The weight of the world.

Parihaka 56The weight of the world:

Kevin P Clements

If you are a reasonably open, sensitive empathetic person its pretty hard not to be weighed down by the weight of the world at the moment.

Gaza is a 21st century nightmare which  challenges all of our humanity. But there are many other places  where violence trumps non violence , fear trumps fearlessness and  where people are living in  14th century conditions in the 21st century. Its hard not to be weighed down by all of these “realities”. They sit like a  storm cloud or a sombre incubus on our shoulders.

The UNDP has just issued its 2014 Human Development Report. In this  while there  is some improvement and progress overall,there are more than 2.2 billion people   near or living in multidimensional poverty, with 1.2 billion people currently living on less than $1.25 per day. Approximately 842 million people suffer from chronic hunger, and more than 1.5 billion workers are either informally employed or hold unstable jobs.

These kinds of figures challenge all of us  living in relative and absolute affluence. How can we sleep easy in our beds knowing that   others dont have beds to sleep in or if they do they will wake to no food, ill health, and an existential insecurity that none of us in the global north can even begin to imagine.

How can we fulfil that biblical promise of Micah “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” when we are living with such realities -available to us in the blink of an eye or the click of a mouse?  We will only be able to rediscover that lightness of being if we  work to understand and remove the burdens  that  sit much more heavily on other people’s shoulders. Our common humanity  demands that we do this and that we do it now!


About kevinclements2012

Short CV Professor Kevin P Clements. I am the Foundation Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand and Secretary General of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy. Prior to taking up these positions I was the Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia . I went to Queensland from International Alert where I was Secretary General from January 1999 to September 2003. International Alert is one of the world’s largest NGOs working on conflict transformation. It pioneered innovative policy and practical approaches to conflict prevention and transformation in Africa ,Eurasia and Asia . It has also made a major contribution to the mainstreaming of conflict prevention within European Foreign and Development Ministries, the EU and a variety of UN institutions. During his time there I was on the Board of the European Centre for Conflict Prevention and past President of the European Peace Building Liaison Office in Brussels. Prior to becoming Secretary General of International Alert I was the Vernon and Minnie Lynch Chair of Conflict Resolution at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University Fairfax Virginia USA 1994-2000 and Director of the Institute from 1994-1999. My career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. I was, for example, formerly Director of the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva and Head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra .Prior to this I was Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Coordinator of Peace Studies at Canterbury University, Christchurch New Zealand . My first academic position was as a lecturer in Sociology at Hong Kong University . I took up this position from a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Oxford University where I worked on development issues with Paul Streeten and others. I have been an advisor to the New Zealand, Australian , British , Swedish and Dutch governments on conflict prevention , peace, defence and security issues and advised the German Government and the OECD on States and Violence. I was, a member of the New Zealand Government’s Defence Committee of Enquiry in 1985 and I currently conducting Problem Solving Workshops in North East Asia with high level participants from Japan, China and Korea. Iwas President of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) from 1994-1998, President of the IPRA Foundation from 1995-2000 and Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association. I was Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association 2008-2010. I got my B.A, B.A Hon ( First Class) and Ph.D in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand. and held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford from 1970-1971. I have been a regular consultant to a variety of non governmental and intergovernmental organisations on disarmament, arms control, conflict resolution, development and regional security issues and I have written or edited 7 books and over 160 chapters /articles on conflict transformation, peacebuilding, preventive diplomacy and development with a specific focus on the Asia Pacific region. Research Expertise 1. Peace Research Theory- Conflict and Conflict Resolution Theory . Preventive Diplomacy , Development and Peacebuilding 2. International and Regional Regimes-APEC, ASEAN, the ARF, ECOWAS 3. Political Sociology-International Organisations. Multilateral/bilateral negotiating processes. 4. Fragile States, Legitimacy and Political Hybridity 5. Alternative Defence and Security Policies-Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific region. 6. The politics and ethics of international humanitarian intervention 7. Altruism and Compassion In my spare time I like to paint with acrylics or pastels, go to the theatre, listen to classical music, visit art galleries etc!
This entry was posted in Anglican Church, Building Peaceful Community, Development and Peacebuilding, Global North, Global South, Integrity, Love and Mutuality, The Politics of Fear, Violence. Bookmark the permalink.

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