The Bangor Room in the Memorial Union was filled with students, faculty and community members Oct. 25 to listen to the Thursday afternoon lecture by Iraq War veteran and peace leader, Paul Chappell, who spoke about whether human beings are naturally violent, whether it’s possible to end war and how each of us can wage peace.
After being introduced by Dan White, a representative for the Maine Peace Action Committee, Chappell asked, “What do you think of when you hear, ‘world peace’?” Then, referencing “Miss Congeniality,” a movie starring Sandra Bullock, he said, “It is a common statement made by Miss America pageant contestants. We all have our own perception on what this actually means. Most people think of ‘end of war,’ but it is more than that.”
After graduating from West Point in 2002, Chappell served in the army for seven years. When he left active duty in November 2009, he was a captain. Since then, he has published four books: “Will War Ever End?” “The End of War,” “Peaceful Revolution” and “The Art of Waging Peace.” Three of these books were available for purchase at the lecture. Chappell currently lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he is the Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Chappell was invited to the University of Maine by Peace and Reconciliation Studies, a program that focuses on education for peace, justice, human rights, nonviolence, tolerance, global understanding and environmental responsibility. Chappell highlighted each of these focus areas in his lecture as he discussed history of war and talked about the nonviolence missions of peace leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi.
“Human beings are not naturally violent,” Chappell said. “We were conditioned to become violent. That is why it is up to us to solve that problem. World peace is possible, but it will continue to take a lot of work. We just have to keep being active — and we can do it.”
Chappell concluded his lecture with a question and answer session with members of the audience.
Chappell’s visit to Maine also included speaking at the University of Maine at Farmington and Waterfall Arts in Belfast on Oct. 26. He also presented a public talk workshop on Waging Peace at Waterfall Arts Oct. 27.