Category Archives: DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

European Parliament Calls for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and a UN Reform Summit in 2020

.DISARMAMENT & SECURITY.

An article from the DWFed, Democratic World Federalists

In a resolution adopted today [July 27], the European Parliament called on the EU’s governments to advocate “the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly” (UNPA) and to support a “UN 2020 summit” that will consider “comprehensive reform measures for a renewal and strengthening of the United Nations.”

TAccording to the European Parliament, a UNPA should be established “within the UN system in order to increase the democratic character, the democratic accountability and the transparency of global governance and to allow for better citizen participation in the activities of the UN and, in particular, to contribute to the successful implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The directly elected parliament of the EU’s citizens called on the EU’s 28 member states represented in the Council of the EU to advocate the creation of a UNPA at the upcoming 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly which will start in September.

European parliamentarian Jo Leinen (S&D) who had initiated the call for a UNPA said that “the UN urgently requires more openness and stronger democratic foundations.” He added that “the European Parliament therefore calls for the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly within the United Nations system” and that “the European Union and its member states should now play an active role in the implementation of this innovation.”

The European Parliament’s rapporteur on this year’s recommendations on the EU’s UN policy, Eugen Freund (S&D), said that since he first encountered UN reform forty years ago “unfortunately, not much has changed.” He added that “the General assembly has more members now, but it is still a body of unelected diplomats. Therefore, the idea of eventually complementing them with elected parliamentarians is a very appealing one. They would certainly be closer to the populace and thus would have to regularly answer to their constituency. Whether that would also streamline the decision-making processes remains to be seen.”

Other supporters of the call for a UNPA in the parliament’s committee on foreign affairs included Elmar Brok (EPP), Soraya Post (S&D), Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D), Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL), and Andrey Kovatchev (EPP).

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Question for this article:

Proposals for Reform of the United Nations: Are they sufficiently radical?

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The European Parliament’s resolution was welcomed by Ivone Soares, a parliamentarian from Mozambique and a member of the African Union’s Pan-African Parliament. “With resolutions passed by the European Parliament, the Pan-African Parliament and the Latin-American Parliament, the time has come for progressive governments in these three major world regions to consider the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly,” Soares said.

Daniel Jositsch, a member of the Swiss Council of States commented that “the escalating crisis in international cooperation shows that new ways must be found to combat global problems. It is therefore very positive that the European Parliament is calling on the European states to speak out in favour of the creation of a UN Parliament. It is important that they will not simply pay lip service to this goal, but that concrete implementation measures are being taken.”

“From the many initiatives in favor of a more peaceful, fair and democratic world the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly is the decisive one. The recent support given by the European Parliament to this proposal shows that the members of the most important supranational parliamentary body are ready to work for its creation,” commented Fernando Iglesias, a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina.

Jo Leinen, Ivone Soares, Daniel Jositsch and Fernando Iglesias are co-chairs of the parliamentary advisory group of the international Campaign for a UNPA which has been endorsed by over 1,500 elected representatives worldwide. The campaign’s secretary-general, Andreas Bummel, said that the European Parliament’s call for a UNPA was “a bold and important step at a time when multilateralism is under attack.” “Governments interested in defending and strengthening the UN and democracy worldwide should urgently work for the democratisation of global institutions and a UN Parliamentary Assembly is a key to achieve this,” he added. Recently, the Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney stated that Ireland was “open minded” relative to proposals for a UNPA.

The European Parliament’s resolution on the EU’s UN policy also recommended, among other things, the establishment of “an open and inclusive intergovernmental preparatory process under the auspices of the UN General Assembly for a UN 2020 summit, on the occasion of the UN’s 75th anniversary” that would consider “comprehensive reform measures for a renewal and strengthening of the United Nations.”

Earlier this year Jo Leinen and Andreas Bummel published a book on the history, today’s relevance and future implementation of the proposal of a world parliament and on improving democratic world governance.

Honduras: New health clinic in gang-ridden suburb of San Pedro Sula rebuilds community

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An article from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees / Canada

On a sweltering afternoon, an elderly couple sit in the waiting room at the free health clinic holding hands, while a young mother waits for a medical appointment with her toddler napping in her lap.

“We welcome anyone in this clinic, we don’t turn anyone away,” says Wendy Espinoza, the health centre’s nurse, who knows everyone in town.

Keeping doors open to all may sound like a simple achievement. But it is a feat in some of the high risk neighbourhoods in San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second city.


Local residents visit the medical clinic at the UNHCR-backed Holy Trinity Comprehensive Support Centre in Chamalecon, San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The patchwork of streets in Chamelecón has for years been an arena for rival street gangs MS-13 and 18th Street, who control their respective territories with an iron grip, destroying communal spaces and severing neighbourly bonds.

Since opening its doors April 30, the Holy Trinity Comprehensive Support Centre has assisted roughly 100 patients per month, most young or elderly and suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses. But this space, which is located between the gangs’ fiercely contested territories but beholden to none, is more than just a health clinic.

“We don’t just want to cover basic medical services and medications,” says Father Luis Estévez, the local Catholic priest behind the project. “We want this to be a holistic support center for the community.”

Such support is very much needed in Chamelecón which came to world attention in 2004, when gang thugs sprayed a bus with automatic weapons fire, killing 28 passengers as they returned from the centre of San Pedro Sula, just ten minutes’ drive away.

The clinic – founded by Father Estévez, community leaders, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency – has a key role to play in rebuilding this community, as part of a comprehensive regional support and protection plan.

Known by its Spanish acronym MIRPS, the plan developed by regional governments with UNHCR’s support, seeks to tackle the root causes of displacement in crime-wracked neighbourhoods, as well as strengthening asylum systems and working on durable solutions.

“It’s a place where people can feel safe, where they can be open with each other and they can be protected,” says Yolanda Zapata, the head of the UNHCR office in San Pedro Sula.

As an important first step, the clinic welcomes anyone, regardless of what part of Chamelecón they are from or whether they or their family have any gang affiliation.

This inclusivity is important for nurse Espinoza, who has lived in the area her whole life and splits her work hours between the clinic and the trauma unit of a major public hospital. Gang members and their victims are regular patients there.

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Questions for this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?

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The clinic provides comprehensive primary care, including help to address the mental health needs of the countless local residents who have suffered or witnessed violence.

Since opening its doors earlier this year, it has an on-site psychologist on Saturdays, who now has a dozen local youth as patients. The waiting list to see the psychologist is now more than a month because of such high demand.

“Our patients often have some kind of trauma they are dealing with,” says Karina Ugarte, the young resident physician at the clinic. “Sometimes it’s severe but sometimes it’s just a little frustration they want to get off their chest. But there’s no other space for them to just talk around here.”

Living with violence, or the constant threat of it, has made many residents fearful and reluctant to open up. The clinic prioritizes privacy and discretion.

“Everywhere else there’s always a fear you’re being listened to so you constantly censor yourself,” says nurse Espinoza. “That barrier is broken inside here.”

For the fragile community, the Support Centre is seeking to play a wider role than simply providing comprehensive primary care. Upstairs offices and meeting rooms are quickly becoming a hub for rebuilding the community of Chamelecón from the inside.

As part of a push to reverse years of gang rule, the centre has also begun to reach out to local youth, who are particularly affected by high crime and poverty, and are under constant pressure to join one or other of the criminal groups.

“Young people really aren’t allowed to express themselves because from a young age you learn to stay quiet, and that bleeds over into every aspect of life,” explains Angel Sandoval, a teacher at a local school and the coordinator of the center’s budding youth program. “They need a place where they can express themselves and feel free.”

In their first youth outreach, leaders brought together 1,200 young people and organized a talent show in the park. It was the biggest community event in Chamelecón in recent memory.

Community workers and youth leaders are also organizing technical skills training, art and dance classes, and reproductive health workshops at the centre for young people.

And the leaders – Father Estévez, Sandoval and others – are building a growing network of protection for locals since gang control means victims have nowhere to turn when they are at risk.
“People will come to us and say ‘The gang told us we have 48 hours to leave’ but we as community leaders didn’t know what to tell them,” says Father Estévez.

In response, community leaders are using the support center as a training site to teach local leaders how to refer those in need to UNHCR and other support groups that can assist those who have been displaced from their home.

In this neighborhood, beset by gangs and with a limited government presence, a new generation of local leaders is hoping to change the future.

“Our hope is that in the future when people have any sort of problem or threat, they automatically think of the Support Centre as the place they can come,” he says.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

II World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace: Madrid, 5-8 November

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Information from the website of the Forum (Translation by CPNN)

The Organizing Committee

On Monday, June 11, the Organizing Committee of the II World Forum on Urban Violence met in Madrid. The Forum will be held in the Spanish capital from November 5 to 8, 2018, with the aim of designing an integrated program capable of serving the expectations generated by this new edition of the Forum.

The invocation of the Forum was announced by the mayor of Madrid and co-president of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI), Manuela Carmena, attended by representatives of the various organizations and platforms that take part of the Organizing Committee. They shared expectations for the organization of the Forum, raising, among other challenges, how to establish Madrid as the permanent seat of the Cities of Peace Forum and turn it into an annual event on the international agenda. The need to open a space to measure the results of the first Forum and its impact on interpersonal violence in territories and cities was also analyzed, as well as a discussion on how local leaders can contribute to “saving lives” with public policies that promote education for coexistence and peace in cities and territories.

The organizing committee currently is composed of: the city councils of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris; the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB); different United Nations agencies (UN Women, UN Habitat and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), networks of cities such as the global network of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) ), the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP), Metropolis, the Union of Iberoamerican Capital Cities (UCCI), Mayors for Peace and other platforms representing civil society such as the Spanish Association for Peace Research (aiPAZ); the Regional Federation of Neighborhood Associations of Madrid (FRAVM), the NGO Network of Madrid, the FAPA Giner de los Ríos and the Association of Educating Cities (AICE), as well as other collaborating entities that are committed to the organization and development of the forum process.

The meeting discussed the possibility of incorporating, in addition to debates and dialogues, other more dynamic ways of describing how cities, together with their citizens, confront the various forms of interpersonal violence. These include violence in sport, violence in social networks, juvenile violence, school violence, racism and xenophobia, international terrorism, LGTBIFobia, urban inequality and public space, violence against displaced persons and refugees and other more recent violence, such as the most current “aporophobia” (fear, rejection or aversion to poor people). These issues were integrated into the first draft of the working agenda.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

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

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PRE-REGISTRATION OF INITIATIVES / PROPOSALS FOR PARTICIPATION

Only one card can be registered per user. If you want to send more than one proposal, you must do so with another user / e-mail.

[The following information must be entered on the forum’s website:]

First Name

Last name

Email

Nationality

ID Number-Passport

Organization-Institution

Why did you decide to participate?

TITLE of the initiative

PLACE (City/country/region)

THEME/SPHERE (Type of violence / population affected

WHAT TYPE OF URBAN VIOLENCE DOES IT SEEK TO ERADICATE OR PREVENT?

STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED (Impulse/collaboration)

DESCRIPTION (Summary of the main actions carried out)

RESULTS/IMPACTS/PERSPECTIVES

MORE INFORMATION (Details of the contact person, webpage, links, materials)/

PROPOSED PRESENTATION FOR THE INITIATIVE AT THE MADRID FORUM (5-8 NOVEMBER 2018)

TECHNICAL AND SUPPORT REQUIREMENTS TO PRESENT THE PROJECT IN MADRID (material and technical characteristics)

DETAILS OF THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PRESENTATION IN MADRID

Castilla-La Mancha, Spain: The Strategic Agreement for Peace and Coexistence seeks a consensus of civil society

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An article from La Cerca: Castilla-La Mancha (translated by CPNN)

The second vice president of the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha, José García Molina, has appeared at a press conference on Wednesday [June 20] to report on the latest steps taken in the preparation of the Strategic Agreement for Peace and Coexistence which was presented to the parliamentary groups last May in the Cortes of Castilla-La Mancha.


José García Molina

Following the line of work of the participative processes in the elaboration of the Law of Participation and the Law of Guarantee of Income and of Citizen Guarantees; the project has been sent to organizations, unions and political formations so that they can participate in its elaboration.

“In a democratic society with a state of law that claims to be so, there is no room for radicalized attitudes, be they political, cultural or religious, that undermine or undermine those values ​​and those principles of democracy,” said José García Molina.

García Molina recalled the months of work developed in meetings with organizations and institutions working in different social and cultural spheres, with refugees, migrants or in a situation of vulnerability, who “have made their views known about what measures could be take to implement policies to prevent all processes of radicalization and stigmatization of these people.”

The draft has been sent to “all the organizations with which we have met, and that implement their daily work in Castilla-La Mancha, eleven representative unions of the region of different sectors, and a total of 53 political formations that have regional and even local and institutional implementation.”

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(Click here for the article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

The culture of peace at a regional level, Does it have advantages compared to a city level?

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This follows the participatory processes such as those that have been carried out in the elaboration of the Law of Participation and the Law of Guarantees of Income and Citizen Guarantees, “which have favored the broader participatory processes in the History of the Community Board “and” to make civil society a participant in the policies that need to be implemented in our region “, García Molina explained that a basic document has been prepared” that gathers the contributions that generated the highest level of consensus regarding the problems we want to tackle “.

Strategic Plan for Peace and Coexistence

García Molina seeks the unanimous signature, “or at least majority”, on the document for the preparation and implementation of a Strategic Plan for Peace and Coexistence. The plan will follow the guidelines of the European Union, “which already work in other countries “, and that brings together three main axes: social cohesion projects, projects for interreligious coexistence, and projects for the promotion of the culture of Human Rights.

The first axe includes the universality of social policies, the promotion of educational, cultural and social actions for dissemination and awareness of the international problems of refugees; and the creation of a Regional Observatory on Human Rights and Equality Policies.

Second, among the interreligious coexistence projects are the creation of an interreligious dialogue agenda, the convening of an Interreligious Annual Forum; and training modules and / or teaching units that address respect for religious diversity in social and educational centers in our region.

And finally, there are projects to promote a culture of Human Rights including the promotion of diversity and respect for cultural differences, international conferences on multiculturalism and culture of peace, and cultural exchange programs.

“What we hope,” García Molina has concluded, “is that all those social, cultural, political and union organizations will answer us to set a date for the formal signing of that Agreement.” “Our desire,” he added, “is that the support be unanimous because it sends a good message of peace, of coexistence, and above all of rejection of any form of radicalization that can generate violence.”

US Conference of Mayors Resolution for Peace

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A press release from Mayors for Peace received by email at CPNN

Today [June 11], at the close of its 86th Annual Meeting, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), unanimously adopted a sweeping resolution “Calling on the Administration and Congress to Step Back From the Brink and Exercise Global Leadership in Preventing Nuclear War.”

In the resolution, “the USCM welcomes the dramatic diplomatic opening between the U.S. and North Korea and urges President Trump to patiently and diligently work with North and South Korea for a formal resolution of the Korean War and normalized relations with a denuclearized Korean peninsula.”

The USCM also “reaffirms the importance and efficacy of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated by Iran, the U.S. and 5 other nations to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, and calls on [the] U.S. Administration to pursue diplomacy and normalized relations with Iran with the goal of establishing a zone free of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East.”

The resolution notes that tensions between the United States and Russia “have risen to levels not seen since the Cold War” and warns that “this is only one of many nuclear flashpoints, from the Korean Peninsula, to the South China Sea to the Middle East and South Asia, where all of the nuclear-armed states are engaged in unpredictable conflicts that could catastrophically escalate out of control.”

The resolution also warns that the February 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review “manifests a commitment to an increasing and long-term reliance on nuclear arms, lowers the threshold for use of nuclear weapons”, proposes new warheads and missiles, and “endorses current plans to sustain and upgrade existing nuclear forces and infrastructure projected to cost well over a trillion dollars over the next three decades.”

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Questions for this article:

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

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Noting that “in 2017 the United States spent $610 billion on its military, more than two and a half times as much as China and Russia combined, amounting to 35% of world military spending”, and that this huge amount is slated to rise significantly in coming years ”the USCM “calls on the President and Congress to reverse federal spending priorities and to redirect funds currently allocated to nuclear weapons and unwarranted military spending to support safe and resilient cities” and to meet basic human needs.

The USCM resolution expresses deep regret that the United States and the eight other nuclear-armed states boycotted last year’s negotiations for a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and urges the U.S. government to “embrace the TPNW as a welcome step towards negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on the achievement and permanent maintenance of a world free of nuclear arms”.
 
Finally, “the USCM calls on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first; ending the sole, unchecked authority of any president to launch a nuclear attack; taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; cancelling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons; and actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.”

The resolution was sponsored by Mayors for Peace U.S. Vice-President T.M. Franklin Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa and 25 co-sponsors including USCM President Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina and USCM International Affairs Committee Chair Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio.

The USCM, the nonpartisan association of 1,408 American cities with populations over 30,000, has unanimously adopted Mayors for Peace resolutions for 13 consecutive years. Resolutions adopted at annual meetings become USCM official policy.

As noted in this year’s resolution, “Mayors for Peace, which is working for a world without nuclear weapons and safe and resilient cities as essential measures for the realization of lasting world peace, has grown to 7,578 cities in 163 countries and regions, with 213 U.S. members, representing in total over one billion people”. Mayors for Peace, founded in 1982, is led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

See full text of resolution with list of 26 co-sponsors: http://wslfweb.org/docs/USCM2018MfPres.pdf

Contact: Jackie Cabasso, Mayors for Peace North American Coordinator,
wslf@earthlink.net

Mexico: Congress Exhorts the City Councils to contribute to the culture of peace

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An article from Guerrero Quadratin (translation by CPNN)

The Congress of Guerrero has exhorted the 81 city councils in the state to apply actions, programs and proposals to create a culture of peace and non-violence in their territories, in order to reduce the high rates of crime.

According to the Congress bulletin, when reading the proposal of the MC Parliamentary Group, the deputy Julio César Bernal Reséndiz highlighted that 2017 was one of the most violent in recent years, which makes it imperative that the three levels of government implement such actions.

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(Click here for a version in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

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

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He said that although municipal councils lack the infrastructure, budget and financing to contain violence in their municipalities, they do have channels for administrative, management and social participation that can hellp create a climate of peace in their territories.

Some of the actions and programs that are proposed include: create public policies of the municipalities that promote a culture of peace and nonviolence; disseminate through the municipal media the activities of local groups and the preparation of an annual program of awareness-raising activities to promote the values ​​of a culture of peace and non-violence; and make available publications on peace issues for libraries and municipal documentation centers.

Also, they should promote education for peace in schools, offering resources for students and facilitating specific training in peace and human rights for teachers, and budget an economic contribution for programs, projects and activities that promote the culture of peace organized by civil society.

Bernal Reséndiz emphasized that if each and every one of the aforementioned actions is carried out in the municipalities that make up the state of Guerrero, awareness will be created among the inhabitants to achieve peace and social harmony.

Spain: 100 Cities for Peace recognizes the town of Coria for its ties with Japan

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An article from Canal Sur

The international movement 100 Cities for Peace has awarded Coria del Río (Seville) the Pax Urbis prize, considering it a model of a culture of peace and tolerance thanks to its links and its historical relations with Japan.

The prize is being given in the context of the commemoration of the 150 anniversary of diplomatic relations between Spain and Japan, according to the official notice sent of the City Hall.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

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

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The notice adds that the mayor of Coria del Río, Modesto González, has thanked 100 Cities for Peace for this recognition, assuring that “for all the Corians there can be no greater pride than being considered a people of peace and an example to follow. The prize should inspire us to make an even greater effort to deepen and spread Japanese culture with its many enriching values.”

The Pax Urbis award is granted annually as a prize that commits the winners to responsibility and continuity of their efforts for peace.

100 Cities for Peace has granted the Pax Urbis International Awards since 2007 to cities, people and institutions that have promoted the culture of peace and its fundamental values.

The award will be given to the mayor, as representative of the municipality, next October during the celebration of the Japanese Cultural Week.

The award aims to recognize all the efforts made by citizens and the government of Coria del Río to maintain and promote relations with Japan, relations that have intensified especially in recent years, bringing benefits to the municipality; tourism, business, cultural and educational agreements.

Alliance in Asia: A subsidiary for International Cities of Peace in China!

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Excerpt from April newsletter of International Cities of Peace

In January, Executive Director J. Fred Arment traveled to Nanjing, China, our 169th city of peace, to discuss forming an alliance to extend the reach of International Cities of Peace throughout Asia. The purpose of the alliance is to create a partnership with the UNESCO Peace Studies Chair of Nanjing University and the Director of the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre. This alliance is much like a subsidiary organization formed by for-profit corporations such as GM and AT&T.


We are pleased to report that there was great success as a result of the trip. Professor Liu Cheng, the only UNESCO Peace Chair in China and director of the Nanjing University Institute of Peace has formed an alliance to promote cities of peace in Southeast Asia. In September, the Mayor of Nanjing will host a week-long celebration of International Day of Peace. City of Peace leaders will be present for a Conference. Extremely wonderful news!

Questions for this article:

First Congress of World Leaders, International Cities of Peace, at the invitation of the Fundación El Sol

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Notice from International Cities of Peace

You are invited as a world leader for peace to this Convention in order to share your experiences and those of other leaders about unique ways to create a community culture of peace.

Video of invitation

Questions for this article:

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

The grand event will be held from June 4 to 8, 2018, in the Plaza Mayor Convention and Exhibition Center. Green Room, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia.

We thank the organizer of the Congress, Sol Mary Valencia Acevedo, founder of Fundación El Sol and leader of Medellín: City of Peace.

SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. Support includes air travel, accommodations, meals, and transport to and from airport. Please send your inquiries to: mailto:arment@fredarment.com

FUNDACIÓN EL SOL, Sede administrativa Carrera 80C # 34A-71 Barrio Laureles. Medellin, Colombia.

Cell (+57) 3113427410 • (+57) 3176473933 e-mail: fundacionelsol.org@gmail.com

(Click here for a version in Spanish)

7th edition of the Thionck-Essyl International Dance and Music Festival: Culture for Peace in Casamance

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from Le Quotidien

The 7th edition of the Thionck-Essyl International Dance and Music Festival opens this Friday [April 13]. This locality of Casamance will, during 5 days, vibrate with the rhythms of songs, dances and training workshops for batik, basketry, pottery, as well as colloquiums. The director of the company Bakalama, initiator of this festival, Malal Ndiaye defined the strong axes of the programming, as well as its ambitions to make this festival a lever of economic development of Casamance (through culture and tourism) and a way to cultivate peace.

Casamance has been in conflict for almost three decades. As the director of the Thionck-Essyl International Dance and Music Festival, Malal Ndiaye believes that where politics and the military have failed, culture can succeed in bringing peace. The 7th edition of its festival which is held from 13 to 20 April in Thionk-Essyl (a locality located in the department of Bignona) hoopes to be an opportunity to promote culture and peace. “We have already understood that culture can be a source of mutual understanding of peoples, and that is why we have set up the festival in Casamance and we call on all the localities to come to discuss, understand and move forward together. As a cultural actor, I think and remain convinced that it is only through culture that we can have peace in Casamance”, he argues.

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(Click here for the French version of this article)

Question related to this article:

 

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

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Beyond this, it is for the initiators of this festival to promote cultural and tourism participation, as well as economic development of this region of Casamance. The artistic director of the company Bakalama and former manager of P-Froiss also recalls what guided the establishment of the International Festival of Dance and Music Thionck-Essyl “In 2004 we saw that the young people of this locality were passionate about making art. At Thionck-Essyl, there is a real artistic potential, so we decided why not create an artistic festival, but also a festival of development. A festival that can allow us to make a contribution, both in terms of tourism, economy and social . It is these young artists who are in Casamance, especially those in Thionck-Essyl who motivated us ” he informs. And since then, the festival has not departed from its original objectives. Once again this year, it will be an opportunity to address a theme so dear to the promoters of the festival: Culture and tourism leverage for economic development.

On the program side, director Malal Ndiaye reveals that a whole string of musicians, dancers, rappers will come from Dakar as well as regions of Casamance to take part in this festival. “45 artists will leave Dakar to join Thionck-Essyl and there they will find other dance companies such as the company Bakalama, the troupe Kalonkigne, Koubalang, Niaffrang … The Gran Jabel group will come from Guadeloupe to participate at the festival”, notes Mr. Ndiaye, who is pleased with the support of the municipal authorities. “The budget for this festival is 12 million, the 2 million are managed by the city council, and the Bakalama company which brings the artists participates for 1.5 million.” To make up the rest of the budget, Malal Ndiaye is counting on the support of the ministries in charge of Culture, Tourism and Crafts. “We have debts, we need transportation, accommodation, sound, we hope the support of the government,” he says.