Through ABC, Brandon WilliamsCraig was hired by an international conflict training network, Aiki Extensions, to serve as its Executive Director through 2008, build its community, and create its first administration. He continues to serve on the AE Board of Directors.
2008 Letter to the ABC community
Over the last ten years, in over two dozen countries, hundreds of peace activists, mediators, somatic practitioners, lawyers, educators, military and law enforcement personnel, coaches, journalists, consultants, facilitators, trainers, and other whose work is not yet adequately described have worked in an ad hoc network to:
* introduce peace-making arts into local communities in the Mission district of San Francisco, the favelas of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the AIDS depleted heartlands of Ethiopia, where children can come for food, tutoring, and get loving support for continuing education and expression.
* create a training space in Israel for Palestinians and Israeli's to train toward peace together on a regular basis.
* bring adult Israelis, Palestinians, Iraqis, Cypriot Turks and Greeks, Americans, and Europeans together in Cyprus to train and build compassionate relationships to take back home with them and change their worlds.
The people behind these amazing gifts happen to have one thing in common. A history of studying a martial "art of peace" called Aikido, which teaches efficient and compassionate transformation of conflict rather than becoming more violent in the face of opposition. For ten years this organization, Aiki Extensions (AE), has worked within existing Aikido circles, reached into their own pockets again and again, and have survived unexpected set-backs. A political power-play crippled the Israeli-Palestinian joint initiative and war in Afghanistan and Iraq continues to threaten every member in that region. Both are ready to reconstitute and try again. Remaining faithful to this work has cost the organization dearly and it is now struggling valiantly to make it to 2009.
Aiki Extensions has chosen to look into the future as though it holds great promise for more excellent work of this kind. They have decided to reach out to other people who share a martial determination to insist on a peace that works for all, whether those people are dedicated martial artists or have never set foot inside a martial training school and have other essential process arts to offer related to this work toward peace. AE has chosen to grow out of its early parochialism and build a sustainable international community practicing peace that will last at least another decade and hopefully into the distant future. To accomplish this they have contracted Berkeley CA non-profit Association Building Community (ABC) to provide AE's first executive director and empowered him to design an infrastructure-building initiative that will allow projects around the world to continue providing both children and adults peace-training and lasting support.
Aiki Extensions and Association Building Community need your help. If you've ever said to yourself "Peace. Sure. But what can really help?" AE has opened several doors to proven, directly applicable training methodologies based in peace practices that reach far beyond training and into the real world. These are helping actual children today in the poverty and crime stricken areas mentioned above, as well as adults whose families have been at each others' throats for generations.
If you feel the need for to insist on peace or are closely connected with peace practices like social justice facilitation, community building, Nonviolent Communication, and other process arts, please join Association Building Community in building that network of training and support. Your gifts will go to reinforce Aiki Extensions. All you need do is email to let us know you are interested and, if you are able, an amount you'd like to give. We'll get back to you right away with a PayPal funds request and begin working toward the change we both know our survival requires.
With great gratitude for your time and work in the world,
Please become a supporting member.
Donate what ever you can sustain.
Brandon WilliamsCraig, President - Association Building Community
Executive Director, Aiki Extensions Inc.
brandon at aiki-extensions dot org skype aiki.extensions (510) 962-4549
public at bdwc dot net skype bdwilliamscraig (510) 962-3921
brandon at abcglobal dot net (866) 236-0346
Here is an example of what I do - really, how teaching process and conflict arts (in this case via aikido) to kids is related to social justice and peace work, and for an example of how all this comes together. Come to an evening of Ethiopian Cultural Dancing–Street Theater–Circus–and Aikido (the martial art of peace).
Sunday, October 5, 2008
(and more dates in California and all over the U.S.)
3:30pm—PRESENTATION AT AIKIDO OF BERKELEY
1352 S. 49th St Richmond, CA 94804
7:00pm—PERFORMANCE at THEATER ARTAUD
450 Florida Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
9:00pm—RECEPTION at the CIRCOLO LOUNGE
500 Florida Street
See Tesfaye Tekelu, dance and aikido instructor, and Meshu Tamrat, theater director and gymnastic trainer, as they present a variety of colorful performances never before seen in the United States
Their five-week nationwide tour promotes the Awassa Youth Campus and Peace Dojo.This unique center offers a range of learning opportunities for young at-risk students, through dance, theater, music, art, academic tutoring, and the discipline and nonviolence education of aikido. Its OneLove Theater carries out HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns through free public performances all over Ethiopia.
With your help and our collective hope we can sustain and nourish this mission– assisting children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, educating the region about HIV/AIDS prevention, and offering alternatives to violence in the solution of social problems.
For more events, tour details, and info please visit http://aikiext.org/Awassa and contact Adoria at 415-516-2231 or Kris %email@example.com%29 323-387-2770
Sponsored by the Awassa Children's Project (www.awassachildrensproject.org )
Aiki Extensions, Inc. (www.aiki-extensions.org )