Background

TheCommunity.com, is a site for peace building and human rights. 27 of the Nobel Peace Prize winners have been involved in projects on the site, as have Bono, Michael Douglas, Paul Simon, Robert De Niro, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Paul McCartney, Ron Howard and others. The site has been a partner in the annual Summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners in Rome, produced by then Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni and Mikhail Gorbachev, for five years.

Projects done on TheCommunity.com have been covered in the NY Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Time, AP, and other media around the world.

I am the founder of the site. Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of East Timor José Ramos-Horta is TheCommunity.com’s Chairman and a driving force behind the web site’s projects.

Ramos-Horta won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work toward a non violent solution to his country’s occupation by the Indonesian army, an occupation that would prove to be one of the most brutal in history. After East Timor (now renamed Timor-Leste) achieved its independence and in 2002 became the first new democracy of the millennium, Ramos-Horta served as Prime Minister and President of the new democracy.

In 2013, after serving as Prime Minister and President of the country, Ramos-Horta was asked by the UN Secretary General to head a UN Mission in Guinea Bissau, a small African nation that was under military coup at the time. He brought Guinea Bissau through two peaceful elections and restored democracy in the country.

He is the Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Peace Operations and is completing a global project for the Secretary-General: a worldwide review of the UN Peace-keeping and Mediation efforts with the goal of making the UN “peace and security architecture” more efficient in preventing and revolving conflicts.  He will be presenting the report to the Secretary General in late May.

Ramos-Horta knows what it takes to build peace. He also, through his diplomatic activities as President of his county, and now as a senior UN official in high level consultations across the globe, has established a network that includes senior officials of governments on every continent.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is TheCommunity.com‘s Human Rights Advisor. The Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohamed ElBaradei, Jimmy Carter, Oscar Arias and other Nobel laureates have been directly involved in projects and creating content for the site.

The Video

TheCommunity.com wants to produce a powerful video message about peace, with contributions from people in conflict zones around the world, in a broad campaign that can go around the world through multiple networks.

An example of the format of the video is J. Walter Thompson’s Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project produced 2010, where contributons were received from around the world on what a “good night out is.” These were brought together in one streaming “global celebration.” In our case, instead of exchanging “night life”, this video and campaign would be an exchange of what peace means to people around the world — mothers at home who want to raise their children in a safe environment, perhaps a young couple at an art gallery in Iran talking about their hopes for their life together, a father in Pakistan seeing his son off to the Army, a school teacher in Afghanistan, etc. It would connect us through what we have in common and our hopes for the future.

Why

Today’s news is dominated by horror, extremism and the voices of those pushing regions into war. These people are a relative handful in number compared to those who want peace, security and a brighter future for their children and their communities. This video would lift the voices of that vast majority.

The message would be that if enough good people join hands to do something, we can make it happen.

The Peace Fund

The video would include a call to action to contribute time, money or energy to an international fund for peace.

There are specific building blocks to peace, to creating societies that can thrive without sliding backwards into armed conflict. They are not cure-alls; they are long term building blocks. I will defer to Ramos-Horta at the conclusion of his mission to detail them, but they would certainly include education, equal economic opportunity, access to natural resources, access to information. On a local level these include local conflict resolution, including resolution of property rights disputes and other sources of tension and conflict.

The peace fund will flow the money raised directly to activities on the ground in conflict and at risk areas, to build peace from the ground up. The projects would be selected by a panel of Nobel Peace Prize winners, which would include Ramos-Horta, Archbishop Tutu and others.

We will open a conversation with the Carter Center for Human Rights, with whom we have successfully collaborated on a number of projects, as well as other possibilities, to house and perhaps administer the fund.

Release

Ideally the project would be targeted for release on International Peace Day 2015, which is September 21. As Ramos-Horta will be meeting with the Secretary General in late May or early June, we could approach the idea of having the video premiere first at the UN General Assembly, accompanied by a massive social media campaign. A possible venue for a simultaneous release in Europe could be the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo.

Worldwide release plans will be finalized when sponsors and distribution networks are finalized.