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Velvet Mesquite - Illustration by George Malesky
Velvet Mesquite
A Natural Symbol of Sustainable Peace

Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA)
~ promoting peace, justice, and sustainability


The Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA) was formed in 2004 when several peace-focused organizations merged their efforts to build a culture of peace and nonviolence in Tucson and throughout the Southwest (see Our Story). Although first formed with the intention of connecting all peace-focused groups in Tucson, COPA evolved into more of an umbrella organization for specific projects that all have a pro-peace orientation. COPA has operated as a volunteer-based organization for seven years. Currently there are five projects under COPA's “umbrella.”

  1. Community Conversations
    An open gathering to promote peace between faith traditions that meets on the last Thursday of September, October, January, February, March, April, and May from 6:30 to 8:45 pm at Catalina Methodist Church. There is a new topic for collective conversation during each gathering as well as a shared vegetarian meal. For more information and directions to this interfaith dinner and dialogue series, contact Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa, satbir@cultureofpeacealliance.org.

  2. Elder Circles, The Wisdom Journey
    A safe, respectful place and process to harvest your life. Elder Circles include the wisdom-seeking of life review, coming to terms with your mortality; life repair, re-contextualizing sad experiences; embracing your legacy, recognizing what you have contributed; and mentoring, passing on wisdom. “Elders are the wisdom-keepers who have an ongoing responsibility for maintaining society's well-being.” For more info and a list of current locations for Elder Circles, which meet monthly, contact Del Jones, del@cultureofpeacealliance.org.

  3. Nonviolence Legacy Project
    Creating a youth-led nonviolence training and direct action team for Tucson and beyond. NVLP provides training programs for youth and adults, including a one-day Youth Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence, a two-day Multi-Generational Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence and a five-day Advanced Youth Nonviolence Institute to certify middle school and high school youth as nonviolence trainers. These certified youth trainers make presentations about nonviolence in schools and other youth-serving organizations, introducing nonviolence as a courageous way of life and a powerful strategy for dealing with conflict and creating positive social change. For info and to register for upcoming training classes, contact Ann Yellott, NVLP Coordinator, 520-991-6781, ann@cultureofpeacealliance.org.

  4. Peace Circles
    Peace practices for peace makers. Peace Circles meet every month on the first Tuesday at 5:30 PM for dinner at Fronimo's Greek Café. The circle is called at 6 and ends at 7. Each month a different peace practice is introduced and discussed or practiced so that people can decide for themselves if they want to become involved with or learn more about that particular practice or tradition. For more information about Peace Circles, contact Judy Francis, judy@cultureofpeacealliance.org.

  5. Phoenix Nonviolence TruthForce
    Working to fulfill Dr. King's dream of making the love, force and truth of nonviolence commonplace in our communities, PNT offers nonviolence training for youth and adults in Maricopa County and is beginning to introduce Kingian Nonviolence into schools and other youth-serving organizations, including juvenile prisons. For more information, contact: Nicholas Katkevich or Mark Klym, 602-799-4572, info@PhoenixNonviolence.org.

COPA Coordinating Council: Representatives from each of the five projects serve on COPA's Coordinating Council, which is its board of directors. In addition, there are Council members who are not affiliated with any particular project, but rather take on duties and responsibilities that are needed to help COPA prosper and grow as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (for example, handling the accounting for COPA's finances or facilitating the Council meetings). Decisions are made by consensus.

If you are interested in serving on COPA's Council, please consider attending a Council meeting or participating in one of COPA's projects in order to see how we function and whether this would be a good fit for your talents and interests. Contact any of the individuals listed above for ideas about how to get involved with COPA. For more information about current Council members, see the Coordinating Council page.