Athena Katsaros – On the path of peace

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From 2003 through 2006 Athena co-developed and taught a program called Creative Insight based on the award-wining Stanford Business School course ‘Creativity in Business.’ This ground-breaking program featured leadership and life skills workshops for over 200 people who lost family members on September 11. Today, as a member of the governing board of the Business Council for Peace, Athena co-develops and delivers training and mentoring programs for businesswomen in post-conflict countries, including Afghanistan and Rwanda. Athena is also a Certified Professional Coactive Coach.

Athena, what about your involvement with Bpeace is important to you?

There are so many things that are important to me. First, I feel an irresistible call to work for peace in the world. Bpeace gives me a hands-on, practical way to do it. With all the hard things that are going on around the globe, I feel it is critical for all of us to use our talents in the best way we can. Bpeace is a way for me to reach out beyond what would normally be the boundaries of my world.

Second, I love the personal connection I have with the women in our programs. Now that I’ve been to Afghanistan four times and Rwanda once, I have had the opportunity to establish relationships with these remarkable women. Going to these countries to work with individual business women gives me the chance to really get to know people, who they are, what their dreams are, and how I can contribute to having those dreams come true. I am not a spectator or a tourist. I am personally involved with each of the women I work with.

Three, the other members of Bpeace are smart, creative people. I did not realize when I joined that would be entering such an inspiring and powerful community of both women and men. this is such a bonus!

You make it seem so fantastically simple, you had a calling and acted on it. What advice would you give to someone who also wanted to step over their own boundaries and get involved with peace organizations oversees?

My advice is to listen deeply to what calls you and move towards it. Playing a role in creating peace doesn’t mean you have to go overseas. If creating peace is what calls you, there are myriad ways to work on that. Local communities have organizations that work on peace in schools and in the streets. Many organizations that work overseas, including Bpeace, have the need for people to do work here in the U.S. Each time Bpeace volunteers go on a mission overseas there are months of preparation required before and follow-up projects afterwards. Dozens of people get involved without ever stepping on an airplane.

If you want to make a difference in the world, the most important thing is to listen to your inner voice and follow it. I made a commitment to this several years ago and it is what put me on my path today. We each have unique gifts and talents to contribute and the world needs all of us to show up now and use them to the fullest.

If we did all truly show up and use our unique gift what shift do you believe would happen in the world?

Wow! What a vision! First, the world would be full of joyful, expressive human beings because we would have burst out of the boxes we put ourselves in and found a way to be more fully alive. There would be more creativity everywhere so the issues we now see as unsolvable (world hunger, global warming, ethnic divisions) would be seen in new ways and creative, dynamic solutions would emerge. There would be more peace on every level in families, in organizations, in towns, cities, countries and across the globe. Quite simply we would all be much happier.

Where is your path taking you, what is your ultimate goal?

I have no idea where my path is taking me. I am much more interested and engaged in the path than the destination. Gandhi says “The means are the ends.” For me this means living a life every day that is aligned with my deepest values and using my talents to do work I love and that contributes to others. My goal is to be happy every day and to spread that happiness.

Athena, thank you for spreading a lot of happiness here at the barn!

Athena can be contacted at athena@ideatribe.com and for more information on the Business Council for Peace check out www.bpeace.org

The Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) believes that entrepreneurship is a foundation for creating hope and stability in regions where conflict exists. At Bpeace it doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is, or what your views are of your country’s foreign policy. We are an apolitical group of more than 200 volunteers. What we share is a belief that business can create peace. Why? As Clint Eastwood said in A Fistful of Dollars, “Once a man has some money, peace begins to sound good to him.” Source – http://www.bpeace.org

© The Red Barn Cooperative

3 Responses to “Athena Katsaros – On the path of peace”


  1. 1 Merete Gedde-Dahl March 5, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Hi Athena
    This is sooo inpiring. You emerge energy and love for your vision and what you are contributing with.

    With love, Merete Gedde-Dahl

  2. 2 Katie Milette March 6, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you Candice and Athena for a great interview, informative and inspirational…loved it. Athena, thanks for your wise words, “listen deeply to what calls you and move towards it”. I wrote them down as a reminder.

    And follow the links, they are fantastic! Go to the bpeace site and learn what’s happening in their world. Then click on the Projects & Progress tab…then Afghanistan “details”. Follow that to the right hand side, scroll down to “Afghanistan photos” and click on “here”. You will enter the world of the women of Kabul. The stories and pictures are beautiful. Thanks again, I learned new things, saw new sites and was inspired!

  3. 3 Penny Collins March 7, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Athena,
    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I think so often we look at our world and wonder ” how can we make a difference?” Thanks for showing us that there are real tangible ways people can get in there and be a source of change.
    Be happy & safe on your journey.


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