PeaceCon Video


The Montebello Project: a Marker Down for Peace

Response to The Art of Peace Conference

—– Original Message —–


Greetings Peaceniks:

We wanted to send a big thank you to all participants of The Art of Peace conference, not just for your singular intellectual, visual, and aural contributions, but for your willingness to reach and engage across multiple media, disciplines, borders, and species (that comes from Walter and Mika):  that is a rare thing.  Based on the new, diverse, and productive connections made between people and ideas, as well as the great video interviews we now have in the can, the Montebello Peace Initiative is up and running!
Also, we are in the process of doing our after-action review, so please, if you’ve not done so already, let us know what worked, what didn’t, and who or what we should include in TAP 2!

James and Nisha


Dear James

Mate, that was a superb meeting.  It leaves me with much to think about,
and that is a rare and beautiful thing these days.  You managed to bring
together some really first rate people, from an extraordinary range of
backgrounds, and presided over the proceedings with style and grace.
Congratulations.  Thank you.  Adam Ashforth (University of Michigan)



Dear Nisha, that was a superb meeting and you did a marvelous job.  Thank

you so much.  Best, Adam Ashforth (University of Michigan)



Hi James and Nisha


First of all, congratulations to you both on a stimulating and enjoyable conference!  I had a good time, and really enjoyed the diverse presentations and films.  It was a delight, and a classic in the pantheon of Der Derian events.  I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to say good bye in the AM.  I was off on the early AM bus.



Ron Deibert (Director, Canada Centre for Global Security, University of Toronto)



James, Nisha,


Thank you for the opportunity to attend this thoroughly stimulating and fascinating event.  I can’t call it a conference, as your events are more  “social happenings”  –  the  Edinburgh  Fringe Festival  of IR 🙂  thanks also for putting up with my little tribe, I could  not have made it unless they could come along.   Let me know how you are thinking about follow-up, there were a lot of good ideas that came out of the discussions and it would be great to take them forward in some fashion or another.


Best wishes,




Rafal Rohozinski


The SecDev Group



Dear James and Nisha,


Thank you and congratulations on an incredibly stimulating and productive workshop. It was clearly a marathon of organization, but good will, good humor, and hard work won the day. The Art of Peace hosted a stunning collection of artists, practitioners, and scholars, and did – better than any conference I’ve been to – achieve the goal of presenting serious work in a number of different forms. The Chateau Montebello was lovely, and the food delicious.


For my part, I was really inspired by John Hunter – it was really exciting to be at a conference where innovation, teaching and learning were put at the centre; I loved meeting Laurence Kirmayer, Jarat Chopra, Pablo Idahosa, among others.


David and Kathryn really enjoyed their experience also.


I sincerely hope that we can continue to help with this project, as we welcome Nisha to uOttawa.


Mark B. Salter

Associate Professor/ Professeur agrégé

School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa/ l’École d’études politiques de l’Université d’Ottawa



Dear James and Nisha,


I first of all want to thank you for having organized this event. It was a very productive and stimulating conference, lots of exchanges and new connections were made and I can say for myself that it will provide both my research and my teaching (especially a seminar on war and popular culture I’m giving in the Fall) a new direction and impetus. I’m eager to take on what we’ve discussed in Montebello head on. I’m also quite thankful to you for having brought us all together to think hard about the art of peace and its aesthetics and I can’t wait to see where the Montebello Peace Initiative will go next!


Once again, warm thanks to you – and I hope the trip back to Boston and Providence was smoother than my return to Ottawa!


All the best to you two,



David Grondin, Ph.D.

Professeur adjoint | École d’études politiques | Université d’Ottawa

Assistant Professor | School of Political Studies | University of Ottawa



nisha & james!

first of all thank you again for having me

as part of the mestizo art weirdo tribe

i will never forget my time at montebello…

a real quickie of my after-action review:

what didnt work….


1. audio visual laptop presentation tech inconsistencies.

it would be great to have all that stuff streamlined

maybe burn all presentations onto a single dvd?

or get one local on site tech guy to handle all a/v presentations?

2. outdoor talks,walks ,lectures etc?

maybe a teepee invocation to start & end conference?

or a talk on environmental concerns in the gazebo by the lake?

3. male to female ratio.

seemed kinda 70/30 in favor of dudes

would be nice to try to bridge that gap?


what worked…


1. everything else!!!

no joke it was kickass through & through

i put on gigs for a living & this conference rocked

take it from me!!

lots of love & peace

& needless to say if you need a guitar player for art of peace 2..

you know who to call 🙂 xoxox david garza (Musician)



Hi Nisha & James —


It is I that should be thanking YOU. I enjoyed the conference and especially engaging with people across disciplinary divides and with types of creativity that I wouldn’t usually get the chance to encounter in my academic work. I plan to follow up individually with a number of people whom I met, which I certainly take as a sign of conference success.  Let me take a bit of time to think if I have any more substantive comments, but for now, let me just congratulate you on a great initiative and a job well done.


With all best wishes,



Elisabeth King

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Columbia University



Hi Nisha,


Thanks so much for inviting to show Budrus at the conference and for all of your hard work in putting it together. I had a wonderful time, and though I’ll admit I was somewhat skeptical at first about the range of issues covered, was actually very impressed by the serious and productive discussion we all were able to have, and the great relationships we now have coming out of the gathering. Looking forward to hearing about next steps in the initiative, and we’ll make sure to keep you posted about our upcoming film projects (to be released in the fall).


Warm regards,

Nadav (Outreach Coordinator, Just Vision)



Hello, James and Nisha,


I wish to thank you both for including me in this gathering of minds.  I was deeply moved and inspired by many of the presenters, and came away enriched.   I found the participation of Terrence, Vivian and Adam’s son, especially enlightening.  We had a conversation by the pool, and he mentioned how much he enjoyed the film about the Peace Game.  What did you like about it? I asked.  He was quick to reply, Well, I like when they tossed a coin for peace, and peace won.


I hope peace has won among ourselves, for how can we work for peace if we are not at peace with those in our respective lives.  To that end, I am working on walking towards peace with a brother who finds me as obstinate as I find him.  I am at least communicating with him, and that is where peace begins, no?


Mil gracias to you both.  Pls forward this to James whose email I do not have at my fingertips.


With gratitude and light,


Sandra Cisneros (Author)



A belated thanks, Nisha and James, for a great event, and for all the individual and collective soul-searching.


Look forward to the next steps,


Best, as always,


Jarat Chopra (Peacemaintenance International)



Hi James & Nisha,


Thanks so much for inviting us into your interesting and provocative world. It was definitely part of the break from editing that I needed.

Very interesting to see and hear so many perspectives, and actually quite inspiring too!


Peter Mettler and Michelle Latimer (Filmmakers)



Hello, James and Nisha.  Thanks so much for making the Montebello conference possible.  A great deal of vision and dedication were necessary to make the event possible, and it was a privilege to participate.


Having (unfortunately) missed most of the last day, I’m not in the best position to offer overall feedback, though I would be quite interested in hearing a summary of any large ideas that emerged as the conference drew to a close, and am naturally curious to learn about your vision for the future.  I can say that the mix of people was refreshing and invigorating, which made mealtimes and random conversations almost as interesting as the conference hall proceedings.


For TAP 2, would there be any value in bringing a couple of people from the applied side of global governance (e.g., a UNESCO rep, or someone from the UN Secretariat), and/or persons of some prominence in areas such as NGO peacebuilding or secondary school education?


Best wishes as you plan TAP2!


Nathan Funk (Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo)



Thank you one more time for giving me the opportunity to come up and participate in what was probably one of the best gatherings I have been to.  I hope we can continue to develop ways to move the thoughts and ideas further along.


Nonny de la Peña (University of Southern California and Knight Foundation Fellow)



Dear James and Nisha,


I apologize for the delay in responding.  John and I were at the Aspen Institute’s Ideas festival last week, and with the holiday this week I am now just catching up, barely, with my work.  I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for just a wonderful experience at Montebello.  What an amazing experience.  It wasn’t until I read a book about the design firm IDEO as I was flying to Canada that I truly appreciated your intent of bringing together such a diverse group of people and interests to discuss/brainstorm the concept of peace in a true design thinking approach.  I do believe that this Conference may have had a significant impact on all who attended.  I know it did for me.  I don’t have any suggestions as of yet for your next Conference, though I will certainly keep this in mind.  I do hope that our paths will cross again sometime in the near future.  I keep thinking of a short film to represent the concept, or emotion, of peace, and perhaps one day I’ll be able to develop this and screen it at a future Conference.




Chris Farina (filmmaker, Rosalia Films)


Dear James,

I’m just sorry for the delay, its been hectic here
and I’m leaving in the morning for Rwanda for some peace workshops
there. But I hope this finds you well, and want to thank you again for the
invitation to be part of the conference. It was something quite extraordinary,
I just regret having to leave early.

Warmly, and thanks,

Aaron Levy, Executive Director
Slought Foundation
4017 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19104