Happy New Year from the War Prevention Initiative!

Dear Friends,

The beginning of a new year is reserved as a time for reflection—taking stock of the past year and imagining the possibilities for the future. We are guided by our vision of a more just and peaceful future even when world events challenge our core principles.

The war in Ukraine, now in its ninth month, has elevated militarized security, dramatically increased the risk of nuclear weapon use, and led to calls for more domestic fossil fuel exploration in the midst of a climate crisis. White supremacy and racism drive powerful political agendas that threaten democracies at home and abroad. Misinformation and propaganda polarize identity groups, close spaces for civil society actors, and cast doubts on different forms of exploitation and inequality, thus sustaining injustices. All of these are key concerns in the U.S. and the world—many of them constitute nothing less than existential threats that require immediate and full focus, organizing, and political power for swift and sustained action.

The one constant in these interrelated challenges is militarism. It is a difficult moment for the peace community. Urgently, as we noted early in 2022, “what we cannot afford is to continue the collective business-as-usual.” Cycles of violence will continue unabated until there is a transformative, systems-level change in how our society understands what makes us secure and contends with deeply engrained systems of oppression like racism and misogyny.

As a small organization, we nonetheless understand that our role is to counter the pervasiveness of militarism while offering alternatives for a more peaceful future. Our commitment to our values of nonviolence, empathy, planetary loyalty, and moral imagination, as well as to our twin focus on demilitarizing security and managing conflicts without violence, guides our work to galvanize our community of fellow peacebuilders and peace activists. Collaborating through networks and with our partners is key to our approach.

What’s ahead? 

With the global peace and security context in mind, we are optimistic about the possibilities for the future through our work on the following projects:

Supporting the development of feminist approaches to peace

Last year, we launched an essay “un-contest” to advance new ideas and thinking on a feminist foreign policy. We have several thought-provoking, innovative, and compelling pieces that will be published in the Peace Science Digest in early 2023. The new ideas and thinking brought forth in these essays will help guide our future work in supporting the growing movement for feminist approaches to peace.  

Engaging with coalitions to dismantle racism and militarism in foreign policy and counter the military-industrial complex

We are part of a working group set up by the Friends Committee on National Legislation and the Center for International Policy to address the nexus between structural white supremacy, racism, and militarism. Just last week the group met in person to analyze the changes in the political ecosystem since its inception in April of 2021, review the status of efforts to unmask and call out racism and militarism, and explore ways that our organizations can continue to build and share knowledge and experience moving forward.

In a similar effort, we are part of an ad-hoc coalition working specifically on strategies to dismantle the military-industrial complex. The coalition includes grassroots and national activists, advocacy organizations, veterans’ groups, labor organizers, think tanks, foundations, academics, and Congressional staff.

Engaging networks on environmental peacebuilding

Climate change, and the ecosystem destruction that underpins it, remains one of the greatest existential threats to life on the planet. The predominate discourse on climate change and security focuses on the potentials for new conflict over limited resources. Instead, our work in this area will focus on highlighting the ways in which militarism drives climate change, as well as opportunities for peacebuilding presented by new and emerging environmental challenges.   

Developing new partnerships with the Peace Science Digest

Linking peace research and practice through partnerships in the Peace Science Digest has proved to be among the most insightful and impactful work at the War Prevention Initiative. We look forward to future partnerships in the works for 2023.

We are profoundly grateful and privileged to call the War Prevention Initiative of the Jubitz Family Foundation our organizational home. Here, we excel as peace professionals and advocates and can bring our full selves to our work as individuals who want to change the world—just like you. We look forward to working with you in the year to come to build a more peaceful world together.

With best wishes from the War Prevention Initiative,

Patrick, Kelsey, Adam, and Molly