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English bulletin September 1, 2019

HOPE FOR PEACE IN THE HOLY LAND

If we look at the news and consider only the short-term, peace seems very distant between Israelis and Palestinians. But if we take a long-term historical view, there is reason to hope.

We begin with the short-term news.

The first two Muslim-American women in Congress, Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were barred from visiting Israel and the Occupied Territories, presumably because they support the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Commenting on this, Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories, remarks that this was due to the “unhealthy relationship” that has evolved between the US and Israeli Presidents Trump and Netanyahu. For example, Trump had tweeted that Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib, hate Israel and all Jews.

Also in recent news, Democracy Now featured an interview with a Palestinian girl, Janna Jihad, who, at the age of 13 years, continues to expose the Israeli occupation of Gaza. She started telling stories about her home of Nabi Saleh when she was only 7, after her cousin and her uncle were killed in the village. Since then, Janna has shared countless videos about Palestinian resistance with viewers around the world, on Twitter, on YouTube, on Facebook, garnering tens of thousands of followers. Asked by Amy what she thought could be the solution, Janna replied “For me, the one-state solution is the solution that would work. It can be that all of us could live together, same rights, under one government, getting exactly the same rights, me like the same as any other person. And all the refugees could come back to Palestine. All the people could live in peace, just in equality. ”

There is more hope if we look at the long-term.

Dr. Bahan Bastani traces the history of cultural interactions between Islam and Judaism, Muslims and Jews. He reminds us that during the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization, 9th-12th centuries, both the Muslim and the Jewish civilizations flourished in the Islamic centers of higher learning in Baghdad and al-Andalusia-Spain, and the Muslim territories was safe heaven for the Jewry of the world. In the fertile multicultural environment of al-Andulus, the Jewish and Muslim scholars made significant strides in astronomy, astrology, optics, geometry, medicine, philosophy, and literary works. Also, when Spain fell under the Spanish Catholic rule in 1492 and the Jews were being persecuted, it was the Ottoman Empire that send ships to rescue the Jews from Spain into the Muslim territories. For the following three centuries, the Jews in the Turkish Muslim Ottoman Empire ascended to high positions as court physicians and as foreign diplomats.

An even longer term view is taken by the Palestinian Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh who traces the history of the Land of Canaan. He begins with the dawn of civilization which took place in this region when people went from hunter-gatherers to agricultural communities. For the first 12,000 years there was very little conflict. “Palestine was multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural and multilingual society.

If you go back before the present conflict, you would go to the Crusaders, 1190 AD. Like the present conflict, that, too, came from outside.” But, as Qumsiyeh says, “the patient is not hopeless . . . in biology when I look at the forest and I see one species dominate I don’t say this is a healthy forest. I say this is unhealthy, it’s going to decline. The strength comes from diversity, so we say that’s what will happen here and that’s another reason why I’m optimistic – we fight for equality and to maintain the country the way it was supposed to be: multi-ethnic multi-cultural and multi-religious.


Looking at the present times, Rabbi Michael Lerner says it compounds the problem to say simply that “Israel is a racist society and most Israelis are racists.” Instead of dismissing those who disagree, leftist activists need to understand the historical origins of Zionist attitudes, coming not only from the Holocaust, but also the experience of Jews from former Communist countries and those coming from Arab countries who were disrespected by Jews of European origin. He concludes “The outrageous actions of the Jewish majority in becoming oppressors of the Palestinians will remain, for thousands of years into the future, one of the most disgraceful moments in Jewish history. But it won’t be overturned until we can develop a new politics of compassion for both sides, and a renewed belief that people can be reached if we start from a perspective of respect and caring for them, even when we disagree with their current political proclivities”

As long-time peace activists Len and Libby Traubman have put it: “An enemy is one whose story we have not heard. ”

Can Zionism be redeemed?“. The question is explored by Tikkun writer Yehezkel Landau. He sees hope in the mutual struggle of Israelis and Palestinians against the degradation of the environment as exemplified in the annual climate march. “When it was first organized five years ago, some 200 people took part. This year over 5,000 people marched, Palestinian and Jewish citizens from all over Israel. They carried banners proclaiming mutual solidarity in the face of environmental threats and the need to work together to ensure a common future. . . We need more signs of hope like these to boost our spirits and motivate action, within our respective communities and across boundaries.”

Meanwhile, the struggle for justice goes on. Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, urges support for the BDS in the face of attempts by the US Congress to suppress it. He reminds us that “BDS calls for Palestinian liberation on terms of full equality with Israelis and categorically opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.” And he concludes that “Our hope remains alive as we witness an inspiring shift in public opinion in favor of Palestinian human rights.”

      

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Manifesto on diversity: the Land of Canaan

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Kazakh capital to host 2019 UNWTO Urban Tourism Global Summit on SDGs

WOMEN’S EQUALITY




Voices of Afghan women ‘must be heard at the table in the peace process and beyond’

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Colombia: Barranquilla will host the first Ibero-American Education Congress

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



The Americas are preparing for the second World March for Peace and Nonviolence

HUMAN RIGHTS

PAYNCoP Gabon and AFRICTIVITIES inform civil society organizations about the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Colombia: Rigoberta Menchú asks the Government to strengthen the peace agreement

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Building infrastructures for peace

English bulletin August 1, 2019

CULTURE OF PEACE CONFERENCES

This summer and fall there are international conferences for the culture of peace sponsored by organizations throughout the world.

The United Nations on September 13 will hold a high level forum at its New York headquarters to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Organizations are invited to initiate actions to mark the event such as: mention Culture of Peace anniversary on your website front page, conduct a Culture of Peace workshop, initiate an educational Culture of Peace campaign, advocate with your government officials for Departments, Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace, citing the Culture of Peace resolution as the basis for them. The meeting is convened by the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa.

The government of Angola and UNESCO will hold a Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace 18-22 Sept, called the Luanda Biennale. The event is expected to take place every two years to develop actors and partners of a Pan-African movement for the prevention of violence and conflict, and the consolidation of peace. It continues a series of inititiatives by UNESCDO for the culture of peace in Africa that has been developing over many years.

Luanda is also the site for an International Symposium on the Culture of Peace, sponsored by the Instituto Superior Politécnico Tocoísta and including participants from Brazil, Portugal and the United States. The specific objective of the Symposium is to consider the creation of a Masters in African and African American Studies in Political Science (Sociology) with Howard University in the US]and Bahia State University in Brazil.

A conference on Youth and Peacebuilding in Africa was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on July 16-17, sponsored by two Ivoirian research centers and the the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Africa Program based in Washington, D.C. Among the sessions was one entitled “Building a Culture of Peace: Educating Youth for Peace.”

The 14th World Congress of Mediation and a Culture of Peace: Integrating approaches will be held on Sept 17 in Buenos Aires in conjunction with the organization T20 Argentina which strives to add value to the G20 process with evidence-based public policy proposals on areas of interest for the international agenda. The Congress brings together international professionals to exchange practices that help to address conflict and to construct a culture of sustainable peace in Latin America and the world.

The International Peace Bureau (IPB), based in Berlin, will hold a Youth Network Conference under the theme of Transform! Towards a Culture of Peace on Sept 20-22. The Youth Congress will engage youth from various different backgrounds and with varying perspectives and approaches to peace, justice and sustainability as well as diverse experts and lays from different fields related to the Congress’ issues. The IPB is one of the oldest and most prestigious peace organizations, having received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910.

Work for peace by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot teachers was a highlight of the annual meeting of the International Institute for Peace Education. This year’s meeting, which brought together 75 participants from 35 countries during the week of July 23-28. was held in Cyprus to showcase 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. The IIPE is currently coordinated via a secretariat at The University of Toledo in the United States.

A World Forum for the Culture of Peace was held in the Hague, Netherlands on June 13, organized by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation of Kuwait and the International Peace Institute based in New York. According to the Forum, “the definition of peace has shifted in the United Nations community from the absence of conflict to a more active, “positive peace” . . . The ‘culture of peace’ recognizes the link between peace, development, and human rights. Defined in 1999, the term seeks to tackle the root causes of conflicts emphasizing the importance of dialogue, negotiation, and cooperation among individuals, groups, and nations.”

The World Peace Award: International Peace Conference was held in Stockholm, June 29-July 3. The focus of the conference was “to explore what universally shared values are and how they can contribute to a world of peace and provide hope for the future of humankind.” The initial session was devoted to “the agenda for how to share a mutual responsibility to create a culture of peace.” Most of the sponsors were Buddhist organizations, including those based in Thailand, Sweden, USA, India-Nepal, UK, Europe and China.

The United Nations High Level Forum is explicit that the culture of peace is based solidly on the 1999 United Nations Declaration and Program of Action for a Culture of Peace. While the other international conferences listed here do not explicitly mention the resolution for the culture of peace, they acknowledge that it is the United Nations that has provided a universal basis for its concept and practice.

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


8th Annual UN High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Environmental damage is a war crime, scientists say

WOMEN’S EQUALITY




Venezuela. The construction of peace must have the quality of feminism

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Argentina: The T20 Summit and the 14th World Congress of Mediation and a Culture of Peace: Integrating approaches

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Officials Urge Disarmament ‘Stepping Stones’

HUMAN RIGHTS


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

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Muslim World League, Patriarchate of Moscow sign cooperation deal

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Council of Europe: Culture of peace preventing violence and terrorism

English bulletin July 1, 2019

MASS PROTESTS AROUND THE WORLD

Around the world people are taking to the streets in nonviolent demonstrations to demand justice and democracy.

In some cases (Hong Kong, Russia and Algeria), the mass demonstrations have already led to some changes, while those in Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, Sudan and Brazil have not yet achieved the desired results.

Hong Kong. Almost two million people took to the streets in Hong Kong to protest a Chinese proposal that would enable the extradition to mainland China of Hong Kong residents and Chinese or foreign nationals traveling through the city. Critics believed it would tighten Beijing’s grip on the autonomous city, which is governed under a “one country, two systems” policy cemented during the British handover of Hong Kong in 1997. Opposition to the extradition bill came from broad sectors of society, including the business community, professionals, teachers, students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups.  As a result of the mass demonstrations, the bill was suspended. However, it has not been completely withdrawn and the Hong Kong leader, appointed by Mainland China, is stil in place despite calls for her resignation.

Russia. Protests broke out in Russia following the arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov on trumped-up drug charges.  Golunov mainly publishes investigative reports exposing corruption, and Meduza, the online platform for which he writes, is one of the most widely read Russian-language media outlets in the world. After various smaller pro-Golunov rallies, thousands had planned to take to the streets on Wednesday June 12 in support of the journalist, even though authorities had not approved the protest. Golunov was released before then, however, following simultaneous publication by three top independent newspapers with the headline “We are Ivan Golunov.” As a result Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced that those responsible for the arrest and charges will be fired.

Algeria. In April, following mass demonstrations, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had been in power for several decades, was forced to resign. Mass protests have continued, however, demanding the resignation and prosecution of other figures from his government. Some arrests of corrupt former officials and businss people have been made but demonstrations continue demanding more prosectuions and a new government without links to the previous government of Bouteflika.

Kazakhstan. Protesters in Kazahstan continue to take to the streets following a snap election after the unexpected March resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had led the country since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The protesters allege that the election to choose his successor was not free or fair, and, as expected, the hand-picked successor to Nazarbayev was elected.

Czech Republic. Hundreds of thousands of activists flooded the center of Prague on Sunday, June 23, in the culmination of anti-government protests against the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis. Previously, some 400,000 people signed a petition calling on billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis to step down amid allegations of fraud. The rallies were triggered after Babis appointed a close ally as the country’s new justice minister at a time when prosecutors are deciding on a potential indictment against him.

Sudan. After the three-decade autocratic rule of President Omar al-Bashir ended in a military takeover in April, talks faltered in May between protesters and the ruling Transitional Military Council over a timetable for civilian rule. On 3 June, security forces and paramilitaries fired on pro-democracy protesters  holding a sit-in outside army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, leaving a number of people dead and many more injured. Demonstrators in Sudan planned to return to the streets on Sunday, June 30, for mass rallies dubbed the “millions march“. [Update: “The revolution will not die.” That was the message from tens of thousands of protesters, as they poured into Sudan’s streets on June 30, demanding civilian rule.]

Brazil. Millions participated in the general strike in Brazil on 14 June, with demonstrations in 380 cities across the country. The strike had been called to reject the proposed counter-reform of the pension system by the Bolsonaro government, but also reflected opposition to education cuts, which had already brought millions onto the streets on 15 and 30 May. The Bolsonaro government was hit by revelations of collusion between the judge and the prosecution in the trial against former president Lula. The judge involved was then awarded the Ministry of Justice by Bolsonaro. There is also strong resistance to the Bolsonaro government’s policies regarding indigenous peoples and the environment and Bolsonaro’s attacks on the gay community.

Although there was police violence against protesters in Sudan and Kazakhstan, the protesters themselves were nonviolent in all the above cases. It is a good sign that people are taking to the streets rather than remaining passive in this moment of history with its many setbacks to democracy and the fact that they are nonviolent is especially important. As reported previously in CPNN, a research project on Nonviolent Resistance and Democratic Consolidation, based on 101 democratic transitions that occurred within the time period of 1945 to 2006 found that nonviolent resistance, including mass protest marches, is more effective than violent resistance in both the short term and the long term.

      

HUMAN RIGHTS



Hong Kong protesters march demanding leader resign

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Agroecology and peasant agriculture to preserve biodiversity

WOMEN’S EQUALITY




Peace through Tourism: Celebrating Her Awards

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



PAYNCoP Gabon organizes a conference on the challenges of building peace in Africa

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Dr. Garbis Der-Yeghiayan Elected Chair of Rotary Middle East Initiative Council

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Luanda Biennale: Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



EDUCATION: Imagine programme helping to reconcile divided Cyprus

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Restorative Justice in Brazil: Culture of Peace instead of Punishment

English bulletin June 1, 2019

. . . LEADERSHIP FOR PEACE . . .

In a time of bad news and confusion, we seek those who can lead us towards a future of hope and stability. Here are some good examples of leadership that we have cited recently in CPNN.

Africa:

Following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, and now including his widow Graça Machel as deputy chair, the Elders continue to give us good leadership. Most recently, at their biannual board meeting in Addis Ababa, they met with the Ethiopian Minister of Health and workers at a health center, where they discussed the country’s efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage. As expressed by Graca Machel, “Health is a human right, and health workers are human rights champions. I applaud the Ethiopian Government’s commitment to delivering free primary care services at a community level, and urge them to commit further public funds to the health budget to reach this goal.”

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali, has been awarded the Félix Houphouët-Boigny – UNESCO Peace Prize for his role as the instigator of a peace agreement between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Eritrea. See the recent CPNN articles about this agreement.

The Nobel Women’s Initiative was hosted in Monrovia, Liberia by Nobel peace laureate, Leymah Gbowee, and the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa for a groundbreaking summit of Emerging Feminist Voices for Peace. The five Nobel Peace Laureates present (Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Wiliams, Rigoberta Menchú Tum and Tawakkol Karman) shared some of their experience and offered advice for young, ‘emerging’ feminist leaders. “The overarching theme was that we (women) are powerful and worthy; that we must claim our space, we must use our voice and we must not ask for permission to do so.”

The youth of Africa continue to mobilize for peace. The National Co-ordination in Gabon of the Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP,) has recently unveiled its roadmap of actions to be carried out over the next two years. The action plan provides for four strategic axes, including the popularization of PAYNCoP, the promotion of a culture of peace, the appropriation of Resolution 2250 (youth, peace and security) and the transformation of PAYNCoP into a social enterprise .

Latin America:

21 Nobel Peace Laureates Have Confirmed Attendance at the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates titled: “Leave Your Mark for Peace” to take place in in Mérida, México. This year’s program will focus on both the Mexican legacy and the nation’s involvement in the global peacebuilding process. The program will engage civil society and youth from throughout the world by providing them the tools and strategies needed to achieve peace at the local and global levels.

In the face of the neo-colonial threats of the United States and its allies against Venezuela, 
the fomer President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar, has warned that “Any action that could lead to the forceful overthrow of Maduro’s government would renew the culture of military coups and bloody dictatorship in Latin America, reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s. . . . The greatest contribution that external intervention can play is to encourage democratic solutions and promote political negotiations and dialogue, for a peaceful settlement. Any other course, such as economic sanctions, will only worsen the situation and lead to bloodshed and violence. Latin America and the Caribbean need a culture of peace.”

North America:

Although the government and the mass media of the United States are not providing good leadership, there are individuals who are (or have) done so. Richard Falk, who served as the UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine during the period between 2008 and 2014, explains in a recent blog why he cannot abandon his long-standing commitment to take controversial public positions, such as his defense of the human rights of the Palestinian people, his objection to the threats against Iran and his defense of the whistle-blowing of Julian Assange.

Recently we lost a great peace activist of the United States, Michael True. Mike was a tireless advocate of people power. He believed deeply in the capacity of ordinary folk to effect social change, and expressed that conviction in his many books, lectures, and personal support for a myriad of campaigns, including the Peace and Justice Studies Association and the International Peace Research Association. When the UN came out with its Culture of Peace documents, he was ecstatic, because finally an international body recognized what he had known all along, that individual initiative, nonviolent direct action, and people power matter.

Europe:

Religious leaders are working for world peace. In Geneva, the conference on ‘Promoting Peace Together’ Promoting Human Fraternity and Harmonious Co-existence through Dialogue was sponsored by two of the largest Christian organizations, the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The conference presented their document “Education for Peace in a Multi-religious World: A Christian Perspective. It also discussed the document ‘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,

East Asia:

And religious leaders are working specifically for peace in Korea. South Korean Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung believes that permanent peace is within sight on the Korean Peninsula. He made this statement in a keynote speech at the 2019 Korean Peninsula Peace-sharing Forum hosted by the National Reconciliation Committee of Seoul Archdiocese and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism at the Catholic University of Korea on May 18.

Globally:

As we have previously reported, students around the world have taken the leadership in the fight to save the planet from global warming. The recent strike on May 24 is said to involved over a million students, and we show their photos from the Philippines, Germany, Syria, South Korea, New Zealand, India, Italy, Uganda, Ireland, USA and Sweden as well as links to photos from Chile, Mexico and Brazil.

It should not be surprising that the leadership we need comes especially from the sectors that have been ignored and oppressed by the culture of war,: women, youth and the continents that were victims of colonialism and continue to be exploited by neo-colonialism, Africa and Latin America.

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



21 Nobel Peace Laureates Have Confirmed Attendance at the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Youth for climate: 130 scientists support the youth climate strike

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Liberia: Feminist Voices for Peace

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



PAYNCOP Gabon Presents its Roadmap to the President of the National Assembly

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Latin America and the Caribbean need a culture of peace

HUMAN RIGHTS



The Global Campaign for the Prevention of Child Marriage

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



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

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



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

English bulletin May 1, 2019

PRESS FREEDOM UNDER ATTACK

Freedom of the press is under attack around the world, with the biggest deterioration in North and South America. And the most spectacular and dangerous example is the arrest of Julian Assange of Wikileaks and the threat that he he may be extradited and tried by a kangaroo court in the United States.

According to Bruce Shapiro, the executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University School of Journalism, the very essence of the press freedoms in the United States is under attack in the U.S. attempt to extradite and try Assange. He calls it an “attempt to criminalize investigative reporting.”

Not only freedom of the press, but also democracy, human rights and peace are under attack.

Daniel Ellsberg, himself the courageous whistle-blower of the Pentagon Papers that revealed the lies of the Vietnam War, puts it this way: “Without whistleblowers we would not have a democracy. And there have to be people to distribute work and publish it. Julian Assange has done that in a way in which other publishers have not been willing to. . . . it is now up to us to make sure that the First Amendment is preserved.”

United Nations experts, including the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, the UN independent expert on the right to privacy, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture warned that the arrest and threatened extradition of Assange is a violation of his human rights, “including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial, and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

An example of how Wikileaks revelations promoted democracy comes from Kenya. Writing in Al Jazeera, Patrick Gathara describes how a report about government corruption was suppressed by that same government, but was obtained and revealed by Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Gathara states that  “For once, Kenyans were afforded an unvarnished and detailed glimpse of the amount of national wealth that was being stolen by the very people tasked with protecting it.”

The list of Wikileaks evelations of government corruption is quite long, and it takes the journalist Alison Weir 8,000 words to describe them in the article we have reprinted in CPNN. Wikileads revealed “the U.S. government’s cover-up of torture, cruelty, the killing of civilians, spying on its own citizens and others. It exposed Democratic Party cheating and manipulation, the fraudulence of ‘Russiagate.’ It unmasked Israeli plans to keep Gaza on the brink of collapse, to use violence against Palestinian nonviolence, to make war upon civilians.” And the list could be even longer, if one includes examples like the corruption in Kenya mentioned above.

Although the United States is exerting pressure behind the scenes, the arrest was due to the actions of the governments of Ecuador and the UK.
For Noam Chomsky, it shows the global reach of the American empire: “why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time.”

Fortunately, many people are taking positive steps to support Assange. In CPNN, we have carried several articles of support from Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. On January 7 she nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. And after his arrest in April, she demanded the right to visit him in prison.

Mairead Maguire reminds us that the actions of Assange are an important contribution to peace: “By Julians courageous actions and others like him, we could see full well the atrocities of war. . . . I live in an era where people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and anyone willing to open our eyes to the atrocities of war, is likely to be haunted like an animal by Governments, punished and silenced.  . . .. This man is paying a high price to end war and  for peace and nonviolence and we should all  remember that.”

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


2019 World Press Freedom Index – A cycle of fear

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Photo essay: Climate Change Protests Sweep Europe

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


UNCSW63’s positive outcomes for women’s human rights

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



National Campaign for Peace Education launched in Cameroon

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Statement on Escalating Tensions in Venezuela Issued by the Caribbean Community

HUMAN RIGHTS



South Africa Launches Plan to Combat Xenophobia and Racism

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Haiti – Dominican Republic : “For a culture of peace theme of the week of the diaspora

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Benin: The Youth Movement for the Preservation of Peace and Democracy

English bulletin April 1, 2019

A GLOBAL YOUTH MOVEMENT?

Millions of students went on strike from school on March 15 to pressure their governments to address seriously the problem of global warming. Photos from that day on CPNN show their demonstrations around the world: in the UK, Australia, Philippines, Sweden, Italy, Uganda, Belgium, USA, Canada, Portugal, Ukraine, Spain, Chile, Nigeria, France and Bangladesh.

The movement has been inspired by the actions of a girl in Sweden, Greta Thunberg, who sat last year by herself outside the Swedish parliament to demand that they take action. Since then Greta has spoken out in many venus, including the meeting of the world’s richest bankers and executives in Davos, Switzerland. Her words at Davos struck a chord, especially among young people around the world: “Act As If Our House Is on Fire. Because It Is.” She has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. If Thunberg won, the 16-year-old would be the youngest winner ever and the second after 2007 co-winners former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be honored for work on climate change.

The mission statement of the American Youth Climate Strike is a clear exposition of their demands, “We, the youth of America, are striking because decades of inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change, according to the Oct 2018 UN IPCC Report. We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis. We are striking because marginalized communities across our nation —especially communities of color, disabled communities, and low- income communities—  are already disproportionately impacted by climate change. We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change. With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people.”

Here are a few of the colorful, hand-lettered placards at the youth march in New York City:
– There is no plan(et) B
– One people One planet
– I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized I was the somebody!
– Respect existence or expect resistance !
– Break the climate silence !
– Youth strikes harder when climate change strikes !
– Change is coming whether you like it or not !

The collective “Youth for the climate” was formed in Spain by groups of young people who joined as a collective last February and who are organized in assemblies. Eight weeks ago these young people decided that they had to strik along with young people in Europe and around the world. We link to a video of several of these activists who say, among other things that “No es la tierra de nuestros hijos sino nuestro proprio futuro . . . ” (We are concerned not only with the world for our children, but for our own future as well.)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres has praised the youth movement, saying that ““These schoolchildren have grasped something that seems to elude many of their elders”, he said, adding that “we are in a race for our lives, and we are losing. The window of opportunity is closing; we no longer have the luxury of time, and climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial.” The Secretary-General acknowledged that his older generation “has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change.  This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.”

Representing CPNN, I had the chance to go to the march and demonstration of school students in New York against climate change on Friday, March 15. There were a series of demonstrations ending up with a big enthusisastic crowd at the Museum of Natural History. The average age was under 20. I’d have to back to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to remember big demonstrations with majority youth. Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

      

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT


Global Climate Strike in Pictures: Millions of Students Walk Out to Demand Planetary Transformation

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


United Nations: ‘Global clarion call’ for youth to shape efforts to forge peace in the most dangerous combat zones

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Photos: International Women’s Day marked by strikes, protests and celebrations

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Mexico: authorities sign agreement for peace in Tecomán

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Over 250 prominent women leaders call on President Trump and Chairman Kim to end the Korean War

HUMAN RIGHTS



Amnesty International: After Christchurch, how to beat Islamophobia and hate

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Fourth edition of living together in Togo

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



El Salvador: Associations present project to promote a Culture of Peace

English bulletin March 1, 2019

VENEZUELA: WHAT IS HAPPENING?

The commercial media almost without exception continues to support the United States and dozens of its allies in its attacks on Venezuela. Hardly a culture of peace!

In order to present an alternative to this “war propaganda,” we review here a series of articles that give the other side.

We begin with critiques of the commercial media coverage.

CBS News claims that 82% of the people of Venezuela want President Maduro to quit, but they do not provide a source. Instead, when we seek reliable polling data, we find that 57% of poll respondents consider that the government of president Maduro, is legitimate and 86 percent would disagree with international military intervention. A majority are disatisfied with both the government and the opposition, but this is common in many countries now, including the United States.

Commercial media in the US, including the New York Times and the Washington Post continue to support a US overthrow of the Venezuelan government. They point to the country’s economic crisis as a justification for regime change, while whitewashing the ways in which the US has strangled the Venezuelan economy.

Here are some of the stories that are not covered by the commercial media, presumably because they do not support the American economic warfare and threat of military intervention

On 3 August 2018, the UN General Assembly received a report from their Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. The report criticized the US economic warfare against Venezuela, suggesting that it could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.

While the US, its allies and media claim to be delivering humanitarian aid to Venezuela, the Red Cross and the United Nations have refused to join in. They express concern that the aid is being offered for political rather than humanitarian reasons.

While the US and its allies attacked Venezuala at the UN Security Council, a number of countries objected, including China, Russia, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Nicaragua, Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The delegate from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines said, “The history of Latin America and the Caribbean is indelibly scarred by military interventions and imposition of dictator Governments.  The need to triumph over its lingering remnants drives the countries in the hemisphere “to be viscerally abhorrent to any semblance of its re-emergence”.  Constitutionally, Venezuela has an elected President in Mr. Maduro, but an unconscionable crusade against the legally elected President, orchestrated by OAS, aims to erect a parallel unelected Government. ”

Bolivian president Evo Morales wrote that “the US threats against Venezuela are threats to peaceful coexistence in Latin America, they want to provoke confrontation between brothers with war and violence.” He accused the US government of seeking that Venezuela “be devastated and impoverished as Iraq and Libya”,

The Jamaican Peace Council condemned the threat of military intervention by the US and wrote that “the US has no history of promoting democratic governance in the Caribbean. Cuba in 1961, Grenada in 1983, and Honduras in 2009 are examples of their imperialist intervention and paramilitary violence. We say: “No more interference and no more coups!””

Close to 700 conferees from 65 countries came to a conference in Havana, Cuba, from January 28-31, for peace and “world balance. An overarching theme of the conference was the urgency for international solidarity with the democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Finally, President Maduro wrote a letter to the American people, concluding that “We appeal to the good soul of American society, victim of its own leaders, to join our call for peace, let us be all one people against warmongering and war.”

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


What do the people of Venezuela want?

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Students are striking around the world to protest against the lack of action to stop global warming

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Bonita, a young change-maker inspires girls and women in Nepal through education

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Dominican Republic: Reflections on the search for a culture of peace in schools

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Guatemala: Two key elements to overcome the crisis

HUMAN RIGHTS



Mexico: Cuitláhuac García issues decree for Culture of Peace and Human Rights Directorate

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Pope hopes his Arabian trip will help Islam-Christian relations

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Mexico: National Forum for a Culture of Peace

English bulletin February 1, 2019

SLOW NEWS: PEACE EDUCATION

Several years ago we updated the rules for CPNN articles to say that “unlike in the commercial media they do not have to be ‘breaking news.’ Instead, they may reflect the ‘slow news’ of processes that develop slowly over long periods of time.” The reasoning for this was expressed in an article about CPNN in the Journal of Peace Education: “The commercial media emphasize ‘fast news’ or what they often call ‘breaking news.’ This tends to ignore or mask the fundamental processes that make for deep historical change. The processes of historical change accumulate slowly over time. Only rarely do the contradictions arrive at a point of rupture or revolution, at which time events may take place very rapidly.”

In the past two and a half years, CPNN has carried 58 articles about peace education coming from over 40 countries in all regions of the world. This is “slow news.” And n the last month alone CPNN has carried 8 articles concerning peace education, coming rom all regions of the world:

West Africa

Since 2008 the countries of West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte D’ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) have worked together in a Conflict Prevention Framework. This year’s Plans of Action for the Framework were launched on the 28th of January 2019 at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters, in Abuja, Nigeria. The components are early warning, preventive diplomacy, democracy and political governance, human rights and rule of law, media, natural resource governance, cross-border initiatives and security governance, Women, peace and security, youth empowerment, ECOWAS Stand-By Force, Humanitarian assistance, peace education (Culture of peace) as well as its Enabling Mechanism.

Most of the ECOWAS countries were also represented at a meeting of 100 young people on January 22 in Lomé, Togo, with the theme, “Gender and responsible citizenship in youth circles for peace in West Africa.” The training includes conflict prevention and the culture of peace, civic democracy, and the notion of female leadership in the African context.

Southern Africa

Lesotho has an ongoing program of Developmen for Peace Education (DPE). Of special interest is their emphasis on student democracy, which could well serve as a model for the rest of the world. A total of 12 schools in the 8 DPE areas are ready to have students’ elections in the first quarter of 2019. This shall be preceded by leadership orientation on peaceful school model for teachers and principals. An interesting example is one of the campaigners who used teachers’ dodging of classes as his campaign message. “he stated that he is going to ensure that a teacher who may miss his/her lessons will pay for those lessons missed…… that  made every teacher to attend lessons to avoid further embarrassment ….”

Philippines

Peace education is among the top priorities in the new Bangsamoro government that is trying to bring peace to a region long torn by civil war. “Kung gusto natin ng kapayapaan, simulan natin sa silid-aralan (If we want peace, let’s start in the classroom).” was emphasized by Commissioner Susana Anayatin of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. “The Bangsamoro Government shall institutionalize peace education in all levels . . .  such as respect for human rights, conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution, and environmental care,”

Cyprus

The 2019 International Institute for Peace Education (IIPE) will be held in Nicosia, from July 21 to July 28, 2019. Themes will include the interaction of peace education with history, political theory, conflict studies, reconciliation, the philosophy of peace, justice, and democracy in challenging times.

Mexico

With the objective of sensitizing Mexican teachers about the importance of the process of peaceful conflict transformation within the classroom and school, the Secretary of Education of the State of Mexico, through the Council for School Coexistence ( Convive), has launched the program “Learning to live together in a culture of peace” in more than 800 schools. By the end of by 2019, all schools in the state will have material tp strengthen the teaching task to promote a culture for peace. In addition, training sessions will be conducted for school leaders in each of the regions of the State of Mexico.

Mauritius

Promotion of peace and peace education through schooling: Perspectives and experiences of girls and boys in Mauritius. This is the subject of a doctoral thesis by Priya Darshini Baligadoo. The research brings together various philosophies of education and peace for the promotion of peace education including the theories of M.K. Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Maria Montessori.

USA

The Appalachian Peace Center in Virginia and Tennessee continues its 36 years of activity for peace and justice with celebrations this month celebrating the contributions of Martin Luther King.

No doubt, the preceding sample is but a small part of the peace education activities taking place every day around the world. Hopefully, this process will continue to accumuate over time and contribute eventually, by preparing youth for their future responsilbity, to a deep historical change.

      

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Togo: Young people in West Africa trained in Lomé for conflict prevention

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Greta Thunberg: My Message to Davos Elites: Act As If Our House Is on Fire. Because It Is.

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


India Forms World’s Largest Women’s Wall for Gender Equality

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


US attack on Venezuela: alternative media coverage

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Mayors and parliamentarians call on Russia and the U.S. to preserve the INF Treaty

HUMAN RIGHTS



Australia: Conference Calls for Mainstreaming Human Rights Education

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Pakistan: 500 Muslim Leaders Sign Islamabad Declaration

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Democratic Republic of Congo: Activities Report of JFDHOP during the 2018 elections

English bulletin January 1, 2019

. . . . REVIEW OF 2018 . . . .

As we enter a new year, it is a good time to review the peace initiatives of 2018 and ask if they continue to advance. Let us consider the themes of the monthly bulletins of 2018..

December: Europe meets and marches for peace. The most recent demonstrations are those of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) in France as analyzed this month in an article from Pressenza. The title,”where democracy is on the march!” , reflects the conviction of the author that the movement is a profound protest against governmental policies that favor big industry and finance instead of the interests of the average citizen. The movement has spread from France and is now active in at least 22 other countries around the world.

November. Nobel Peace Prize: End sexual violence. The fight goes on. This month there were mass rallies protesting violence against women in Argentina (#niunamenos) and Israel, as well as activity under the name #niunamenos in Bolivia. And Amnesty International has devoted its annual review to the theme “Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018.”

October. International Day of Peace. Using the same methodology in 2018 as that used in 2017, we found even more events than ever around the world for the International Day of Peace. The number of events we could find was almost doubled in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

September. Progress towards peace in the Phiippines, Ethiopia, Colombia. Progress continues as shown during the last month,. We have carried an article on the Mindanao Week of Peace in the Philippines, a speech praising the Mother Ambassadors for Peace by the President of Ethiopia, and three articles from Colombia: remarks by the newly-elected President of Colombia to the National Peace Council, opening of the Truth Commission born out of the peace agreement, and an article entitled “Colombia’s rural radio stations are a key to peace.”

August. Progress in sustainable development, including reforestation projects, divestment from fossil fuels and progress in renewable energy. Progress continues in recent months in the divestment from fossil fuels as well as in a scientific breakthrough for renewable solar energy. On the other hand, it is not surprising that the international meeting of COP24 was considered by climate activists to have been a failure.

July. Slow news for peace from Africa. In December, we carry no less than 9 articles about the culture of peace coming from Nigeria, Angola, Niger, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Darfur West Sudan Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Mali, as well as a Report of the Commission on Elections in Africa of the African Union Peace and Security Council.

June. Nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, there seems to be no progress towards nuclear disarmament since the United Nations canceled the High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament that was scheduled to open on May 14.

May. Korean reunification. Almost every month there is some small progress towards peace in the Korean peninsula. The most recent is the opening of a rail link between the South and North.

April. US students against gun violence. It is not clear if there is progress on this front in the United States, but the students who initiated the March for Our Lives, the American mass movement against gun violence were recently awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for 2018. They received the prize from Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a special ceremony held in Cape Town, South Africa.

March. Solidarity in Korea, Mexico, UN Alliance of Civilizations. We have mentioned above the progress in Korea. As for Mexico, there is good news that Mexico City has elected its first woman mayor who promised “to lead an honest, open, democratic, austere, inclusive government that acts with, for and for the citizenship, without distinction of party, religion or socioeconomic level, but putting all our effort to make of this, a city of rights, with justice and that diminishes the still serious social inequalities,” And we carry an article by a youth participant in the Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations: “# Commit2Dialogue: Partnerships for Prevention and Sustaining Peace.”

February. Mass media for peace in Mexico, Colombia, and throughout Africa. The project described in Mexico does not seem to have advanced, but as mentioned above, we carry an articles in the last month about rural radio in Colombia. As for the media for a culture of peace in Africa, we have carried articles from Togo, Morocco and Senegal in recent months.

January. Review of 2017. Last year in our review we highlighted the fight against violence to women, progress at the United Nations towards nuclear disarmament and divestment from fossil fuels. As we see above, 2018 shows contijnued progress to combat violece to women and divestment from fossil fuels, but no progress towards nuclear disarmamet.

What was new and especially important last year was the progress as reviewed above towards peace in Korea, Ethiopia/Eritrea and Philippines as well as continued progress in Colombia, a process that we have followed closely for several years now.

      

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



The 815th meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council: Report of the Commission on Elections in Africa

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



France: Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes): where Democracy is on the march!

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Argentina: Thousands of women march to the Plaza de Mayo to demand justice for Lucía Pérez

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


UNESCO and Angola to establish Biennale of Luanda, a Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Global arms industry: US companies dominate the Top 100; Russian arms industry moves to second place

HUMAN RIGHTS



Amnesty International: Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



France: Culture for Peace Award to The Artists in Exile Workshop

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Mexico: Promoting the subject “Culture of Peace” at all academic levels

English bulletin December 1, 2018

EUROPE MEETS, MARCHES FOR PEACE

Meetings and demonstrations for peace have been taking place throughout Western Europe in the last month or so. Here are those with articles in CPNN:

Spain: The II World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace was closed in Madrid by a panel of women chaired by the Manuela Carmena, the mayor of Madrid and host of the Forum She called for more leadership by women, saying “We must be protagonists in the 21st Century and in the following centuries. . . . the voice of women is the voice of peace.” The Forum elaborated an agenda of cities for peace including: policies of caring rather than policies of security, preparation, implementation and supervision of action plans for the prevention of violence, and local action plans to address them.

During the Forum, it was announced that 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence will start from Madrid on October 2, 2019, International Day of Nonviolence and finish on March 8, 2020, International Women’s Day, It will be 10 years since the 1st WM that travelled through 97 countries on 5 continents. In this new edition, Madrid will be the beginning and end point for the 159-day circumnavigation of the planet which will pass through Africa, America, Oceania, Asia and Europe, going through more than 100 countries.

France: There were several major peace events in France.

At the Paris Peace Forum, sponsored by the French government to mark the centenary of the end of World War One, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that “blinkered” nationalism was gaining ground in Europe and beyond. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his hope that the Forum could help avoid falling into the traps of the past by promoting multilateralism. He wants it to demonstrate the power of reconciliation a century after Europe was torn apart by one of history’s bloodiest conflicts. Among others at the Forum were Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan as well as United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres. The Forum sought concrete actions to address today’s challenges. 850 initiatives were audited by the Selection Committee; 120 projects were selected and were presented at the Forum.

Also in Paris, Human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit, to develop a plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Speakers included UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

In Paris as well as in other cities of France and Europe, women took to the streets on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence to Women in a “feminist tidal wave” against sexist and sexual violence. According to its organizer, “This is the biggest feminist mobilization that we have known in France.”

Germany: During the Days of Protest for Peace and Disarmament from 1 to 4 November, actions were carried out in almost 50 German cities and thousands of signatures were collected. The days of protest were organised by the national initiative “disarm instead of rearm” and supported by the two big networks of the peace movement “Cooperation for Peace” and the Committee of the Federal Peace Council.

Previously, in October, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched through Berlin in protest against the far right, racism, and xenophobia . Organisers said 242,000 people across Germany took part in the rally, making it one of the biggest in recent years.

Iceland: Also at the end of October rallies were organized across the country to demand equal pay and rights and declaring “Don’t Change Women, Change the World!” Demonstrations were held in 16 towns and cities and the largest was in Reykjavík, where female musicians, poets, actresses and a 230-strong choir performed.

Italy: An International Conference “Scientists for Peace” was held in Città della Pieve. The scholars who took part in the Conference signed the “Declaration of the Scientists for Peace” which they are sending to UNESCO.

United Kingdom: A Nationwide Public Meeting Tour is being devoted to the themes of Stop Bombing Yemen and Stop Arming Saudi. It is taking place between 8 November and 13 December in York, Brent, Cardiff, London, Portsmouth, Norwich, Merseyside, Manchester, Sheffield, Basingstoke, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Lewisham.

Ireland: Dublin hosted the First International Conference against US/NATO Military Bases with speakers from around the world. In CPNN, we have reprinted the speech to the conference by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire: “Unfortunately, we are constantly bombarded with the glorification of militarism and war; therefore building a culture of peace and nonviolence will not be an easy task. . . However, I believe that peace is both possible and urgent. It is achievable when we each become impassioned about peace and filled with an ethic that makes peace our objective and we each put into practice our moral sense of political/social responsibility to build peace and justice.

      

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

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Launch of the 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence at the 2nd World Forum of Peace Cities in Madrid

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Città della Pieve, Italy: The Declaration of the Scientists for Peace

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Madrid: Women close the Anti-Violence Forum with a message of peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Dublin: Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Peace and disarmament on the streets of Germany

HUMAN RIGHTS



Paris: World summit brings surge of new commitments to protect human rights defenders

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Artist’s Portraits Show Migrant Caravan’s Hope, Joy: ‘These Are Regular People’

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Navarra, Spain: The “Schools for Peace and Coexistence” Program will be extended to 61 centers and more than 10,800 participants