Tag Archives: Mideast

Jordanian National Action Plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security 2018 – 2021

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from UN Women – Jordan

The (2018-2021) Jordanian National Action Plan (JONAP) for advancing the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325), and its subsequent resolutions, was developed to respond to the country’s latest security and military challenges. It is in line with Jordan’s commitments to promote and respect human rights, justice, equality and participation—all of which are embodied in various national frameworks, such as The National Strategy for Jordanian Women (2013-2017) and The Comprehensive National Plan for Human Rights (2016-2025).

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Question for this article:

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

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The JONAP for advancing the implementation of UNSCR 1325 aims to integrate a gender-based approach towards women’s participation in prevention and protection processes during conflicts, as well as in peace building, and maintaining stability and sustainable security.

Parallel to these efforts, the JONAP specifically responded to the 2015 UN Security Council resolution 2242, which highlights the importance of cooperation with civil society and the role of women as key partners in preventing and combating violent extremism. It also reiterates the importance of engaging men and boys as partners in promoting women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts.

The process of drafting the JONAP on resolution 1325 began as Jordan and other countries were endorsing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda’s overall objectives—and Goal 5 and its targets in particular—represent an opportunity to transform development and planning approaches and mechanisms for implementation, to ensure equality of opportunity and the empowerment of women. Furthermore, they provide a means to ensure the inclusion and participation of all segments of society, for the fair and efficient implementation of comprehensive and sustainable development. 

Mohamed Sahnoun, 1931-2018: Advisor for Culture of Peace

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An obituary from Initiatives of Change International

September 24, 2018. It is with immense sadness that we announce that Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun, former President of Initiatives of Change International, died on 20 September 2018.
Mohamed Sahnoun was chosen by two UN Secretary-Generals as their Special Representative in some of Africa’s most intractable conflicts. They knew him as a man with a remarkable ability to persuade warring factions to meet and talk.


Photo from Early History of the Culture of Peace

FThis was partly a product of his wide experience as a diplomat. He had been Deputy Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity and of the Arab League. He had served as Algeria’s Ambassador to Germany, France, the USA and Morocco.

But even more, it was a product of his approach to life. As a young man, during Algeria’s struggle for independence from France, he had been arrested by the French authorities and severely tortured. Yet as a diplomat he established warm relations with French leaders. As he said later, ‘My passion is to save endangered populations from the extreme insecurity of war, famine, drought and disaster,’ and he sought to enlist all who could help in that task.

His approach did much to resolve the tensions arising from the process of decolonisation across the African continent. His help was sought in situations large and small. His most satisfying task, he said, was mediating the transition of South-West Africa into the new country of Namibia. But he also dealt with innumerable places where towns and villages, divided by colonial straight-line borders, had to be adjusted. Sahnoun was often the person who mediated a solution.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali chose him as his Special Representative to Somalia in 1993, when the country had erupted into severe conflict. Sahnoun reached out to all sides, and a basis for resolving the conflict was emerging. Then Boutros Ghali told him that the USA intended to intervene militarily. Sahnoun protested vehemently and, when told that the decision had been made, resigned. The US intervention was a disaster.

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Questions for this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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Sahnoun was always searching for more effective ways to bring peace. He supported the UNDP initiatives for ‘human security’, which focused on meeting the basic needs of citizens and thereby overcoming insecurity. He advised UNESCO on its Culture of Peace programme and advised Kofi Annan on environmental and development issues. He was a member of the Brundtland Commission.

He served as co-chair of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which developed the concept of Responsibility to Protect. ‘Mohamed had an extraordinary capacity to bring people together and bind wounds,’ wrote his co-chair, former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans. ‘He played an indispensable role in searching out the common ground between North and South which made possible the birth of Responsibility to Protect. We will particularly remember his delightful capacity to defuse tensions, usually with African parables involving lions, monkeys, crocodiles, scorpions or all of the above.’

In 2008, together with Cornelio Sommaruga, former President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, he launched the Caux Forum for Human Security. As he said in an interview with the Huffington Post, ‘The idea came from my sense of the deep insecurity in today’s world. Insecurity is born of fear. We must look to the root causes of that fear, and address it with far more energy and cohesion.’

He chose the IofC centre in Switzerland, Caux, as the venue because ‘it is a place where interreligious dialogue is deeply established. I had heard about Caux and Moral Re-Armament (the previous name of Initiatives of Change) from friends over many years. Caux was a safe place where people could build trust in one another.’

In Sahnoun’s view, achieving human security depended on progress in five areas, which he defined as just governance, inclusive economics, intercultural dialogue, environmental sustainability and healing historical wounds. ‘So often the understanding of security has focused purely on physical security,’ he said. ‘But human security is about the very fundamentals of our existence. I place special emphasis on healing wounded memories. In Algeria, Northern Ireland, the Balkans and other places of long pain and violence, the feelings run so deep that a special effort is called for.’

The Caux Forum brought together several hundred people each year, who explored these five concerns jointly. Many initiatives have emerged. In Eastern Europe there is a new emphasis on uncovering and healing the wounds resulting from war and authoritarian rule. And Caux is now doing much to bring the importance of land restoration to international attention.

Sahnoun served as President of Initiatives of Change International for two years [2007-2008], and his insights have helped shape Initiatives of Change programmes throughout the world.

Watch Mohamed Sahnoun’s opening speech  of the 3rd Caux Forum for Human Security in 2010 and an  interview  with him in 2011. 

Pope hopes his Arabian trip will help Islam-Christian relations

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article by Philip Pullella from Thomson Reuters (reprinted by permission)

Pope Francis said on Wednesday [February 6] he hoped his historic trip to the Arabian peninsula will help dispel the notion of an inevitable clash of civilizations between Christianity and Islam.


Photo: Pope Francis leads the weekly general audience at Paul VI hall at the Vatican February 6, 2019. REUTERS/Max Rossi
(click on photo to enlarge)

Francis returned to Rome on Tuesday from the United Arab Emirates, where in Abu Dhabi he presided at the largest public Mass ever celebrated on the peninsula where Islam was born.

“In an era, like ours, where there is a strong temptation to see a clash between Christian civilization and the Islamic one, and even to consider religions as a source of conflict, we wanted to send another clear and decisive signal that encounter is possible,” he said at his regular general audience.

Francis was referring to a document he signed during the trip with Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque and university, one of the most authoritative theological and educational institutions in Islam.

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

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The pope said the “Document on Human Fraternity” was proof that “it is possible to respect each other and hold dialogue, and that despite differences in culture and traditions, the Christian and Islamic worlds appreciate and protect common values …”

The document, signed on Monday, called on “all concerned to stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism, and to refrain from using the name of God to justify acts of murder, exile, terrorism and oppression.”

He invited everyone to read the document, saying it would offer ideas on how individuals can work for tolerance and coexistence.

Ultra-conservative Catholics have been opposed to any dialogue with Islam, with some saying its ultimate goal is to destroy the West.

On the plane returning from Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, a reporter asked Francis about possible negative reaction to the document by Catholics “who accuse you of allowing yourself to be used by Muslims”.

Francis, a progressive who has been in the crosshairs of conservatives since his election in 2013, responded with a joke: “Not only the Muslims. They accuse me of allowing myself to be used by everyone, even journalists. It’s part of the job.”

But he said “from a Catholic point of view, the document had not strayed a millimeter” from teachings on inter-religious dialogue approved by the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council.

“If anyone feels bad, I understand. It is not an everyday thing. But it is a step forward,” he said on the plane.

The project of Arab cultural capitals and cities: 22 years later, diagnosis and perspectives

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article by Mohamed Salah Kadri from Leaders (translated by CPNN and abbreviated)

The Cultural Capitals project originated in Europe in November 1983 . . . , when Melina Mercouri (1920-1994), then Greek Minister of Culture, invited her European peers to “rethink the role of culture in a European construction first based on the economic integration of its members”. The Council of European Ministers responsible for culture responded to this call and Athens (1985), Florence (1986), Amsterdam (1987) and West Berlin (1988) were respectively dedicated to “European cities of culture”

Also, at the end of the treaty of the Union of the Ibero-American Cultural Capitals (UCCI) signed on October 12th, 1982, Bogota was declared in 1991, Cultural Capital and La LaPaz, was benefited of this title in 1999 and now, after almost twenty years, the title is again awarded. . . The cities Montevideo (1996) and Havana (1997) were chosen as part of the UCCI. . . .
This recognition of belonging to a common cultural area is also at the heart of the “East Asia City of Culture” program, which seeks to foster mutual understanding between Japan, South Korea and China. . . .

Cultural capitals and cities in the Arab region

The objectives documented in the feasibility paper of the Arab Cultural Capitals Project prepared by ALECSO and endorsed by the 1998 Conference of Ministers of Culture in Arab Countries, were summarized as follows:

– to reaffirm the importance of Arab cultural unity and present a clear image of the Arab-Muslim civilization,

– to promote the participation of local populations in cultural life,

– to include culture as a vector of economic and social development,

– to encourage cultural and creative industries in Arab countries,

– to strengthen cultural cooperation between Arab countries and with the rest of the world.

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(Click here for the original in French.)

Questions for this article:

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

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The program of Arab capital cities and cultural cities continued on a regular basis from 1996, with one capital per year. From 1996 to 2018, a number of 21 Arab capitals enjoyed the title: Cairo (1996), Tunis (1997), Sharjah (1998), Beirut (1999), Riyadh (2000), Kuwait (2001) , Amman (2002), Rabat (2003), Sanaa (2004), Khartoum (2005), Muscat (2006), Damascus (2008), Jerusalem (2009), Doha (2010), Sirte (2011), Manama (2012), Baghdad (2013), Tripoli (2014) , Constantine (2015), Sfax (2016), Luxor (2017) and Oujda (2018). For the next five years, these will be: Port Sudan (2019), Bethlehem (2020), Irbid (2021), Kuwait (2022) and Tripoli (Lebanon 2023).

The merits and the limits of the project: some observations

The record of the Arab Cultural Capitals to date proves that they have the potential to act as a catalyst for local development and cultural tourism. The event was a good opportunity for new infrastructure to be built and others refurbished. Historical and archaeological sites are highlighted and artistic activities have multiplied. However, the lack of a cell or structure, even ad-hoc, at the level of the ALECSO responsible for monitoring this program makes it difficult, today to establish an exhaustive report of the actions carried out. . .

There is a tendency, more and more, to be limited to an opening ceremony and a closing ceremony. . . .

While the Arab Cultural Capitals project was a milestone on the agenda of the Arab Decade for Cultural Development (2005-2014), it is eminently recommended now with the launch from Tunis on 22 June 2018, by ALECSO, of an Arab Decade of Cultural Law for the period 2018-2027, to rehabilitate the project of the Capitals of Arab Culture in the light of the objectives of the said Decade. The Capitals of Culture chosen for the next few years should take into account in their programs new developments, namely to protect cultural rights as human rights and to promote the culture of peace, tolerance and the improvement of culture. mutual understanding between Arab countries and the rest of the world. In addition, it also seems advisable to work towards mutual alliances, to form partnerships and to make twinnings between the Arab Cultural Capitals and their African, Islamic, European, Asian and Ibero-American counterparts. De facto, a work on the image of the winning city requires borrowing cultural policies likely to enroll the younger generations in the era of time and prepare them to live in a plural world. On the other hand, did the 29th Arab Summit held in Dhahran (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) on April 15, 2018, present an opportunity to rethink the status of culture in Arab countries, calling for the organization of an Arab summit exclusively dedicated to the cultural question “Better to keep one promise than to renew one hundred”.

Women for Yemen Network: Joint Statement in Advance of the Yemeni Peace Talks in Sweden

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from the Nobel Women’s Initiative

After four years of devastating war, the people of Yemen demand peace. It is women who are the most-affected by the war and their voices need to be heard in the peace negotiations. We, as the Women for Yemen Network, call for women to be represented in peace talks, starting with the upcoming meeting in Sweden this December. We call on the international community to put pressure on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to ensure that women are present at the peace talks. When women’s voices are included, a more lasting peace is secured.

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Many issues, essential to building a lasting peace, are being neglected in the current peace negotiations. When women are present at the peace table, they ensure that the lived experiences of women and their communities are reflected in the final peace agreement.

No true peace will happen without addressing the following issues:

Women’s role in the peace process:

Ensure that women are present in the peace process. United Nations Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security calls for an increase in the participation of women in all decision-making, including in peace processes. In establishing peace in Yemen, as per the National Dialogue Conference of Yemen, women should comprise least with 30 percent of negotiators at the peace table.

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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Support, financially and politically, for women-led initiatives and organizations working on peace for Yemen at the grassroots level and in the diaspora.

Restoring normalcy in Yemen:

* Institute an immediate ceasefire.
* End the Saudi and UAE-led land, air and maritime blockade on Yemen.
* Ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the conflict-affected areas and that international aid focuses on income generation for families and communities.
* Release all illegally-detained persons and abductees held by all parties to the conflict.
* End the three-year, Houthi-imposed siege of Taiz.
 
Landmines:

Start the demining process and ensure that there is a clear map of where the landmines are located.

Child soldiers:

Release, immediately, all children enlisted in military operations and ensure that their physical and psychological needs are met.
 
Transitional Justice:

Ensure that the principle of transitional justice is adhered to and that compensation is provided for as a prerequisite to sustainable peace.

We are a network of women’s human rights defenders and journalists working for a women’s–centred approach to building a sustainable peace in Yemen.

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

Southern Sudanese leaders agree to promote a culture of peace

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article in Arabic from Radio Tavazuj (translated by Google)

A number of civil leaders from across southern Sudan have agreed to work to promote unity, preaching peace and renouncing hate speech to promote peace, in accordance with the peace agreement.

Sixty local leaders from Upper Nile, Bahr El Ghazal and Equatorial Regions held a three-day meeting last week in the state of the Yai River to discuss how to implement the peace agreement.

In a statement received by Tamazog Radio, the workshop’s Cebu organization said that the aim of the workshop is to strengthen the capacity of the civil leadership and civil society organizations in the peace-building process.

Question related to this article:

 

Can peace be achieved in South Sudan?

Sultan Qwai, representative of the Upper Nile region, told Radio Tamazaj that the workshop added new skills on peace signed by the parties recently. “Let’s come together and start a new life with peace,” he said.

Sultan Mtour Abaj, from Bahr al-Ghazal province, pledged to spread peace, peaceful coexistence and unity in order to ease the trauma suffered by the people of southern Sudan during the war.

Ayak Deng, from the Abyei region, called on tribal leaders in southern Sudan to work for peaceful coexistence. “Let’s show love and unity among us and fight tribalism and we will not let each other out,” she said.

The Minister of Gender and Social Welfare of the State of Yay, Christina Annette, thanked Cebu and its partners for organizing a workshop of local leaders from sultans and activists from all over southern Sudan to discuss peace issues.

The minister called for efforts to promote peace-building in conflict-affected rural areas of the state of the River Yai, indicating that the state government is working hard to restore peace and stability so that peace partners can reach rural areas.

Israeli women hold mass rallies to protest rising violence against women

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Press TV

Tens of thousands of women have held a general strike as well as protests across the Israeli-occupied territories to voice their anger at the Tel Aviv regime’s failure to stem a sharp increase in violence against women.

On Tuesday, protesters staged separate rallies in several cities, calling on Israeli authorities to take action to stop the killings of females during domestic violence-related incidents.


A general view of protest against violence against women in Tel Aviv, Israeli-occupied territories, December 4, 2018 (By AP)

Dressed mainly in black with red hats, and carrying red balloons and torches, some 30,000 demonstrators gathered in central Tel Aviv to urge the Israeli administration to address the issue.

“Today we made history,” the protest’s organizers told the crowd. “Today the silence on the violence against women has turned to screams.”

Some 200 pairs of women’s shoes, painted red, were also placed on display on Habima Square in central Tel Aviv in a sign of protest.

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Questions related to this article:

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

How effective are mass protest marches?

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In occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, demonstrators chanted for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “wake up,” carrying signs that read, “Women’s blood is not cheap” and “We are killed and the government is silent.”

Some women blocked the entrance to the city, holding signs stating, “Enough with the murder of females.”

Organizers of the protests demanded that a budget of nearly a $70 million be allocated to combating violence against women.

The strike was called last week in the wake of the recent murders of two teen girls, whose deaths brought the number of women, who were killed over the past year in domestic violence-related incidents to 24, the highest in years.

Over 300 institutions, municipalities, schools, and groups joined the strike and the protesters observed a moment of silence to mark the deaths.

A day earlier, activists poured red dye in public fountains in several cities to draw attention to the protest.

Shortly after the end of the rally, Netanyahu’s office announced that the prime minister would convene a meeting of the ministerial committee on violence against women on Wednesday morning.

On Monday, the opposition’s Zionist Union brought a no-confidence motion, denouncing the regime’s failure to curb such violence.

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

Book fair in Oujda, Morocco: Ambition for the Maghreb and Africa

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article by Bios Diallo for Le Point (translation by CPNN)

Oujda, the regional capital of the Moroccan East hosted from 18 to 21 October 2018 the 2nd edition of Maghreb book fair on the theme “Reinventing the universal”. It was a event full of depth.


Bordering with Algeria and gateway to Morocco, Oujda is a city rich with culture. This inspired the Minister of Culture and Communication, Mohamed Al Aaraj, to say that the Lettres du Maghreb exhibition resembles the city that hosts it: a melting pot of spiritual and intellectual cultures. Moreover, Oujda has been designated, in 2018, “capital of Arab culture”!

More than 300 writers and editors were present. And beyond the authors from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, this edition also welcomed writers and poets from Lebanon, Palestine , Syria, Iran, Latin America and Europe. Sub-Saharan Africa was also present throughout Côte d’Ivoire, a country of honor. The president of the show, Mohamed Mbarki, spoke of a “Maghreb and African ambition” to build through letters.

Towards universality

It remains to be seen how to promote and lead Maghreb literatures towards universality. Writer Jalal El Hakmaoui, who is also curator of the show, said: “It is not a question of creating universality, but of putting it into perspective through the contributions of thinkers. It means transcending the conflicts of the world and the ideologies of hate, to move towards a world that is open and respectful of the other. With “Reinventing the Universal”, the speakers invited positive ideas to combat the discourses that exploit fear.

The public was spoiled for choice of themes. The halls were filled by visitors thirsty for knowledge and debate. The subject “Islam and modernity” catalyzed many passions of the Maghreb. Indeed, between radicalization and violence, enlightenment is needed. And if Islam, as a personal faith, is not refractory to modernity, the external gaze on it is now biased. “No, Islam is not violent,” protests Algerian publisher and translator Sakhr Benhassine. And for good reason, if one investigates those who perpetrate violence, one discovers those with limited religious and human qualities. It is therefore for other motives that the ignoble is committed, and not Islam. At the round table “Sufism and the culture of peace”, rapper, slammer and writer Abd al Malik agreed: “It is our duty to enlighten those who do not really have access to the book,” he argues. “Since I am interested in Sufism, as I travel through the world of the original texts, I discover the strength and spirit of peace contained in the sacred writings. You just have to believe that people are badly informed.”

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(click here for the French original of this article)

Question for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

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Themes that challenge current events

“The Maghreb seen from elsewhere” and “Being a migrant today” overlap by the fact of departure and return, the gaze of the other and of oneself. The Maghreb, itself a land of confluences, is now experiencing many crossings to Europe. Just as it has known the loss of its youth in search of better horizons towards Europe, Canada and the United States. But because, among other things, attacks and violence often committed by individuals claiming Islam, migrants and non-migrants are stigmatized. “However,” said Fodé Sylla, a great activist of the 2000s in France and moderator of one of the meetings, “we will not give in to the fear of the other. Neither the Muslim nor the migration carries the genes of violence. The culture of violence is dishonestly imposed on them. “We must avoid rigid judgments and identities,” adds Moroccan novelist Naima Lahbil Tagemouati.

The imagination of languages, the creation, the dream of elsewhere, the edition and circulation of the book will not be left out. And if Maghreb literature comes from brilliant writers, it must be recognized that their talents evolved elsewhere, an elsewhere more attractive, but at the expense of a deprived land. This is what the show wants to correct, say the organizers. The Wali of the region, keen on the readings, questions: “Will we always be condemned to see our authors celebrate elsewhere?” Mouaad Jamai refuses to abdicate:” What are we able to value here in the Maghreb! Oujda is a favorable environment. We can express here loud and clear a common will to bring about a Maghreb edition that is coherent and solidaire on the scale of the subregion around our authors and editors.”

The junction of two worlds

Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa share the same dilemma. “Our literature is still behind, regrets the Ivorian poet Henry Nkoumo. Produced elsewhere, little disseminated and encouraged at home, it can not be otherwise. But it is time for us to be able to produce on our own, and to allow our schoolchildren and readers to have access to our productions as they should! This is no doubt why the Maghreb Book Fair focuses on youth (writing workshops, comics, news and images with writers and illustrators) and local editions.

And the necessary construction of bridges. “Designating an African country as guest of honor for each edition,” said Abdelkader Retnani, president of the Union of Publishers of Morocco and one of the mainstays of the event, is part of the will of the kingdom to mark its anchor as African. For this second edition, Côte d’Ivoire succeeds Senegal. Maurice Kouakou Bandaman, Minister of Culture and Francophonie of Côte d’Ivoire, sees this as a comforting sign: “By making the Maghrebi Book Fair of Oujda a unifying door open to the world, the organizers give Morocco beautiful colors and the expectations of our book industry. ”

The visitors left with their hands full of books, with ideas to mature before 2019!

AUNOHR University unveils the “Knotted Gun” Sculpture in Beirut

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

special to CPNN

On the occasion of October 2, The International Day of Non‐Violence, the Academic University for Non-Violence and Human Rights – AUNOHR launched “The National Day of Non-Violence in Lebanon” and unveiled the universal “Sculpture of Non‐Violence” (The iconic knotted gun by the late Swedish painter, sculptor and peace activist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd), in a first Arab capital, Beirut, on October 2nd 2018, in the presence of Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma, Mr. Blaise Oberson, CEO of the Non-Violence Project Foundation (NVPF) which owns the rights of the sculpture, and Ms. Ingeborg Breines, former UNESCO and former co-president of the International Peace Bureau and member of the International Advisory Council of AUNOHR.

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The Oct 2nd celebration was a cultural commemoration, under the patronage of the Prime Minister Mr. Saad Hariri who was represented by the Minister of Culture Mr. Ghattas Khoury, with the participation of officials, ambassadors, artists, intellectuals, media, academics, civil society, international organizations, youth and students from all the country.

It was an impressive event, broadcasted live on the main Lebanese TV channel (LBCI), and supported by BDL, UNICEF, LACR, individuals and many contributions in kind.

On the basis of AUNOHR’s initiative, a Ministerial Decree was declared in October 2016 to establish officially the National day for the culture of non-violence in Lebanon, and thus to coincide with the International Day of Non-Violence, adopted by the UN in 2007, October 2nd, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

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Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?

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Arun Gandhi’s presence as guest of honor inspired the audience; he was on a first visit to Lebanon as a member of the International Advisory Council of the University. When he learned about the founding of AUNOHR in 2009, he was overwhelmed “My grandfather always dreamed of a professional institution that teaches non-violence that will continue through generations and liberate nations… I was ecstatic when I heard that an Arab University for Nonviolence is taking shape in Lebanon and I am happy to be associated with this venture…”

Celebrating Pioneer Achievements

Dr. Ogarit Younan, AUNOHR Founder and the initiator of the event and these pioneer achievements, emphasized that it is our responsibility to choose non-violence over violence by following the idea of ​​this statue and the words of Gandhi “Be the change that you want to see in the world”. She expressed the founders’ satisfaction in introducing the culture of non-violence into the decision of the Council of Ministers and the institutionalizing of non-violence culture in school curricula through a pioneering agreement with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon. She also extended the founders’ appreciation for this courageous initiative establishing a “knotted gun” in a public place in Beirut especially in view of prevalent circumstances… numerous conflicts, extremism and violence.

Arabic Version of “Imagine” by Children

With charming and touching voices, eight children from the Arabic program “The Voice Kids” from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, sang John Lennon’s song “Imagine”, a special and impressive compilation arranged by Jean-Marie Riachi, a peaceful artistic achievement produced by the University for its wide dissemination throughout the Arab world.

Schoolchildren Designed the “Knotted Gun”

Many children from different schools, regions and religions in Lebanon, designed the “knotted gun” with their creative ideas after being trained on the meaning of the sculpture and the Day of non-violence, and participated in this first celebration with their teachers and parents. They overwhelmed the place with their paintings, a rose in their hands with a certificate of appreciation offered by AUNOHR.

These children and young singers will be the voice of the “knotted gun” and the ambassadors for the culture of peace and non-violence for generations to come…

South Sudan Chapter of African Union Master Plan Roadmap “Practical Steps To Silencing The Guns By 2020”

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Khamis Comas Lokudu from Gurtong

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) on Monday [October 16] launched the Economic Social and Cultural Council South Sudan Chapter(ECOSOCC). The Economic, Social and Cultural Council is an advisory organ to the African Union composed of civil society organizations (CSOs). The principle of the ECOSOCC is for the civil society to organize itself to work in partnership with the African Union. Its mandate includes contributing through advice, effective translation of the AU’s objectives, principles and policies into concrete programmes, as well as evaluating those programmes.

The objective of the chapter is to empower South Sudan civil society organization on the implementation of AU-ECOSOCC action plan for implementation of AU agenda on silencing the guns by 2020.

According to Richard Ssewakiryanga, the Executive Director of a Ugandan National NGO and Presiding Officer – African Union – Economic, Social and Cultural Council, said in his presentation that, the Aspiration 4 of Agenda 2063 which is the African Union’s strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next five decades, highlights the need for dialogue-centred conflict prevention, as well as the management and resolution of existing conflicts, with a view to silencing the guns in the continent by the year 2020.

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Question related to this article:

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

Can peace be achieved in South Sudan?

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Mr Richard Ssewakiryanga added that the agenda 2063 provides that in order to achieve sustainable conflict prevention and resolution, a culture of peace and tolerance must be cultivated and nurtured in children and youth, among others, through peace education.

Ssewakiryanga furthermore explained that in its first ten years implementation plan, agenda 2063 stresses the imperative of ending all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence and violent conflicts as part of Africa’s collective efforts to silence the guns in the continent by 2020.

The Organization of African Union/ African Union, (OAU/AU) 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration, adopted by the AU Heads of States¬ and government in Addis Ababa on 26th May 2013 expressed determination to achieve the goal of a conflict-free Africa, to make peace a reality for all and to rid the continent of wars, civil conflicts, human rights violations, humanitarian disasters and violent conflicts.

The Heads of States pledged not to leave the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans but assume to end all wars in Africa by 2020 according to Mr Richard.