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Christchurch is a Peace City
an article by Christchurch City Council (excerpts)

Christchurch, as a 'Peace City', works towards implementing the recommendation from the United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non Proliferation Education which encourages municipal leaders to work with citizen groups in establishing peace cities, ‘through, for example, the creation of peace museums, peace parks, web sites and the production of booklets on peacemakers and peacemaking.’

The Peace City status paves the way for the development of a Culture of Peace in Christchurch. There are now five Peace Cities in New Zealand: Christchurch, Auckland, Waitakere, Hutt Valley and Devonport.

Christchurch has been a member of the international 'Mayors for Peace' association since 1988. In November 2002, 603 Mayors from 108 countries were listed as members of the association and by April 2010 this had swelled to 3,793 cities from 143 countries and regions, including 32 from New Zealand.

Former mayor Gary Moore was an executive of Mayors for Peace in 2005 and then a Vice President. He represented the Oceania region until retiring in October 2007.

Under a programme aimed at redirecting the talents of those responsible for graffiti into more legal activities, several young artists painted a peace mural on a wall in our Tuam Street car park in 2003 (see photo above) . . .

Christchurch celebrated its 20th anniversary as a Nuclear Weapons-Free city by presentation a number of Peace Awards to campaigners and peace groups in the city. The awards were made in recognition of their commitment to peace in our city:

• Harold J Evans, LLM., QSO
• Lawrence F J Ross, QSM
• Mia Tay
• Reverend Maurice Manawaroa Gray MZNM
• Sumner Peace Group (15)
• Patricia Morrison
• The Christian Pacifist Society (15)
• Dr Neil James Cherry, ONZM
• Dr Kate Dewes, ONZM, was also presented with a Peace Award in 2007.


Question(s) related to this article:

What is a culture of peace city, and how does one become one?

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I believe that the development of a network of culture of peace cities can be a decisive factor in the transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace based on a profound reform of the United Nations system.  The following are excerpts from my book World Peace through the Town Hall.

My experience working in the United Nations system for ten years and observing it closely for seven years since my retirement makes me optimistic that the UN system is capable of managing a transition to the culture of peace. The various specialized agencies that deal with health care, education, food and agriculture, science, communication, not to mention technical questions such as aviation, shipping, atomic energy, etc. are staffed by a capable international secretariat with experience in the day-to-day management of global issues. The UN General Assembly, as well as the international assemblies of other agencies such as the General Conference of UNESCO, provide important forums. Even the Security Council, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which are now in the hands of a few powerful states and used to support their culture of war could play important roles in the transition to a culture of peace if they were transformed under control of "we the peoples" instead of the state.

For the reasons given throughout this book, a global network of local authorities is the best chance for an international political force independent of the nation-state that could take responsibility for the United Nations and direct it towards a culture of peace.

In summary, the cause of the United Nations seems hopeless for a culture of peace as long as it is under the control of the nation-states of the world with their culture of war.

Without being able to predict a precise date, we can expect within the next few decades that the American Empire and the globalized economy associated with it will crash as did the world economy in 1929 and the Soviet economy in 1989.

A global crash sets the stage for two possible political solutions which are diametrically opposite. One is a strengthening of the culture of war at the level of the state into fascism which was the predominant reaction in the 1930's. . ...more.

This report was posted on January 20, 2012.