Melina Raissnia


Co founder/Lead designer of  Peace Industry


How do you personally define the “ Local Peace Economy?”

I define the "Local Peace Economy" as businesses seeking to address social problems by providing creative solutions with humanist values. 

What prompted you to make moves away from the war-based economy?

 I was raised in an environment that was very much involved with the peace and nuclear freeze movement. I ended up becoming an artist which means that  participating in the war economy is not where my skills lie. By chance, my husband, who is a native of Iran, brought me a felt rug from Tehran in 1999. That was the seed that started Peace Industry. I council my teenage son to be aware of the problem of ending up working for the military industrial complex. That would rule out the majority of tech companies in our own community so, it's challenging for sure.

What are some of the key first steps you took to create your vision of peace?

The first step was the research my husband and I did traveling throughout Iran in search of the history of felt rugs. Our vision of peacemaking is based on the belief that commercial trade in art and crafts is a way to educate, and link cultures and people. The next thing we did was to name our business Peace Industry, partly to describe our vision but also just to have the word, "peace", on a sign in a public space every day. I had been a peace activist since childhood and actually before we got into the rug trade we made peace flags.

What is your message to those endeavoring to become a part of a local peace economy?

 Set your intentions and be clear about what your vision is based on your own talents and the project will come to you like a gift. Expect to be the voice in the wilderness. Most people won't get your vision until it's really obvious that it worked. Don't let that stop you.

Favorite way to participate in the Local Peace Economy that easily can be implanted in the every-day routine? 

Patronizing small, local businesses as much as possible. I definitely go out of my way to support the small business community which in turn supports the whole community. 

Any upcoming projects or ways for others to get involved? 

 I will be collaborating with an artist in Iran designing a rug together through the Shared Studios Portal installation in SF. 

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