Category Archives: DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

Ivory Coast: National Symposium of Religious Leaders, Kings and Traditional Chiefs for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

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An article from Abidjan.net

The Abbot Jacques Kouassi, Priest of the Diocese of Yamoussoukro, during the panels that punctuated this Tuesday, August 13, the first session of the work of the National Symposium of Religious Leaders, Kings and Traditional Chiefs for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, wondered if politicians in Ivory Coast want peace or only power?

It is under the banner of “Conflict Management and Reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire” that religious leaders, kings and traditional leaders have worked out their roles and responsibilities for effective use of inter-ethnic alliances in the resolution of community and/or political conflicts.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question related to this article:

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

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As a contribution, Father Jacques Kouassi took the opportunity to sound the alarm by asking his peers to carry out an analysis of what needs to be done for the good of everyone and not that of a political party.

Faced with the recomposition of the Independent Electoral Commission adopted by parliamentarians and challenged by the Ivorian opposition, he invites kings and traditional leaders to pass judgment on this to avoid the mistakes of the past.

“Without passion, let’s think about it because that’s how it starts. We religious leaders, we are going to talk, but are those who must listen, are they ready to listen? Many of us want to speak, but we must speak not to take sides but for the good of Côte d’Ivoire, “says Father Jacques Kouassi.

Reacting to the ambition of this panel to set up a conflict resolution committee to inform the state authorities, he regretted the fact that in Africa in general and particularly in Côte d’Ivoire, the authorities find it difficult to distinguish between the resources of the state and those of their political party.

He asked if the authorities would be ready to settle conflicts without bias when knowing that it involves ​​his political adversary?

“I asked myself to know, do the politicians really want peace or only want power? Do politicians in Ivory Coast want peace or seek power? ”

He says he asks himself this question constantly, without having an answer.

Guber poll: When Ijaw elders converged on Yenagoa [Nigeria]

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An article by Omoniyi Salaudeen from Sun News Online

Worried by the previous experience of violence and electoral malfeasance in Bayelsa State, concerned stakeholders under the auspices of the Ijaw Elders’ Forum on Wednesday, July 31 converged on Yenagoa. They were there to brainstorm on the peaceful way to achieving a free, fair and credible governorship poll slated for November 16. 


Rear Admiral Jonah (Rtd), addressing participants

The conference, with the theme: Peaceful and Credible Governorship Election and Good Governance in Bayelsa State: Building Consensus Through The Ijaw Charter and IJaw Nation Code of Ethics, Leadership and Governance, drew participants from across all walks of life, including the diplomatic corps, political parties and the aspirants. The event was just for one thing: non-violent and credible election.

Flowing from the tune of the discussion at the conference, no one was left in doubt as to the imperative of the urgent need to change the narrative about Bayelsa being perceived as a violence-prone state. All participants unanimously condemned violence in whatever form as a means of aspiring for leadership position.

The guest speaker, Dr Austin Tam George, in his paper entitled: ‘Electoral Violence and Superstition of Power,’ aptly captured the essence of the sensitization workshop. In his presentation, he outlined some of the factors that promote electoral violence. These include contempt for people, lack of confidence in the electoral process, culture of impunity as well as lack of compelling message, among others. He described the entrenched culture of impunity as the greatest danger to democracy, blaming the worrisome trend on absence of deterrence. “Without prosecution of those involved in violence during election, this culture of impunity will not stop. And it endangers democracy. What we have now is democracy without the people. Electoral violence can only produce mediocrity. There can be no visionary leadership where election is characterized by violence. There can no transparency and accountability from leaders who emerge through violence. Electoral violence diminishes everyone,” he posited.

The Chairman of the event, King Bubraye Dakolo, traditional ruler and Ebenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, set the tone for discussion in his earlier opening address. He urged all aspirants to eschew violence during and after the election, adding that anyone found to instigate violence should be ex-communicated.
“An election is about brain and not about gun. Let the game be a peaceful one. I will also like to suggest that all aspirants should be made to take an oath that they will not encourage violence and anyone who encourages violence should be ex-communicated,” he stated.

The deputy governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, who commended the organisers of the conference for the peace initiative, in turn charged the traditional rulers to ensure that the message of peace is taken to the grassroots. He also used the occasion to call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be fair to all.

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Question related to this article:

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

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“Where an election is not free and fair, there will always be a reaction and you cannot predict the reaction,” he noted.

The Secretary of the IEF, Mr. Efiye Bribena, told the audience that the international community had expressed its strong support for the peace initiative, promising to sanction anyone involved in violence during the election.

“The global community is interested in the election coming up in November. They are partnering with us to have a free and credible election. Their absence in today’s event is due to security reports. They have called in to apologise for the unavoidable absence and expressed the readiness to sanction anyone involved in violence,” he said.

A major feature of the event was the signing and affirmation of non-violence agreement by the governorship aspirants as a demonstration of their commitment to a peaceful and credible election.
Signatories to the agreement included the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (retd) (People’s Democratic Party- PDP), Dr. F. Erepamo Osaisai, Kemela Okara, Mrs Diseye Nsim Poweigha (All Progressives Congress- APC), Speaker of the House of Assembly, Tonye Isenah and Eneyi Zidougha, chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council.

The conference, which was a follow up to the earlier workshop held in May, aimed at building an enduring culture of peace and tolerance from the top to the grassroots. The Chairman, BoT, G24 Embasara Foundation and former Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Arch Amagbe Denzil Kentebe, speaking with the reporter on the sidelines of the event, assured that the initiative would be sustained beyond the election period.

His words: “We have been having radio programmes where we are talking directly to Bayelsans.  Everybody in one way or the other is trying to disseminate this information. This agitation for violence is coming from the top. And that is why we are targeting political actors to make them agree to a peaceful process. The good thing about getting the politicians, who are always the culprits, together is to make them affirm that they will not be violent-prone.

“Violence comes in when someone doesn’t have something to offer. It is a very expensive programme that we have. And don’t forget we are doing it from our own personal contributions because we believe that if there is no violence during election in Bayelsa State, we will have the best of leadership. And the best of leadership will always ensure great development. What we are trying to do is to change the narrative.”

The peace conference was a collaborative effort of Ijaw Elders’ Forum, Lagos State chapter, Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA), Ijaw Nation Forum, G24 Embasara Foundation and Ijaw Women Connect Worldwide, Diplomatic Corp, Centre for Democracy (CDD) and Ijaw Nation Development Group (INDG).
Dignitaries in attendance at the occasion included: Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (retd), King Bubraye Dakolo, Gen. Paul Toun – Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ijaw Professionals Association, Dr. Austin Tam-George – Fmr. Hon. Commissioner of Information, Rivers State, Barr. Efiye Bribena – Secretary, Ijaw Elders Forum, Lagos, Rt. Hon. Tonye E. Isena – Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Barr. Iniruo Wills – Co-convener of Embassara Foundation,  and Denzil Amagbe Kentebe – Chairman, Board of Trustees, Embassara Foundation.

Building infrastructures for peace

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An article by Saul Arbess and David Wick for the Ashland Tidings

Much in the way that we have a military, energy and financial infrastructure, we also need an infrastructure for peace, a critical oversight in virtually all governments in the world.

In nearly every state, military infrastructure exists, often the most heavily financed, resourced and comprehensive infrastructure of government. They are in a high level of readiness for both defense and potential aggression against other states or responding to internal conflict, typically by suppression, thus favoring war and a military view of security — that is, an armed, unstable peace.

The military approach relies on threat rather than the creation of an enduring culture of peace, based upon our common security as citizens of planet Earth and the human right to peace and security of the person and community.

A good definition of infrastructure for peace comes from the United Nations Development Program: “An infrastructure for peace is a network of interdependent systems, resources, values and skills held by government, civil society and community institutions that promote dialogue and consultation; prevent conflict and enable peaceful mediation when violence occurs in a society.”

One could see infrastructure for peace as a parallel structure to the generally highly developed and readily mobilized military infrastructure with its national, regional and local organization, except that an infrastructure for peace is not hierarchical, but most effective when organized from the bottom up — that is, intervention should occur at the level where conflict is manifest and utilize traditional peace-building methods with trusted leadership at each level, not necessarily politicians.

A principal strength of infrastructure for peace is that it develops a permanent peace-building structure on the ground at all levels, rather than an ad hoc system of responding to conflict as it arises and then disbanding until the next conflict event occurs. An infrastructure for peace would allow for early warning and intervention in potential conflict scenarios and timely responses when violent conflict has emerged.

At the local level, the Ashland Peace Commission can be seen in this light. At the state level, there is the Democratic Party of California’s resolution calling for the state to create a department of peace. At the national level, there is the U.S. Institute of Peace that unfortunately only has the powers of persuasion, and the current bill for a U.S. Department of Peacebuilding.

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Question related to this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?

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Canada has created the position of Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security with both domestic and international responsibilities, supporting the role of women in all aspects of peace work.

In every case and at every level, the goal is to transform conflict by peaceful means, with violence not seen as an option. This means that all parties to a conflict are represented — both those directly involved and external interests as well, and are adequately resourced to present and support their interests in the absence of coercion.

Restorative Justice is an excellent model for this approach, active in many countries, including the U.S.

To build an infrastructure for peace nationally, there is the movement for departments or ministries of peace promoted by the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace. Currently the Solomon Islands (2005), Nepal (2007), Costa Rica (2009), the Autonomous Region of Bougainville – Papua New Guinea (unknown date) and, most recently, Ethiopia (2018) have created such infrastructures for peace.

Afghanistan is moving in this direction. In Africa, following electoral violence, both Ghana and Kenya have formed peace-building programs without a formal department as such.

Here are some guidelines for the establishment of infrastructures for peace:

1. It works best when there is a comprehensive strategy in place involving the government and all stakeholders at the national, regional and local level.

2. Each level in the structure needs to have some autonomy so that responses to conflict can be made rapidly at the appropriate level. Local peace committees can often function where government cannot or may be regarded with suspicion. Local peace committees have been effective in defusing electoral violence by creating a dialogue between opposing sides and insuring free and fair elections, mediation and reconciliation between parties.

3. Local peace committees are encouraged to utilize traditional and culturally appropriate decision-making structures, where legitimacy exists among the parties to conflict and not necessarily rely on modern state ideas of formal organization.

Saul Arbess is co-founder of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace and the Canadian Peace Initiative. Arbess will be one of the speakers at the Ashland Global Peace Conference Sept. 21. He will be presenting a talk on infrastructures for peace. Conference information can be found at ashlandglobalpeaceconference.com. David Wick is executive director of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission.

UN chief welcomes power-sharing deal between Sudanese military and opposition

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

An article from UN News

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday he was “encouraged” by reports of a newly-inked power-sharing deal between the Forces for Freedom and Change – a coalition of opposition and protest groups – and Sudan’s ruling military council.
The two sides have reportedly agreed to share power for three years, and then hold elections for a return to full civilian government. Mr. Guterres welcomed the decision to establish transitional governing bodies, and congratulated the African Union, Ethiopia and the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), for their role in mediating the talks.

Video from Deutsche Welle

News of the deal reportedly brought thousands of people onto the streets to celebrate and raised hopes that a peaceful transition of power can take place, following months of turmoil since December’s civilian revolt began.

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Questions related to this article:

How effective are mass protest marches?

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The Secretary-General, said a statement from his Spokesperson, is now encouraging all stakeholders to “ensure the timely, inclusive, and transparent implementation of the agreement and resolve any outstanding issues through dialogue.”

The statement also noted that Mr. Guterres welcomes the parties’ commitment to conducting an independent investigation into the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters, including the events on 3 June, when security forces and militia fired on pro-democracy protesters in the capital Khartoum, leaving dozens dead and many more injured.

The UN chief expressed his solidarity with the people of Sudan, and reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to assist in the transition process.

Following a series of strikes and protests early in the year, long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by his top generals in April. Hopes were high that the military and opposition could reach a deal, but since the military-led violence of 3 April, talks were at an impasse until the latest round of negotiations began in the capital Khartoum earlier this week.   

Just last Sunday, there were nationwide demonstrations demanding the transfer of power to civilian hands, in which at least seven were reportedly killed, with more than 180 injured.

On Wednesday, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Sudanese authorities to lift restrictions on the internet and launch independent investigations into all acts of violence against demonstrators, and allegations of excessive force, including attacks on hospitals. Ms. Bachelet said her office had received numerous allegations that excessive force had been used by security forces against protestors.

Council of Europe: Culture of peace preventing violence and terrorism

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A written declaration from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

We, the undersigned, declare the following:

We recall Parliamentary Assembly Doc. 13407 of 29 January 2014, Written Declaration No. 562 and the Council of Europe “White paper on intercultural dialogue” and the European Cultural Convention of 1954, as well as the support of members of the Assembly for the United Nations General Assembly resolutions on the culture of peace and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We consider that efforts to achieve peace in areas of conflict and to prevent extremist radicalism in all nations require commitment by national parliaments to mandate core education for a culture of peace and the SDGs in all levels of society and effective legislative measures and monitoring to prohibit incitement to terrorism in all sectors of society and media by “constructing the defenses of peace in the minds of men” (UNESCO preamble).
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(Click here for a version in French>

Questions for this article:

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

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We call upon the Assembly to support the initiative of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics as a strategic partner to promote implementation of the United Nations resolutions on the culture of peace and the SDGs through:

* national legislation in Council of Europe and United Nations member States for mandatory education on the culture of peace and the SDGs at all levels of education,

* strict legislative measures to prevent incitement to extremist violence and terrorism.

Written declaration No. 688 | Doc. 14939 | 28 June 2019

Signatories: Mr Antonio GUTIÉRREZ, Spain, SOC ; Ms Ulviyye AGHAYEVA, Azerbaijan, FDG ; Mr Jokin BILDARRATZ, Spain, ALDE ; Mr José CEPEDA, Spain, SOC ; Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Latvia, SOC ; Mr Corneliu Mugurel COZMANCIUC, Romania, EPP/CD ; Ms Olivia DELGADO, Spain, SOC ; Ms Miren GORROTXATEGUI, Spain, UEL ; Mr Sabir HAJIYEV, Azerbaijan, SOC ; Mr Attila KORODI, Romania, EPP/CD ; Ms Carmen LEYTE, Spain, EPP/CD ; Mr Georgii LOGVYNSKYI, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Pere LÓPEZ, Andorra, SOC ; Ms Yuliya LOVOCHKINA, Ukraine, SOC ; Mr Marco NICOLINI, San Marino, UEL ; Ms Melisa RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ, Spain, ALDE ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Samad SEYIDOV, Azerbaijan, EC ; Mr Günter VOGT, Liechtenstein, ALDE ; Mr José ZARAGOZA, Spain, SOC

Restorative Justice in Brazil: Culture of Peace instead of Punishment

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A blog from Justica Restaurativa em Debate

The Seminar on Restorative Justice, held by the National Justice Council (CNJ) on Monday and Tuesday (17 and 18/6), was an important step to advance the Judiciary in the application of this modality of conflict resolution and an opportunity to disseminate in society the precepts of a culture of peace instead of the principles of punishment.

The event brought together representatives of almost all state courts and judicial policy makers [emphasis by CPNN] at the Superior Labor Court (TST) in Brasilia in the debate on the current stage of Restorative Justice in the country. In addition, ongoing experiments and the guidelines to be adopted have been presented so that this method of dispute resolution is more intensely employed in Brazilian courts.

The message is optimistic, according to the coordinator of the Restorative Justice Management Committee of the CNJ, counselor Valtércio de Oliveira. “By holding this seminar, I felt that magistrates and servants are motivated to advance in this public policy of Restorative Justice.”

The counselor reported that the majority of the courts of law sent judges and servers to the seminar and that these representatives will be the multipliers of the methodology precepts in the states. “And with the backing of the CNJ,” he said. Valtércio also said that Restorative Justice is a seed that will germinate and grow, gaining more and more supporters.

Restorative Justice is, according to Resolution 225/2016, an “orderly and systemic set of principles, methods, techniques and activities of its own, aimed at raising awareness about relational, institutional and social factors motivating conflicts and violence, and through which conflicts that generate harm, concrete or abstract, are resolved in a structured way. ”

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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With a different approach to the phenomenon of violence, this method of conflict resolution works with the accountability of aggressors and the repair of the damage in a way that allows the recomposition of broken social bonds.

The suggestions presented by seminar participants will support the formulation of a Development Plan to disseminate the practice of Restorative Justice. The idea is that planning becomes a guideline to the courts for applying the practice based on listening to victims and offenders and seeking redress for damages arising from aggression, violence and crime.

In the seminar, magistrates, servants and judicial policy makers highlighted the benefits of restorative justice as a counterpoint to the culture of punishment, especially in a context marked by the increase in crime in the country and an increase in the number of prisoners in the penitentiary system. According to data from CNJ’s National Bank for Prison Monitoring (BNMP), Brazil’s prison population is more than 800,000 inmates.

Workshops

During the morning of Tuesday (18/6), four workshops were held on the following topics: Implementation and structure of the Restorative Justice Policy, Training and improvement, Inter-institutional, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary system articulation and Implementation of safe and qualified spaces for Restorative Justice.

During the discussions, suggestions were made for the Judiciary, the Council, courts, magistrates and civil servants. The proposals include: conducting research by the CNJ to verify the effectiveness and effectiveness of this methodology of conflict resolution; articulation with the Executive Branch, the Public Ministry, Public Defenders and the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) to disseminate Restorative Justice as an alternative way of combating crime; definition of a specific public policy for the actions of the practice.

Participants also suggested actions to sensitize judges on this modality of dispute settlement, especially criminal magistrates; formation of Restorative Justice nuclei in prisons, schools and communities; and courses for the formation of people with profiles for the practice of Restorative Justice.

 At the end of the meeting, Judge Alexandre Takashima of the Court of Justice of Santa Catarina, who coordinated the debates, said that all the suggestions will be analyzed when the National Plan for Restorative Justice is formulated. The CNJ is expected to hold a public hearing on the subject in the second half of the yer.

Mexico: Ambassadors of Peace Project in the City Hall of Tláhuac

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An article from the Heraldo de México (translation by CPNN)

Embajadores de la Paz is a very noble project, whose objective is to add more people to promote and strengthen values, starting from culture, education and human rights.

The need to strengthen the social fabric through actions that allow society to develop in a better way, requires the commitment of all sectors so that, working as a team, we can achieve the much desired peace, said the deputy of the City Congress of Mexico, Rigoberto Salgado Vázquez.

The legislator explained that as part of his work as an elected representative is to generate the necessary conditions so that the residents of Tláhuac can have better tools to improve their quality of life, including respect for their human rights, better coexistence, as well as decent and safe environments and environments.

He pointed out that the objective of strengthening values, citizen empowerment and human rights as basic tools to achieve tranquility and well-being in the community, is to contribute to eradicating violence and to a better life for children and youth.

“We must recognize that there is a problem in the social fabric, which affects young people mainly, and that is why we are contributing to the rescue of spaces and those sectors that need help and better opportunities to improve their quality of life, starting from the Culture of Peace, “said Salgado Vázquez.

The Peace Ambassadors project arises from the need of the inhabitants of Tláhuac to raise their voices and demand from their leaders better living conditions, “where legislators must be the link between the neighbors and the authorities in order to resolve their problems. lawsuits, “acknowledged Salgado Vázquez.

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(Click here for the Spanish version of this article.)

Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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“We have a responsibility with our community, with the neighbors, with the youth and children of Tláhuac, but it is also important that we join efforts and work as a team, since it requires the participation of all to achieve the objectives set,” he stressed.

The deputy explained that with this model an education will be promoted through workshops, forums, conferences, and thus be able to take the message to the families, communities, towns and colonies of Tláhuac, with the firm conviction of exercising the practice of peace.

“Peace is action, it goes beyond imagining a static moment; It is a series of activities that lead us to a state of well-being, through culture, learning, respect for the environment, as well as various challenges that must be put into practice.

He added that these actions were supported by a 30-hour training for two weeks, where participants developed skills to detect conflicts, alternatives to solve them, exchange ideas, encourage participation and a healthy coexistence for the welfare of the community in Tláhuac.

“It is important to create the links that allow us to reach the whole community, make them participants in decision-making and assume the commitment to contribute to generate better scenarios where a Culture of Peace predominates.”

In addition to this, measures to promote respect for human rights will be put into practice, as well as ensuring equality between women and men, generating opportunities for participation, exchange of ideas, through understanding, tolerance and solidarity.

“We are immersed in a complex social context, where violence takes over our spaces, breaking the tranquility of people, so it is essential to implement actions that allow us to recover and repair the social fabric, mainly in adolescents” added Salgado Vázquez.

The legislator for Tláhuac recalled that the issue is raised in the third article of the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace implemented by the United Nations Organization, as a universal right that requires the full attention of governments and legislators.

“We are sure that together we will achieve our objectives, that we will live better and that we will have the peace necessary to develop day by day and be better citizens, more committed, participatory and supportive, generating an identity and taking care of our surroundings, and that this type of actions will be can sign in other scenarios of our city, “he said.

He added that this project aims to forge Ambassadors of Peace to focus their community work in the construction of shared welfare and peace, to generate social capital, especially in the various territories where needed.

Friendship – a Pathway to Peace

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By Irene Kai and David Wick, co-founders of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission

A foreign language professor at the Southern Oregon College (currently SOU) took a group of students on a bus trip to Guanajuato Mexico to learn immersion Spanish and the Mexican culture every year in the 1960s. In 1969, Señora Chela established a sister school relationship with the Southern Oregon College and the University of Guanajuato. She also established the sister city relationship with the Mayors of Guanajuato and Ashland. The Amigo Club was born. During the fifty years Ashland has formed a wonderful and close relationship with Guanajuato. Students flow between the two universities, faculty and city officials visit both cities, there are marriages between students, and some of Señora Chela’s students from Guanajuato went on to become a Governor, Minister of Economics and officers of the Mexican Government.


World Peace Flame ceremony in Plaza de la Paz, the Peace Plaza
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In April of this year, a delegation of fifty people from Guanajuato with their Mayor, City Council members, faculty from the university and the president of the Peace Commission visited Ashland. During their stay, they visited the World Peace Flame Monument at the Thalden Pavilion. The Mayor from Guanajuato was so inspired by this iconic symbol of Peace in Ashland that he asked if Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) would assist him to install a World Peace Flame in Guanajuato. This would be the first World Peace Flame in Latin America. He invited us to visit Guanajuato with the Ashland delegation the following month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sister City relationship.

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Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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When we arrived in Guanajuato, we were embraced as if we were family members. The instant warmth, open heartedness was immediate. During our stay, we learned so much about the beauty, history, art and the culture of the people and the city, especially the heartfelt closeness of the 50-year relationship everyone held dear. Wherever we went, we were serenaded by music and showered with genuine affection. The week-long celebration was packed with programs from 8am to 11pm daily. One of the programs that was requested by the Mayor of Guanajuato was having a peace ceremony conducted by ACPC at the Plaza de la Paz, the Peace Plaza in the center of the city, in order to set the intention to bring the World Peace Flame to Guanajuato in the very near future. Irene brought the candle she lit from the original World Peace Flame in Wales and gifted it to their city. The mayor lit the candle with a young school girl, a symbolic gesture of passing peace to the next generation. Most nation’s history is recorded by periods of war, at this gathering, we were writing history for our next generation, our commitment to peace. Ashland proclaimed itself a City of Peace on 5/16/2017. We also guided Guanajuato to join the International Cities of Peace after the ceremony.

Why is friendship important? As we know, long term friendship builds a strong bond, especially one for 50 years. We see each other face to face, share our joy and challenges of our children, grandchildren and life in general. Inspire and lift each other up when times are tough and go out having a grand time just enjoying each other as well. There is no difference between personal friendship and a sister cities relationship, it’s only in a different scale. As with most things of value, this is an investment with a Return On Investment on many levels. Strong bonds between cities may become a saving grace in the world.

The University of Guanajuato and SOU share knowledge and encourage students to immerse in different cultures. When they are exposed to something new, they tend to be open to learning in a safe environment instead of being fearful and lash out. They will become better global citizens with a bigger capacity of tolerance. When city officials share ideas on how to manage and govern, through open dialogue of friendship, the conversations become instructive and valued.

At this time, there is such a lack of civility in our daily interactions on all levels, personal attacks become the normal course of dialogue. The deep friendship between Guanajuato and Ashland deserves to be nurtured and cherished, like in any family, we are teaching our children how to build good relationships.

When Guanajuato installs the World Peace Flame, Ashland and Guanajuato will be the first Sister Cities in the world with sister World Peace Flames.

Spain: What a city of peace should be like, according to youngsters in Barcelona

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An article from Info Barcelona

The public audience with the city’s youth culminates months of debate based around the topic ‘Barcelona, city of peace’, with 250 children gathering in the Saló de Cent hall to represent the 37 participating schools and put forward their proposals for fostering a culture of peace in the city in front of representatives from political groups.


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(Click here for the Spanish version of this article.)

Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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From last September through to April this year, over 1,630 pupils from 37 Barcelona schools have been putting together their proposals and making a detailed approach to this year’s topic: understanding Barcelona as a city of peace which backs basic rights and where people live side by side in harmony.

The students proposed a school subject on emotional and ethical education, more support for young people in centres for minors, talks on combatting sexism and racism, a protocol for school bullying and more.

The public audience  with the city’s youth promotes a participatory process for children and young people between the ages of 11 and 17 from different city schools (final year primary of primary school, secondary school and baccalaureate, as well as special education) to put forward ideas to improve life in the city.

The topic for the 25th public audience, for the 2019-2020 school year, is ‘Barcelona coeducator’.
 

Benin: The Youth Movement for the Preservation of Peace and Democracy raises awareness of Atacora youth on non-violence

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . . .

An article from Agence Benin Presse

The Youth Movement for the Preservation of Peace and Democracy has held an action “Its now or never” to raise the consciousness of the youth of Atacora for nonviolene and the culture of peace in the upcoming electoral period. It was held on Saturday [April 13] on the esplanade of the House TV5 Natitingou in the presence of the Atacora Prefect, Maguidi Kora Gbéré, Mayor Antoine N ‘da and the regional delegate mediator of the Republic of Atacora and Donga, Dieudonné Kiatti.

The day of peace included theatrical and artistic presentation, with the key word peace, speeches promoting non-violence and citizen and patriotic behavior, the release of two white doves, a symbol of peace and the lighting of “the flame of peace.

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(Click here for the original version of this article in French.)

Question related to this article:

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

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The movement “It is now or never”, coordinated nationally by, Moutardine Tangaou, is necessary to maintain Benin on the path of democracy that it has follosed since February 1990. “We are fighting exclusively for peace, because there have been new events in our country that have caused us a fear of inheriting an unmanageable country,” said the national coordinator. He urged politicians to open avenues of dialogue, and he said he was proud to see several other organizations following suit by preaching peace.

“In Benin we have no enemies even less adversaries, we are just people with different opinions, a difference that is the richness of Beninese culture,” said the regional delegate of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Atacora and Donga, Dieudonné Kiatti. In the name of the mediator of the republic, he urged the youth to cultivate everyday acts, actions, attitudes and behaviors of peace.

Before lighting and raising the flame of peace to demonstrate their deep commitment to this cause, the Atacora Maguidi Prefect Kora Gbéré and the Mayor of Natitingou Antoine N’da, welcomed this initiative of the youth movement for the safeguard of peace and democracy. They also invited all the people of Benin and especially the youth of Atacora to engage in peace as the weapon of battle.

With a motto taken from the quote of Felix Houphouet Boigny “Peace is not an empty word but a behavior”, the movement “It’s now or never”, will cross all Benin with stops in some cities of the country.