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Question: How can we know if the culture of peace is advancing? CPNN article: Grass Roots to Global Vision, the Maturing of the Peace Movement
CPNN Administrator
Posted: Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Grass Roots to Global Vision, the Maturing of the Peace Movement
A Florida Experiment in Peace Diversity
Culture of Peace Advances in Brazil
World Report on the Culture of Peace
Culture of Peace Advances Despite Media Silence
Relatório Mundial de Cultura para a Paz
World Report on the Culture of Peace
New, State-of-the-art Website for the Culture of Peace Initiative
The culture of peace concept is advancing
Triennial Gathering of International Peace Bureau
Global Peace Index: The United States Isn't Even Among the World's 100 Most Peaceful Countries
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Posted: Aug. 25 2003,12:55

How are we to know if the culture of peace is advancing?  The commercial mass media will not tell us, because it is so tightly linked to consumerism and the culture of war as a result of its advertising revenue and ties to national power.  Can we learn about it from academia?  So far, I have not seen it.   Can we learn about it from the United Nations?  The culture of peace project at UNESCO and the United Nations is without funding, so there is no one there to whom we may address the question.

But history does not end, just because we are not able to see where it is going.  "And yet it moves" to paraphrase the words of Galileo.  

By exchanging information on the Internet, as well as by reading between the lines of the mass media and academia and the United Nations, perhaps we can see where history is moving and where we can best apply some leverage for a culture of peace.  That is my hope.
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Janet Hudgins
Posted: Aug. 25 2003,15:07

My experience is that the culture of peace is making great electronic strides. Experts and non-experts, (NGOs, activists), are talking to each other via the Internet and through organizations such as CPNN.

And, as a result of electronic communication, constituents are making their opinions known to those who are in charge of our lives, and it seems to be having some considerable impact on bureaucratic decisions.

Peace groups along with peace research institutes and schools of peace have developed and grown immensely in recent years. A Google search for "peace" will give you at least ten pages of solid organizations, and hundreds more listings of peace-related subjects. As recently as five years ago I was hard pressed to find more than a few. That’s not to say that some didn’t exist: the Bradford School of Peace has existed for 30 years, Greenpeace about 35 years, the UN’s U for Peace 20 years. But, other than Greenpeace I didn’t know much about them.

However, the Internet is like television. Its highest and best use is not what many people, perhaps the majority, are interested in. They won’t be tuning in to documentaries or Google-searching for peace organizations. So, it is incumbent on the rest of us to make up the difference.

Genuine champions of peace, (other than those "linked to consumerism," to use David Adam’s elegant phrase), are discovering there is a welcome place for the pursuit of peace and where they can counter the (other) rhetoric.

Janet Hudgins
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Nancy Wrenn
Posted: Aug. 28 2003,06:59

You ask some provocative questions.  I really believe we are experiencing a significant culture clash, perhaps worldwide, based on the phenomena of Feb. 15 and the subsequent questioning in the media of the stated reasons why the Bush administration had to go to war with Iraq.  Can we trust that some folks will connect the dots and recognize now, if not before the war, that this (war)method has only made a difficult situation more complicated?  

I am aware that peace studies/peace building programs are growing in number in our universities and that there is a movement to try to perhaps bring certain criteria to the training. (It's premature to call it standardization or licensing.)  Herb Kelman, one of the pioneers, is retiring this year but has left a legacy at Harvard and elsewhere.  Another pioneer, Gene Sharp, is coming out soon with an updated of his earlier textbook on alternatives to violence for problem-solving. My mentor, Paula Green, at SIT has trained many younger colleagues to continue her transformation work in conflict-ridden areas of the world.  There is the new Nonviolent Peaceforce, (conceived of at the Hague Appeal for Peace) about to field test its methodology in Sri Lanka.

I am hopeful that we are developing a culture of peace, not just in faraway places but in our schools where elementary students are learning how to resolve conflicts peacably.

However, there is a very long way to go.  We have put together a Peace Platform for the presidential candidates on our website - www.StrongUN.org.  We wanted to take the peace movement forward with a positive statement based on an emerging global ethic and think that the presidential forums would be an excellent vehicle for dissemination of important principles.
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Michel Cibot
Posted: Aug. 28 2003,07:04

Certainly the culture of peace has a long way to go.  It is not a smooth-flowing river.  But as for me, I see some signs of progress.  The French organization that I founded, the Association of French Communes, Departments and Regions for Peace (AFCDP), is gaining new members including some big cities.  Of course, progress is slow because there is such a dispersion of initiatives, but as we know well, ideas cannot be spread by decree...   And all of us must earn a living as well.

At first, the city of Hiroshima, which is central to the global Mayors for Peace, did not understand  the Internet initiatives for a culture of peace like CPNN or the UNESCO website.  For those working in the mayor's office, and even for the mayor himself, UNESCO seemed to be only a governmental affair and hence bureaucratic and useless for peace.  Thanks to our work, however, I think they have come around to understanding their importance.

I continue to believe strongly in the potential of cities to contribute to the emergence of a culture of peace, and we are making progress. At the level of city management we are able to link the culture of peace to real daily issues. Hiroshima is due to set up a course on the subject in seven major universities, including the prestigious "Science Po" of Paris.  And support is available for similar initiatives in other universities.  But we really need an army of teachers and the capacity to set up courses at a high level in several disciplines and we have not yet arrived at that point.

A number of books on the culture of peace are being published in France.

Perhaps you will recall that we launched an initiative "Read in peace" on the occasion of September 21, the International Day of Peace.  If each library of each city would take up this simple project, then millions of readers would hear about the culture of peace.  We presented it to the congress of librarians of France and now a number of libraries have taken it up.  There was even someone at the congress from the US who promised to launch it in her country.  For more information see our site at www.afcdrp.com.

As you see we have put a link to CPNN on our French site, although we don't yet have the capacity to set up our own French CPNN.  On our site we talk a lot about the culture of peace to our more than 500 visitors per month.

France, as a nation, has done a great deal for peace in 2003.  The French position at the United Nations was not to be laughed at, nor, for that matter, the huge demonstrations in Paris and in the countryside against the war in Iraq.  But France is not a very powerful country and our voice does not carry very far.  Although we cry loudly against the war, we quickly lose our breath and find it difficult to go back and construct a culture of peace.  After the demonstrations most people go home again and watch TV...

And so our work goes on.
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Noel Chicuecue
Posted: Aug. 31 2003,07:22

My experience in Mozambique indicates it takes time to reap the fruits of Culture of Peace activities. When we started to implement the Culture of Peace in Mozambique it seemed impossible to measure the impact because we could not find instruments to measure the impact of the programme along the lines of the existing logic.

Today when we have reference to Culture of Peace from the Political Parties, Parliamentarians, Civil Society Organizations including religious groups we are encouraged to think that some messages have passed through but they are not tangible. Just like we have intangible heritage all over the world I would like to believe that Culture of peace is real and intangible. Its effect can be seen in the behaviour of people. It takes decades or centuries to change Cultures.

I sometimes think that the best things in life are not measurable with the instruments designed to measure tangible things.

Agreeing with all of you I would say lets work for the reduction of violent solutions to conflict, effective participation of the people in the decisions that affect their lives, Equality between men and women and between nations -big and small, between people -rich and poor, for the respect of human rights everywhere by all, free flow of ideas and reduce the gap between the information haves and the information have nots and make the world a better place to live in.
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: Sep. 04 2003,04:20

Coordinator's Note:  While we discuss whether the culture of peace is advancing, we may see that the culture of war is also advancing, as we are reminded by the following discussion piece submitted to CPNN by Alan:

It seems to me that Madison Avenue is actively promoting a culture of war in this country. First off, there's the Humvee. I was traveling on a local interstate recently and saw a billboard featuring the vehicle. From a distance I thought the billboard was a support our troops message or something of that ilk, then got closer and saw it was nothing more sinister than an ad for the Hummer. Still, the vehicle is nothing more than a modified military vehicle.

Later that day I saw an ad for an SUV ( I think it was a Mercury Mountaneer) which showed a submarine breaking through the polar ice cap and dropping off a sailor, whose wife in the SUV had parked on the ice to make the pick up.
I suppose the marketers are trying to be funny, but I'm troubled by these ads. Are they trying to get us used to the idea of war, used to the idea that the war on terrorism can successfully increase the sales of SUV's.

Am I overreacting?

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Educating Cities Latin America
Posted: Sep. 20 2003,04:36

Here in Latin America the culture of peace is advancing. We will be happy to send  you the report on the activities and publications of our Programs "Give Peace a Chance" and "My City and the World" as well as other activities that we have been carrying out during 2003.

Probably the most  important had been the  beginning of the development of the Programme MERCOCIUDADES FOR PEACE  in all the latinamerican region and thanking the support of Lord Mayors and local authorities . The prestigious International Consultant, Professor Magnus Haavelsrud from Norway is helping as Visitor Professor in Latin America as well.

We have begun working with Culture for Peace and Human Rights curricular units with the Cities Police Corps and Judges, officials and cultural - educational coordinators of formal and non formal education.

We organize different kind of encounters / seminars where the praxis is basic for building knowledge and new behaviours.

For those who would like we can send English language versions of:

a)  "Education for DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND CULTURE OF PEACE . Pedagogical challenge for the Educating City"

b)   "Basis for Educaction for Democracy"

c)   International Conferences "Education for Democracy, Culture of Peace and Respect for Human Rights" , that took place both in Buenos Aires and Rosario, in November 2001, September 2002, June 20th - 27th, 2003.  

We can also send you a document with the  transport cards with Peace images that are being used in the city since July 2003. Please have a look at them. We are very proud !

If you have any questions, please, do not hesitate in asking us whatever you need.  Many regards from our Director Professor Cabezudo, she is busy in meetings in this very moment.

Thank you for your kind attention and we hope all this work is useful to you and others!

Yours faithfully,

On Behalf of the Director,
Natalia Zanni
Intern Educating Cities
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Feizi Milani
Posted: Sep. 20 2003,14:54

Let me share some good news about our book, Cultura de Paz: Estrategias, Mapas e Bussolas, here in Brazil. All 1.000 samples have been distributed all over the country, and the complete text is available at www.inpaz.org.br  A lot of people have been downloading it, everyday. We have news from schools and NGO's that have established study groups, in order to read and discuss the book. University professors have adopted some of the book chapters in their undergraduate courses. Graduate students are using it to write their thesis. The book has been presented in many different events and cities.... It is really amazing and wonderful what is happening
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Dimitra Papadopoulou
Posted: Sep. 23 2003,08:41

In regard to your question, the answer is: YES, the Culture of Peace is advancing. I manage to overlook the indifference and absolute silence demonstrated by the commercial mass media regarding the Culture of Peace, because what I focus my attention on, here in my microcosm, is:

* the great number of Professors (more than 100) from all the Schools of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and other Greek Universities (University of Thessaly, University of Thrace, etc.), who constantly teach and support the Courses of the UNESCO Chair for the Culture of Peace, since 1993, on a purely voluntary basis, without recompense of any kind

* the students from all the Schools of the A.U.Th., who eagerly choose and attend this demanding Course every academic semester and who claim that this Course Programme is the most valuable learning experience they have had during their studies

* the innumerable teachers of primary and secondary education, from all specialties throughout Greece, who constitute the Greek National Network of Schoolteachers for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence of the UNESCO Chair/A.U.Th. These teachers are our invaluable partners in the promotion of the Culture of Peace in the school classrooms. It is with great imagination, originality and commitment to the Culture of Peace that they organize many commendable activities with their students in the classroom. Every time that I am honored to receive Reports of their work, apart from my satisfaction and admiration, I feel certain that the Culture of Peace is in the rights hands.

And these are only some of my sources of strength and optimism. So, what do we really need the mass media for? Let them go on with their significant work. We are working with people's consciences.

YES. The Culture of Peace is advancing.
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: May 05 2011,10:57

The latest assessment of the global movement for a culture of peace was submitted to the United Nations for the end of the Culture of Peace Decade in 2010.  Over a thousand civil society organizations contributed to the report which was carried out by an international youth team.  For details, please see their website.
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jhon foundation
Posted: July 05 2011,13:14

The advancement of culture of peace in any environment cannot easily be known. Some of the signs of this advancement could be seen and others can be felt and heard. First and foremost, advancement of this culture can mainly be clearly noticed in a country where peace was elusive. If it is an ethnic division that caused conflict and made peace disappear, the sure sign will be the two factions dialoguing and working together in improving their relationship. The boundaries created by the conflict fizzle out and there comes free movement and expressions. People start talking about peace openly and various avenues are created to educate the masses about the importance of peace. The general populous is discouraged from getting involved in vices that can cause conflict. Citizens are provided with an environment where everyone would be engaged in productive activities. The media will be encouraged to disseminate messages of love not hate. If the conflict was between two nations, governments will start exchanging diplomatic representatives and citizens of the two countries start visiting each other.
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David Adams
Posted: Aug. 20 2014,15:45

One way we can NOT know if the culture of peace is advancing is from projects like the Global Peace Index which has recently been reviewed in CPNN.

The Global Peace Index measures the old dimensions of war and peace, not the new dimensions of culture or war / culture of peace.    Peace, in the old paradigm was the period between wars when countries were preparing themselves for the next war.    Culture of Peace, the new paradigm, is concerned with the deep roots of war, its cultural basis.

That can explain the paradox that it is the wealthy countries of the North that score highest on the index (Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Finland), countries of Europe, which was involved in both the World Wars and which continue to profit from the unequal terms of trade between North and South which is enforced by the culture of war.  

When I was at UNESCO, the African ambassadors had the following to say: "One should not look to the South for the causes of the culture of war; instead, pose three questions. From where do the weapons come? From where do the violent television programmes come? And where are the terms of trade decided that impoverish the people of the South which leads to violence? "
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