Adaptive Action: Starting a Flashmob

Kristine QuadeWHAT?

This past year, I was invited to work with a group of women to see what we could do to develop training to implement U. N. Security Councils Initiative U.N.S.C.R. 1325. The Initiative's stated purpose to train women leaders in concepts of peace negotiations, peace building activities, and conflict prevention. I was honored and excited to spend 5 days with some amazing women. Over the past 4 months, very little traction has been made on the training--but not for lack of desire or concern.

But I am a person of action, so I thought about creating an effort in Arizona. This seemed like a brave thought given the variety of politics, positions and personalities that exist in AZ at this time. I did not know how to name my idea or how to frame a vision, but I put out the word that I wanted to start a FlashMob and that I was not sure about the process or outcome. I invited women to come to my house on a Saturday morning and talk about it.

A very small group of women showed up to talk about the opportunities we now have to influence peace on a global level, which seems really huge and daunting. We also talked about the even greater opportunity we have to influence peace by starting with peace building in Arizona! Under ordinary circumstances, we would start some sort of an effort by convening a group who wished to be the founders, build an organization, create a mission and objectives and then begin to work. However, these are not ordinary times!

We also talked about an annual International Women’s Day on March 8th, which usually boasts of thousands of events held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate the achievements of women.


Our little group decided to take advantage of this day and create as many FlashMobs (FMs) as we could and in a variety of environments around Arizona. A FlashMob is a group of people who just seem to show up at a train or bus depot, start dancing or singing and then vanish! And we know that FlashMob videos are posted on YouTube as a visual of documentation of the event.

We decided to do the same thing. We sent out an invitation with instructions about how to convene a FlashMob. We chose a sample video, wrote out the words, and shared another video with the choreography. We asked all women participants to wear white, and we asked the men to act as a support team to video the event. We published the simple rules for the FlashMob:

  • Show up on time
  • Be prepared
  • Have fun
  • Expect the unexpected

Then we asked the women if they were willing to meet to create an organization called Women Leaders As Peace Builders. As we launch this venture, we don’t know where it is going but we are willing to stay in a state of emergence.


What we know for now is that we want to focus our attention on a US-centric implementation of U. N. Security Council U.N.S.C.R. 1325, more simply referred to as 1325. While other countries are well on their way with action plans, the US seems to be stalled in "document creation", and we are about action!

Initiative 1325 was designed to create a framework for empowering half the world’s population as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity. And we know in our hearts there is work to be done on our own soil. Of the 4 high level objectives, we are choosing to focus (for now) on:

Protection from Violence: The United States Government will strengthen its efforts to prevent—and protect women and children from—harm, exploitation, discrimination, and abuse, including sexual and gender-based violence (physical, emotional and spiritual) and trafficking in persons, and to hold perpetrators accountable in conflict-affected environments.

We found during our discussion that this statement seems to be externally focused--on women experiencing violence in other countries, but there was no focus on the women who are experiencing domestic abuse or are themselves the person being used as a human commodity. 

We were able to identify many examples of victims of violence and many avenues for how we might make a difference. And we believe this is reflected in our song choice for March 8th!. There are many activities we could, as a group, take on--writing, researching, speaking, acts of charity, etc. We are excited about defining our actions and then setting about to make a difference. 

We are clear that we are at a global tipping point, where institutions and systems are ill-equipped to respond to new crises, challenges and conflicts of the 21st century. With a new vision and innovative approaches that ensure human security, dignity, peace and well-being, women can play an essential leadership role in guiding the change by activating their individual and collective wisdom, power, and experience to build viable peace systems around the world. 

We want the women of Arizona, from various interests and sectors, to develop the women's way to impact peace building, starting locally and moving toward a global impact. We want the story of Women Leaders As Peace Builders to come together through different perspectives, strong desires to institute change, and a deep understanding that the opportunity for action is now. 

Kristine Quade's website is
and she runs the The Dynamical Leadership Academy™  and The Center for Dynamical Leadership™

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