President’s Message — December, 2016

bruce-xmas

As I write this year-end President’s Message the classic John Lennon song “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” is playing on my little portable radio. It’s causing me to rethink my original plan for this message. Initially, I intended to summarize our organization’s many 2016 accomplishments and to follow that up with a listing of our many planned activities for 2017. That’s not happening now. Too predictable. Most of that info has already been shared and/or can be found on the IAP2 website.

Instead, let me use some phrases from this beautiful song, which at its core is about working together to advance peace, goodwill, tolerance, respect and equality in our shared world, to guide my brief comments.

So this is Christmas. And what have you done.

Another year over. And a new one just begun.

We have accomplished a lot over the past year. Some of our major initiatives will carry over into 2017 and beyond. There are also some new and exciting things on the horizon. With this in mind, and given that this time of year is widely known as a time for thoughtful reflection, it would be truly excellent if each of you could spend a few minutes, perhaps with your favorite festive drink in hand, reviewing our website for notable 2016 achievements, plans for the future, and potential ways for you to help our movement realize its goals.

And so this is Christmas. I hope you have fun.

The near and the dear ones. The old and the young.

Many IAP2 members have worked extremely hard for our organization over the past year. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank you for your efforts. Now its time to have some fun and to spend quality time with our families and friends. Lets all reconnect early in the new year feeling refreshed and ready to move our collective agenda forward.

A very merry Christmas. And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one. Without any fear.

Certainly, we all want the year 2017 to be a ‘good one’. For sure we also want 2017 to be a year without fear –  one filled with peace, tolerance, respect and equality. But as P2 practitioners we actually do more than ‘hope’. We also ‘do’. We proactively take steps to help others improve their lives. P2 types are typically found in the turbulent spaces of society helping people to understand one another, learn from each other, and create ways of improving their realities together. We help people avert conflict behaviours that spread fear and unhappiness. In a way, our work is Lennon-esque in its intent. We should be proud of this. We should remember and draw inspiration from this, especially when things in our professional lives unfold in a less than ideal manner.

And so this is Christmas. For weak and for strong.
For rich and the poor ones. The world is so wrong.

And so happy Christmas. For black and for white.
For yellow and red ones. Let’s stop all the fight.

As Lennon rightly points out, life’s good times, including but not only Christmas festivities, should not be the exclusive domain of the strong, the wealthy and the privileged. When people are excluded from things they care about, fighting is likely just around the corner. Here, too, Lennon appears to be reminding listeners, including us, of the importance of inclusion, diversity, fairness, equity and equality. He seems to be indirectly telling us that our ongoing questioning and self-reflection about how best to involve diverse publics in meaningful, constructive, fair and respectful P2 is not misplaced. It’s important and it’s the right thing to do.

As we head into 2017, we can be proud of our past efforts to advance the ethical practice of P2 in this country, and we should continue to remember that the values of inclusion, diversity, fairness, equity and equality need to be brought to life through hard work and dedication. They cannot just live on paper. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. See you in the New Year!

War is over
If you want it
War is over
Now…

 

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