Alain Richard's journey into nonviolence began in his native France. Having experienced the trauma of the Nazi culture, he joined with others in exploring nonviolent means to end the Algerian war. During the Biafra and Bangladesh wars, he participated in nonviolent actions organized by the Ark Community. He also organized a group resisting payment of the percentage of income tax spent for military purposes in France.
Alain came to the U.S. in 1973 to serve as a Worker Priest. For six years he worked as a day laborer in Chicago along side people of poverty coming from a mix of minority communities. He experienced firsthand the economic violence endured by victims of structural injustice. In 1982, in the face of Cold War military buildups in the U.S. and the Soviet Union, he initiated a call for an International Fast for Peacemakers, organizing visible collective fasts in the Gandhian tradition, in preparation for the U.N. Second Session on Disarmament in New York. In the next several years, he was centrally involved in organizing fasts and hunger strikes in New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Panama, and El Salvador.
In 1983, Alain was invited to be part of a Peace Brigades International team to study the feasibility of a PBI mission in Guatemala. During several periods of service with PBI in Guatemala from 1983 to 1985, he gave presentations on Gandhian nonviolence to religious leaders, worked with Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM) in planning public demonstrations, helped initiate the accompaniment program with endangered members of GAM, and facilitated communication about tortures and killings to the outside world, causing international outcry and demonstrations in Guatemala City with international support. In theses activities he faced threats and intimidation.
In 1989 Alain co-founded Pace e Bene, a Franciscan Service in Nonviolence located in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Berkeley, California. Since then he has made frequent presentations on nonviolence and social transformation at retreats and workshops, facilitated numerous nonviolence trainings, and written articles and pamphlets on nonviolence and cultural transformation. He has also lectured on nonviolence in Europe, Central and South America, and Australia. Alain follows the Gandhian tradition of valuing manual work; he is a skilled craftsman, mounting traditional icons on wood.
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