations.
  • Provision of emergency and humanitarian medical supplies to the Women's and Children's Hospital in Pyongyang, North Korea.
  • For a more complete list, go to the page "Accomplishments..."

Organization: How the Peace Council Works

The Peace Councilors meet for a week each year, usually in the fall and usually at the invitation of a local peace maker. They prefer to meet in a place where the meeting itself may contribute to a peace process or may help to relieve suffering.

The Peace Councilors provide overall guidance and direction, and give their personal support and participation to specific programs.

A volunteer board of trustees, called the International Committee for the Peace Council, administers the programs of the Peace Council. There is a full-time staff of three persons.

The International Committee for the Peace Council is recognized by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt charity (a 501(c)(3) organization).

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Page Published: 05/08/2002 · Page Last Modified: Thursday, December 6, 2007
©2003 International Committee for the Peace Council

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