Updated: Jan 29
There is a bill before the US House of Representatives to establish a historic, Cabinet-level Department of Peacebuilding. This breakthrough legislation is an opportunity to make history in our country, save lives and money, and transform our culture from one of violence to peace and prosperity for all. A peaceful culture allows our potential to unfold.
The Department of Peacebuilding focuses on the root causes of violence, the root conditions of peace, and preventing violence through building peace in the United States and internationally. A Department of Peacebuilding will
• Provide a seat at the table for peacebuilding at the Cabinet level
• Make peacebuilding a national priority
• Educate the nation around new principles
• Unify expertise on peacebuilding
• Promote violence reduction and peacebuilding programs and initiatives
• Fund violence reduction and peacebuilding programs and initiatives, and
• Shift our society toward the culture of peace.
The majority of the department’s money—85 percent—will be directed toward funding community programs in this country. Approximately 15 percent of funding will be directed toward international programs or initiatives that are not yet addressed by other federal departments.
Currently, 30 cosponsors in the House of Representatives; 47 cities, counties, and tribes; and more than 250 organizations and noted individuals—representing more than 17.7 million people—endorse the establishment of the Department of Peacebuilding. The legislation—H.R. 1111—is cosponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13).
“It is past time to establish a Department of Peacebuilding to reduce suffering on a national and global scale while saving billions of dollars through violence reduction
and increased economic productivity,” states Congresswoman Lee.
I have been working on the National Department of Peacebuilding Committee, the grassroots advocacy arm of the Washington, DC-based nonprofit the Peace Alliance, to advocate with members of Congress for passage of this important legislation. As my work unfolded, I began to wonder how our advocacy illuminates global leadership.
I consulted the Presence: Bite-sized wisdom for Global Leaders card deck. I felt drawn to the Receive card. I wondered how Receive enhances our capacity to be Global Leaders and, thus, more effective advocates. I read the text on the front of the card.
Receive Is to Open Your Heart to All that the Cosmic Forces Can Offer You
The card text emphasizes that receiving is about opening our hearts to all that the Universe can offer to each of us. What would it be like if everyone in our entire country—more than 330 million people—opened our hearts and received everything that the cosmos wants to give to us? What would it feel like to receive so much good, love, and peace? How would our country transform? It would be awe-inspiring!
Current data tells a bleak story of our reality. Peacefulness in the United States and globally has declined to the lowest level in 15 years, according to the 2022 Global Peace Index, a report from the Institute for Economics and Peace. This drop clearly shows that we are not opening our hearts to all the love and peace that we can receive from the Universe.
The Peace Alliance asserts that the Department of Peacebuilding legislation will pass from bill to law under one condition: that a wave of citizen interest rise up from the American people and make itself heard in the halls of Congress.
If peace is up to us, why aren't we opening our hearts to receive it? Why do we seem afraid to claim peace in our lives, our communities, and our country? What would it take for each of us to feel safe and secure enough for the lover inside us to come alive? Surely, our inner lover is open to receiving the vast love and peace that the mysterious force of the Universe wants to give!
Further, the card text states that when you receive, you experience the natural unfolding of your potential. Imagine us receiving all the peace contained in the Department of Peacebuilding legislation. What would our country look like with so much of our individual and collective potential unfolding?
The Department of Peacebuilding legislation embodies comprehensive nonviolent cooperation and approaches the world as one interconnected being. If we are one interdependent, interconnected whole, it becomes self-evident that we would want everyone and all living beings to self-actualize, find fulfillment, and achieve their potential.
"Think what it would mean to establish a federal, Cabinet-level department dedicated solely to peacemaking," states US Rep. James P. McGovern (MA-02), speaking in 2021 to the Peace Alliance National Department of Peacebuilding Campaign. "Dedicated to the study and promotion of domestic and international cultures of peace. Dedicated to peacebuilding initiatives that address the root causes of violence."
Rep. McGovern continues: "A US department that works to advance measures to stabilize our society and our world, not by engaging in military operations but by vigorously engaging in efforts that prevent violent conflict in the first place. Imagine what a refreshing change that would be.”
"Receive" Broadcasts a Goodness that Allows You to Take Actions that Make a More Profound Difference in the World The text from the Receive card suggests that our lives become more meaningful when we receive. We become a vessel that invites experiences that enrich us and contribute to our greatest growth. We can offer more to others, contributing to them in ways that are healing and uplifting. We form an entirely new culture based on new principles.
The Department of Peacebuilding bill helps us to create a nonviolent and Beloved Community. Peacebuilding and the culture of peace benefit everyone. Peacebuilding is work that seeks to prevent, reduce, transform, and help people recover from conflict and violence in all forms.
Currently, we spend almost $600 billion annually on violence that occurs in our country, according to the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies violence as a leading public health issue in the United States—and one that can be prevented. Investing in violence prevention is, on average, 60 times more cost effective than intervening after violence erupts.
"Our true national security is living in peace," states peacebuilder and educator Dot Maver, Ph.D. Maver was founding President and is a Board member and Trustee of the National Peace Academy USA, is a co-founding board member of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures of Peace, and was the founding executive director of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding.
Peacebuilding creates new tools for a new era. These tools for building peace include a high office to promote peace as a human right; education in mediation, mindfulness, and cultural understanding; truth and reconciliation; new policies to reduce personal and family violence; new strategies to eradicate racism, hunger, infectious diseases, poverty, genocide, and human trafficking; new strategies to reduce conflict at global hotspots; and education on environmental stewardship.
If we receive peace, imagine the profound difference these tools and resources will make in our country and around the world.
To Receive the Full Flow of Life, It's Important to Maintain a Sense of Surrender, Courage, and Worthiness
We have arrived at a pivotal moment in the history and development of the United States of America. In the 21st Century, success will require bringing the feminine aspects of life into balance with the masculine aspects. The US Department of Peacebuilding holds the potential to bring this balance to our nation and call forth a new democratic structure that helps people to better govern themselves. We the people have a unique opportunity to step into our power. Do we feel worthy to claim the gifts inherent in peace? Do we have the courage to make our country a better place?
Courage is the ability to use the power of your heart in any challenging situation. Courage allows you to face and defeat fear. Courage helps you grow through failure. Courage makes you comfortable with success.
Your heart is the center of enormous magnetic energy. Your heart can orchestrate a complex flow of activity that goes beyond the comprehension of your mind. The more you open your heart, the more courage you possess.
In the bestselling book A Return to Love, former US Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson writes: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God... We are all meant to shine... As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
As my inquiry into Receive, global leadership, and the advocacy work to create a Department of Peacebuilding came to a close, I am filled with hope that we can form a more perfect union in America by continuing to help liberate each other through our presence as Global Leaders. I am inspired by all the grassroots advocates across the country who work to Receive peace in their lives and want peace for all of us. The Department of Peacebuilding legislation and card text deepened my understanding of Receive and its application to global leadership. Inspired by the legislation and Receive, we all can develop our own capacity for applying Receive and global leadership within the context of our daily lives.
How You Can Advocate for the US Department of Peacebuilding We invite everyone to become part of our grassroots advocacy movement so that we can expand exponentially our collective ability to urge members of Congress to pass legislation to establish a Department of Peacebuilding and see the bill signed into law by the US President. We need your help to ask your Congress members to cosponsor the bill. We need as many cosponsors as possible to advance the bill in the US House of Representatives.
For more information about the Peace Alliance National Department of Peacebuilding Campaign:
Sign the petition for a US Department of Peacebuilding: Petition to support the Department of Peacebuilding (salsalabs.org)
NOTE: The author, Laura L. Brown, is a member of the Peace Alliance National Department of Peacebuilding Committee. The purpose of the committee is to co-create the Beloved Community while advocating for cultural transformation leading to and through a historic, Cabinet-level Department of Peacebuilding. The committee inspires, empowers, and advocates with elected officials, organizations, and individuals to, in turn, advocate for and pass legislation to create a Department of Peacebuilding.