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Peace and Justice

Articles from Servas Members Addressing World Peace and the Universal Human Condition

Peace & Justice Blogs

Many Servas members are doing exciting and interesting things to enhance opportunities for Peace and Social Justice. Perhaps you are involved with a local, or national, project to improve the environment, helping with refugees, engaged with various democracy enhancing projects, or a community food bank. Other Servas members may want to know, maybe even join in the effort. We invite you to contribute your story about your personal efforts to buttress Peace and Social Justice. 

Featured Articles

Unique peace and justice articles submitted by Servas members that are particularly well-written and/or might be of special interest to members. Tell us about it. Submit your stories here.

Click here to send in your story.

Click here to contact the US Servas Peace Secretary.

  • October 25, 2023 8:20 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    Photo of two embossed passport holdersby Bill Magargal 

    US Servas presented the first-time ever Peace Awards to two outstanding members, Deborah Shimkus and Carol Trible. Because both applicants were equally inspiring, dedicated, and "noteworthy", the board decided that they would both share our "Most Noteworthy" designation, thus each will receive up to $500 reimbursement for their conference attendance & travel costs, plus each of their umbrella NGOs will receive a $500 donation from US Servas in the awardee's name. Both recipients also received a leather passport holder embossed with their name and the Servas logo (see photo). 

    Photo of Carol Trible talking about Tucson SamaritansCarol Trible received this award for her long-time work with Tucson Samaritans. The Samaritan volunteers, known as SAMs, go into the Sonoran Desert to provide water and humanitarian relief to migrants attempting to cross the treacherous and deadly landscape, made even more so by the US Border policies set in the late nineties. Carol gave an excellent twenty-minute presentation at the national conference about the Samaritans' ongoing efforts to reduce migrant deaths in the desert. The statistics on this are staggering. To view a video of Carol's presentation, visit our YouTube video. For more information about the SAMs and what they do, see Carol's article, A Walk In the Desert, which appears in the August 2023 Open Doors newsletter. 

    Photo of Peace Secretary, Karen Morian, reading letter from Deborah ShimkusDeborah Shimkus received a Peace Award for her many years of volunteer work with "Together Women Rise", a powerful community of women and allies dedicated to achieving global gender equality. This organization helps empower women around the world by providing a substantial ($30,000 to $50,000) grant each month to an organization that empowers women and girls in low-income countries. Deborah works at the grassroots level as a regional coordinator, talking to women she meets, encouraging chapters to form, to raise funds for the grants.

    Due to prior commitments Deborah was unable to attend the conference, but she did send us a moving letter that was read to the attendees by Karen Morian, our new Peace Secretary. For more information about this life-altering organization visit the Together Women Rise website. 

  • September 16, 2023 9:24 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    Photo of artist, David Kabambo, with disabled woman on a special tricycleServas Tanzania will host a painting workshop where attendees will paint artwork for a Servas Tanzania Art Auction. If attendees are uncertain of their abilities, local artists will be there to provide guidance and instruction. Proceeds from the auction will benefit rural people with disabilities by providing wheelchairs, tricycles, and other devices to people with mobility issues. 

    The project is spearheaded by David Kabambo, a Servas Malawi member. Mr. Kabambo donated 18 paintings to Servas India for the arts auction held during SICOGA. His art-- upbeat, colorful depictions of African scenes and wildlife brings smiles to all who see it.  

    One of David Kabamo's stylized paintings of grazing giraffes, zebras, elephant, and other animalsFrom 2016-2022, David Kabambo, engaged friends from Rotarian Clubs to raise funds to purchase 57 wheelchairs that were donated to people with a mobility disability living in rural areas.He hopes that this new project will result in the donation of 100 wheelchairs.  

    After the workshop, Mr. Kabambo, has arranged for attendees to visit Serengeti National Park. The workshop and safari will surely delight participants and create long lasting memories, new friendships, while contributing to the improvement of many lives in rural Tanzania. 

    The project will occur in 2024. Open Doors will run updates as we get more information on this project. 

  • September 16, 2023 8:48 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    by Francisco Salomón Luna Aburto & Mei Wang, Servas International Peace Secretaries 

    On behalf of the EXCO,  I want to thank you for your participation in the meeting that was held August 6th, 2023 to plan activities  celebrating the anniversary of Servas, the International Day of Peace, and International Servas Week.There were 32 attendees from 26 countries, so by any measure, it was a success. Here is a link to a recording of the event.We had several great presentations during the conference including one by Mr. David Kabamboof Servas Tanzania entitled Artists Peace Safari... see Sept. 2023 article “Tanzania - Art to Benefit People with Disabilities.” 

    Call to carry out a walk for peace during the month of September.  

    Let's take advantage of the month of September for a  peace walk -- an opportunity to strengthen the friendship between the members of each group, invite members who are not active, promote Servas to friends and family, share with other organizations that promote peace,spend time outdoors and learn more about the organization to which we belong. Each of us can be an ambassador of peace. Here are some things we can do: 

    • Look for local references to pilgrims for peace in your country. This has been a traditional practice in many places; you will learn many things about yourself and our world community. A wonderful example of this is the story of Mildred Norman’s 28 year peace pilgrimage 

    • Share the results of the activities (pictures, writing and videos) on social networks and in national and international newsletters to encourage the participation and involvement of members.  

    • Visit the Servas International website to find out about events and activities to be held in different places in the world, some are even virtual,so we can all participate. 

    With these actions we promote world peace.   

  • September 16, 2023 8:25 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    photo of Karen Morian, U.S. Peace SecretaryBy Karen Morian, US Servas Peace Secretary

    On August 6, Servas Peace Secretaries from six continents met online to discuss upcoming events and ongoing projects. Servas International's joint Peace Secretaries Mei Wang (Taiwan) and Francisco Salomon Luna Aburto (Mexico) moderated. Our new US Peace Secretary, Karen Morian, attended on behalf of US Servas.Watch a recording. 

    In addition to US Servas’ call for participation in the United Nations Peace Wave at noon on September 21 in recognition of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, Servas International called for local peace walks during the month of September. Members and local chapters are encouraged to invite like-minded friends and local organizations to participate. Aside from marking the occasion, this will also increase the visibility of Servas within our local communities. Servas is also asking that all websites and social media display images with peaceful themes. More information may be found here:  

    Participants shared plans for Day of Peace activities around the world: 

    • Servas Israel plans a peace visit to Galilee in response to increasing violence there. 

    • Servas Iran will set up a telescope in a park and encourage people to view the borderless night sky to mark the event. 

    • Servas Spain and Servas Portugal will host a joint, weeklong peace meeting September 16-23rd to mark the Day of Peace, and to plan future projects and events. US Peace Secretary, Karen Morian, will attend and report back at the US Servas conference in October. 

    • Servas Argentina will hold a two-day meeting to mark the occasion and plan for the coming year. 

    • Servas Uruguay will hold a public event for children at which they will be invited to create art about Peace and/or Nature. 


    David Kabambo of Servas Tanzania presented his project, Servas Arts Tanzania; funds raised from the sale of artworks will be used topurchase wheelchairs and hand-powered tricycles for people with disabilities. Servas members who are creative artists are encouraged to donate works to be auctioned to support the initiative. The project will officially start in 2024 (see article in September Open Doors) 

  • August 06, 2023 2:11 PM | Deirdre Marlowe (Administrator)

    photo of people at a stadium doing "the wave" with a banner that reads Join the UN Peace Wave"This year the UN International Day of Peace falls the day before the autumnal equinox – one of the two days a year when day and night are equal. What a metaphor! John Lennon’s “Imagine” has been an anthem to peace, but more than fifty years after it was released and more than twenty years since it was voted the UK’s favorite song of all time, it continues to be banned. Most recently, because of what has been identified as theistic intention in the lines “Imagine there’s no heaven… and no religion, too,” even though it has been demonstrated time and time again that religion separates people rather than bringing them together – think Afghanistan, Palestine, and Myanmar to name but a few.  

    There are many ways to join people around the world in observing the International Day of Peace. Here are some possibilities. We suggest that you take part in the peace wave by observing a moment of silence at noon in your local your time zone 

    Read Outcasts United ,a book about a refugee soccer team in a segregated city and how it changed things. Play fútbol. Read Rick Steves’ Travel as aPolitical Act. Hold interfaith and intercultural dialogues. Read This Is an Uprising about nonviolent revolution in the 21st century. Walk, march, parade for peace. 

    Read What the World Eats. Prepare something from The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations, featured in a previous issue of Open Doors. Feast for peace. Engage in a volunteer activity that supports peace. Share how you celebrated the International Day of Peace with us by commenting on this piece or emailing 



  • August 06, 2023 2:07 PM | Deirdre Marlowe (Administrator)

    photo of the Sonora Desert in early morningby Carol Trible

    A lot of people know the Arizona desert can be deadly in the summer but may not know that it can also be deadly in the winter.  Because southern Arizona is a desert, with very low humidity, even breathing can dehydrate you. The low humidity and normally cloudless skies mean that there can be up to a 50º temperature difference between day and night, so hypothermia is also a danger, especially in the higher elevations where it is colder. 

    In the 1990’s the Border policy changed to “Prevention through Deterrence”, see Prevention Through Deterrence. This policy change meant that those desperate enough to cross the border could no longer do so at or near the border crossing cities. Instead, they were forced into more deadly areas.  Unfortunately, this official US policy has not stopped people from crossing, but instead forced them into more deadly areas, where many die each year. 

    In Southern Arizona there are a number of different organizations that try to help these people, some of them are :  Humane Borders – with large water tanks marked with flags, where crossers can get clean water;  Samaritan Patrol, the organization I belong to that does a number of different things, including hiking into the desert to put out food, water, and blankets. Another group, No More Deaths, does some of the same things as Samaritan patrol, in addition to maintaining a camp in the desert to assist folks and give them a chance to rest. 

    I joined SAM’s (what we tend to call the group) shortly after it was created over 20 years ago, first at most once a month (working full time got in the way ) then almost every week once I retired (until the pandemic). I am still working on getting back in the grove on that now mostly as part of the self-named water buffalo group. I liked doing that one over the other types of hikes, because even if we didn’t see anyone, we saw evidence through water use, that we were helping people.  At 60 I was normally the youngest person on our trips, now in my 70s, I occasionally still am.  

    A water buffalo SAM trip starts at 6 or 7 AM - depending on the time of year.  We meet at the shed, normally 3 or 4 people, but sometimes only 2.  The shed is where SAM’s (Samaritan Patrol) vehicles are stored.  We load the vehicle with food and water from the shed, make sure we have the logbook (to track what we find at the water drops), SPOT, signs and GPS’s.  

    a photo of one of the SUVs used by the Tucson Samaritans to go out into the desertSide note – our vehicles now have names – starting with Joe – named for Joe Arpaio – because a group that sued him and Maricopa County for his harassment won, and bought Joe (then a brand-new SUV) for us with part of the monetary judgement – Joe has since been retired, but we now have Samantha Jean and Ed, both named after dedicated volunteers.

    We first head to the freeway, then south, getting off at Amado, heading towards Arivaca. First stop/slowdown is the Border Patrol checkpoint, heading in we don’t have to stop, but there are some substantial speed bumps, so we aren’t going fast.  Everyone who lives in Arivaca must go over these when returning home from any place large enough to have anything besides small shops and businesses.  Normally shortly after that we pull over to put the magnetic signs on the side of the vehicle that identify us as Samaritans – some of the “travelers” (the term we now use for the border crossers) know to look for our vehicles if they need help. 

    Photo of 3 volunteers carrying water out into the desertWhen we get to our first water drop on the day’s route, we load up with water and food, and head down/up the trail.  A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. I am trying to build back up to carrying three gallons but I am still at two gallons.  Some of the hikes are relatively short, and even over moderately flat terrain, some are up and down, and at least one seems to go straight up.  The longest ones are about ¾ mile one way. We hit anywhere from 4 to 7 drops in a normal day.  

    We hike to the drop(s) – sometimes several on one route, check the usage, add water and food if needed, and carry out any trash with us.   We track the water bottle use, note what kind it is by people, natural damage (chewed by animals, pecked on by birds, stomped on by cattle, or split from freezing) or vandalized (usually shot or slashed, occasionally opened and emptied, but we it’s hard to tellthe latter  unless folks videoed themselves and posted on social media).  The usage information helps us decide how often to check drops, and to know if it is time to stop a drop and find another that is along a more used route. 

    We rarely actually see any travelers but when we do, we check with them to see how they are doing, the choice to call Border patrol is always theirs.  Most of the time, if we see someone, they are done, they are not able/willing to go on.  In any case we offer them food and water, and if they want us to call Border patrol, we do that, and wait with them (or leave someone with them if we must drive to get a signal, then return) until Border Patrol (BP) arrives.   If we see BP with people, we stop, and offer food and water, usually BP says no, that they have what is needed, but sometimes they do accept it. 

    When we are done with the day, we head back to the shed, sometimes with a stop at a local watering hole for a snack or drink, and to see if anything is going on locally.  We unpack, put everything we didn’t use back in the shed, usually wind up distributing the garbage for folks to dispose of at home, and head home.  Someone in the group will write up a report of what we did for the day, water dropped, BP or traveler encounters, etc.and email it to the group, sometimes with bird and animal sightings included also. 

    And then go home and take a shower...

    Map showing location of 63 Migrant deaths in Southern Arizona

  • June 09, 2023 6:14 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    graphic shows several NGO logos - World Central Kitchen, Samaritans, Together Women Rise, etcThe board has set a priority This year to reaffirm the "Peace" part of US Servas... we are not just a travel group. In March we established the first US Servas Peace Awards to recognize members who inspire us by doing a bit more to promote peace and justice than many of us do.The objective is to motivate by example... showing people engaged in peace and justice activities as part of their life. We are not looking for superheroes. 

    We currently have two nominees... we know there are many other members doing noteworthy things, so please, by all means nominate them.Remember, we are not looking for superheroes or Nobel Prize candidates... just members doing a bit more. 

    So why do we have an award? Well, first, to recognize members, and hopefully, inspire others to do a bit more. The hitch is, most of the members doing P&J work are doing it from their heart, not for recognition. They often say things like, "There are plenty of other people doing more, etc." So how do we motivate them to be a nominee... A significant donation (up to $500) to the NGO that they work with. Here is how to nominate someone.  

    • Log in to US Servas and click on the MEMBERS AREA menu item. 

    • Then choose US Peace Awards 

    • This will open the Peace Awards Nomination webpage. Review the criteria on the page, then complete the nomination form and click "Submit". 

  • May 04, 2023 1:12 PM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    Graphic - words love, harmony, peace, joy with US Servas Peace Award logoNominations Open for US Servas Peace Prize 

    As a Servas traveler and/or host you have probably met people who inspire you with their efforts to make life better for others. Maybe it is someone like US member Allison F. who has worked for extended periods with World Central Kitchen to provide food for Ukrainian refugees in Hungary, and at the Texas border for refugees from Central America. Perhaps it is a member who has worked for years providing water and much needed supplies to immigrants in the desert, or someone who has taken refugees into their home. 

    Many of these people, like Allison, are loathe to toot their own horn, and protest with statements like, "There are many others who do this," or "It's nothing, it is just what I do." These are exactly the kind of people we want to know about, and perhaps recognize with one of three US Servas Peace Awards See Details. These awards are intended to recognize their efforts, to inspire other members, and to support the NGO with which they are affiliated. We are not looking for the next Desmond Tutu, or Mother Teresa. We simply want to emphasize and celebrate the US Servas mission of peace.  

    So please, if you know an inspirational US Servas member, nominate them for one of the awards. This will further confirm our commitment to peace, provide a significant donation to a worthy NGO, and offset conference attendance costs for the awardee.  

    Nominations will be accepted until July 31, 2023. The awards will be presented at our 2023 National Conference Oct. 6-8 in upstate New York. Here is a link to the nomination form. If you have questions, please email We look forward to learning about and being inspired by all the amazing things US Servas members are accomplishing to make the world a better and more peaceful place. 

  • May 04, 2023 1:06 PM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    Photo of two women packing bags of food at a food pantryBy Deirdre Marlowe 

    Servas members are people who believe that a shared world should be a civil and understanding world. In our experience this also means that many Servas members volunteer in the community. In addition to one-time service, some volunteers have regular gigs. We’d like you to share them with the community – perhaps the gift you make of your time and talent may inspire others to do the same.  

    Many of our members do peace and justice related activities. They may also do other community building work, for example,PaigeLaCombe, former Servas Peace Secretary, is a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo (specializing in birds). Richard Weaver, Board Chair, volunteers at the San Diego Zoo, the Old Globe Theatre, and the San Diego Symphony. Open Doors editor, Deirdre Marlowe, has served on the Food Waste & Recovery working group of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council – did you know that nearly 25% of Los Angeles residents are food insecure and that California is responsible for 11% of the nation’s agricultural production? She also serves on the board of an arts nonprofit bringing musical theatre show writing to underserved schools.  

    We want to find out what you do. Please submit your on piece on the news submissions webpage, or email it to Pictures would be awesome! 

  • May 04, 2023 9:17 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    photo of woman in suit making peace sign in front of US Servas logoUpdate: July 2023.  Position filled.  Click here to see our new Peace Secretary. 

    Recently, our long-term Peace Secretary, Yosi McIntire offered his resignation so that he could travel more. Yosi has been an inspiration to us all for his tireless commitment to peace and justice. We thank him for his energy and involvement with the board, especially his most recent project to set up the new US Servas Peace Awards. 

    US Servas and Servas International want to reestablish our organizations’ commitment to peace by moving it to the forefront of our website, publications, marketing efforts, events we host, and organizational structures. Servas International now has two, dynamic Peace Secretaries, Francisco Solomon Luna of Mexico, and Mai Wang of Taiwan. Both are outgoing, personable, and strong advocates for the P&J component of Servas. We look forward to sharing ideas and projects with them. 

    As we move forward, we see this as an opportunity to reinvigorate the position with new ideas.Thus, we are looking for a new US Peace Secretary to build and lead the US Servas Peace & Justice team… someone who is an excellent start-up leader with fresh ideas, networking skills, the ability to work with and motivate others, and to share a vision for this group. We are hopeful that our new Peace Secretary will develop a strong team and set up procedures to ensure the team’s ongoing success in the future.    

    The Peace Secretary serves as an ex-officio board member. The Peace Secretary attends board meetings to update and inspire the board and serves as liaison to Servas International to ensure coordination.As the lead on our USS Peace and Justice Team, the Peace Secretary works with the team to administer our new Peace Award, to monitor and encourage Peace Projects throughout the country, and to inform our members of national and international projects and activities. If you know of someone, possibly yourself, who might be interested in this pivotal position in US Servas, please email 

The Gendered Digital Divide 

By Yosi McIntire

Unquestionably, digitalization is rapidly transforming societies. Unprecedented socio-economic advances can be expected. However, it is generally acknowledged that young women, girls, and gender-diverse youth and adolescents—especially poorer ones in rural areas—are disproportionately and systematically excluded from access to technology. ... more

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