|2/20/2014 5:00:00 PM|
As the song goes, "Give Peace a Chance"
|Two words rose out of the 1960s that have stuck when it comes to living the right way.|
Those words are "Peace" and "Love."
Those are two of the words that have not only been suggestions, for Dr. Vincent and Jane Hammett Kavaloski they have become a lifestyle.
The rural Dodgeville couple has been in the area 31 years and have devoted much of their time to peace. They feel that war is not answer and that human lives are not to be sacrificed. They feel all problems can be solved by peaceful means.
They have done their best to instill that philosophy in others and they have been honored for it. Recently Dr. Kavaloski was named Global Citizen of the Year by the Dane County United Nations Association. Jane has her awards too but as he says, "most are at home in a box."
The awards are just perks along the way when someone takes the time to realize how hard the Kavaloskis work at promoting peace.
In short the award states:
"Professor Kavaloski's work introducing students to the philosophies of peace and social justice admirably qualify him for this award."
Twenty-five years ago Dr. Kavaloski concluded that students needed to be exposed to the rest of the world. So, he began arranging trips to Washington, DC and New York City to meet with Ambassadors, Diplomats and the United Nations.
"It was a behind the scenes look at how committed groups are to peace," Dr. Kavaloski said. "They got to see how proposals are prepared and gotten to the floor of the UN."
In the early days Dr. Kavaloski took high school students, loading up a 46 passenger bus and driving 20 straight hours to their destination. When he started teaching philosophy at Edgewood he phased into college students who would travel by air.
"I wanted rural kids to see the UN," Dr. Kavaloski said. "I wanted to open the windows and doors for them,"
He also wanted them to see there are alternatives to war.
Some of the students have taken up the cause of moving toward peace.
"Some have joined the Peace Corps and a couple are in South America working on the peace initiative," he said.
He feels all of the students who have gone on the trips have taken a vision with them on the alternatives of war and ways to solve conflict peacefully.
One of trips that Dr. Kavaloski coordinated was to Auschwitz, a concentration camp operated by Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1945. Inmates included mostly Jews, Poles, Roma and Soviet soldiers along with gay men, the mentally incompetent and physically handicapped. The death toll at the camp was 1.1 million.
During the tour one of the group of Polish students who knew she had some ties to those lost in the war found the name of her grandparents on the execution list. Her family had never known what had happened to them.
She had to be physically assisted from the site.
"You have to ask yourself, how can people do this to one another," said Dr. Kavaloski. "Then you read about the same thing happening in Syria today.'
But seeing how the students react and respond to the senselessness of war may provide a feeling there is hope for humanity.
Dr. Kavaloski began teaching 40 years ago at the University of Chicago and also had positions at University of Pittsburgh and Penn State before returning to the midwest for a stint at the now defunct Shimer College. His early teachings were traditional philosophy, he says.
He then spent 10 years with the Ecumenical Partnership for Peace and Justice, then came to Edgewood where he has been the past 22 years.
His teachings have incorporated a lot of what he has seen and experienced. He has found the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi to be especially valuable when seeking the truths about achieving peace.
"Obtaining peace through non-violent means takes work. Dr. Kavaloski says. "You have to work hard against the war movement if you want peace."
He points toward the fall of the Soviet Union as a non-violent solution.
"People refused to cooperate with what was being thrown at them," Dr. Kavaloski said. "One by one the Soviet Bloc began to tumble until everything collapsed. It was all done through peaceful solutions."
Some of the various organizations Dr. Kavaloski belongs to include UNA (United Nations Associates), and Amnesty International and Fellowship of Reconciliations. All three groups have helped sponsor his trips.
Dr. Kavaloski has not traveled alone as Jane has been a constant companion, often leading all or parts of the trips.
She is presently organizing a program that will be held at the Dodgeville Public Library during the months of March and April called "Great Decisions."
She bills it as America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The Great Decisions program highlights four of the most thought-provoking foreign policy changes facing America.
The schedule starts with a March 7 program form 2 to 4 p.m. and will focus on Israel and the US. Jane and Vince will facilitate.
Future programs include:
-March 21-Defense Technology, facilitated by Fr. Jim Murphy
-April 11-Energy Independence facilitated by Chuck Tennessen
-April 25-Food and Climate facilitated by Chuck Tennessen.
Jane asks those attending to pre-register with the library or Grassroots Citizens for Peace so hand-outs can be prepared.
Vince adds that Jane is the leader of the Grassroots Peace Group and is involved in the Lanterns For Peace Project held at Governor Dodge State Park each year. The event calls attention to Hiroshima and the atomic bomb that was set off in WWII.
"We hope that something like this never happens again," he said.
Vince and Jane are eyeing retirement but are not in a hurry to do so. But when they do there is one thing for certain---they will continue working for peace.
"It has been a life mission," Dr. Kavaloski says. "It is good that I have had a job that goes along with it."
"We will stay at it as long as we can," he said.
Article Comment Submission Form