Welcome to the DEEP Website. DEEP stands for Dialogue, Empathic Engagement and Peacebuilding which represents the keywords of what we do, promote, facilitate, and foster. As a network of committed and passionate peace builders, we work with communities to realize our vision of a sustainable and peaceful world. We are a young network in terms of how long we have been in existence and also in the sense that most of our members are young. DEEP brings together activists, scholars and change-makers from across the globe, generations, and cultural backgrounds who have refused to succumb to fear, hatred, fatalism and apathy in their quest to foster hope, love, compassion, and empathy.
After almost four decades as a university academic, I decided in 2014 to devote my time and effort to building the DEEP Network in close collaboration with several of my colleagues and former students. I served as the Director of the Centre for Dialogue (CfD) at La Trobe University for two years until its closure at the end of 2014. With Dr Michalis Michael (the former CfD Deputy Director), Dr Jennifer Murphy (Director of San Francisco DEEP), Ms Elizabeth Chapman (Director of Melbourne DEEP), we decided to set up DEEP, building on the fine work and accomplishments of the CfD. Within a short few months, through extensive communication with like-minded people DEEP expanded rapidly, leading to the exciting mushrooming of nodes. We now have nodes in 16 countries and many more (Tanzania, Brazil, Columbia, India, Canada, and Greece/Cyprus) in the process of formation.
For a good part of my life I have professed and philosophized in class-rooms and at forums about the impact of structural violence. However, I have always been guided by Karl Marx’s Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it”. As an anthropologist, I studied the culture of the Malaysian Aborigines (Forest-dependent Indigenous peoples). From them, I learned to appreciate the nexus between ecological sustainability and peace and the value of respect for fellow humans and nature. They taught me about generosity and reciprocity, about living within one’s means, and in short, about buen vivir (the philosophy and practice of good living as expounded by Indigenous communities in South America and elsewhere). Sadly, their lives have been wrecked by the juggernaut of neoliberal capitalism, ushering in its wake structural violence, unsustainable living, discontentment, and despair.
DEEP believes that we have much to gain from the rich lessons from such marginalized communities in dealing with the myriad global problems, be it ecological degradation, violent conflict, racism, inequality, and alienation. We believe that peace is the norm in human life and the violence taking place in several parts of the world is an aberration. We also believe that conflict is a natural aspect of human interactions as people do not always see ‘eye to eye’ but we are committed to transforming potentially negative conflict before it spirals into an ‘eye for an eye’ violence. Most of all, we strive to build a nonviolent and ecologically sustainable world where people everywhere are able to live a good life (buen vivir) in peace.
We are an inclusive and collaborative network. We welcome new members who share our vision, aspirations and values and if you wish to support us or make a donation, we would love to hear from you. We need all the help we can muster in our quest for a more sustainable and peaceful world.
Dr Alberto Gomes
DEEP Global Director
[Emeritus Professor, La Trobe University & Adjunct Professor, Universitat Jaume 1, Spain]