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World Congress of Peace in the Americas
an article by Marcos Estrada and Renata Cueto de Souza

World Congress of Peace in the Americas by Marcos Estrada and Renata Cueto de Souza From the 10th to the 15th of August 2009, the Brazilian city of Santos hosted the First World Congress of Peace in the Americas, organised by the Brazilian Association of Folklore Festivals Organisers and Popular Arts (ABrasOFFA).

The event was aimed at people working in issues related to peace building, resolution of conflicts and human rights. All the activities were open to the public, promoting an opportunity to exchange experiences, dialogues and initiatives to strengthen peace.

International participants in the Congress

Every day between 150 and 180 people, in a wide 6-85 age range, attended the activities. The opening took place at the Coliseu Theater, with the participation of Helena Lourenço – President of the Peace World Congress in the Americas, and guest speakers at the congress David Adams – ex-Director at the UN; João Paulo Tavares Papa – Mayor of Santos; Lia Diskin – President of Palas Athena Association; Hans Holz -General Secretary of IOV (International Organisation of Popular Arts); Alicia Cabezudo - Visiting Professor at UPEACE; Professor Magnus Haavelsrud; Dina Rodriguez - Director of the Department for Gender and Peace Studies at UPEACE, who were joined by workshop coordinators Marcos Estrada - International Relations of IBEV and former UPEACE student /Peace Education 2007/08, and Renata Cueto de Souza – Peace educator and current postgraduate student at UNIPAZ/Brazil.

Among the lectures and discussion groups that were held during the week, there were those by Professors Cabezudo and Haavelsrud on “Educating Cities”, followed by workshops conducted by Dr. Adams, Ms. Souza and Mr. Estrada, the latter leading the children’s workshop. The outcomes of this workshop could be seen by drawings prepared by the young participants.

In a meeting at SENAC/Santos (National Service for Commerce Education) attended by the guest speakers and coordinators, Jorge Carlos Silveira Duarte of SENAC, explained how the institution has already implanted some of the concept of Culture of Peace in its local development programs – which was acknowledged by Dr. Adams – and is currently increasing its actions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to Ms. Lourenço, the ultimate goal of the Congress was to multiply the concept of Culture of Peace in the schools of Santos, reinforcing its status as an Educating City: “The idea was to introduce it to the local government and we managed that. We had a meeting with the Vice-Mayor and he liked very much what he saw.”

On the last day of the event, Mr. Estrada presented the Earth Charter and Ms. Rodriguez delivered a lecture on the Peace Education course taught at UPEACE. The event ended with the performance of a folkloric group, as it had happened on a daily basis. It is important to highlight the work of the 78 Amarelinhos (yellow jackets) volunteers, who played a vital role in the general organisation. The event often appeared in the news - TV channels, radios and newspapers – and it was broadcast live on the Internet. For more information, visit or contact ABrasOFFA at


Question(s) related to this article:

Global meetings, conferences, assemblies, What is the best way for delegates to interact afterwards?

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"to maintain the momentum achieved during these mobilizations so that participants can remain active and connected with each other and with  the Global Movement as a whole" is a crucial issue that few youth NGOs have ever achieved yet. . .

nice websites with profiles, some chatting, but little action or dialogue, little visible inspiration or local down to earth outreach...

maybe check this approach: highlighting "who does and achieves what, and how, and how to copy it" in  lively format.; with an instrument and format to install it in the biggest multiplier of  all: public school hallways. with status of Official Proejct of the UN Decade of Edu for Sustainable  Development in coop with for free online courses on global issues.

We have piloted pnyv! for some years with great feedback, yet not promoted because we first want to have a solid office to be able  to respond to requests about special editions, local editions etc...  SO, we are doing research in Berlin for setting up an office where we can have  some stable staff to do basics while the hundreds of online volunteers  (translators, editors, web editors) keep buzzing.

We have talks with a great culture centre this september, after i return from latinamerican-european youth networking in barcelona, and we are preparing several EU fundign proposals incl. positive news podcast online radio with of Argentina, backed up by the websites and inviting all positive actors to send in their stories, speak the news, develop branches to their countries  - of particular interest for developing countries where RADIO and  COMMUNITY RADIO still are the major medium.

And - how about a special edition on PEACE and PEACE-BUILDING?  we can include

Like the 100 page edition on WATER under construction; publishing date relayed until we have an office.

OK, enough impressions, my friend :)

see you later, if you like it!

Cheers from Berlin,
pnyv! project director
. . ...more.

This report was posted on September 17, 2009.