Category: Peace

Brown University Women’s Launch Pad (WLP)

Make-A-Crane brought some love to Brown University’s Women’s Launch Pad (WLP)! Students learned how to make origami paper cranes if they did not know how to, and many also contributed from afar if they couldn’t make the workshop. This made the end-of-year graduation celebration and panel discussion––”Amazing Women at Brown: Creating Social Impact On Campus and Beyond”-–the loveliest kind of colorful. Make-A-Crane founder and owner Meia Geddes moderated the panel. Many thanks to all the mentors, mentees, and WLP supporters, especially the Brown Women’s Leadership Council, for all your energy and inspiration.


Musical Cranes

It’s amazing what one can use to make a paper crane. Make-A-Crane made these musical cranes after a fun and successful library sale trip.


Make-A-Crane featured in Brown Alumni Magazine Annual Holiday Gift Guide

Make-A-Crane was featured in the Brown Alumni Magazine’s Annual Holiday Gift Guide this past Nov/Dec 2016!  Meia began Make-A-Crane thanks to having taken a course on management of nonprofit and industrial organizations at Brown University in her freshman year. Professor Barrett Hazeltine, who has mentored many an entrepreneur at Brown, let Meia write a case study on a fictionalized “May Ah” and her hypothetical business, Make-A-Crane, in liu of a final paper. That fiction turned into reality, of course. Since graduating in 2014, Meia has continued her work as “the crane lady.” Make-A-Crane a.k.a. Meia is very grateful for the recognition.

Spread of Make-A-Crane in the Brown Alumni Magazine November December issue 2016.png

Tweeting all about cranes

It’s incredible what one can find on Twitter. Make-A-Crane (aka Meia Geddes) tweets all about cranes through the Twitter handle @makeacrane and also attempts to favorite everything to do with cranes. A qualitative, vaguely quantitative analysis suggests that common themes include:

~Getting tattoos of origami cranes on one’s body
~Making paper cranes out of homework assignments 🙂
~Finding peace in folding cranes
~Surprise at having learned how to make a crane
~Yearning to know how to make a crane
~Making 1,000 cranes for individuals and organizations, often for causes
~Former President Obama’s gift of paper cranes to Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
~Crying when receiving a crane as a surprise gift
~Making the tiniest crane possible
~Making cranes out of any kind of materials
~Encountering beautiful crane mobiles and other lovely installations

Here’s an exquisite, uplifting example of an installation by French designers Maxime Derrouch, Typhaine Le Goff, and Emeline Marty, featured in Boing Boing:


Please keep making things and creating beauty. Consider taking time to make a crane today. Then give it away. 🙂

The beauty of washi paper

Washi paper is one of those beautiful inventions that makes you want to tell everyone you know about it once you have discovered it… So Make-A-Crane is making ample use of it, now…

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Make-A-Crane Earrings: Meia Explains!

An educational Prezi presentation on the process of making and selling Make-A-Crane Earrings. Those interested in starting a small business should definitely take a look 🙂

Since I’d Left the Church

Since I’d left the church,
Had I found some other way to practice,
She asked.
Hmm, I replied—
I’ve turned to words,
I said.
And try to live a good life,
I added.
I felt a little inadequate.
But really, I was thinking of my origami cranes,
Folding them over and over,
Every slip of paper a piece of potential,
Trying to create a more beautiful world.
And isn’t that what religion is for, I should have thought and said,
Like one prayer or one blessing at a time,
An invisible force of feeling and good.

Origami in South Africa

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Some Small Cranes at the Cambridge Public Library

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Some Large Cranes at the Cambridge Public Library

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300-Crane Donation

Megumi Ando donated about 300 beautiful big paper cranes to Make-A-Crane! Come get a crane or two or three or four or five at Harvard Square in front of Au Bon Pain 🙂 We are often there sunny afternoons.

2014-09-05 Megumi's donation

The Golden Crane Carriers

Make-A-Crane sent golden cranes on a journey into the world with a little note attached…

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Quoted Cranes (Ongoing)

Make-A-Crane sends “Quoted Cranes” to those in need of some hope. Each crane contains a quote especially picked by Make-A-Crane and/or loved ones. If you know of someone who could use some Quoted Cranes, please be in touch!

quoted cranes

“The Wild Place”

This May 2014, Make-A-Crane is excited to have brought origami paper cranes to “The Wild Place,” a peaceful sanctuary for weary travelers and passersby, envisioned and created by Diana H. Jackson. The Wild Place is a short walk from the Peter Pan bus terminal in Providence, Rhode Island.

Thank you to Megan Brown for donating to our Kickstarter for The Wild Project to raise money for origami paper, funding the entire project! Below are some pictures of The Wild Place with and without cranes.

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Cranes and Thread

A wall installation on Floor 3N at the Granoff Center at Brown University. An exploration of suspension, boundaries, space, emerging pattern, March-April 2014, by Meia Geddes d.b.a. Make-A-Crane.

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The Crane Campaign

Silver cranes placed in the deep dungeons of Brown University’s libraries. An exploration of the miniature + Coca-Cola-inspired happiness marketing.

The Crane Campaign

Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations in India

Ghandi CelebrationsDeepak Sharma/Associated Press

Interview With Philip Shepherd

Below are some excerpts from a wonderful interview with Philip Shepherd. All are found in the April 2013 Issue 448 edition of the exquisite magazine, The Sun. The interview was conducted by Amnon Buchbinder.


Buchbinder: You’ve said that we have a misguided cultural story about what it means to be human. What does that story tell us?

Shepherd: It tells us that the head should be in charge, because it knows the answers, and the body is little more than a vehicle for transporting the head to its next engagement. It tells us that doing is the primary value, while being is secondary…


“…We are missing the experience of our own being…” –Shepherd


“You cannot reason your way into being present. You cannot reason your way into love. You cannot reason your way into fulfillment. If you wish to be present, you need to submit to the present, and suddenly you find yourself at one with it. You submit to love. There’s that great quote from the Persian mystic Rumi: “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” –Shepherd


“Indigenous Polynesian sailors use information from ocean waves to navigate their way across the Pacific and find an island up to five hundred miles away — an unimaginable feat to the colonial Europeans who first encountered them and still sometimes got lost even with sextants and compasses. This native navigational tradition was suppressed and prohibited by the Europeans, but it has survived. Navigators are chosen in infancy and are placed in tidal pools for hours, feeling the water’s rhythms and currents. When they’re fully trained adults, they can sit on the ocean in a canoe and feel multiple swells moving beneath the hull. These deep swells are refraction patterns from islands far beyond the horizon, and they guide the navigators across the trackless ocean.” –Shepherd


“Quantum mechanics tells us that information cannot be destroyed. It lives on through everything it has affected. Eastern philosophy has known for centuries that there is no existence except through relationship. We diminish our sense of being — our sense of our own reality — as we systematically disconnect from body and world.” –Shepherd


“In the same way that a pond on a still day will visibly register the smallest insect alighting on its surface, but on a windy day it won’t, our ability to feel the whole is directly proportional to our ability to become still within ourselves.” –Shepherd


“Yes, in England they talk about the “three Bs,” where the greatest scientific discoveries are made: the bed, the bath, and the bus.” –Shepherd


“Experiments with isolation chambers have shown the extreme disconnection leads to hallucinations. And that, on a large scale, is what’s happened to our culture. We’ve gone mad.”  –Shepherd


“Once you come to rest in the body, you come to rest in the wholeness that is the trembling world itself. It’s as the Greek philosopher Plotinus said: “All the world breathes together.” –Shepherd


“There’s a story about George Washington Carber, the brilliant African American botanist. Someone asked him, “How is it that you understand these plants so well?” and he replied, “If you love it enough, anything will talk to you.” –Shepherd

No Man’s Land (2001)

What do you get when you stick a Bosnian and a Serb together between the front lines? Plus one Bosnian stuck on a mine? Absurdity and allegory abound in No Man’s Land, set in 1993 during the Bosnian War. Consider watching this very funny and very moving Oscar-winning, debut film from director Danis Tanovic. BTW, it beat Amelie (2001) for the best foreign film Oscar–which is saying something.

Instrument of Peace

Definitely watch him play “My Guitar Gently Weeps” here.

Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, brought his laughter all the way to Providence to give the 86th Stephen A. Ogden, Jr. ’60 Memorial Lecture on International Affairs today. The speech was called “A Global Change: Creating a Culture of Peace.”

Funny memory: His humor is beautiful — particularly memorable was his talk of baldness. He prompted laughter from the audience over explanation of the two competing tufts of hair on either side of his head.

Nice memory: I wasn’t taking copious notes, but I recall that he said something like, “This 21st century should be the century of dialogue,” which I liked a lot.

Awkward memory: Unfortunately his last two words sounded too much like “F*** it,” though it is safe to assume that he intended to say “Forget it.” Oddly enough, the translator writing subtitles for the audience chose the former… I am sure the Dalai Lama would laugh very hard at that one.

1000 cranes

Make-A-Crane has donated a string of 1000 cranes to Half the Sky for their silent auction 🙂

International Day of Peace

Today is World Peace Day!

Realizing Peace

“When you produce peace and happiness in yourself, you begin to realize peace for the whole world.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

I really like this quote because it bridges what appear to be two different conceptions of peace, the internal nature of our own individual worlds, and the external nature of the entire world. Like the quote, this blog is all about showing how the two are inseparable. To change the consciousness of a world, one must start with those who inhabit it.

The Dalai Lama: Peace Through Compassion

Henry David Thoreau

Here is a wonderful 3-part series on Thoreau, a great thinker who lived peacefully, with integrity, and in harmony with nature. He stressed the importance of individual reflection and thought.



Wise Words on War

“A country cannot simultaneously prepare and prevent war.” –Albert Einstein

See this:

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Very inspiring. For artists and thinkers.

Self-described as “a brand for liberal thinking and individualism…”


Deceptive Peace

Maybe a zoo, like a prison, creates an atmosphere of deceptive peace — there is much screaming involved, but in a language we do not understand or do not bother to listen for.

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Global Peace Index

Here is the 2012 Global Peace Index.

Give A Gift Every Day For 1 Month

Cami Walker launched on Day 29 of a month of giving. She documented her giving in the bestseller 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life. Here is the website description:

29 Gifts is a global giving movement with more than 16,300 members in 43 countries. Our collective mission at 29 Gifts is to revive the giving spirit in the world. We change our lives—and change the world—one gift at a time. Learn how our 29-Day Giving Challenge works and sign up now.

YOUR GIFTS DO GOOD. A portion of 29 Gifts Boutique profits are donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 29 Gifts Founder and Author, Cami Walker, and two million others worldwide live with MS. Create a world free of MS by shopping in the 29 Gifts Boutique.

All You Need Is Love

Women for Women International

“I believe the way to stop violence against women is to speak out and refuse to be silent.”

“Women are the glue of families and societies; when women thrive, countries thrive.”

–Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi woman who founded Women for Women International at age 23, in 1993

There is lots more from the website!: Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. We’re changing the world one woman at a time.

“Welcome to the world’s nicest prison”

See the full CNN article for details and definitely watch the movie clip! This is a wonderful approach to rehabilitation.

“Who would you rather have as your neighbor? Someone who’s set free after years behind bars–or a prisoner who for such a long time has had the chance to be part of a community?”

“This is what we call ‘human ecology’…It has to do with human relationships and the awareness that you’re part of a greater whole.”

–Arne Kvernik Nilsen, governor of Bastoy prison

The Center for Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

On their website:

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is based on the principles of nonviolence– the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart.

NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. NVC also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that each of our actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.

People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution.

The NVC community is active in over 65 countries around the globe. Find out more about how NVC is changing the world and how you can get involved.

Peace-Building Institute

The application deadline for university students to attend a 2-week Peace-Building Institute has been extended to June 30, 2012. The downside is that the program fee is $1,200 and does not include travel to Rwanda, immunizations, insurance, passport/visa fees, and personal expenses.

Never Again Rwanda is a human rights, peace-building organization that was founded in 2002 and is registered as a Rwandan non-governmental organization. The founding members recognized that the minds of young people were used to destroy Rwanda leading up to and during the 1994 Tutsi genocide. Even as a post-genocide society, they observed that divisions continued to exist between young Rwandans. Guided by a vision of a nation where young people are agents of positive change and work together towards sustainable peace and development, the founding members established Never Again Rwanda (NAR) to empower youth with opportunities to become active citizens.

Irenic: Word of the Day

irenic \eye-REN-ik; -REE-nik\, adjective:

Tending to promote peace; conciliatory.

With an irenic spirit they join the debate, at times ugly and vicious, about the historicity of the Bible (by which they mean the Hebrew Scriptures, also known as the Old Testament). — Phyllis Trible, “God’s Ghostwriters”, New York Times, February 4, 2001

Taylor was always irenic by temperament and desire, and his sensitivity to others enabled him to bring together and work with people of very diverse views. — “The Right Rev John Taylor”, Times (London), February 1, 2001

Irenic comes from Greek eirenikos, from eirene, “peace.”

Phatic: Word of the Day (May 19, 2012)

phatic \FAT-ik\, adjective:

Denoting speech used to create an atmosphere of goodwill.

We conduct phatic discourse indispensable to maintaining a constant connection among speakers; but phatic speech is indispensable precisely because it keeps the possibility of communication in working order, for the purpose of other and more substantial communications.
— Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

They’re just filling the air with noise. This is what’s called phatic speech. “How are you?” they might ask.
— Adriana Lopez, Fifteen Candles

Coined by the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, phatic was first used in 1923. It probably comes from the Greek word phatos meaning “spoken.”

Meia’s sentence: Negotiations for peace necessitate phatic discourse, though sincerity ultimately maintains the dialogue.

Give Peace A Chance

The Peace Book

This was a great Kickstarter idea.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading

Everyone needs to know about TED Talks. Great idea in itself. Here is one by Michael Pritchard on his water-cleaning filter. Here is one from the wonderful Jane Goodall, “legendary chimpanzee researcher.”

My take: we are all connected.

Obama: “Warrior In Chief”

This portrait of the Nobel Peace Prize winner is disheartening.

Trained to Kill

“I thought, I can’t, I can’t allow myself to be trained to kill on orders, to take life on orders.” -Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, on NPR Fresh Air. Merwin was put in a psychiatric ward in 1946 for being a Pacifist (as he’d enlisted when he was 17 previously), he said.

Carnegie Endowment…

…for International Peace

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

The Wilson Center. Students might be interested in this.


fetial \FEE-shuhl\, adjective:

Concerned with declarations of war and treaties of peace.

When a just and rightful war was declared upon a foreign enemy—and were there any other kinds of wars?—a special fetial priest was called upon to hurl a spear from the steps of the temple over the exact top of the ancient stone pillar into the earth of Enemy Territory.
— Colleen McCullough, The First Man in Rome

He struck his treaties with foreign princes in the Forum, sacrificing a pig and reciting the ancient formula of the fetial priests.
— Edited by John Carew Rolfe, Suetonius

Fetial comes directly from the Latin word fētiālis, which referred to a member of the Roman college of priests who were representatives in disputes with foreign nations.

Free Documentary Site

This is a wonderful site! You can watch documentaries ranging the spectrum of possibilities.

Davis Projects for Peace

Check out these Projects for Peace. So many creative proposals, from empowering women with computer skills and workshops to establishing community gardens and bringing in guest lecturers.

Buddhism and Mosquitoes

I cannot bring myself to kill mosquitoes (which, in part, draws me to explore Buddhism and Jainism), so in China – where there are a lot of mosquitoes – my housemate would always be the one killing them.

Below is a fun video (the title of which is awfully misleading). I dislike that Bill Moyer/others sort of suggests that not killing mosquitoes is a radical and unnecessary extension of environmentalism. While both are based on empathy and respect, I believe that the consciousness in not killing a mosquito more closely and specifically represents the Buddhist way of living a peaceful life. It is not an extreme tangent of the more general save-the-environment attitude – which of course is a good attitude to have, but one that seems somehow less conscious if it does not embrace all of life…and so we must have the consciousness of not killing a mosquito in the same way we approach the environment as a whole, applying the very basic principal of recognizing a small being to recognizing the whole being of the earth and all around…and so environmentalism could in fact be seen as an extension of our attention to a little mosquito and all other little and large lives.

I lately have loved to learn about the Buddha’s original teachings and have compiled a list of various things/characteristics I now associate with Buddhism. I am typing this up having, in the last few weeks, heard a talk introducing Buddhism at the local temple, read the chapter on Buddhism in Huston Smith’s “The Illustrated World’s Religions,” and seen PBS’s two-hour documentary “The Buddha.”

-the miracle of life – there need not be any other miracle greater (i.e. magic, etc)
-living in the moment
-being aware
-compassion for all creatures (bugs included)
-mindfulness of all
-reason/rationality/freedom to debate (the Buddha wanted followers not to blindly follow, but experiment for themselves and challenge things they disagreed with)
-lack of ritual (original Buddhism)
-having humor
-the path, not the end
-hopefulness (the end of suffering* is possible, in recognizing and addressing the cause of suffering, desire*)
*suffering = along the lines of dissatisfaction
*desire = many forms, and not necessarily bad, like the desire to attain enlightenment; the kind that causes harm is what we want to end
(these are two words that are often misconstrued and taken too literally in the simplistic teaching of the basic Four Noble Truths; the words turned me off at first)

Ode Magazine

I love getting this magazine because it has a lot of positive articles. Many have to do with individuals and groups around the world promoting peace and doing good things for their communities.