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Mike Abkin (
Posted on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 12:06 pm:   

On September 22, the 44th anniversary of President Kennedy's signing of the legislation creating the Peace Corps, Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota introduced into the Senate a bill to create a cabinet-level Department of Peace and Nonviolence in the federal government!!! Similar to companion legislation introduced last week in the House of Representatives by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and 60 co-sponsors (H.R. 3760), Dayton's Senate bill elevates the U.S. Institute of Peace to a cabinet level department and expands its responsibilities to cover domestic issues as well as international. See Dayton's press release below and at

This is a momentous quantum leap for the Department of Peace Campaign and the fostering of a culture of peace in the nation and around the world. Please, everyone, telephone or email Senator Dayton to thank him for this bold action, and call your own senators to urge them to get on board as co-sponsors. And, of course, continue to call your representative in the House to urge him or her to get on board with the Kucinich bill there.

The grassroots really works! Senator Dayton's office was very impressed with the calls they got from other senators in response to our grassroots activists calling them about it. We now have local Department of Peace campaigns going in over 275 congressional districts in 46 states plus DC and Guam. Find out more at

Keep it up and spread the news!

Mike Abkin (Nigeria, '66-'68)

September 22, 2005
Contact: Press Office, 202.224.3244
Press Release

Dayton Introduces Legislation to Establish U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence

Bill would elevate Reagan-established “Institute of Peace” to Cabinet-level department

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Mark Dayton today introduced legislation that would elevate the current, nonpartisan, federally-funded Institute of Peace to a Cabinet-level department, dedicated to the study and development of policies to promote peace and expand human rights. Dayton’s Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act is the Senate counterpart to House legislation (H.R. 3760) introduced by Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and cosponsored by 59 members of Congress.

Speaking from the Senate floor, Dayton said, “If we are to remain the world’s leader, and if we are to lead the world into a more secure and more prosperous future, we must become better known and more respected for our peacemaking successes than for our military forces. Peace, to have any lasting value, must be advanced, expanded and strengthened continuously. Doing so requires skill, dedication, persistence, resources, and, most importantly, people.”

In addition to making it a Cabinet department, Dayton’s legislation would expand the focus of the Institute of Peace, which was established by President Reagan in 1984, to include domestic issues. The Department of Peace and Nonviolence would serve as a preventive counterpart to the Department of State and the Department of Defense, which resolve international conflicts and defend the nation from attacks.

Currently, the U.S. spends $400 billion on national defense, not including the hundreds of billions being spent on the Iraq War. The Department of Peace budget would be $8 billion annually, equivalent to 2 percent of total defense spending.

Appropriately, Dayton’s legislation coincides with the 44th anniversary of the nation’s oldest federal agency dedicated to peace. On this day, in 1961, President Kennedy signed legislation that created the Peace Corps, an idea originally proposed by Senator Hubert Humphrey in 1957.

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