Janet Chisholm grew up in a small town of 18,000--Las Vegas, Nevada. She watched above ground nuclear bomb tests at close range at the nearby nuclear test site. In high school she committed to learn all she could from local atomic scientists and from physics, chemistry and math classes; she entered Pomona College as a chemistry major hoping to design rockets and bombs to help the country compete with the Soviets. She took religion courses, joined civil rights groups, volunteered in the inner city, and lived nine months in Germany studying theology, the confessing church and lay academies. She graduated with a degree in Religion.
Today Janet is a nationally-recognized leader in peacemaking. As a community organizer, engaging trainer, speaker, meditation leader, and popular writer on active nonviolence, she is known for her ability to empower others for personal and social change. Her articles have been published in denominational and peace journals, and the exercises she designed have been adopted for other peace curricula. Her greatest passion is peacemaker training where others recognize their own power to create a world of justice and peace. She is committed to a popular education, highly participatory learning approach that is spiritually-grounded and points to a sustaining personal practice of ongoing action and reflection.
Janet worked in poor urban areas for many years, establishing and operating child care programs and subsidies, shelters and transitional housing, job placement, counseling and other services, as well as addressing child abuse, elder abuse, domestic violence, racism, addiction and other violence. She has been employed in a variety of positions: director of religious education, director of anti-poverty child care systems, university lab school master teacher and professor for student teachers, designer of a career ladder for para-professionals and a State of Connecticut manager for social services.
As a volunteer, Janet has provided leadership for many years in the very active Episcopal Peace Fellowship, serving a term as its national chairperson. For 40 years she has been active in the leadership of peace groups locally and nationally, including serving as a board member of the Nevada Desert Experience, the 26 year faith witness at the Nevada nuclear test site.
Janet established a spiritually-grounded, intergenerational, community-based program called Creating a Culture of Peace (CCP). In four years, CCP traveled to 36 states and Palestine and prepared over 330 Trainers. Janet began the program at the Fellowship of Reconciliation, where she also served two years as the Executive. For several years CCP was based at Kirkridge Study and Retreat Center in Bangor, Pennsylvania and in 2010 moved with Janet to Robbinsdale, Minnesota. CCP has been adopted by organizations such as the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Veterans for Peace, the Texas Conference of Churches, and the Baltimore Presbytery.
Janet holds degrees in Religion and in Human Development and Family Relations.
In May 2012 Janet retired as executive director of CCP and relocated to Berkeley, California. She currently serves on the CCP Board of Directors.