OWL Global Wisdom Circle – 4/14/2015
Listening to the Enemy

First Speakers

Len & Libby Traubman are co-founders of the 22-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue of San Mateo, now preparing for its 276th meeting. For 30 years they’ve brought enemies together around the world, facilitating face-to-face community building dialogue from personal experience with Soviets and Americans, Armenians and Azerbaijanis, Jews and Palestinians, and most recently Muslim and Christian Nigerians. Recently they’ve facilitated dialogue via Skype and Zoom between diverse citizens of Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Myanmar. You can find out more about the Traubmans and their work at their OWL profiles.

First Speakers’ Story

Part 1: How Their Dialogue Work Got Started

Part 2: Early Lessons in Peacemaking

Part 3: Challenges in Bringing Enemies Together

Part 4: Most Important things They’ve Learned

Community Response

Len & Libby’s Question to the Group

Kay Sandberg
Ashland, Oregon

Karen Yeo

Wendy Berk
Half Moon Bay, California

Barbara Nussbaum
Cape Town, South Africa

Debbie Shapiro
Jerusalem, Israel

Marty Gross
Piedmont, California

Claudia Miller
Piedmont, California

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

More about OFFUH and his work at Feb. 10 OWL Wisdom Circle 1

Aryae Coopersmith
Half Moon Bay, California


Please share any additional reflections you have in the Comments section below.

Fuji Declaration


OWL Is Now a Fuji Declaration Partner Organization

By partnering with the Fuji Declaration organization headquartered in Japan, the OWL community stands together with high profile global citizens around the world who share a common vision and common commitment.

OWL member and guide Alan Briskin has been working on the Fuji Declaration, which was initiated in Japan by Masami Saionji, Dr. Ervin Laszlo and Hiroo Saionji. It is an international alliance of individuals and organizations who are united by a shared commitment to advance a more harmonious, compassionate and sustainable era for all humanity. Their signatories include many well-known global leaders, they are very much aligned with OWL values, and any of us can sign the declaration.
Fuji Declaration Home Page

Text of the Fuji Declaration

and how to add your signature to theirs.
An Historic Celebration
coming in May, 2015

OWL Global Wisdom Circle – Feb. 10, 2015

First Speaker

Offuh James Offuh from Ivory Coast
Founder of United for Peace Against Conflict International (UFPACI)

As humans our highest purpose is to discover, live, and communicate what is needed to achieve a world that functions for the benefit of all life.

Our home is a water planet called Earth, cradled in a universe of beauty, mystery, and unfolding drama.

We now know that everything from the largest galaxy to the smallest particle is part of one unified, whole, interconnected system.

Each of us, individually, is important and unique. However at this moment in history, we are being called to set aside any narrow self-interests and to act with integrity, consciousness, and a spirit of goodwill.

Recognizing our common destiny, we envision a world in which love becomes the prevailing human function, cooperating together with all cultures, races, nations and religions for the benefit of all life.

First Speaker’s Story

Part 1: Personal History

Part 2: The Horror of War

Part 3: Becoming a Peacemaker

Part 4: From Enemies to Friends

Additional Information:

United for Peace Against Conflict International (UFPACI)

Community Response

Please share yours in the Comments section below.

  1. The question that Offuh offered for the rest of us to reflect on: what actions are each of us taking, or preparing to take, to help bring about a world without wars?
  2. Any other personal reflections to share in response to Offuh’s story?
  3. What we didn’t have time to discuss was the current situation in Cote d’Ivoire. 2015 is an election year there, and with passions still running high, there is real danger of more civil conflict with terrible consequences. Offuh and UFPACI have plans to proactively set up peace conferences in five major cities, with the goal of heading off conflict before it starts. They will need funding to do this. OWL is a volunteer community that does not engage in fund raising. On the other hand, maybe we could get creative to find a way to help. Thoughts anyone?

Next gathering of OWL Wisdom Circle 1

March 10. We invite you to RSVP to join us then!

From Israel’s 1st Chief Rabbi: A Call to Peace

The State of Israel’s first Chief Rabbi: HaRav Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook.

Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein is one of his leading students today. Here is an excerpt from the current post on his blog, Ha’Orot: The Lights of Rav Kook:

Rabbi David Cohen TZ’L, Rav Kook’s main student, wrote these words in a letter to the Yeshiva students in the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 War of Independence. Sixty six years later these words continue to ring true as Israel is in the midst of another battle in this long war:

“War is a crime of mass murder. All the building that living nations are engaged in, their power and essence, is rooted in war. There is no generation that has not had small or large wars. And when a war ends they immediately begin preparations for the next one.…

“How can a human being be content with the level of personal and general ethics at the time when he and the whole world is being led towards slaughter?

“No, do not, do not murder – this needs to be an absolute decision, an absolute imperative!…

“War is the great plague of humankind in our generation and in all generations….

“Every nation has ministers of war, armies and supplies of weapons. Even worse than this is that war is accompanied by hatred. It needs it in order to grow and strengthen. People are taught and reminded to hate, to hate the enemy, ‘remember what Amalek did to you!’ (Deuteronomy, 25:17) …

“The call has to go out to the nations … to AWAKEN THE PEACE MOVEMENT in absolute opposition to mass murder, to war.

“The leaders of the nations, their ministers, advisors and parliaments must legislate that the law ‘Do not murder” includes the prohibition of the mass murder of war. They must forbid war, not declare it…

“Each human being, each writer and thinker is commanded: “Do not stand idly by as your neighbour’s blood [is being spilled]” (Leviticus 19:16)….

“No! ‘Do Not Murder’ (Exodus 20:13/Deuteronomy 5:17), do not go out to war, to commit mass murder, “nation shall not lift sword against any other nation and they will no longer learn war”. (Isaiah 2:)”

[And as his teacher Rav Kook wrote 50 years earlier:]

“The harmonic call…the voice of peace is much greater than the voices of war that is heard from all the places of emptiness.

“Among all the calls of the world, the supernal call, the call that unites, raises and equalizes goes forth and penetrates. From the fullness of life this call goes forth to each creature, to each spirit and soul, to the inside of each being, to each individual, to each group, to each nation….

“Inside the unifying souls, who are drenched in the dew of life of the harmonic call, is burning a holy fire thirsty for peace. They are the angels of peace in the world.”

Although Rav Kook and his student HaRav HaNazir are no longer with us here, their teachings and prayers are. I believe that they are a wake-up call to the people of Israel, the people of Palestine, and to all the word’s peoples today: awaken the peace movement, the angels of peace in the world.

See Rabbi Itzchak’s complete blog post at Ha’Orot: The Lights of Rav Kook.