Dove with Branch
July 2, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

I will be conducting a special seminar program for delegates from the International Peace Center in Nepal from July 20th to 30th. We will be working on strategies for restoring peace to the Nepalise society. A trip to the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC is planned as part of the program. We are planning an all day jointly presented workshop in Eugene, OR on Sat. July 28th. Contact me if your are interested in attending this special workshop.

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I have a problem with my supervisor at work. He is always criticizing my work. Whatever I do it seems it is never good enough for him. How can I get him to stop criticizing my work? - Mary in Topeka

Dear Mary, His answer would be to make it absolutely perfect by his standard. But that solution would be impossible to achieve. What he wants is to get what he thinks are better results by motivating you through fear, and it is not working for him. Your reaction to him has the results of reducing your effectiveness. You are upset by his criticism because you choose to view it that way. You can choose to look at him as trying to be the old style football coach and view criticism as funny, or you can choose to find other work - among other options. Realize that it is not the way he is but it is the way you are reacting that is the problem and find a solution that will work for you. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My father hates me. Whatever I do is never good enough for him. Even when I follow his advice he is never satisfied. Whatever I do or say I am asked to do better. I can't remember him being satisfied with what I do. I have spoken to him and my mother but it doesn't change even though they know how I feel. - Brandon in Salt Lake City

Dear Brandon, If your father hated you he wouldn't be taking the effort to "improve" you. He is doing it in the best way he knows how. Much of what I said to Mary above applies to your situation. Find a way to gently let your father know it isn't working. Let him know you want to create a good life for yourself and that it would be more effective if he could learn to give you advice in a more positive way. Let him know you love him and thank him for trying to help you. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
by David Hazen   Globe Magnify Glass

The primary conflict resolution strategy in the USA and the rest of the world is violence. This could change, very soon. One of the signs that we are in an upward spiral of knowledge and abilities to deal with conflict is a bill in Congress right now. There are 66 co-sponsors for HR808 to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence. Internationally, there are 23 countries participating in a Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace, with two nations having installed Ministries of Peace, ahead of the USA.

Violence is a learned conflict resolution strategy that is a public health problem of epidemic proportions. It drains our nation's economy of trillions, sucking our intelligence and creativity dry. We can learn new strategies to deal with conflict. We have the key to the prison we are in. The technology to reduce military casualties, to eliminate spousal and child abuse, schoolyard bullying, rape, and all forms of criminal violence is available, yet we are not using it.

The science of conflict resolution has been tested and validated. It now needs the importance, funding and coordination of a national mission to develop these skills throughout America. We need a Secretary of Peace at the center of power, and a Peace Academy to teach conflict resolution skills to our nation. More information is on the web at If we had this national conflict resolution skill-building program, we could secure a prosperous future for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We all want this for our children. The founding fathers of our country, who claimed peace to be highest duty of a free country, would approve.

Guest columnist David Hazen is the Oregon State Coordinator for The Peace Alliance Campaign for a Department of Peace. His e-mail address is

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We tend to perceive information that supports the beliefs we have. First we take note of the information presented to us that validates our belief systems, and we often fail to notice things that do not. Next, we interpret the information that we receive in a way that is consistent with our existing belief system. What if this wasn't necessarily the case? What if we considered the information in the light of differing belief systems? And what if we always looked at things from a number of points of view before making a decision? In order to win a trial, lawyers are trained to carefully examine the other possible points of view. If they do not, they will not be prepared to respond with the best argument for their case.

We know our opinions stem from our thoughts, not from external truth. So, perhaps we shouldn't go to battle over our truths as we so often do. Although deeply held, your truths are not necessarily those of others. When you come to terms with this reality and place feeling good above the need to be right, you'll be taking a giant step toward eradicating the angry conflicts in your life.

The need to be right is also the need to prevail. We live in a competitive society, and we like to be winners. Part of being right is winning the conflict. Realize this, and know that your desire to be right is your ego trying to win another contest. Reframe your thinking to accept the idea that we are all in this together. Expect that others will think differently and that their perception of events will not be the same as yours. Accept their differences with joy. If we were all the same it would be like living in "Pleasantville," the movie about life in the suburbs where everything is the same - dull, and colorless.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about the things that everyone thinks about as absolutely true.

Tuesday: I think about how those truths have changed over time.

Wednesday: I think about the things that I believe are absolutely true.

Thursday: I think about why others do not believe the things that I do.

Friday: I think about the beliefs of others that they think are absolutely true but I do not.

Saturday: I think about others being entitled to their honest beliefs just as I am.

Sunday: I resolve that others are as entitled to their own beliefs just as I am.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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