African Alliance for Peace Takes Shape

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African delegates to the Global Summit for Ministries and Departments of Peace in Japan in September 2007 founded the African Alliance for Peace. May 2008 provided three opportunities for Peace Partnership International to assist the African Alliance for Peace to develop its capacity to grow and thrive:

  • First AAP Regional Summit
  • Intensive training in nonviolent communication (NVC)
  • Public outreach and training for the ministry for peace campaign in Nigeria.

The International Centre for Conflict and Human Rights Analysis (ICCHRA) hosted the Summit and NVC Training in Accra, Ghana. The NVC training was provided by Bay NVC with the support of PPI. The Nigeria Alliance for Peace organized and hosted the Nigeria campaign capacity-building events in Ibadan, Nigeria. For further information click here.

AT THE UN: Culture of Peace Program Being Planned at UN on October 21 for “UN Week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns” (October 20-24)

11 June 2008

In the picture: Member of the CSVGC “Culture of Peace” Working Group … Aleksandr Ilchuk (Aquarian Age Community), Iris Spellings (Operation Peace Through Unity), Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury ( Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN), Anne Creter (World Peace Prayer Society) and IchinoriTsumagari (International Relief Friendship Foundation)

The Culture of Peace Working Group of the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns (CSVGC) has been diligently working on designing an event to be held at UN Headquarters as part of October’s second annual week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns. Co-chairing this effort has been my focus the last few months.

United Nations (UN) Day, proclaimed in 1948 by the General Assembly is held annually on 24 October, the anniversary of the coming into force of the UN Charter, on 24 October 1945. UN Day is devoted to making known to peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the UN. It is part of UN Week which runs from 20 to 26 October. Last October (2007) in honor of the 60th anniversary of the UN, my CSVGC group declared the first annual week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns, in keeping with UN Week. We coordinated a series of special, spiritually-centered events each day that week as a reminder of the often forgotten spiritual principles upon which the UN was founded.

People in other countries who heard about this enthusiastically joined our celebration in spirit. Because it was so well-received, we are now planning a more formal, globally-connected week-long gala to follow this year’s 21 September International Day of Peace worldwide extravaganza. See www.csvgc-ny.org and www.internationaldayofpeace.org for details. Mark your calendar now to start planning how you can be part of them both.

This December 10th (Human Rights Day) marks yet another famous UN milestone. It is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The power of the Declaration – that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms – is undiminished today. Thus, this year’s Spirituality Week overarching theme is “The Spirit of the UN: Our Commitment to Making the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Come Alive.” We titled our individual event “Advancing the Culture of Peace: Peace Is a Human Right.” Its goal is greater understanding of the culture of peace and its relation to human rights. Since our UN Department & Ministry of Peace Resolution Project will be featured, we are hoping this publicity will help move it forward.

It has been thrilling working behind-the-scenes in creating an actual UN program. Ambassador Chowdhury has been supportive and was hoping to participate but will be out of the country then. Nevertheless, we were honored he attended our last planning meeting (see picture)! He emphasized the importance of his Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/kits/uk_res_243.pdf) which was passed by the General Assembly in 1999. He shared his long-held dream of having it printed in a pocket-sized booklet to distribute all over the world, as a means of raising culture-of-peace-consciousness. We have taken on the challenge of making his dream come true – of having such booklets printed in order to debut at our October 21st Culture of Peace event. If anyone has resources or ideas on how to help us accomplish this grandiose and worthy task for peace, please email me at [email protected].

Peace, Security and Disarmament – paper by Gita Brooke presented at the United Nations Assn. of New Zealand AGM Conference

31 May 2008

This paper argues that the international community needs to create, collectively, an infrastructure for durable peace planning. A change of heart is needed to move from the current thinking as shown in the following quotation from the paper:

“We have sought security through arming ourselves against a “dehumanised” enemy, while longing for peace we have blamed others for the lack of it, while clamouring for a world without weapons we demonstrate our likes and dislikes in posturing and hostile language.”

Co-ownership of the current state of affairs is needed if a solution is to be found which will benefit all. For more information please read the paper at www.peacethroughunity.info from the Culture of Peace menu.

Minister for Peace in the Northern Ireland Executive

22 May 2008

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire passed along updates for a campaign she’s promoting which calls for a ‘Minister for Peace’ position to be created in Northern Ireland. This is actually part of a worldwide movement to promote the creation of ‘Minister for Peace’ positions in all governments. For more information on the Northern Ireland initiative please contact The Peace People. Feel free to use the leaflet.

Peace Commissioners and Secretariats for Peace: The Role of Government Sponsored Peace Institutions in Reducing Violent Conflicts

26 March 2008

By Craig Zelizer, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA’s 49th ANNUAL CONVENTION, BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES, Hilton San Francisco, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA, Mar 26, 2008

Abstract: In many conflict-affected countries around the world, there are a multitude of actors who are working to reduce and prevent conflicts, ranging from civil society actors to track I diplomats. Several countries around the world have created government sponsored offices and/or initiatives to facilitate peace negotiations between conflicting parties (including the government). These include institutions such as the High Commissioner for Peace in Colombia and the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process in Sri Lanka. To date there has been little research and writing about the work of government sponsored institutions in facilitating a reduction to conflict. This paper will explore how commissioners or secretariats for peace function within conflict environments, what are their roles and impacts on the conflicts. The document may be retrieved from here.

1st African Regional Summit, 14 – 16 May 2008, Accra, Ghana

13 May 2008

The African Alliance for Peace in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace organize the 1st African Regional Summit 2008. Host organisation is the International Centre for Conflict and Human Rights Analysis, Ghana. For more information please read the proposal.

National Peace Academy in the United States of America

13 May 2008

Peace Partnership International USA is part of a group effort to design and found a National Peace Academy in the United States of America. Last month a group met at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio to explore the idea of founding such an organization. From these meetings emerged a set of workgroups which have already begun to move forward with the planning process. A new Web site is online to facilitate the effort at www.nationalpeaceacademy.us.

Denmark starts a campaign

2nd January 2008

A new campaign for a Ministry for Peace has started in Denmark, the first to be launched in Scandinavia. Founded by Birger Norup, the campaign has an enthusiastic support group that is already working to support the establishment of a Ministry for Peace in the Danish government. The campaign is titled the Peace Alliance, Denmark and can be contacted via their website at www.peacealliance.dk.

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