In commemoration of Tanenbaum|25 (our 25th Anniversary), we wanted to introduce you to some of the Tanenbaum Friends, those who helped us throughout the years—and share our vision for a more respectful and peaceful world. The following interview with Judy Thompson is from December 2016.
Why do you think Tanenbaum’s work is important today?
In a world wracked with violence and discrimination inspired by religious divisions, Tanenbaum stands alone in its vision to work through corporate, educational and health related organizations to inform policies and practices that impact massive numbers of people. In addition, its Peacemakers’ program identifies, promotes and assists individuals inspired by their faith, who are working for peace in their communities and beyond. Tanenbaum’s publication of the Peacemakers’ stories, for consumption by diplomats and academicians, in turn spreads the word about best peacekeeping practices in what is becoming its own acknowledged academic discipline.
Have you or someone you love ever experienced religious prejudice / hatred? How? What happened?
No, I have not. While I am an agnostic, my family which is Christian has always lived in a primarily Christian community.
What do you wish other people knew about Tanenbaum?
There are a number of organizations doing peace and tolerance work around the world. I think Tanenbaum’s major programmatic areas are not typically addressed by others and they have a multiplication effect not usually seen in this kind of work. This makes Tanenbaum’s work particularly important.
What would you say is Tanenbaum’s most notable achievement, and why?
The Peacemakers’ program because of its impact in the diplomatic world and its critical support to Peacemakers around the world through the Peacemakers’ Network and the biannual Peacemaker conferences.
As a lawyer who believes in human rights, how do you think Tanenbaum contributes to those goals?
I believe that the fiercely held American value that every human being has the right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness—unrestrained by race, gender, age or religion—is implicit in every effort made by Tanenbaum’s staff, board, supporters and, most especially, the Tanenbaum Peacemakers. Though Tanenbaum’s work is conducted through the lens of religion, it’s impact is much broader, bringing inspiration and resources to men and women from every background around the world.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Keep it up!! I’m so glad to be associated with Tanenbaum. Great work always!