Dear Alumni,

Does a tree know all its leaves?

Of course, the joker softly speaks, each and every single leave makes the tree complete, makes it what it is. Every single leave is an aspect of the tree, embraces the completeness of the tree in itself.

No reason to get excited, the thief he grimly states. In the cold season the leaves are leaving. They are blowing in the wind. They fall to the ground and disappear. The tree stands naked then; just invisible root hairs, a dull trunk and hideous snow covered skeletons of branches.

And soon new leaves will emerge. They dance with the sunlight and the rain, the joker whimsically smiles. They will nourish the roots, the trunk and the branches. They will make them stronger, let them grow. The tree will bloom majestically treeish late in spring.

…and yield fruits and seeds; the thief, he greedily adds.

 

This somehow dylanesque parable blew itself into my mind when I was invited to write the greeting message for this first issue of the Many Peace Magazine. The alumni dynamics that have emerged around our UNESCO Chair and its MA Program are really amazing. It makes me feel like this dull trunk somehow, still recalling the yet invisible root hairs, connected to the major arms and to certain extend aware of all the leaves it ever carried. But every now and then the winds of change remind me of the tender cladophylls out there. They are parts of the tree yet having a life on their own right. And they are producing the most attractive blossom that a dull trunk and even its principal arms hardly can imagine. Every leaf makes the tree complete, every alumna or alumnus contributes to our project, while he or she magically embraces its completeness.

How many things have happened in this last year alone?

  • Native Challenge, with Hannah as playwright under Coronel Rott’s direction, Adham, Paul and Joschi as tutors for the recruits; all together gaining a momentum that hardly anybody dreamed of only a few semesters ago; making Native Challenge already now a big promise for the EURAD 2015;
  • The incredible and beautiful kick off to the Many Peaces Festival;
  • Alumni of different generations running great projects on their own initiative at prominent research places like Noor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) Norway or in the field like
  • Etienne at the Social Innovation Academy (SINA) in Uganda;
  • Publishing a topical book like Adham with a whole group of alumni as authors;
  • Starting a complete series like Matías’ “Elicitiva” – and more of that expected as a result of the festival;
  • The Masters of Peace series, like Billene’s new volume hitting literally fantastic selling numbers for such a format;
  • Alumni producing substantial movies within and about the program like Cerys, Rosalie and Gigio;
  • Complete movies produced about the program like Sananda’s masterpiece;
  • Directing academic programs like Noah in Cambodia;
  • Coordinating workshops, core faculty-tours and entire academic programs for getting the transrational and elicitive approach to their home countries, what Cerys perfectly did in Brazil;
  • Launching national initiatives like the Mexican gang;
  • Projects initiated by alumni with the core faculty in the frame of AARESPECT and equally totally independent workshops and seminars run by alumni, like Nassima and Isa’s in Algeria;
  • But most important, knowing many of you doing great jobs out there at really hot places or in the institution jungle.

Ufff, the air is steaming and radiating from all that energy. Forgive the dull trunk when it does not have everything present that is going on at the cladophyll blooms and ends. The wind is whispering adventurous stories, fairy tales, rumors and legends only of this and that. And the dull trunk does what dull trunks tend to do: standing proud, still and stable, contemplating and meditating about the treeish world; knowing that there is a mysterious connection to the wild life out there. How good it is to be a dull trunk. It is a never ending wowing and gazing at the beauty of cladophyll ends.

Recently, I discovered another one. It is called Many Peaces Magazine. This trunk is too dull for understanding how it deserves so much beauty. But why worry? It is there. It is swinging colorfully in the wind, a pure dance of life. So, be welcome Many Peaces Magazine, our latest flower! Long may you dance! May you enjoy many and may you be the pride of those who made your light shine brightly.

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