Category Archives: Europe

Ivan Golunov case: Russian media mark victory over police

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from Deutsche Welle

After an unprecedented public outcry, Russian police have dropped questionable drug charges against investigative journalist Ivan Golunov and freed him from house arrest. What caused authorities to back down?


Three top newspapers covering Ivan Golunov’s arrest were in total solidarity: “I am/We are Ivan Golunov,” they read

There is an unwritten rule in Russia that when someone is arrested, that person will also be tried and sentenced. But on Tuesday [June 11], this rule was broken when drug possession charges against 36-year-old investigative reporter Ivan Golunov were dropped. Golunov, who writes for the dissident Meduzaonline platform, had maintained that Russian police were trying to frame him. Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has now announced that those responsible for the trial will be fired.

Exceptional display of solidarity

In an exceptional display of solidarity, three leading liberal Russian newspapers — Vedomosti, Kommersant and RBK —  ran identical front pages  on Monday [June 10] declaring: “I am/We are Ivan Golunov.” Even pro-Kremlin, state-run media outlets and major television stations demanded Golunov be treated fairly.

Last weekend, pro-Golunov rallies were also held outside Russia’s embassy in Berlin. A spokesperson for the German government on Tuesday told DW that it welcomes Golunov’s release, saying: “The government is carefully monitoring Russian developments and the treatment of journalists, opposition politicians and civil society.” After various smaller pro-Golunov rallies in Russia over the past days, thousands had planned to take to the streets on Wednesday in support of the journalist, even though authorities had not approved the protest.

Until recently, few Russians were familiar with Ivan Golunov’s name. Yet Meduza, the online platform for which he writes, is widely known and respected throughout the country. It was founded in 2014 by exiled dissident journalists in the Latvian capital, Riga, and grew to become one of the most widely read Russian-language media outlets in the world. The site is particularly popular among the urban middle class.

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Question(s) related to this article:

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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Golunov mainly publishes investigative reports exposing corruption in the Russian capital, for example regarding the procurement of plants or New Year’s Eve decorations for a party. Recently, the journalist had been researching illicit practices within the funeral industry and reportedly received threats.

In past years, Russians have repeatedly showed solidarity with individuals suspected of being prosecuted on the basis of trumped-up charges, like star director Kirill Serebrennikovor respected Chechen human rights activist Oyub Titiyev. But the massive pro-Golunov rallies of recent times surpassed these displays of solidarity by far.

Golunov’s case bears similarities to Titiyev’s, though the latter was sentenced for alleged drug possession. On Monday, however, word got out that the human rights activist would soon be released from jail. The announcement is seen as a move to ease tensions.

Further demonstrations loomed

There seem to be several explanations as to why Golunov’s case was thrown out. One is that those who had brought him to trial had not expected the tremendous show of solidarity in the media. When Russia’s three major liberal papers publicly sided with the investigative reporter, Golunov’s arrest transformed into a high-profile case. On the other hand, street clashes and anti-police violence could have followed, in particular due to Wednesday being Russia’s national holiday.

For months, pollsters have been documenting a growing willingness among Russians to protest. Russia’s government, which appears concerned by this development, has started giving in to the will of the people. Several weeks ago, for instance, Russian authorities surprisingly stopped the planned construction of a church in a popular Yekaterinburg park  after citizens protested against the move.

Appeasing Russians ahead of live Q & A?

The timing of Golunov’s release may also have to do with the Direct Line television show planned for June 20th, an annual live show during which Russians can phone in and ask President Vladimir Putin questions on air. Some media outlets had reported that the Kremlin had sought to sort out the Golunov case ahead of the live Q&A show, but Putin’s spokesperson denied this was so.
  
A further explanation for Golunov’s swift release may be that Putin plans to visit western Europe in early July and does not want the case to overshadow his trip. So far, it has been confirmed that the Russian leader will meet the Pope in Rome. And in spring, unconfirmed reports surfaced that Putin intends to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Petersburg Dialogue civil society summit near Bonn. Moreover, accusations of arbitrarily charging a dissident journalist would not cast Russia in a favorable light just as the country is set to rejoin the Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights body.

International Institute for Peace Education 2019: Cyprus

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An announcement from the International Institute for Peace Education

The 2019 International Institute for Peace Education (IIPE) will be held in Nicosia, Cyprus at the Home for Cooperation (H4C)  from July 21 to July 28, 2019. This year’s institute is organized in partnership with the IIPE Secretariat and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR).

IIPE 2019: Cyprus will convene educators from around the globe for a week-long, residential, learning community experience in peace education. A rich exchange of peacebuilding research, academic theory, best practices, and actions will be shared with participants from around the world through IIPE’s evolving dialogical, cooperative, and intersubjective modes of reflective inquiry and experiential learning.

IIPE 2019 will focus on global issues of particular relevance to Cyprus and the adjoining region of the Mediterranean, North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East – the intersection of Asia, Africa and Europe. This region is characterized on the one hand, by turmoil and tension, and on the other by the rich perpetual movements of people, ideas and experiences. While peoples’ past and present are presented in grey terms, their shared history(-ies) of coexistence, cooperation and exchange are often neglected in official discourses. In this context, recent developments with regards to war, terrorism, migration and refugedom have led to the creation of monolithic narratives and rigid identities. These excluding narratives perpetuate violent conflicts and structural conditions that limit opportunities for sustainable peace and development. IIPE 2019 will emphasize the role of educators on all levels in addressing conflict in creative ways and offering alternatives to violence in contexts such as the Cypriot one. Educating for practical and theoretical methods is of paramount importance for the creation of inclusive identities and a critical hope for the region, and for humanity as a whole.

Being concerned with reconciliation and abetting conflict, we peace educators, theorists, researchers, students, and activists together face a serious challenge. On the one hand, dynamic transitions and tensions shape our present world: new movements of peoples are working for more dignity and inclusion, while at the same time forces of power are consolidating in ways that challenge how local, regional and global citizens can contribute to this vibrant transition in nonviolent, humanizing and ecologically viable ways. IIPE 2019 Cyprus’s inquiry is centered on how might we collectively frame the challenges we face in our diverse, particular, and shared spheres? How can a relational paradigm for peace help us theorize these challenges for more dignity, inclusion, and coordination? As we engage in deep listening and critical and reflective dialogue, what new understandings will we reach? What creative practices will emerge? In examining crossover issues, we aim to bring our best selves in relation to each other so that we might meld together our best theoretical, educational, and activist practices.

Peace education and its intersections with history, political theory, conflict studies, reconciliation, the philosophy of peace, justice, and democracy in challenging times are among the areas of inquiry that will be most relevant at IIPE 2019. Applicants are invited to offer contributions on these and other thematic areas including, but not limited to:

* Identities (and anti-racist education) in divided and/or multi-faith, multi-ethnic and culturally and linguistically diverse societies

* Memory and remembrance (collective memory, communal memory, family history and memory, memory transmitted through celebrations, museums, monuments, oral history, understanding of heritage…)

* National celebrations (memory transmitted through ceremonies, anniversaries, memorials, commemorations and celebrations)

* The philosophical basis for reconciliation and peace

* Dialogue for reconciliation

* History teaching and historical dialogue as means for peacebuilding: the role of history education in conflict or post-conflict communities; peace and reconciliation; teaching history in divided societies; history education and values, beliefs and human rights

* Gender and peacebuilding in divided societies; gender and history

* Civil society, global citizenship, and local participation

* Youth and entrepreneurship

* Public space and deliberation; the city as an educating agent

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Question for this article:

Peace Studies in School Curricula, What would it take to make it happen around the world?

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Experiencing Cyprus

Cyprus, the island of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, has been separated for over 50 years, and, apart from a divided capital, barricades, barbwires and checkpoints, it offers numerous opportunities for exploring ancient and recent civilizations and experiencing, first hand, manifestations of the willingness to defeat time and space barriers and create spaces for creativity, imagination and sharing. The ‘wondering peace educator’ will be offered the chance to explore issues of memory and remembrance, conflicting narratives and identity and public history, while, at the same time, he/she will engage in the exchange of ideas and examples on breakthrough initiatives that have the potential to turn the island into a hub of innovation in the fields of History for Reconciliation and Education for a Culture of Peace.

In particular, all participants will have the opportunity to experience the contextual conditions existing in Cyprus regarding the conflict and become acquainted with local breakthrough initiatives on history as a means for reconciliation and education for a culture of peace. This will be enhanced through an Open Public Day, excursion(s), and unique cultural experiences in Cyprus. IIPE 2019 will also facilitate an exchange with Cypriot educators, from all communities, via the Open Public Day, which will feature immersion and exchange opportunities exploring global obstacles and possibilities for peacebuilding through education in other contexts.

About The Association for Historical Dialogue & Research (AHDR)

The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), based at the Home for Cooperation (H4C) which is a hub for intercommunal collaboration, dialogue, and education for a culture of peace, is the host and core resource for IIPE 2019’s thematic focus.

The AHDR is a unique multi-communal, non-for-profit, non-governmental organization established in Nicosia in 2003 that envisions a society where dialogue on issues of history, historiography and history teaching and learning is considered a means for the advancement of historical understanding and critical thinking and is welcomed as an integral part of democracy and a culture of peace. The AHDR contributes to the advancement of historical understanding amongst the public and more specifically amongst children, youth, and educators by providing access to learning opportunities for individuals of every ability and every ethnic, religious, cultural, and social background, based on the respect for diversity and the dialogue of ideas.

Since its establishment, the AHDR has broadened its mission by promoting peace education in formal and non-formal settings and is currently bringing together school children of all ages from all communities on the island through the implementation of the ‘Imagine’ Project which has received acclaim from the UN Secretary General for its role in promoting contact and cooperation between the future generations of Cyprus.

Cyprus, through the work of AHDR and H4C, is recognized as a regional center for offering state-of-the-art services for education for peacebuilding and dialogue as a means for reconciliation.

About the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE)

The International Institute on Peace Education is a weeklong residential experience for educators and scholars hosted in a different country every other summer. The Institute facilitates exchanges of theory and practical experiences in teaching peace education and serves to grow the field. In serving the field, the IIPE operates as an applied peace education laboratory that provides a space for pedagogical experimentation; cooperative, deep inquiry into shared issues; and advancing theoretical, practical and pedagogical applications. Since its inauguration at Teachers College Columbia University in 1982, the IIPE has brought together experienced and aspiring educators, academics, professional workers, and activists in the field of peace education from around the world to exchange knowledge and experiences and learn with and from each other in its intensive residentially based learning community.

Held annually at various universities and peace centers throughout the world, the IIPE is also an opportunity for networking and community building. that has spawned a variety of collaborative research projects and peace education initiatives at the local, regional, and international levels. The International Peace Bureau, in nominating IIPE for the 2005 UNESCO Peace Education Prize described it as “probably the most effective agent for the introduction of peace education to more educators than any other single non-governmental agency.” The objectives of each particular institute are rooted in the needs and transformational concerns of the co-sponsoring host partner, their local community, and the surrounding region. More widely, the educational purposes of the IIPE are directed toward the development of the field of peace education in theory, practice, and advocacy.

Applications are due March 15, 2019, and will be reviewed by the end of March/early April. Be sure to apply early for full consideration.

*The application deadline for IIPE 2019 has passed and we are no longer accepting applications.

Sponsorship and Support

IIPE 2019 is supported by a generous grant from the  Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

The conference is also under the aegis of the President of the European Parliament with the support of the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus.

Conference of European Churches Peace Conference 2019

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An announcement from the Conference of European Churches

CEC [Conference of European Churches] will be holding a Peace Conference from 10 to 12 September 2019 at the Institut Protestant de Théologie, Paris, France. 

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Question for this article

Religion: a barrier or a way to peace?, What makes it one or the other?

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The conference will be held as part of the CEC 60th anniversary this year, focusing on the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, identifying its legacies and the hard lessons learnt from the European and global past, and search for new and creative ways of peace building in the 21st Century.

This conference will also identify the current threats to peace in Europe and will articulate the challenges presented by the global experiences of the 21st century. In doing so, it will draw inspiration from the role and work of the Conference of European Churches as an ecumenical organisation engaged with peacebuilding, reconciliation and the healing of memories.

The 2019 Peace Conference will reflect on the contemporary world and identify a theological way of living and acting that can enable CEC and its Member Churches to engage faithfully and practically in transformation, healing and reconciliation.

For more information, contact Ms Charlie Belot.

Peacecamp Steinwenden, Germany, 28 June

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from the Ramstein Campagne

Between 23 and 30 June 2019, for the 5th year, a series of actions will be promoted to protest the continuation of the Ramstein Air Base – one of the biggest US-American military basis in the world, located in Germany. On this occasion, the campaign „Stopp Air Base Ramstein“ – together with the International Peace Bureau (IPB), the „No to War – No to NATO International Network“ & the European Left – invites you to the International Conference „Wars and Military Bases“, taking place on 28 June at the Apostelkirche in Kaiserslautern (Germany).

The meeting will be an opportunity for the peace movement to analyse the current international political situation, to report on actions around the world, and to discuss future actions and projects.

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Question for this article:

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

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We live in a time of wars and violence. The armament race has been growing, especially among the NATO countries. Their goal: 2% of country’s GDP for war and war preparations. Foreign military bases play an important role in the policy of confrontation: they are a crucial element for the preparation of yet new wars, the promotion of regime changes and the nurture of repression. While the USA has, by far, the highest number of military bases outside its territory (currently over 800), countries such as the UK, France, Russia and China also rely on military bases to project and enlarge their power.
We believe that sustainable peace and international security are best achieved by pursuing an approach of common security that is based on cooperation, trust, understanding, diplomacy and respect. Foreign military bases are not compatible with this vision: they represent constant threats of military action and the subsequent destruction that war casts over human life, nature, environment and infrastructure.
Due to our limited financial means, we cannot cover travel and accommodation costs. If you have any questions and/or comments, contact Reiner Braun at hr.braun@gmx.net. The conference will be conducted in English.
 
Download the program >

Europe: Call for participants – International Youth Camp “Dialogue”

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An announcement from the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe Youth Department and the National Youth Council of Russia are co-organising the X International Youth Camp “Dialogue” to be held from 3 to 9 August 2019 (including arrival and departure days) at the Tourist-cultural centre “Ethnomir” (Kaluga region, Russian Federation).


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Question for this article

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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The Dialogue Camp will bring together more than 200 youth leaders and youth workers from a wide range of ethnic, religious and cultural background from Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States countries and different regions of the Russian Federation. The focus of the camp in 2019 will be the development of competences of youth workers and exchange of practices of youth NGOs working in the area of intercultural dialogue in order to emphasise the role of youth NGOs in promoting the culture of peace and preventing extremism, discrimination and exclusion in the society.

The camp is a part of the 2019 Programme of activities of the Framework Programme on co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation in the youth field.

All interested candidates from the states party to the European Cultural Convention (other than the Russian Federation)are invited to apply by 3 pm (CET) on 25 June 2019 by filling in the online application form available at https://youthapplications.coe.int/Application-forms

All interested candidates from the Russian Federation are invited to complete an online application form by 10 am (Moscow time) on 10 July 2019:  https://forms.gle/LSXwRtavSvJNeKYm6

Youth for climate: 130 scientists support the youth climate strike

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from LCI

APPEAL – 130 scientists working in the field of climate and environment have announced their support for the youth climate strike on Friday (May 24th). Among them Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Robert Vautard, or Jean Jouzel.

On Friday, May 24th, when young people from around the world once again take to the streets to warn about climate change, they will be able to count on the support of 130 scientists who announced their support of the youth climate strike. The movement warns about “the urgency of climate change” and the non-compliance with the commitments, citing the case of France.

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

Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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“We, scientists in the field of climate and the environment, stand in solidarity with middle school students and students who are mobilized. How can not be worried about the future of the world?” The scientists include climatologists Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Robert Vautard, Jean Jouzel, Gilles Ramstein, the paleoclimatologist Elsa Cortijo and other researchers at the Pierre Simon Laplace Institute (ISPL), research in environmental sciences.

“For nearly 30 years, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and many scientific studies have sounded the alert on the urgeny of climate change (…), but nothing has changed”, they say. “In our country where the Paris Agreement was signed, which is highly symbolic, the commitments taken are not respected “, they continue .

“We support the mobilization of the younger generations, who will face tomorrow a world made more difficult by today’s inertia,” say the scientists, who say they are “available to provide (their) expertise and their knowledge to this mobilization”. On Thursday, the site youthforclimate.fr listed calls for the strike in more than 2,260 cities in 90 countries , including about a hundred cities in France.

In France, more than 85 associations and unions have joined the call to mobilize this Friday. For employees who can not join the strike, the collective “Citizens for the climate” suggests going to work with an armband to support the strikers or to speaking to the employer about global warming and the decline of biodiversity. More walks or bike rides are planned in 80 cities, mainly in France, although not in Paris.

Cyprus: Teachers from both sides attend seminars on peace education

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from Cyprus Mail (reprinted by permission)

Teachers from both sides of the divide attended two seminars on peace education on Saturday organised by the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Education.

In total 100 teachers – 50 Greek Cypriots and 50 Turkish Cypriots – participated in two bicommunal training sessions by international experts which took place at the Home for Cooperation in the Nicosia buffer zone.


Questions for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

The co-chairs of the committee, Dr Meltem Onurkan Samani and Dr Michalinos Zembylas also took part in the teacher training that is part of the ‘Imagine’ peace education programme. Participants were trained on how to promote peace, anti-racism and human rights through education.

This is a new initiative introduced during the current academic year by the committee. The committee was established after the agreement between the two leaders in December 2015, to implement confidence-building measures in the two educational systems. Part of the committee’s mandate is to promote contact and cooperation between students and educators from the two communities.

“The overall aim of the teacher training is to help increase contact and cooperation between teachers of the two communities in Cyprus, based on a holistic understanding of developing their knowledge, skills and attitudes on education for a culture of peace and non-violence,” a written statement said.

So far, 10 mono-communal training sessions have taken place with 250 teachers participating from all areas across the island.

‘Imagine’ is under the auspices of the Bi-Communal Technical Committee of Education and implemented by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) and the Home for Cooperation (H4C) with the support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

Geneva: Conference on ‘Promoting Peace Together’ Promoting Human Fraternity and Harmonious Co-existence through Dialogue

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

An announcement from the World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) have jointly produced the document ‘Education for Peace in a Multi-religious World – A Christian Perspective’. The document aims to make a constructive contribution to peace-making and explores the vital role that education can play in cultivating a culture of peace.


Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

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Question related to this article:
 
How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

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The [conference] will focus on two historic documents related to peace-making, namely the document on ‘Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together’ jointly signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi in February, 2019, and  ‘Education for Peace, in a Multi-religious World: A Christian Perspective’ – jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches, which will be officially launched at the end of the event.

The WCC office of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation (WCC-IRDC) and PCID have a very long tradition of undertaking joint projects with focus in peacebuilding, education and harmonious co-existence in a multi-religious world.
 
WHEN: 21st May 2019, 14:00 to 17:00

WHERE: The Ecumenical Centre, Geneva

For further information, please contact: (Rev. Dr Peniel Rajkumar) peniel.rajkumar@wcc-coe.org

Detailed Program will follow

 

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

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

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’.
 

Spain: A group of professors creates ‘Manifesto for the Survival of the Planet’

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article in El Adelantado (translation by CPNN)

A group of professors from Campus Maria Zambrano of the University of Valladolid in Segovia have written the ‘Declaration for the Survival of the Planet’ in which they commit themselves to “coherently defend policies of ecological and social sustainability”. Its objective is to promote social debate and citizen awareness to “avoid the progressive deterioration of the planet”.


The professor Agustín García Matilla is one of the first signatories. / N. LL.

The promoters and first signatories of the manifesto, among which is the professor of Communication of the University of Valladolid, Agustín García Matilla, do not seek the support of the institutions, but the greatest number of adhesions by individual professors and professionals of the world of science, culture and communication. Considering the upcoming elections, the professors want to remind all political parties of issues that transcend any electoral contest and that present dilemmas that affect the survival of the planet, “says García Matilla.

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(Click here for the original Spanish article.)

Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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Problems and challenges

“Global warming, the economic imbalances that increase inequality and excessive profit; the migratory crises that are caused by wars; hunger and misery, caused by them; the hijacking of politics by leaders who have forgotten their public service obligation; the use of religions as instruments for the annulment of autonomous and critical thinking and, at times, used for the promotion of fanaticism; the lack of equality between men and women, these are just some of the problems that have contributed to the present crisis. We have arrived at a decisive moment to avoid an irreversible deterioration of the planet, “says the manifesto.

The creators of the manifesto demand a political approach “for people” conceived as “service to the common good” and presided over by “a humanism that makes the culture of peace the main aspiration of those who inhabit this world”. In addition, the first seven signatories – Marta Laguna, Mari Cruz Alvarado, Rocío Collado, Susana de Andrés, Alfonso Gutiérrez, Luis Torrego and Agustín García Matilla – demand the fulfillment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as a starting point for a universal political consensus.

“The Planet’s survival depends upon education, science and culture, and hence we must act now to help mobilize the whole of Humanity”. This is the phrase that begins the manifesto. Its creators seek a majority support and a common voice to guarantee the same opportunities for men and women, identical opportunities for people with different abilities; as well as decent salaries and decent pensions.

The Pact

The manifesto concludes:”We appeal to all the governments and politicians of the world to commit to the signing of a Pact for the Survival of the Planet. Changes must be carried out without delay, interrupting the cycles of accelerated destruction, putting an end tos speeches of fear and the justification of the escalation of arms. Nonviolence, the culture of peace and the aspiration to a Universal Justice, are the demands that need to be put forward from education, science and culture.”