Answering the invitation To All That Relate/s, we have tried to articulate what seems too hard to describe and yet is so crucial to thrive: our relationships.
Our team’s focus on internal relationships led to the development of this volume’s theme. Over the past year, our sessions have been focused on reflection, team members joining and leaving, and organizational change leading us to relational transformation.
To allow the other spheres of our lives to resonate within our team, we begin our sessions with a question. The question is always changing form, but has included throughout the year, “What are you bringing to this space today?”, “How is your internal weather?”, and “What is peaceful in your life right now?”. Opening this space allowed us to become more aware of the reverberations of incisive factors on and within our team. These included (among others) pandemic lockdowns and quarantines, traveling, housing changes, violent conflicts, and work related tension.
As we sat down to write this letter to you, we felt that our strongest encapsulation of current topics and how they relate to this volume of the Many Peaces Magazine somehow exist in the questions we ask ourselves at the beginning of our meetings. Through this hourglass-like team sharing process, collecting grains of information that then pass through our most personal smaller landscape before opening wide again, at least two understandings have become salient: our relationships can become more visible through conflict, and everything unfolds within a web of relationships.
By starting with the relationship to ourselves and becoming more aware of the relations around us, it is possible to act in a more relational way. Identification of our very own spheres of influence has the potential to make our inter-actions (as well as what can be achieved through them) concrete and palpable. Relationships surround us and can resound in peaceful and sustainable ways. This is what this volume, brought to life in the upcoming contributions, intends to do: to hold space for many perspectives on relating and relationships.
The contributions to this volume begin with a guest comment by Andreas Oberprantacher, the new academic director of the MA program in Peace Research at the University of Innsbruck, who shares his thoughts on the de-/militarization of the future and its impact on social relations. Since the Peace Research program was the place where we met and from where this magazine emerged as an alumni project, we wanted to renew and strengthen the relationship by inviting him to write a comment. In addition, we are honored to publish an interview about Buddhist teacher and peace activist, Thich Nhath Hanh, who passed away in January 2022, which pays respects to him and his teaching of relational inter-being. Another author working in the field of procurement with Médecins Sans Frontières, talks about the connection and relationship-building potential of food. Diving deeper into the different forms relationships can evolve, we learn about the Slow Communication Experiment, an anonymous letter exchange, that took place in early 2022.
We hope that reading this volume creates questions, conversation, and greater awareness of relationships as this is what it has, with humility, brought to us – the editorial team.
The editorial team