Emissaries for Peace

By Ayasha Thurman | Features Editor

History teacher Jeff Eberwein and his wife Tracy have launched a new business with one objective: to spread peace. The purpose behind Emissaries for Peace is that customers purchase a gift the receiver passes on within a year to someone who can keep the gift up to a year, but then must pass it on and so forth.

The gift consists of a small glass hand with a globe making up the palm with different parts of the world etched on it. To kick the project off, the Eberweins sent the gifts to famous people such as Caroline Kennedy, Elgen Long, President Barack Obama, Yoko Ono, Jon Stewart, Bob Welch and Oprah Winfrey, to name a few.

The website, eforpeace.com, acts as a tracking device for the gifts. The emissary itself is much like a message in a bottle because recipients can find out who has held it in their hands through the website.

“All of the more famous people we have given them to have received their emissary and have registered them on our website, but have not passed them on to the next recipient,” Eberwein said.

Eberwein was inspired to create the website partially from his experience as a history teacher. He said teaching about war and death makes it difficult to share the idea of peaceful resolution with students.  Additionally, he has experienced war through the eyes of his brother and father fighting for the U.S. in Vietnam and World War II, respectively. He and his wife strongly believe in peace and the idea of creating a better life for today’s youth.

“I grew up in a time of war,” Eberwein said. “We are constantly in a war, and I’m tired of it.”

Eberwein believes war is normally the first response without much thought given before reacting. The gifts are a symbolic gesture of his hope to end violent conflict, whether it is by words or weapons.

According to Tracy Eberwein, she can make up to 12 emissaries in two days. It takes 24 hours in the kiln to solidify the gift before placing the globe inside. She worked with the owner of Classic Glass, Lucy Varoujean, to create the design and develop the process. The symbolism of the hands is instrumental in promoting peace.

“[They resemble] people across the globe joining hands to change the world,” Tracy said.

The gifts cost $25 and can be purchased online or at Classic Glass in North Bend on Broadway St. The gifts are packaged in a velvet pouch inside a small gift box and the holder of the gift has the ability to track its journey for its lifetime.

The website features images taken by Jeff Eberwein’s friend, Karl Neumann, whom Eberwein has known for almost 30 years. Neumann purchased three gifts, two of which he gave to his children.

“I wanted to teach my kids this idea since they are the generation that is going to follow me, so they are the ones that are going to live in this world, and it would be great if it were peaceful,” Neumann said.

The Eberweins are donating the profits from Emissaries for Peace to organizations that share and support their vision of peaceful resolution to conflict. The local Women’s Resource Center was the first recipient of funds.

According to Eberwein, the point of the emissaries is to pass them on because they resemble finding peace.

“We hope that in some small way that we help people realize that peace is not only possible,” Eberwein said, “but they can actually take part in the process of making the world a better place.”