Ashland commission's public launch is Monday, UN Day of Peace

    The Ashland chief of police, an "oracle" from Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the World Peace Flame from Wales come together to help launch the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, Monday, Sept. 21, the United Nations International Day of Peace.

    Ashland’s first-ever Culture of Peace Festival and Peacebuilding Resource Fair runs from 4 to 8 p.m. at the basement level of the Ashland Elk’s Lodge. Mayor John Stromberg is scheduled to provide a welcome at 5 p.m., to be followed by an introduction of commission members, a lighting ceremony from the World Peace Flame in Wales (bring a candle to participate), predictions for the future of the commission by the OSF "Head Over Heels" Oracle (Michele Mais), and a dedication performance by Dancing People Company.

    The Ashland Culture of Peace Commission is unique in the United States, and the world, and is acknowledged and supported by the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace at the United Nations, according to a statement from the commission. Its formation comes after two years of work by a local citizens group working with the community and the Ashland City Council to create this one-year pilot commission.

    The Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC), endorsed by the Ashland City Council, is a body of diverse citizens who have a goal of fostering an Ashland that identifies itself as cultivating a culture of peace, both as a commitment to itself and a presentation to the world. Essential elements include working with city government and the community to maintain and enhance respectful and caring relationships between all sectors of society and the environment upon which they depend.

    Members from various sectors of the community were invited to join the commission. This process attracted the current 14 people serving; more will be added. Current members include police Chief Tighe O’Meara, Ashland Public Library Manager Amy Blossom, Daily Tidings Editor Bert Etling, non-violent communications counselor Joanne Lescher and city Councilor Pam Marsh. David Wick of Pathways to Peace is executive director.

    The commission will soon include students from Ashland High School and Southern Oregon University.

    The Peacebuilding Resource Fair will have information and demonstration tables focused on local peacebuilding resources, such as mediation, conflict resolution, non-violent communication, restorative justice, collaborative law, and inner peace practices. There will also be musicians, poetry, and a grand finale dance.

    The entrance to the Elks Lodge is at the rear of the building at 255 East Main St. Enter through the marked entrance off the back alley (Will Dodge Way).

    For additional information, go to or contact Wick at 541-552-1061 or


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