CORVALLIS, Ore. – Paul Chappell, the director of the Peace Leadership program at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, will speak on “Radical Empathy and Realistic Hope” at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
Chappell’s focus is on the kinds of relationships between people, communities, and nations that make nuclear weapons a reality, and how we might restructure those relationships based on a better understanding of our capacity and need for empathy.
He works on what he calls “peace literacy” – a practical approach that treats peace as a skill set. He has partnered with OSU philosophy Professor Sharyn Clough to lead a team working across the U.S. and Canada to bring peace literacy to classrooms.
The peace literacy program focuses on basic concepts such as empathy, caring, trauma, healing and the human condition. It delves into why people join gangs, become white supremacists, and are driven to violence. It gives people the tools to understand this behavior and then offers a path towards peaceful change.
“Paul Chappell is a powerful speaker with a disarmingly gentle soul,” Clough said. “The peace literacy program couldn’t be any more relevant to what’s happening in our country right now. Part of what makes him different is that he offers hope – hope for healing.”
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation was part of the recent successful campaign at the United Nations to pass the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty, which passed in July, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination.
Chappell is a West Point graduate and veteran of the war in Iraq. He’s part Korean, part black, part white, and grew up in Alabama in the 1980s. He has dealt with rage, trauma and bullying in his life and now tours the world giving workshops to people, teaching them the tools to understand and heal aggression, learn the elements of respect, and maintain empathy in difficult situations.
Chappell is also an author who has written a series of books, including his latest, “Soldiers of Peace: How to Wield the Weapon of Nonviolence with Maximum Force.”
Inspired by Chappell, Clough and Linda Richards, who are co-directors of OSU’s Phronesis Lab, have designed a series of lectures and workshops called “A Year in Peace Literacy.” Chappell’s lecture is the keystone of the series.
The lecture will be held in the Construction and Engineering Hall in The LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St. The event is sponsored by the OSU College of Liberal Arts School of History, Philosophy and Religion. A $5 donation at the door is suggested, but no one will be turned away because of lack of funds. Proceeds from the lecture will go to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.