I teach a course at New York University's Center for Global Affairs called "How to Build Your Own NGO." My aim is to provide students with practical, nuts and bolts skills they'll use in the non-profit sector, to augment their wingnut and screws theoretical learning. (I wrote more about gradschools here.) I spend a chunk of time spieling about developing core values -- the ethos underlying an organization's vision, mission, strategy, and organization culture.
So, I wanted to share New York Peace Institute's core values, which we built by consensus across the organization (with the help of our friends at Big Duck). I keep them posted over my desk, and I read them daily, as a constant reminder that even the most mundane, bureaucratic tasks (of which I perform many) are in service to promoting a peaceful NYC. It never fails to put a pep in my step. Here goes:
Everything we do comes out of the core belief that active peacemaking requires direct, respectful, and creative communication. We’re here to get in the middle when people or communities have disputes, and our work is driven by these six values:
We see every conflict as an opportunity for better understanding. Mediation is a valuable tool, so we strive to make it more accessible to everyone.
We encourage openness—from ourselves and from people in disputes—because direct communication is the best way to find solutions.
We don’t simply remain neutral—we strive to understand and honor the different points of view of the individuals, parties, or communities in conflict.
We create a private, collaborative environment to help individuals and communities find practical solutions to their disputes. We also help them gain the tools to handle future conflicts.
We demand nothing but the best from ourselves on behalf of the people we work with—whether in mediation, in trainings, or during any other discussions.
We think differently—and we encourage the people we work with to think differently—to find innovative, and perhaps unexpected, solutions to make New York City a more peaceful place.