Global Days of Listening ( GDoL ) is active listening to people around the globe, conversing about each other’s paths of action toward a peaceful world.
It is inspired by the Afghan Peace Volunteers, who invite ordinary people everywhere to nurture Borderfree friendships for a world without wars.
In October 2009, eleven Afghan Peace Volunteers knew that no one was hearing ordinary Afghan voices like theirs.
So, they held a vigil in a makeshift tarpaulin tent at Bamiyan Peace Park, a park which the youth themselves had helped establish. They were going to keep the tent vigil until U.S. President Obama, who had just won the Nobel Peace Prize, heard their message, ‘The Reconciliation of Civil Hearts’.
In their message, they asked President Obama to bring genuine peace and reconciliation to Afghanistan, including withdrawing American troops responsibly. They youth believed by experience that peace cannot be brought through war.
The eleven Afghan Peace Volunteers in their tent at Bamiyan Peace Park, October 2009
Having breakfast in the tent
While they kept vigil, Douglas Mackey of Iraq Memorial for Life in Olympia, Washington State USA, sent them emails and called them on their Afghan cell phone, to say, “It is time. I will be standing with you, listening to you.”
Douglas gathered friends in Olympia to stand in vigil with the Afghan youth.
Douglas Mackey, second from the right in the back row, with friends keeping vigil in Olympia, USA
The then U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, was in Bamiyan on an official visit, and kindly agreed to visit the youth at the tent in Bamiyan Peace Park on 28th of October, 2009.
The youth of the tent vigil meeting U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry
and his wife with Bamiyan Governor Dr Habiba Sarobi
The youth ended their tent vigil when Ambassador to Eikenberry promised to deliver their peace message to President Obama. To this day, the youth have not heard from either the Ambassador or President Obama.
In the months following the tent vigil, Douglas worked with Dr Hakim and the youth to have regular conversations through Skype and their Afghan cell phones. Douglas suggested quarterly conversations at the solstices and equinoxes, the youth were keen, and thus Global Days of Listening was born!
The Afghan Peace Volunteers were so thrilled to hear voices from other parts of the world that each of the first few Global days of Listening conversations were held over 24 hours to accommodate the different world time zones, the youth taking turns to sleep and converse!
Why not listen?
U.S. veteran Josh Steiber in a Global Days of Listening connection from California
Susan Perriti and Jacqueline Ritto help organize
another Global Days of Listening conversation in New York
Previous conversations on the Global days of Listening program can be heard at:
For more information, go to http://globaldaysoflistening.org
Those interested to participate in the Skype conversations, even if only for 5 minutes, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org