Superpowers for Good
Superpowers for Good: Leadership Lessons From—And For—the World's Great Changemakers
Peacemaker of the Year: We Can Heal America’s Divides by Recognizing Shared Values - s11 ep36

Peacemaker of the Year: We Can Heal America’s Divides by Recognizing Shared Values - s11 ep36

AFP’s Peacemaker of the Year, NAFCM’s DG Mawn, Recognizes the Divisive Tensions in the Country and Sees a Path to Greater Harmony

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Devin: What is your superpower?

DG: I sat with that because that is the name of your program. I asked friends and acquaintances, “How would you define that for me?” I think where people landed is the power of helping them remember who they are, who they want to be, who they can be, and that they can be who they want to be and who they are.

DG Mawn is the president of the National Association for Community Mediation, an association of organizations and individuals founded nearly 30 years ago that is engaged in community-oriented peacemaking inspired by the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

With the Civil Rights Act’s 60th anniversary arriving next year, along with the organization’s 30th anniversary, members are planning 30/60 celebrations.

Earlier this year, the Alliance for Peacebuilding named him the Peacemaker of the Year.

Pundits sometimes describe America’s political divides as the worst since the Civil War. Noting, “Our country has always had significant tensions,” DG is not so dire in his analysis.

He says there are nine different cultures within the US, including First Nations. “Those cultures have different ways of living out who they are,” he says.

Observing that the country has been through some difficult times, DG says, “If we can get through some of those events that our country has gone through since its establishment, we can get through this as well.”

“Part of the way to get through that is recognizing our shared values, regardless of the political spectrum,” he says. Everyone wants to be heard. “That is a shared value.” Everyone wants their children to be safe. People “want to be in a place where they feel connected.” We have genuine shared values.

DG suggests that we need to “unpack the what we call the coats we wear,” referring to our partisan political and other labels we use for ourselves–and others.

In addition to remembering shared values, he notes that we need to understand that someone who works for political or other causes you don’t support isn’t “against you.”

He summarizes his thoughts:

One of the beautiful gifts of our country is that we do have these nine very distinctive cultures that have always been co-creating, have always been trying to figure it out.

If we can embrace that beauty, then we know you don't have to agree with me, whether it be about hunting, whether about being a vegetarian, or whether it be about what political alignments you have. It's not necessary. In fact, it's a gift that our country has given us that we have cultivated those different types of ways of connecting with each other.

It is wonderful to imagine living in more harmonious times. I imagine it is better to begin working toward them.

DG builds peace using his superpower, helping people remember who they are.

AI Episode Summary

  • Devin Thorpe introduces DG Mawn as a great peacemaker and the US peacemaker of the year.

  • NAFCM (National Association of Mediation) was founded almost 30 years ago by community mediators inspired by the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

  • The organization focuses on creating opportunities for peace, justice, and engagement in communities.

  • NAFCM formed associations throughout the country to amplify voices and aggregate wisdom.

  • The organization has nine hallmarks, including anchoring in the community, relating with alternative systems for justice, and working to make systems responsive to the community.

  • The current challenging time in the United States is characterized by deep divisions, but the country has always had significant tensions.

  • The key to bridging these divisions is recognizing shared values, such as the desire to be heard, to be safe, and to be connected.

  • DG Mawn's superpower is helping people remember who they are, who they want to be, and that they can be who they want to be.

  • The superpower is cultivated by being still, listening, and journaling to reflect on thoughts and learnings.

  • To connect with DG Mawn and learn more about NAFCM, visit the organization's website and consider joining as a member or supporter.


How to Develop Helping People Remember Who They Are As a Superpower

DG helps people not only remember who they are but also recognize who they want to be with confidence to become that version of themselves.

As we chatted, he offered some advice on how to develop this ability yourself.

  • Be still and listen

  • Remember your own superpower and who you wanted to be as a kid

  • Think of the people who helped you calm yourself and how they influenced you

  • Emulate those behaviors

  • Journal daily

  • Acknowledge the lessons learned from challenges

  • Express gratitude for those insights

By following DG’s example and advice, you can learn to help others remember who they are and become the best versions of themselves. With practice, perhaps you can make this a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!

Guest Profile

D.G. Mawn (he/him):

President, National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM)

About National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM): Serving as the hub for the community mediation movement initiated by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Part X, the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) is here for all those who are facilitating the possibility of justice, social cohesion and peace in their communities. Come join NAFCM, and let us advance your work, aggregate your wisdom and amplify your voice. More than half of NAFCM's budget funds local efforts throughout the United States and Canada. These efforts have addressed concerns such as Veteran's rights, Older Adults, Formerly Incarcerated Adults, Houselessness, Marginalization of Young Adults, African-American communities, Immigrant communities. As well as current efforts focuses on School-Community Relations, Re-imagining Safety and Rural Empowerment. Connected through a multitude of on-line platforms NAFCM co-creates opportunities with our members to maintain a culled Virtual Library, Webinars, large group gatherings such as Big Tuesdays, Momentum May and the Assembly and more intimate gathering such as TRUST+. Come experience the support and cohesion of being part of the NAFCM family, part of the community mediation movement and experience of the abundance of being part of a community that knows we are only as amazing as all those who make up the we- like you.


Twitter Handle: @nafcm

Biographical Information: Alliance for Peacemaking: U.S. Peacemaker of the Year

D.G. Mawn, M.A., J.D., is the current President of the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM).  As President, Mr. Mawn supports the efforts of NAFCM’s members to amplify the voice, aggregate the wisdom and advance the work of community mediation across the continent.  NAFCM received the 2023 Alliance for Peacebuilding, US Peacebuilding Award of Excellence.  He also currently serves as co-convenor of the TRUST Network, designed to develop a braided forum for the strengthening and expanding the possibility for community cohesion and security infrastructure.   Mr. Mawn is also implementing the Wellbeing Retreat designed by Intuitive Synergies, which focuses on the intersection of trauma, empathy and systems across the state of Indiana.


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