TruthToTell Dec 24: MEL DUNCAN - Audio File HERE

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On-air date: 
Mon, 12/24/2012
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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It’s probably a good thing that we have the opportunity to catch up with Mel Duncan this Christmas Eve morn. The United States remains in mourning over the violent killings of 27 human beings just over a week ago, 20 of them very young children. Deadly human conflict never ceases. That said, few men – or women, for that matter – can match Mel Duncan’s charismatic quest for peace in this world and in this community.

Four years ago, Mel stepped down as founding director of what will surely be his last organizational leadership position – the Nonviolent Peaceforce. After years working almost exclusively on public policy and social justice issues in Minnesota, something moved him to spread his rather extraordinary mix of quiet affect with a drive and determination for moving issues from concept to reality that he adopted a notion that “various kinds of pressure and influence (could) change the behavior of armed actors” in the ever-present venues of conflict around the globe.

Mel Duncan started his group, spent some long time raising money and awareness of the need for nonviolent intervention between belligerents in many countries, more often than not civil conflicts in which the mere presence of unarmed civilians could defuse potential deadly clashes at particular checkpoints within those nations.

Mel will tell us how things have been going with the Nonviolent Peaceforce since he handed over the reins of management of the NP and what he’s been able to do in his role as the organization’s Advocacy and Outreach Director, a job that clearly frees him from administrative burdens and able to do the substantive work.

Mel tells us that NP currently has peacekeepers in the Mindanao region of the Philippines, South Sudan and the South Caucasus. They are developing a peacekeeping project for Myanmar. Those tuned to the news will recognize those hotspots on the world scene. NP is in the thick of it.

Mel helped organize Advocating Change Together, the Minnesota Jobs with Peace Campaign, the Wellstone for Senate campaign and the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action now merged into TakeAction Minnesota.

Mel Duncan is a graduate of Macalester College, St. Paul Minnesota. In 2006 he was honored with their Distinguished Citizen award.  He also holds a Masters degree from the New College of California.

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship honored him with their 2010 Peace Seeker award. The Fellowship of Reconciliation USA awarded him their 2007 Pfeffer International Peace Prize on behalf of Nonviolent Peaceforce’s “courageous efforts in conflict regions around the world.” The Utne Reader named him as one of “50 Visionaries Who are Changing Our World” in November of 2008.

Mel and Georgia’s eight kids and twelve grandchildren probably account for learning negotiation.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL will talk for our Christmas Eve hour with Mel Duncan reporting back on what progress has been made and what is needed in the life of the Nonviolent Peaceforce as 2012 comes to an end.

Call and join the conversation with Mel Duncan – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page

On-air guests: 

GUEST:  MEL DUNCAN – Advocacy & Outreach Director, Nonviolent Peaceforce