Words have power to change the world.

Commitment to the common goal of humanity and the call for action are expressed and communicated in words, and have a great influence on the relationship between people in the community.

ASEZ held webinar as part of the “Words Are More Powerful Than a Sword” campaign in Louisville, KY, U.S.

230 university students and the officials of the University of Louisville discussed about the power and influence of words online.

Peace Program Coordinator, Kathleen Elsherif; Professor Betty Levis; and Chief of Police, Gary Lewis became the panelists to share their own perspective on words.

The participants shared overall information about what we speak in daily life, and power of words, sharing their opinions on the importance of positive words, habit of creating positive words, and how negative words can affect our self-image. Beginning with introducing ASEZ activities, the event consisted of various activities such as expert lectures with Q&A, audience response, and pop quiz. More than 80% of the audience spoke very highly of the impact of words to change the world, and heightened our expectations for this seminar.

Kathleen Elsherif from PEACC Center emphasized about the power of words in relationship. He mentioned about the importance of words and communication for healthy relationships, saying, “Our words have the power to control people or words can be used in healthy relationship to create boundaries, and have open communications.”

He also shared the 3 D’s that the bystanders can do when they see someone using abusive words to each other.

That are about being “direct,” which is to confront the person that’s using abusive language, being “distract,” which is to diffuse that situation just to call attention to stop the violence, and being “delegate,” which is to tell someone else, getting authorities or other people to have that conversation with.

Professor Betty Levis shared what she experienced while working with people with disabilities in the City of Louisville. She asked us to make sure that we use the right words in referring to a person with a disability, and she mentioned the word, “handicapped” as an example. And she also emphasized that it’s important to make sure we focus on people’s abilities not their disabilities, and above all, put the person first.

Chief Gary Lewis said, “Many people are being impacted by what the people say and how they say it. We, over the years, have seen that many situations have been escalated and in many cases de-escalated simply by words. I think it’s so important that we communicate effectively in remembering the power of words and what they do in any relationship.” When the students asked how we can create better habits of speaking positively, he said it is a matter of continuing to practice, and stated muscle memories as examples. In other words, we have to embody the positive speaking habits.

The panelists commonly put emphasis on the campaign, which is focused on preventing violence, and showed their expectation on the future activities of ASEZ by saying that ASEZ is encouraging participation by interacting with the local society.

We look forward to the change of the culture and language in our society against violence, and for the future activities of the young adults who will lead it.