Holy Days and the Moral Imagination

September 23, 2014

Peace it Together wishes you happy holidays.  Eid Adha Saeed to our Muslim readers and Shana Tova to our Jewish readers. These Holy Days, full of rituals and prayer, encourage the opportunity for reflecting, forgiving, and sacrificing—some of the same practices required to transform conflict.

In John Lederach’s book, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace, Lederach describes the moral imagination as the capacity to recognize turning points and possibilities in order to venture down unknown paths and create something new. 

He explains that if societies can become better at employing the moral imagination in conflict situations, they can avoid violence altogether. In the context of peace building, the moral imagination requires parties to:

  1. Imagine ourselves in a web of relationships, that includes even our enemies.
  2. Understand our enemies from their point of view and recognize the situation to be more complicated than good verses bad, or right verses wrong.

  3. Believe in and pursue the creative process and recognize the potential for a new social reality, even if we cannot yet envision the final product.

  4. Accept the risks that often go along with attempts to transcend violence



Peace it Together programs begin with challenging conversations.  The young adversaries then leap into a creative process of making a film together without knowing what the final product will be. In doing so, they must understand each other’s point of view and engage in the important and uncomfortable nuances of the conflict.

These processes empower them to go home and engage with their communities. 

Two short behind-the-scenes films depict parts of the Peace it Together model for change. The film "Conflict" captures the uncomfortable feelings and reflections from deep dialogue. In  "Sustainig the Impact" staff and filmmakers reflect on the power of filmmaking to create change and engage others.   

Take 2.5 minutes and watch "Conflict" now.

Take 4.5 minutes and watch "Sustaining the Impact."

Click "closed captions" at bottom right for subtitles in Arabic or Hebrew.


Summary of The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace by Kimberly S. George

Summary of The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace by Michelle Maiese