Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is launching a series of Webisodes focusing on its attempts to “wage peace” under the name American Unity Project. Paul K. Chappell, leadership director, will travel across the U.S. to educate and empower average American citizens to strive for peace in our nation and all over the world. Episode one takes place in Kentucky, while episode two focuses on Chappell’s efforts in Santa Barbara.
Chappell hopes to show with his Web series what exactly waging peace means and to get people involved and active in the peace movement. He hopes to break stereotypes about peace activists and to bring Americans together to solve common problems.
In addition to the video series, Chappell offers training in peace leadership. In his own words, he is giving people “the skills and tools to do something.” The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation also hopes to open the Peace Leadership Academy, “a West Point for Peace,” according to the American Unity Project’s Web site. Chappell is in fact a graduate of West Point, and he served in the Army for seven years, leaving with the rank of captain. During that time, he was deployed to Baghdad.
Chappell said that much of what he does has to do with giving people hope. “I’m half Korean, a quarter black, a quarter white, and I grew up in Alabama,” he said. “A hundred years ago I couldn’t have done this because of my race. We’ve come so far, but we have to keep going.” He sees the current revolutions in the Middle East as hope for the future. “What’s a better way to overthrow a dictator?” he asks. “What they did in Egypt, or what they did in Iraq? What is less costly?”
The Web series, produced by United PeaceWorks Production Company, was born after a filmmaker approached with the intention originally of making a documentary about Chappell and his work.
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation was founded in Santa Barbara in 1982, and is now located at 1622 Anacapa Street. Its goal is to rid the world of nuclear weapons and to help strengthen international laws. It seeks to do so through educating a new generation of leaders in peace. The foundation’s work has been praised by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Chappell thinks that Santa Barbara, with its laid back and open attitude, and friendly people, is a good fit for the foundation.