Make Peace the News
For Our World – an international passage for peace
From the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation
NOTE: Peace Tips Activity Suggestions are offered below this article
(Click on image to enlarge)
On September 11, 2001, most American citizens were glued to television sets, and in a state of shock and horror as terrorist attacks on United States soil aired live on major networks.
Mattie J.T. Stepanek – the late teen poet and peace activist – was 11 years old at the time, and watched the lives of several personal friends go up in ash as buildings collapsed and fires raged. Friends he had just been with, and high-fived or hugged the day before.
As the tragic events unfolded and the numbers impacted by senseless loss skyrocketed, Mattie penned three poems. The first was a statement of shock. The second was a statement of “what now? what next?” in the midst of so much violence.
The third – For Our World – was Mattie’s personal and prayerful and peaceful response to those questions of how we can move forward, with hope, and with peace. Mattie envisioned that one day, this poem would become an international passage for peace.
In 2011, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation launched the For Our World Campaign. We invited people around the world to translate this poem into other languages. And, we encouraged people – children and parents, business leaders and educators, and more – to read this passage, in English or another language.
Our hope was that around dinner tables and conference tables, people would reflect on this message, and then respond and reach our with peace. As Mattie said, peace is not about agreeing with or even liking our neighbors, but about simply living gently and non-violently with our neighbors.
More than 50 translations of Mattie’s For Our World poem are now posted on our Foundation website. Printed copies from Albanian to Zulu are there, as are videos of people sharing the poem in American Sign Language or as school groups.
All of this is available for free, and can be downloaded and posted on refrigerators and bulletin boards or social media sites.
Indeed, Mattie’s hope is being realized – For Our World is inspiring global citizens, and becoming a recognized and international passage for peace.
Peace matters. And, peace is possible. But, peace begins with a choice – our choice. If we purposefully put peace on our daily To Do List, in time, peace will no longer be something “we do” but the essence of who “we are.”
More than a dozen years have passed since 9/11, and both random and planned acts of violence continue in our country and around the world. As we remember the past and move through yet another anniversary of this tragic event, we invite you to give breath and voice to peace. We are asking you to share Mattie’s For Our World poem in your homes and schools and offices and places of worship this fall.
Please read this poem, alone or with a group.
Please choose to “be peace.”
We welcome additional translations of this poem, which we will post on our website. Also, if you would like to share a video of this poem being read – by you or your family, or your school or business – we will post that on our website as well.
Peace matters – and peace is for all people.
Peace Tips Activity Suggestions
from Mattie’s Foundation:
Consider one or more of the following activities. They can be done as an individual, or as a family, a classroom, a school, a business, an organization, even as an entire city or community. Share with us (in photo, video, or e-mail message) how you are moving from attitude to action and we will add your Peace Post to our website, and celebrate your peace efforts.
which line(s) are most meaningful to you.
- Print the poem as it appears on this page, or download the free version on our “For Our World Campaign” page.
- Post the poem on your refrigerator or bulletin board, where it can remind you to consider peace each day.
- Share a photo of how you posted Mattie’s For Our World poem, and we will add that to our For Our World Campaign page.
2) Visit our For Our World Campaign page and look
at our list of translations from around the world.
- Choose a language that is not your own, and learn something about the country and culture of people who speak that language.
- Download and print this free translation, and post it on your refrigerator or bulletin board.
- What is happening in the news for that country or culture? Say a prayer, or write a message of hope and peace.
- Share your responses to this activity with us to be included on our Peace Posts – For Our World Campaign page (in our What You Are Saying section).
or as Mattie suggested,
“…over a game of chess and a cup of tea.”
- Mattie writes that peace begins within each of us, when our basic needs are met so we can be okay with who and how we are as individuals. Peace then grows when we consider and tend to the needs of others, so they can be okay with who and how they are as well. What are your thoughts on tending to the basic needs of global citizens in equitable ways?
- Mattie writes that peace is not about agreeing with others, or being like others, or even liking others, but about living gently with others, and celebrating our differences and resolving our disagreements in non-violent ways. What are your thoughts about choosing peace, even when we do not agree with others?
- Share your thoughts with us to be included 0n our Peace Posts – For Our World Campaign page (in our What You Are Saying section).
- Sign your child(ren) up for our FREE Peace Club Kids program, or your teens up for our Peace Club Teens program (a one-time $18 fee for teens, who may participate in a supported journey through Mattie’s Three Choices for Peace).
- Sponsor a teen (ONLY $18) to participate in Mattie’s Peace Club Teens and Teen Peace Journey. You can view updates on the teens’ progress right on our Peace Teen to Teen Peace Ambassador page.
- Register as a member of Mattie’s Peace Club or Mattie’s Peace Network.
- Sponsor a youth group, a school, or a retirement community to become Peace Certified by Mattie’s Foundation. They will be supported on a personalized peace journey, during which they reflect and respond to peace, and then reach out with peace through a Peace Plan.
community participating in a peace meal or activity.
- We will add your thoughts and images to our Peace Posts – For Our World Campaign page (in our What You Are Saying section).
- If you share a photo or video or translation of Mattie’s For Our World poem, we will add that to our For Our World Campaign page.
- We always welcome additional translations of Mattie’s For Our World poem, poem, as well as videos of people sharing this poem, and artwork or peace expressions reflecting favorite lines from this poem.
Examples of how our Peace Club Teens (Abby, above)
and our Peace Club Kids (Katie, below)
are sharing peace — for our world!