The seed of the DEEP Network was planted in early 2014 when several alumni from the peace studies programs at the Universitat Jaume I (UJI), Spain and The University of Innsbruck, Austria, and the Centre for Dialogue (CfD), La Trobe University, Australia, began a collaboration to engage in peacebuilding, dialogue, and conflict transformation. One of the initiators of the network, Alberto Gomes coined the acronym DEEP, which in Sanskrit means small lamp or light, as an appropriate name for a network of change-makers striving to ‘illuminate the darkness in the world’. Alberto Gomes (CfD Director), Michalis Michael (CfD Deputy Director), Jennifer Murphy (teaching staff at UJI and Innsbruck), Elizabeth Chapman (UJI peace masters alumna) set up the network and within a few months, it mushroomed into a diverse organisation with nodes in several cities and countries. Gloria Abarca (UJI and Innsbruck alumna) organised and hosted the first DEEP Workshop in Mexico City in October 2014 with about 40 attendees. This was followed by meetings in San Francisco, Melbourne, Barcelona, and Yogyakarta in 2015.
DEEP's philosophy is rooted in the wisdom of indigenous and traditional cultures. Many of these cultures are close to Mother Nature and value empathy, peacefulness and nonviolence. We believe that there are rich lessons in such cultures that offer alternative perspectives for living in these troubled times and building a more equitable, inclusive, socially just, and ecologically wise communities. Also constituting the bedrock of our vision, values, and ventures is the scholarly work in decolonial and critical studies and political and peace ecology. As the word radical is etymologically related to roots, we seek to be 'truly radical' which the critical philosopher, Raymond Williams has affirmed is ‘...to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.’
The symbol of DEEP is the tree of life. As Marc Nebot, the designer of our logo, explains the tree of life is “a symbol of life renewing itself, transforming itself. Peacefully. It is a symbol of dynamic connection with our surroundings. A circle of vitality. Yet the tree is not perfect. It is beautiful in its imperfect aspects as the imperfect peaces are. It grows from inside the earth and stands tall as nature´s poetry, dancing to the winds. Its branches and nodes expand, each on its own rhythm, always in relation to the others, always deeply interconnected. Beyond a mere image of a tree, it is an abstract symbol that invites reﬂection. With its branches and roots connected in a circle it offers a subtle reference to the tree of life. In the under part of the circle, in yellow, the lines are closer and follow a more uniform direction, referring to the roots, just like the basis of a tree must be strong. As our tree grows and reaches out, it gains blue tones, and the lines ﬂow more freely in the in the shape of branches and nodes, towards the sky. In its whole we can interpret it as a mosaic. A pangaea made of different territories that though irregular make a whole, no matter the proportions and shape. It is at the same time a tree and a map. It is a life map with multiple destinations and directions, a map of connections that reﬂect the DEEP Network”.
We are bewildered and mesmerized by the natural and enchanting beauty of the forest, its luxuriant flora, the melodic sounds of cicadas, birds, and calls of the other creatures, big and small. With its diversity, solidarity, complementarity, interconnectedness, collaboration, and mutuality of its members, our network is now like a forest: dynamic, prolific, vibrant, and abounding. As forests regenerate naturally, our network has also gone through several regenerative processes over the several years of its operation. Instead of country-based nodes established initially, we are now organized holacratically around what we call 'deep circles'. The network is now a web of inter-connected and interweaved circles, in keeping with our ecological theme. It is focused on a vision of a peaceful, decolonial, and ecologically regenerative world inspired by the onto-epistemologies of Indigenous peoples and guided by these values: