He co-founded TRANSCEND International which has as its
mission: "To bring about a more peaceful world by using action,
education/training, dissemination and research to transform conflicts
nonviolently, with empathy and creativity, for acceptable and
He has a quote which I find succinctly sums up the relationship between
empathy and peace.
“By peace we mean the capacity to transform conflicts
with empathy, without violence, and creatively — a never-ending
connects autonomous individuals and centers working on peace by peaceful
means, development by developmental means and environment by
environmental means. The mission statement defines four pillars: To
bring about a more peaceful world by using action, education/training,
dissemination and research to handle conflicts with
nonviolence and creativity.
"Basic formula in transforming conflict The basic formula, empathy for attitudes, non-violence for behavior, and
creativity for the contradictions, are tested basic tools for transforming conflict
constructively and effectively. These can be nurtured and strengthened through
organization, empowerment, consciousness-raising and training.
Empathy involves seeing common bonds, common experiences,
shared ties, and recognizing that there may be some validity and legitimacy in the other
party’s goals, just as there is some validity and legitimacy in our goals. It is
therefore important to first of all identify the contradictions and the root causes that
gave rise to the conflict before we can start thinking of overcoming and transcending
violence as the common challenge or common goal. The common goal is that which unites
the parties involved in the conflict. Seeing our common goals, rather than seeing
the other as the ‘enemy’ and seeking its ‘defeat’ or ‘extermination’ is a good step
towards transcending violence.
Empathy, nonviolence and creativity are qualities that
can be found in every single individual human being. They can be promoted through education and
up-bringing, and in many cultures and communities, they grow richly. Many belief
systems and religions endorse and encourage their flourishing. Unfortunately,
empathy, nonviolence and creativity are often some of the first victims of violence and
intractable conflicts. Adversaries, as a rule, don’t see eye-to-eye, so that instead of trying
to understand the perspective of the ‘other,’ one party often dehumanizes, or
demonizes the ‘other’, blaming the conflict and the violence on ‘it’ to legitimize one’s own
use of violence."
“Very much of the peace existing in the world is carried
on the shoulders of women. That capacity should benefit humanity at all
levels, micro-personal, meso-social, macro-states, mega-regions….More
important than negotiation tables would actually be myriads of women,
and men, capable of holism, dialectics,
compassion, nonviolence, dialogue, handling conflict, building peace,
Human Empathy vs. Metal,
Things. Observing Norwegian peacekeeping forces in Serbia-Beograd, with 30%
women, women were clearly more interested in talking with Serbs, Croats
and others to understand them better, and the men more interested in
observing them, focused more on their binoculars, radar screens, armed
vehicles, arms; metal, things. Closeness vs. distance. High empathy vs.
low empathy. Crucial.
Peace journalism, the brainchild of Johan Galtung, aims
to foster empathy and peace among conflicting parties. It does this by
examining each party's viewpoints, as well as the antecedents to
conflict... In war journalism, the media portrays conflicts as battles
between two sides, good and evil, and fails to portray the nuances of
any given situation.