Finding Purpose in Thanksgiving:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I write this special note of Thanksgiving to each of you well aware of the irony of a holiday predicated upon events that never happened and at a time when our native brothers and sisters continue to be betrayed by us at Standing Rock and throughout our system of Mass Incarceration.

It’s also two weeks since a divided election that once again laid bare the economic, environmental, and racial injustice which has plagued this nation since its founding.

At times like this, we must dare to dream that another world is, in fact possible. Each and every one of us can make a difference for all those on the margins of our society who are fearful right now because their color, creed, and immigration status seem unwelcome. We must find a way to join our hands and hearts together to counter bigotry with hospitality and fear with love.

My life and work consistently remind me that shared purpose and common endeavor are the answer when fear breeds hate. Our common humanity calls to wake-up and respond to the sense of despondency so many of our fellow citizens feel no matter how they voted. We must remember that no society can thrive when so many folks feel isolated when they can’t seem to work hard enough to get ahead, or when they are scapegoated for the very real failings of our broken political system.

Our nation and our world may feel divided this Holiday Season. We may rue extended-family meals together. We may rightfully worry about what the next four years have in store. But when we come together across the borders of culture, faith, and economic circumstance that so often divide us, another world is possible.

For our children, our grandchildren, our brothers & sisters around the globe, that’s a world still worth fighting for.

On behalf of all of them, and the entire IPM Family, best wishes for a joyful Thanksgiving Holiday!


Joseph F. Cistone

Cleveland, OH, USA










India Reminds Me

Who would you trust to nurture and respect our daughters and the women we love?

Dear Friends,

I landed in India just past midnight Tuesday morning to be greeted by my colleague and old friend, Mahesh Upadhyaya. Mahesh and I are together to accompany an IPM Immersion Experience Delegation co-facilitated with the noted musician Peter Mayer—son of IPM co-Founder Jim Mayer.

Flying from Munich on my connecting flight, I was struck by the anxiousness of even the German flight crew whenever CNN or EURONews came on my screen with talk of today’s US Election (it’s now just past 4am here and Mahesh and I are headed to a connecting flight to South India). Having lived and worked in Europe for many of my formative professional years and reading the Italian daily, La Repubblica, on the plane I am reminded of just how important US Elections are.

While I may now be in the world’s largest democracy, my home nation of the United States calls itself the world’s oldest. How we govern ourselves continues to set an example for the world.

Many of you know, that neither of the two many party candidates has my complete support. One’s record as Secretary of State was not what I had hoped for—especially in backing the coup in Honduras and her approach to the seemingly endless war in Iraq. The other has a history of business failure to rival each success and a track record of insults and demeaning behavior unlike any other we have encountered in someone running to be the President of the United States.

While my varied professional roles temper my ability to comment on partisan matters, my network of colleagues, friends, and family around the globe is made up of people from almost every ethnicity, race, and religion one can imagine. So I am political! Despite my many failings, I have always sought to stand for the inherent human dignity of all persons, especially those less privileged than me, with an unwavering commitment to relationships across borders of culture, faith, and economic circumstance.

Every human person deserves the same dignity and respect we want for our own children. The Golden Rule that is consistent across all the world’s great religious traditions—that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us—remains the core of my belief system.

I, and you, know that God calls each of us to love the orphaned, the widowed, the hungry, the imprisoned, and the stranger. Only one of today’s two main candidates has demonstrated, despite her many imperfections, a life-long commitment to care for rather than demonize the least among us.

Today, millions of people around the world look to the USA once again for an example of what representative democracy is all about. Will we stand for inclusivity and hope or will we succumb to division and hate?

As those of us from the United States choose our next President, I ask you to answer one question and simply this: who would you trust to nurture and respect our daughters and the women we love? If your answer is like mine, we will all be able to hold our heads high tomorrow, begin the process of healing the deep divisions that separate my country, and get back to the real work of building justice, peace, and hope in our world.


Faithfully Yours,


Joseph F. Cistone