Ideas and Inspirations for the International Day of Peace - Post 9

31 July 2018, 11:26 PM

Discovering Peace - Spirit in Action

Appreciative Interview

by Sally Mahé

We speak about peace and desire peace with all of our hearts. This activity invites people to inquire about peace for themselves and for their communities. An activity for IDP might be to host conversations for people to speak and listen to one another to discover how they put peace into action and the peace they desire for their communities.


  • Read the poem to the group and briefly discuss.

For Warmth

I hold my face in my two hands.

No, I am not crying.

I hold my face in my two hands

 to keep the loneliness warm

 - two hands protecting,

two hands nourishing,

 two hands preventing my soul

 from leaving me in anger.

This poem was written by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, after he heard about the bombing of the village Ben Trc and a comment made by an American military man, "We had to destroy the town in order to save it.”

What touches you in this poem? What choice is important to the poet?


An Appreciative Interview is a simple process that creates opportunities for people to speak about what is meaningful to them. It is an interview where both partners listen and speak with an open heart. Usually an interview is about 10-15 minutes per person.

  • Invite people to find a partner and engage in an appreciative interview.

Choose who will be the interviewer. The interviewer reads the first question in its entirety. Listen to the response. Then, read Question 2 and listen to the response. Then, read Question 3 and listen to the response. When time is called, switch roles.

Interview Questions

  1. Many of us have experienced violence and prejudice among people from different religions, ethnic or racial groups. In his poem, Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that there are alternatives to these reactions. We have witnessed alternatives in life-giving acts of forgiveness, kindness and nonviolence. Think of a time in which you experienced a shift in your own spirit toward a more peaceful state of being. Perhaps you shifted your perspective in a relationship, or a situation. Perhaps you were able to shift your emotions from fear to love. Please tell me the story of this shift. What happened? How did it work out?
  2. Imagine it is 20 years from today. What if people in your community had shifted the balance towards peace, justice and healing? Things have changed. What do you imagine is different? Describe what you see.
  3. Imagine that Gandhi's phrase, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world,” had become your mantra and you had consciously followed through on your commitments to be the change you want to see in the world. Describe the highlights of what happened. What changes were the most rewarding for you? How has the quality of your life or the lives of your family, or your community, or even the world changed because of your commitments?


About this series:

Each year, hundreds of URI Cooperation Circles participate in the International Day of Peace (IDP). As a global community, we put organized global spirit and energy into action! Here are some beloved ideas and inspirations for peacebuilding. You can expect two issues of this series each week until September 21. Hope you love them too and find them useful!

See more posts in this series for more ideas about how to celebrate the International Day of Peace.

May Peace Prevail,