I have been a peace activist since 1961 (when I participated in the San Francisco to Moscow Walk for Peace), an expert for the “Learningplays” by Bertolt Brecht in theory and praxis since 1965, a peace researcher since 1972 and a peace educationist by means of role playing and storytelling since 1979. I concentrate on reflection of violence and prevention of war.
From 1974 to 1988, I was a member of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt/Main (PRIF). Since 1986 I live in Austria. Here I founded the office “Peace Research Linz” (Friedensforschung Linz) in 1987 in cooperation with the “City of Peace” Linz and the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR, https://www.aspr.peacecastle.eu/). I was involved in several large research projects (among others “Violence in the City”/Graz, and “Working Atmosphere and Potential for Conflict” / Austrian Chamber of Labor).
Together with Eva Maringer and Andreas Lehner we incepted the Department “Way out of everyday violence” as part of the European Peace Museum in Stadtschlaining/Burgenland (ASPR).
In 2001/2002 I was appointed to be the Acting Director of the research institute for conflict transformation of the Berghof Foundation in Berlin, acting in place of Norbert Ropers, the founder of this important institution, who decided to work for peace in Sri Lanka for a while.
I was a founding member of “KURVE Wustrow”, a training centre for nonviolent action (), of the “Peace Initiative of the city of Linz”; of the “Forum Crisis Prevention e.V.”; and of “Nai”, an initiative to support Syrian refugee children by means of music.
My seminars and trainings deal with how to react nonviolently at threats of violence, using scenes from Brecht’s “Learningplays” and insights of Marshall Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication).
I published about 15 monographs, edited another 50 books – among others 24 volumes PRIF-“Peace Analysis. For Theory and Practice” (“Friedensanalysen. Für Theorie und Praxis”)” within the “edition suhrkamp” and the first 10 annual ASPR-“Peace reports”, and I wrote about 170 articles, essays and papers on the above mentioned subjects.The last book I edited in 2018 deals with prevention of war and civil war. At present I prepare a critical edition of the
Learningplay version of Bertolt Brechts “The Exception and the Rule”(the text of the learningplay will come out in the Yearbook No 43 of the International Brecht-Society) and a symposion on active nonviolence by reason of the 150 anniversary of Gandhi end of September 2019:
Medal for Humanity (Humanitätsmedaille) of the City of Linz 2006
Honorary Member of “Peace Academy Linz” (Friedensakademie Linz) 2018
Jubilee publication on occasion of the 70th anniversary:
Marcel M. Baumann, Hanne-Margret Birckenbach, Volkhard Brandes, Sandra Dieterich, Ulrich Gundermann und Ulrike Suhr (ed.): Friedensforschung und Friedenspraxis. Ermutigung zur Arbeit an der Utopie. Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag von Reiner Steinweg, Frankfurt/M.: Brandes & Apsel 2009