Common Ground conference April 17-18th
Bob Tancig
April 2004

The Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice invites you to join us at our tenth annual Common Ground Conference at Rollins College in Winter Park on April 17th and 18th. The theme of the conference this year will be "Creating a Culture of Peace in Florida."

The event will kick-off with an exercise introducing the concept of the "Third Side" as elaborated by William Ury in his book Getting to Peace. The ten roles of Third Siders will be offered as a set of skills that can be employed to wage peace in our homes, in our workplaces and schools, and in the global community.

Several panels made up of speakers with first-hand knowledge of the terrible conditions that thwart peace in the Middle East will provide the background for applying the framework of the Third Side to the conflict there.

Drawing our attention to issues closer to home, Carol Bass of the Georgia Coalition for Peace & Justice will use a multimedia presentation to bring us up to speed on activities being planned to coincide with the G8 Summit to be held near Brunswick, Georgia this summer starting on June 8th. A brief overview of the plans for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice Walk for Global Justice that will leave the Teaching Farm in Hampton, Florida on May 26th and arrive in Brunswick on June 5th will challenge us to get our country back on the road to peace again.

Focusing on issues even closer to home, the afternoon program will conclude with an address by Dave Robinson, the National Coordinator of Pax Christi USA, and Romeo Rameriez from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. They will be making a stop at the Common Ground Conference as a part of their speaking tour of Florida - "Called to Solidarity: Challenging the Corporate-Security State" - where they will make the connections between poor peoples' movements and campaigns here in the United States, the practice of solidarity, and the political consequences of standing with those on the underside of corporate globalization and its military muscle.

Dave Robinson is an internationally recognized expert in the field of international relations, disarmament and nuclear policy, and regularly serves as a consultant to non-governmental organizations working on issues of international peace and conflict resolution at the United Nations. Robinson has coordinated and served on delegations to many regions in the midst of war and conflict, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Israel/Palestine. He is a member of the Pax Christi USA anti-racism team, and in March 2003 in Washington, co-organized a witness of religious leaders and human rights activists against the war in Iraq in which 65 people - including himself, two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, and U.S. Bishops - were arrested after actions of nonviolent civil disobedience

Romeo Ramirez is a Guatemalan farmworker who has been working in the fields along the United States East Coast since he was 15 years old. He is a leader in the fight to end modern-day slavery and sub-poverty wages in fields across the U.S. Ramirez recently was awarded the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (with his co-workers Julia Gabriel and Lucas Benitez) from the R.F.K. Memorial Center for Human Rights in Washington, D.C. The CIW is currently engaged in a national boycott and campaign against restaurant giant Taco Bell over the treatment of tomato-pickers in the fields of Southwest Florida.

After a dinner break, we will return to the idea of the Third Siders, applying the information we learned during the morning and afternoon sessions to design specific actions we can take to create a culture of peace in Florida. We will leave the conference with enhanced skills we can use to moderate conflicts in our communities and strengthen the influence we can exert as the Third Side in disputes that may otherwise lead to destructive violence.

To register for Common Ground X: Creating a Culture of Peace in Florida, contact the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice at 352-468-3295,, or go to to download conference information and registration materials.

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