Category Archives: DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

First message to the nation from President Bassirou Diomaye Faye – on the eve of Senegal’s independence day

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A report from The Point, Gambia (translation from the French by CPNN)

My dear compatriots,

Tomorrow, April 4, 2024, we celebrate the 64th anniversary of the independence of our country. To everyone, I extend my warm congratulations. I pay tribute to each and every one of you for your attachment to the cardinal virtues of peace and democracy that underpin our daily experience. The significant peaceful changes that we have just experienced demonstrate, once again, the maturity of our people, the vitality of our democracy and the strength of our institutions. We should all be proud of this great performance. This year again, by divine grace, our national holiday takes place under the sign of spiritual communion, with Easter Holy Week which has just concluded Lent and the month of Ramadan which is drawing to a close.

Given the circumstances, instead of the traditional parade, tomorrow I will preside over a simple and symbolic raising of colors ceremony at the Palais de la République. This evening, as we celebrate our newfound freedom, my thoughts go to our valiant resistance fighters, famous or unknown heroes, who, giving themselves body and soul, defied the odious colonial system and its so-called civilizing mission, to defend the freedom of our people and their values of culture and civilization. I would also like to salute with respect and affection our veterans, who sacrificed their youth far from their families, at the cost of their lives and their freedom.

I pay vibrant tribute to my predecessors, Presidents Senghor, Diouf, Wade and Sall, each of whom made his contribution to the work of national construction. It is on the basis of this legacy that I want to continue with you our collective quest for the Senegal of our dreams.

My dear compatriots,

The national holiday honors our Defense and Security Forces.

To you, officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel, who have chosen the risky profession of arms, I reaffirm the recognition of the Nation. I express to you my pride, my support and my complete confidence in your missions in the service of the homeland, peace in Africa and in the world. I salute the memory of our Jambaars who fell on the field of honor and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. The State will always stand in solidarity with their families, with care and compassion. The theme of this edition, The Armed Forces at the heart of national cohesion, challenges us with its topicality and relevance. It reminds us that beyond the ceremonial, the national holiday is above all an opportunity for individual and collective introspection on our common desire for a common life.

Our Defense and Security Forces, under the Army-Nation concept, symbolizing the diversity and cohesion of their socio-cultural components, offer us a fine example of what Senegalese living together should be like.

As Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, and guarantor of national unity, I am determined to preserve our living together inherited from our ancestors; because we only have one homeland: Senegal, our common shelter, which we all love, which does not begin with us, and does not end with us.

In this spirit, my role, and I intend to assume it fully, is to reach out to everyone, to bring together, reassure, appease and reconcile, in order to consolidate the peace, security and stability essential to the economic and social development of our dear country. From east to west, from north to south, I hope that our dear Senegal remains united and indivisible, in peace and in harmony with our national motto: One People-One Purpose-One Faith. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children. We owe it to future generations.

This is why our vibrant youth, the beating heart of the nation, will remain at the center of my concerns.

Dear young people of Senegal, I make your dreams, your aspirations, and your legitimate ambitions to succeed in order to be useful to yourselves, your families, your communities and your country my own. Education, career training, employment and entrepreneurship for young people and women remain major challenges to overcome. I will make it a high public policy priority, in consultation with the private sector. To this end, we must revisit existing mechanisms, improve and rationalize them so that they better meet the needs of employment and other income-generating activities for young people.

To encourage job creation, I plan to rely on a strong private sector because it is supported by the STATE. Based on our priority needs, we will work together to endogenize our economy. Of course, the international private sector will have its full role to play. The Senegalese are brave but they are tired and expect solutions from us to combat the high cost of living. The question of the cost of living particularly concerns me and commands my full attention. In the days to come, strong measures will be taken in this direction, after the consultations that I will undertake with the stakeholders concerned.

My dear compatriots, From independence to the present day, our political, institutional and judicial system has experienced many adventures, some happier than others.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

(Click here for the original version in French)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Sixty-four years later, the time seems come to me to learn the lessons of our successes and our failures for a more modern, more republican public governance and more respectful of human rights. This is why, after resigning from my position as secretary general of PASTEF-Les Patriotes, to put myself above the fray, I will convene broad consultations with the political class and civil society for :

– Reform of the system electoral in particular;
– Replacement of the CENA by an Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) with a strengthening of its operating means and its prerogatives;
– Rationalizatio of the number of political parties, as well as their financing;
– Registration of citizens on the electoral register concomitantly with the issuance of the national identity document

“Moreover, to restore the image of justice, give it the value it deserves and reconcile it with the people in whose name it is rendered, I intend to organize meetings bringing together the professions of the profession (magistrates, lawyers, bailiffs , clerks and other justice officials), university professors and citizens to identify possible solutions to justice problems.

In the quest for a better Senegal for the benefit of all, I intend to establish virtuous governance, based on the ethics of responsibility and accountability. In addition, I will without delay initiate a bold policy of good economic and financial governance through:

– A relentless fight against corruption;
– Criminal repression of tax evasion and illicit financial flows;
– Protection of whistleblowers;
– Fight against the embezzlement of public funds and money laundering;
– Amnesty of nominees and their profit-sharing under the condition of self-denunciation;
– Publication of reports from the IGE, the Court of Auditors and OFNAC.

Likewise, the exploitation of our natural resources, which, according to the constitution, belong to the people, will receive particular attention from my government. Thus, in addition to the already effective posting of mining, oil and gas contracts online, on the EITI Senegal website, I will carry out the disclosure of the effective ownership of extractive companies, in accordance with the EITI Standard, at audit of the mining, gas and oil sector and more sustained protection of local content for the benefit of the national private sector. Furthermore, I would like to tell all our private partners that they are welcome in Senegal.

In accordance with the laws and regulations in force, the rights of the investor will always be protected, as will the interests of the State and the populations.

To our friendly and partner countries, I would like to assure that Senegal remains an open and welcoming country for all.

We will constantly strive to maintain and strengthen good neighborly relations and active solidarity within our community organizations, notably ECOWAS and UEMOA.

Heirs to the pan-Africanist ideal of Cheikh Anta Diop and Léopold Sédar Senghor, one of the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity, we remain firmly committed to the construction of African integration and the achievement of the objectives of the Zone. of African continental free trade.

Our foreign partners from all walks of life are of equal dignity to us. We owe everyone respect and consideration. And we ask for respect and consideration from everyone. We will remain committed to fairer and more inclusive global governance, respecting the equal dignity of the values of cultures and civilizations.

My dear compatriots,

The national holiday, symbol of our sovereignty, reminds us that we are alone in the face of our destiny, and that no one will do for us what we are not willing to do for ourselves. We have the historical responsibility to consolidate our sovereignty by breaking the chains of economic dependence through the permanent cult of work and results. In this spirit, the Administration must act at all levels in a more welcoming and more efficient manner for users of the public service. We must ban from our practices undue procedures and formalities which alter the effectiveness of the State.

With this objective, we intend to invest massively in the digitalization of services and administrative procedures. Likewise, there is an urgent need to gain our food sovereignty by investing more and better in agriculture, fishing and breeding, the three nourishing breasts of our country.

I am particularly keen to ensure that the substantial subsidies spent each year in the agricultural campaign benefit real producers and not intermediary players.

Ultimately, my dear compatriots, the independence that we celebrate tomorrow is certainly a festive event, but also and above all a test of resilience and greatness for the nation. Our merit and our honor is to pass the test, displaying resolute confidence in ourselves, to overcome our fears and our doubts, to overcome the obstacles before us, and to continue together our united march towards our common destiny, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. This is what I invite you to do, in the communion of hearts and minds. Long live Senegal, in peace and security, united, free and prosperous! 

Good evening and happy Independence Day.

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Togo: The craftsmen and motorcycle taxi drivers of Bassar are committed to patriotism and peace

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . . .

An article by Alida Akakpo in Lomegraph

In a coordinated approach aimed at encouraging patriotism and fostering an environment of peace, an initiative took place in the commune of Bassar, Togo. Around fifty young people, mainly craftsmen and motorcycle taxi drivers, participated in an awareness session on Monday March 25, 2024.

The session was organized by the Ministry of Human Rights, Citizenship Training and Relations with the Institutions of the Republic. During the meeting, emphasis was placed on the importance of patriotism and the culture of peace for development and national stability.

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

Questions related to this article:

Can a culture of peace be achieved in Africa through local indigenous training and participation?

The culture of patriotism and peace

The theme of awareness raising is “let’s preserve our homeland, let’s build peace and security together”. Its objective is to contribute to strengthening the patriotic fiber among young people, to bring them to love the homeland and to truly commit to peace and the co-production of security.

Tchakpala Alfa Olivier, head of the conferences and seminars division, and Tchandao Piabalo, study manager at the civic training directorate, interacted with the participants, addressing the themes of respect for authority, patriotism and promoting the culture of peace.

The speakers encouraged young people to feel pride in their nation and actively engage in preserving peace and progress of the country. In addition, practical advice was provided to help young people promote peace in their environment. They also stressed the importance of close collaboration with the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) as well as local authorities.

Participants are invited to convey the messages received within the population with a view to improving defense and protecting the interests of the Togolese.

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United States: the Path to Victory for Southern Autoworkers

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from the United Auto Workers (UAW)

Autoworkers at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama have been organizing to win their union. Today they met with UAW President Shawn Fain and Region 8 Director Tim Smith to talk about their path to victory. Here are remarks that President Fain shared with them:

Good afternoon, Union Family.

It’s my honor to be here, to be with so many badass, fed up autoworkers who are ready to stand up.

Today I’m here to talk about the path to victory. It’s a powerful idea. The path to victory. Because first things first — there is a path.


Before we can even talk about what we need to do to get what we deserve, we have to acknowledge one thing. Working class people, like all of you here today, have the power to change the world. You have the power to change your circumstances. You have the power to take back your time. To take back your life. To win real time off the job. A fair wage. Good healthcare you can afford. A better life for your family. For all of Alabama.

The first thing you need to do to win is to believe that you can win. That this job can be better. That your life can be better. And that those things are worth fighting for. That is why we stand up. That’s why you’re here today. Because deep down, you believe it’s possible.

There is a path. But here’s the other thing about the path to victory. It’s only a path. You have to walk it. Nobody can walk it for you. I didn’t come down here to tell you what all I’m going to do for you as the President of the UAW. That’s not what this is about. Everything you win in this fight will be because you won it.

You are in spitting distance of a life-changing victory. That’s because all of you are coming together with your coworkers to do the work of organizing your workplace. And the company knows it too. That’s why Mercedes is pulling out every trick in the book to instill fear, uncertainty, and division. To scare people off of standing up for a better life.

I’ve been meeting with UAW staff and with some of you. And what’s clear to me is we are doing things differently this time. This time, we are going to make sure we have leaders on each line, on each shift, talking to each other about building their union. That is the path to victory.

And it’s not just about the vote. True victory is not just winning a vote. We want to win big on the day of the election – but we also need to build that organizing muscle, that unity, and that determination to win big in a union contract. That’s what changes lives. That’s what this is all about.

But you have to walk that path to victory. You have to say – I’m ready to talk to my coworkers. I’m ready to have my name be public on a vote yes petition. I’m ready to go to work every day and proudly wear my UAW hat for everyone to see. I’m ready to stand up, strong and loud, and proud about this fight. I can’t win that for you. Our staff can’t win that for you. Only you can walk that path to victory.

Let me be clear, that doesn’t mean you’re walking alone. Our staff, our union, and hundreds of thousands of UAW members are behind you. Across this country, there are working-class people looking to you. For inspiration. For hope. And we’ve all got your back.

I opened these remarks with “union family,” because we are a family. But here in Alabama, it hits close to home. Many of you may not know this but my family’s roots are in the South. I have family from Alabama. And three of my grandparents were from Tennessee, one from Kentucky, and after the Great Depression, all of my grandparents had to move north. And they were blessed to hire in at GM and Chrysler in the early days of the UAW. They stood up for themselves and went and got a better life.

But the real meaning of union is not having to leave for greener pastures. Not having to leave your family and your life behind just to be able to live. The real meaning of union is fighting for a better life where you are. Because it’s your job. It’s your body. It’s your time. It’s your family. It’s your community.

I look around here and I see a lot of people who remind me of myself and my roots. I know struggle. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck. I’ve been on unemployment. I’ve received government aid to get formula and diapers for my firstborn child.

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Question related to this article:
 
What is the contribution of trade unions to the culture of peace?

(article continued from left column)

Joining the union, the UAW, changed my life. It gave me a wage I could raise a family on. It gave me a job I could rely on. And it gave me hope for the future. So, I put everything I had into building this union. I walked that path. I know what it’s like to be out there at the gates, trying to get your coworkers organized. I know what it’s like to have to fight the company tooth and nail just to have a little dignity on the job. And I know if I didn’t do it, if regular autoworkers like me and you don’t stand up, nothing’s going to change. So, do it for yourself. Do it for your family. And we’ll have your back every step of the way.

You’re so close to the finish line. Some people get within inches of their goal and quit before they realize that if they’d have given one more push they would have reached it.

My running for president of the UAW was very similar. If I hadn’t relied on faith and faced fear and doubt and took on the insurmountable odds of running for president of the UAW, nothing would have changed.


People said I was crazy for running for President. Some who were previously in power tried to make the members afraid to vote for change. But the members took a leap of faith and voted for new leaders and look what we are accomplishing.

Our Big Three contract campaign was the same. People said we were crazy for going for the things we did. Companies said they couldn’t afford it. Companies made threats. The media said we were crazy.

But guess what? We focused on facts in our Big 3 campaign and strike. The fact that the companies made a quarter of a trillion dollars in a decade. The fact that CEO pay went up 40% over the previous 4 years. And the fact that workers were being left behind, although the workers generate those massive profits through their labor. 75% of Americans sided with us in that fight. Using the power of facts and a unified membership.

We won a record contract and the companies still paid out massive stock dividends to investors. CEOs are still giving themselves massive raises, and business is fine.

It’s the same here in Alabama.



Facts: The German three made double what the Big Three made in the last decade. A half a trillion. $460 billion. Mercedes’s CEO got an 80% raise last year. The eight managers on the Mercedes management board got a collective $27 million raise last year. The average Mercedes executive makes $3,600 an hour. It would take a Mercedes production worker at the top rate two years to make what a Mercedes executive earns in one week.

The company, the Governor, and the Business Council are trying to make you afraid to stand up, because you are so close to realizing a life many thought wasn’t possible. Mercedes is using fear, uncertainty, and division because they are afraid.

Mercedes is afraid of you having a voice in your work life. Mercedes is afraid of sharing any control over your work lives. Mercedes is afraid of paying you the wages and benefits you deserve for the massive profits your work, your sacrifice, your blood, and your sweat create. You are an at-will employee, you have no rights, and management has all the control. It’s time to change that.

Years ago, my grandparents had to leave Tennessee to live the American Dream. You don’t have to leave. You can achieve it right here in Alabama.

The first thing I do when I get up every day, daily reading and pray. Recently, I thought of you when I read my daily reading, Hebrews 11:1, “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”
`
The only people who can organize the South are the workers in the South. And those workers who stand up are forever going to go down in history for doing what so many people said was impossible. Why not you? Why not here?

I said during our campaign at the Big Three that this is our generation’s defining moment. That faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, and we moved mountains.

Now, here in Alabama, we have another mountain to move. This is your defining moment to change your lives. To change America. And to change the world for the better. So, let’s walk down that path to victory together in Solidarity and let’s finish the job.

So, I came here not to win this thing for you. Not to tell you what to do. I came here to find out for myself the answer to one question. Are you ready to Stand Up? I believe you are, and I believe in you.

If you’re ready, the time is now. This is your defining moment. If we have public supporters in every department, on every line, on every shift, Mercedes workers will be guaranteed to win your election. Raise your hand if you can commit to being that person for your line.

Before you leave today, put your name on the public petition and join your coworkers on the path to victory. We will not let the company divide us. That’s how they win. Solidarity is our strength. That’s how we win.

This isn’t about power, It’s about control. Without a Union contract, they have all the control. You have the power. You just have to recognize it and use it. Let’s finish the job that started so long ago. Let’s walk a new path for working-class people together in solidarity.

Thank you.

Ivory Coast: 46 community leaders from Bondoukou trained in the culture of peace and conflict prevention

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . . .

An article by Prince Beganssou in Afrik Soir (translation by CPNN)

A workshop to strengthen the technical capacities of social actors and community leaders on the culture of peace, prevention and management of conflicts in the locality of Bondoukou was held on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the prefecture of the said city. Organized by the Ministry of National Cohesion, Solidarity and the Fight against Poverty (MCNSLP) through the National Social Cohesion Program (PNCS), this event brought together forty-six social leaders for a day of intense training

The main objective of this workshop was to equip social actors and leaders with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge in the areas of peace culture, conflict prevention and management. In particular, this initiative aims to consolidate peace and promote social cohesion in the locality of Bondoukou, in anticipation of the 2025 electoral deadlines.

The presence of the prefect of Bondoukou, Andjou Koua, and the Director General of the PNCS, Houssou Konan, as well as other important personalities, testifies to the State’s commitment to promoting peace. In their speeches, they highlighted the crucial importance of such initiatives for the well-being of communities and the sustainable development of the region.

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

Questions related to this article:

Can a culture of peace be achieved in Africa through local indigenous training and participation?

“Madam Minister thanks all social actors, in particular community leaders and neighborhood leaders who continually work to strengthen links between different social strata. Madam Minister also expresses her full commitment and deep recognition and above all she invites all stakeholders to appropriate the notions of peace, the fight against hate speech, and to use all the mechanisms that the trainer shared during this workshop to guarantee lasting peace in Gontougo”, underlined the Director General of the PNCS.

Participant engagement

The participants, made up of young people, women’s associations, traditional chiefs and community leaders, actively took part in this workshop. Their commitment demonstrates the collective desire to strengthen local conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms to guarantee lasting peace in Bondoukou.

In order to concretize and promote the values of peace, a new workshop is planned for Tuesday March 26 in Bongouanou. This will focus on strengthening the technical capacities of social actors and leaders in the management of rumors, the prevention and the fight against hate speech.

The capacity building workshop in Bondoukou marks an important step in promoting peace and social cohesion in Côte d’Ivoire. These efforts are essential to building more peaceful and resilient societies, and demonstrate the continued commitment to a better future for all.

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France: Speech by Jean-Luc Melanchon on the force of action for peace

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

Text transcribed from the video of the speech by Melanchon (transcribed and translated by CPNN)

My friends! “La force!” The force makes force. It’s a lesson from the trade unions. The force you see gathered here did not fall from the sky, was not granted as a favour. It was conquered by the commitment of free conscience that decided to break with all the other organised frameworks and make something new. That force is capable of raising the clamour that you have just heard here, which allows us to regain our energy. (. . .) That force is capable of engaging the new generation. That force is the people. We are the forward detachment. That force is a collective intelligence. Yes, we love electoral campaigns, because they suddenly make us consciously engaged
(. . . )


(Click on photo to enlarge)

We advance to meet our sovereign that is universal suffrage. We advance to meet that magical moment which moves every democratic conscience, every republican conscience, in the secret of the voting booth, the magnificent magic where no one has less power than another person because of their wealth. Where no one has less power than another person because of their religion or skin colour.

The right to vote ! Magnificent ! The free community, the free heart, the free conscience, in equality, in liberty, in fraternity. The right to vote is not only a citizen’s duty, it’s a dignity. And for all that, it is a power. A terrible power! A power that all the rulers fear because of the strength it gives to the most humble among us. That power that allows us to say with Angela Davis: “I will no longer accept. I will not accept the things that I could not change. I will change the things that I can no longer accept. ”
(. . .)
This is the first time that your ballot makes you the arm of Jean Jaures, as it started from his chest: if you do not want war, vote Insoumis!
(. . .)
We have passed from a Europe of social programs to a Europe of permanent austerity, of massive unemployment, of debt accumulated in its countries without any help from the Central European Bank which holds a large part of it and which increases interest rates so that the people, once again, must suffer even more.

At that time they told us at every election time, when there was the Soviet Union, that we were threatened by the tanks of the Red Army which were 48 hours from Paris. Now, the Union is no longer Soviet, it is content to be Russian, but the tanks are still there, it seems, and once again they are appearing in the electoral program.

So we have moved from the Europe of peace at the time of the Soviet Union to the Europe of war today and the war economy. This is what they have done to the great dream that the founding fathers had bequeathed to them. The question is not what we are going to do with this Europe, but how the people will be able to emerge from the permanent economic crisis in this Europe, from the logic of exploitation as the only adjustment variable to lower the price of labor. How will people be able to emerge from an ecological crisis caused and amplified by the European Union, which places no limits on the use of pesticides, which is not interested in the disastrous consequences for public health and which is incapable of holding its objectives in relation to climate change. Finally, a Europe incapable of making its mark in the world’s geopolitical crisis. This is the bottom line. This is the summary of what we have to do.

The world order is changing. The dominant power of the previous period, a power that believed for a time that it was the only one in the world, the United States of America, is today faltering, while another power is rising, what is called, unfairly but finally, let’s use this term, the Global South. It is the BRICS that are rising. They call us the “Westerners”. It seems that they mean us, but we, the French, are not so much “Westerners” as that, for we are present on every continent in the world. So please count us in a separate category: universalist, creolized, French.

Peace is at stake when the geopolitical order changes, because those who dominate want to continue to dominate and those who would like to dominate strive to find their place in a new domination. So more than ever, we must be the France aligned with the non-aligned. If we want to be useful, we must be France in the exclusive service of peace. If we want to be useful to universal humanity.

As usual we hear the braying of those who return with the memory of their own turpitude, they who capitulated as it was Munich, come to reproach us for saying that it is useless to expose ourselves to a war on the continent. Don’t think this is a threat in a vacuum! War results from the conditions that make it possible and necessary for some, but still war results from the inability of leaders to control their engagements. It was the assassination of an archduke that began the First World War. Today we are closer to the political conditions of the First War than those of the Second, when it was just and legitimate to arm ourselves to defeat the Nazis.

But this time it is a strange situation for France, a nuclear power, to be governed by people who are capable in a Council of Ministers of talking about an incident at Sciences Po and sending the Prime Minister there to change the situation and making a big deal out of something that never happened. But at least we can say that it produced something magnificent. Thirty-three students said “We are Jewish, and we will not allow our Jewishness to be used to suppress Palestinian rights.” Thank you young people, thank you a thousand times, thank you a million times, because this is the France that does not want its children to be sorted by their religion but only distinguished by their debate and their opinions.

To vote for the Insoumis is to vote for the unity of our republic, a vote that does not point the finger at any one religion or skin color.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

(Click here for the original version in French)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

We must open the path to peace. Maybe some of you say that this path, yes, yes, well, okay, we understand, it is peace, but it does not exist, Mr. Mélenchon, the proof is that there is a war. Well, when there is a war, there is only one thing to do, and that is to stop it. And the question to ask is whether it is possible. Well all the elements are there.

For example, in Gaza, it is not true that we cannot stop the war and the massacre. It would be enough for the United States of America to stop supplying Mr. Netanyahu’s government with weapons. It would be enough for France to stop doing it. It would be enough for the European Union with the deputies you are electing to be there to say STOP! Enough! We are breaking the coalition and cooperation contract with Israel! We demand the judgment of war criminals, ALL war criminals, because we do not distinguish between them.

Regarding Gaza we are not proposing any other utopia than this: apply the international law that you voted for. Cease fire immediately and permanently! Implementation of UN resolutions. End of colonization! What’s extraordinary about that? It’s the same thing that we’ve been repeating for so many years. But then if we repeat it for so many years we tell them, at least respect the law, at least the international law that you have established!

The same goes for Ukraine. If we are not there to say a path exists, who is going to do it? There are people who will tell us “we have to arm ourselves, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that!” Do what? Leading us straight to war? For what result? Only one result, massive destruction, death, death, more death!

War can produce nothing else except deaths, victims, desolation, destruction! War is the failure of the human condition. War is the failure of civilization. War! War will never produce anything other than war again! Always war, more war!

With regard to Ukraine peace is possible on the condition that we understand one thing, that fiinally there can be no other outcome than a situation where there is no neither victor nor vanquished. Peace must give each of the two parties mutual guarantees.

I heard a journalist choke up, “Mélenchon said mutual guarantees!” This ignorant person did not know that the word had been used by Mr. Macron himself ! The guarantees must be mutual between whom? The fighters, of course. Obviously the guarantees are mutual.

Once this principle has been established, then it is obviously necessary to enter the path of peace through concrete measures which suit both parties, such as the protection of nuclear power plants, which would lead instantly to the creation of demilitarized zones. The Ukrainian Parliament has requested this guarantee,, and the Russians have not said they are opposed to it.

And once we enter into this logic, then we enter into the logic of the ceasefire! And if there is a ceasefire, then we can discuss border security. Now little by little I see them coming to understand; it always takes them time to admit that we are right. With regard to a conference for border security, there is no need to invent structures. They already exist through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Its conference on security in Europe was concluded in 1975, that is to say in the middle of the Cold War between two blocs that were preparing, if necessary, to destroy the world since they had the possibility of destroying it 16 or 17 times, which makes least 16 or 15 times too many.

A security conference obviously would lead to negotiations and from what President Macron told to Manuel Bompard, the Russians are ready for a ceasefire, but it’s to replenish their potential. Maybe so, but that’s what it takes. And when we start the ceasefire, well we don’t have to think about resuming the war.

Secondly, he told Manuel Bompard that President Zelensky was ready and knew that in the end he would have to accept a consultation of the populations affected by the borders. It’s clear from simple common sense that what was true before the war is perhaps no longer true now that the war has taken place, and that some who were originally on one side may now feel more on the other.

As soon as we agree to the ceasefire, as soon as we agree to the referendum of the populations concerned, as soon as we agree to demilitarize everything surrounding the nuclear reactors nuclear, then what is the obstacle to peace?

France may object that Mr. Putin is not a reliable interlocutor. But the effort must still be made. It must be brought before public opinion.

Threatening to send troops, saying that there are no limits, mentioning France’s nuclear capacity and claiming to extend it to all the nations of Europe, this is absurd ! Imagine a button which gives access to the use of the nuclear bomb, with 28 fingers on it! What is the meaning of such an idea? None! Whom is it supposed to frighten? The supposed adversary, thereby forcing him into a situation of response?

This is how the president has managed to create an indescribable mess, already with his own allies, but also with the adversaries because we already have Putin’s response. As for Mr. Putin, of course he is a dangerous head of state because he is a head of state involved in the question of peace and war! He therefore does in his domain what he believes to be his duty just as we ourselves do what we believe to be our duty.

We must talk peace! We must vote for peace! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE! That is our vote! Peace in Gaza! Recognition of the State of Palestine! Punishment of war criminals! Peace in Ukraine. PEACE! That’s why we have to vote ! It’s the vote that gives us force.
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To conclude, I cite “Le Petit Prince,” that I suppose many of you have read. This is a citation for you. Listen carefully and reflect on it, because it is profound. “You see, in life there is no solution. There is only the forces on march. You must create them, and then the solutions will follow.” “Bon courage!”

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Phase-2 of the Horn of Africa Peace Project Kicks off with an inception meeting at the AACC – African Union office

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An article from All Africa Conference of Churches

The Horn of Africa Peace Project (Salama Hub) is an initiative that aims at peacebuilding, divesting from conflict systems and militarism, and promoting nonviolent approaches to instability in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda. Since 2021, the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has been implementing this project together working with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) with support from Bread for the World (BfdW). 


AACC, AFSC, and BdfW staff who participated in the inception meeting. Credit: Mahlet Abrahem

Questions related to this article:

Can a culture of peace be achieved in Africa through local indigenous training and participation?

As a strategic endeavor towards realizing Aspiration 4 of the Agenda 2063: A Peaceful and Secure Africa, the second phase of the Salama hub will run from 2024-2027, the project exists to deepen the culture of peace in Africa by equipping civil society and faith-based organizations in the Horn of Africa region. By providing CSOs and FBOs with research-based evidence and skills, this project will help them to effectively advocate for peaceful solutions and promote social cohesion within their communities.

Held on 21st February 2024, the inception meeting enabled the consortium members (AFSC & AACC) and their strategic partner (BfdW) to get a common understanding of the new project content, expected deliverables, and its related issues to do with compliance and accountability.   

“Through this new phase of interventions, African civil societies and faith leaders will interact efficiently with institutional stakeholders in Africa, Europe, and America for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.” Noted Ms Mahlet Abrahem, AACC’s program Executive for the Salama Hub project.  

The Catalan Forum for Peace is born, a participatory process to create Catalan public peace policy

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An article from the Instituto Catalan Internacional para la Paz

The Catalan Forum for Peace  was publicly presented this Wednesday, February 14, within the framework of the Second Day of Peace held in the Parliament of Catalonia. The forum is a participatory process of reflection and debate that was born with a double objective: to create a public peace policy in Catalonia and to reinforce the agendas and social and political advocacy capacities of Catalan peace organizations.


screenshot from their website

The Catalan Forum for Peace is an initiative promoted by the Government of Catalonia, the Catalan Council for the Promotion of Peace, the ICIP and the Catalan associative network for the promotion of peace. It arises, therefore, from social and institutional collaboration, and will be developed throughout 2024 and 2025. The Forum will consist of a process of citizen participation based on five axes of debate: Culture of peace; Security and justice; Armed conflicts; Global challenges; Women, peace and security.

Coinciding with the public presentation, the website www.forumcatalapau.cat has been inaugurated, from which the participation of citizens, entities and institutions committed to the values of the culture of peace and social justice will be encouraged.

“For a public policy of peace”

The public presentation of the Catalan Forum for Peace was made during the celebration of the II Peace Day of the Parliament of Catalonia, co-organized by the Catalan chamber, the ICIP and Lafede.cat. With the title “For a public policy of peace”, the conference brought together representatives of numerous peace organizations and experts in the field of research and work for peace, as well as representatives of the Government and several city councils. and institutions.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

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

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At the opening of the day, the vice president of the Catalan Council for the Promotion of Peace and director of the ICIP, Kristian Herbolzheimer, called on the Catalan institutions and entities committed to the values of the culture of peace and social justice to join the Catalan Forum for Peace: “it is time to open the reflection on how we understand a Catalonia in peace and on how we can contribute, from Catalonia, to peace in the world. It is time to tell each other, meet and explain to all the people, groups and institutions that we share the values of the culture of peace and that we share the commitment to a more just and supportive world.”

For her part, the president of Lafede.cat, Arés Perceval , highlighted that the Catalan Forum for Peace must allow “the design of a public peace policy endorsed by all parliamentary groups, a pending subject” and added that the process also “It has to serve us to strengthen the movement for peace and nonviolence that we lead from civil society.”

The day was inaugurated by the president of the Parliament of Catalonia, Anna Erra , who highlighted the tradition of promoting peace in Catalonia, a “country of peace” that “has not hesitated to embrace the values of democracy and freedoms.” fundamental.” In her intervention, Erra predicted that the Catalan Forum for Peace will help strengthen the culture of peace, “become a useful tool for the international community,” and “shape some responses based on the collective intelligence of the country.”

The day included two round tables: the first focused on the challenges and opportunities for peace in the context of global threats, and the second was dedicated to the five axes of debate that will guide the Catalan Forum for Peace. when the participatory process begins, in the month of April. Carme Colomina , CIDOB researcher ; Luca Gervasoni , director of NOVACT; Maria Josep Parés , consultant; Jesús Vinyes , president of the School Council of Catalonia; Nora Miralles , president of the Delàs Center; Albert Caramés , director of FundiPau; Jordi Armadans , journalist and political scientist; and Blanca Camps , researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

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Manifesto for Peace Media in the 21St Century

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from Comunicacion y paz

The manifesto presented below has been agreed upon by the Spain chapter of the Latin Union of Political Economy of Communication, Information, and Culture (ULEPICC-Spain) and the Research Network on Community, Alternative, and Participatory Communication (RICCAP). The initiative emerged from the presentations and dialogues that took place within the framework of the VIII International Congress on Communication and Peace of ULEPICC-Spain (Complutense University of Madrid, March 2023) and the II International Congress on Communication and Citizenship of RICCAP (University of Extremadura, May 2023). It urges media outlets and political representatives to be mindful of the analyses and representations they provide of conflicts, as well as to take firm steps to update the media system and improve its role in the prevention and peaceful and fair resolution of conflicts. It also encourages the academic community and citizens to get involved in peace processes through co-responsibility and participation.

For the short term, it proposes a guide of good journalistic and communicative practices. Although the dominant journalistic structure, business model, and culture of the media are important obstacles to its implementation, we encourage professionals to take advantage of opportunities to advance towards peace communication. For the medium term, it poses the need to carry out structural reforms that create the necessary conditions to make peace communication effective in a systematic way. 

The manifesto includes an agenda of priorities to favor democratization in access, production of content, ownership and governance of media and communication. To this end, it is essential to reach agreements through participation and solidarity among all the actors involved in the transition towards total peace. The improvement of the communication system, together with the transformation of eco-social and geostrategic structures, would not only curb the organized barbarity of war, but would also contribute to the good conviviality of citizens, improve the autonomy and working conditions of communication professionals and increase the credibility of journalism.

The #PeaceMediaManifesto is a living document, so we encourage you to send your suggestions for strengthening it to comunicacionypaz@ulepicc.org. All individuals, media, institutions, associations and research groups that share its principles and proposals are invited to sign it.

MANIFESTO

° For a Peace Communication that favors the just transformation of conflicts and helps to stop wars, to rebuild relationships through reconciliation, and to create more egalitarian social and geostrategic structures.

° For communicative justice that promotes social and environmental justice through collective and democratic participation.

° For the improvement of the quality of journalism and communication, and for the radicalization of democracy.

° In the face of media coverage that marginalizes causes, contexts, and solutions, and reproduces conflict and structural violence.

° In the face of media that do not act as a counter-power but as accessories to the military-industrial complex at the service of the dominant power structures.

° In the face of the emergence or prolongation of armed conflicts that are presented as irresolvable…

… this Manifesto urges the media and those responsible for media and politics to:

1. Produce an in-depth diagnosis of the nuances, roots, results, and responsibilities of any conflict, portraying the complexity of eco-social problems based on their structural elements.

2. Promote approaches that include the voices of the people who suffer the consequences of conflicts and that prioritize agents promoting transformation and dialogue.

3. Support social, negotiated, and diplomatic solutions for the resolution of any conflict, offering examples and practical evidence that have proven successful in the past.

4. Carry out a preventive, slow and contextualized journalistic work that contributes to the de-escalation of conflicts and prioritizes the prospects for peace, before, during, and after the outbreak of violence.

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

Question related to this article:

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

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5. Prevent negative and stereotyped representation of historically marginalized social groups, drawing a line to avoid journalistic coverage that incites hatred or discrimination.

6. Foster community communication to understand the global roots of local problems (and how large-scale conflicts also impact smaller contexts).

7. Defend and promote the achievement of human rights (and other emerging rights) as a criterion of newsworthiness to avoid false objectivity and false equidistance.

8. Provide ways for citizens and their organizations to access, participate in, or appropriate the media system in order to represent their cultures, rights, interests and solutions for peace and dialogue.

9. Promote meetings between journalists, universities, and the third sector to foster social dialogue and share knowledge on conflicts and peace practices.

10. Transform the framework of individual security based on warmongering discourse to one of positive and shared security based on restorative narratives and values of participation, equality, co-dependence and eco-social justice.

We consider that these are practices that the media can begin to apply, even if it is to a limited extent, through the application of protocols to identify ideological biases and shortcomings, as well as good practice guides that orient the processes of content production towards peace journalism and communication.

However, the systematic production of peace communication also requires deep structural reforms that generate conditions that allow professionals to be free from the economic and ideological interests of conflict and violence. History and the critical analysis of current coverage and treatment show that the media and large technology companies tend to promote dominant narratives of conflict and war, which contributes to the self-serving propaganda of only one side and avoids critical, preventive, and pro-conflict resolution positions. With the popularization of technological networks, there has been an expansion of fake news and hate speech fueled by the ultra-right and ‘deniers’ (scientific, climate, gender, etc.), which target the most disadvantaged sectors and promote extreme positions of confrontation and social and emotional polarization. 

Beyond direct violence, there are more invisible structural, cultural, and symbolic inequalities that are just as threatening as the first and that are often neglected and help the established media economic model. The datafication of social experience and mass surveillance through Big Data are fundamental phenomena of violence that, based on their opacity, can have a decisive influence on social behavior according to dominant economic and political interests. Likewise, the logic of profit maximization has led to the proliferation of clickbait in commercial media as a consumption and business model. These phenomena, which are central to today’s media systems, are opposed to data justice, corporate transparency, user privacy, professional integrity and ethics, and genuine and independent public service media practices. The most recent threat comes from the uncritical use of Artificial Intelligence in journalism, such as the complete writing of news stories without checking sources or biases based on class, gender, culture or ethnicity.

In order to exist, peace requires not only the absence of physical violence, but also the promotion of ideals of social, economic, and environmental justice that contribute to eradicate structural violence. At the present juncture and fueled largely by conflicts and their economic, ideological and cultural interests, the enormous threat posed by historical problems such as class, ethnic and gender inequalities, chronic economic crises, and the climate emergency is being revealed. 

In this context, it is equally necessary to analyze, criticize and improve both the use and access and the impact of the technological devices that provide material support to communications in the different phases of the contemporary linear economic system: extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and generation of waste. Without media education and environmental awareness that favors structures and practices for fairer, more egalitarian and eco-sustainable access to technologies, it will not be possible to promote the elimination of violence and conflicts. In this sense, it is absolutely necessary to open a social conversation about the current harmful relationship between technology, peace, and environmental sustainability in order to think of viable alternatives.

Likewise, based on a critical analysis of the dominant media system, it is essential to think of public policies that promote structural reforms that will facilitate the democratization of access, production, ownership, and governance of the media. This would benefit communication professionals and improve their autonomy, working conditions and motivation. More time, security, incentives, and freedom to inform and communicate will favor good journalism and communication practices that contribute to the visibility of initiatives for peace and eco-social justice.

Authoritarian phenomena such as war, inequality, and polarization, on the one hand, and peace, diversity, and the construction of the commons, on the other, are extremes in a dispute currently underway in which different interests oppose each other with a profoundly asymmetrical correlation of forces. Only by coming together and generating spaces for reflection, empowerment and collective action will we be able to tip the balance in favor of democratic deepening in a society of free and equal people.

In an effort to contribute to these processes, today, as yesterday, we reflect, share and shout “No to war” and to the intensification of conflicts. Instead, we offer our collaboration to the movements committed to peace and eco-social justice. We need real democracy so that we do not have to shout

NEVER AGAIN

Book Review: Frontlines of Peace

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A book review by Dr Anurug Chakma from the Australian Institute of International Affairs (published under a Creative Commons License)

In her book, Séverine Autesserre investigates the persistence of an “unlikely peace” in certain conflict-ridden areas like Idjwi in Congo and Somaliland in Somalia. She argues that locally-led grassroots peacebuilding efforts uphold a unique peace in these regions.

Conflict arises from a multitude of factors, ranging from the absence of state presence throughout the territory, governance crises, democratic deficits, and pervasive violence to corruption, extreme poverty, unemployment, geographical location, and regional tensions. Despite these challenges, why does an “unlikely peace” prevail in certain parts of conflict-affected countries like Idjwi and Somaliland but not in other areas? Séverine Autesserre addresses this important question in her fascinating and insightful book.


Drawing from her extensive fieldwork spanning two decades across 12 conflict zones, including Congo, Somaliland, and Colombia, Autesserre argues that template-driven, outsider-led, and top-down international peacebuilding often emphasises governmental institutions, political leadership, and international interventions while neglecting the significance of locally-led grassroots peacebuilding efforts in sustaining peace in various conflict-affected countries.

Throughout her scholarly work, Autesserre has insisted on a “culture of peace” in communities like Idjwi, where strong taboos against violence are instilled from childhood. To prevent the escalation of local-level tensions, local people reach out to grassroots actors such as religious networks, traditional institutions such as mwamis (the traditional chiefs), and village chiefs and community groups instead of resorting to violence or asking for help from the police or the army.

In Somaliland, traditional governance and grassroots initiatives have led to peace, with local elders organising 39 peace conferences, with communities supporting them through hosting, financing, and providing security.

In Colombia, the residents of peace zones protect themselves by refusing cooperation with warring parties, remaining neutral and unarmed, and employing collective strategies to deter threats.

Similar peace zones are found worldwide, from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Fiji, and Indonesia to Mozambique, Northern Ireland, and the Philippines. The bottom line is that the involvement of government elites or institutions is not always required to control violence at the local level.

Superstitions also play a vital role in preventing local-level violence between different groups, a concept Autesserre defines as “alternative peacebuilding.” They act as a deterrent to violence from both insiders and outsiders, similar to spiritual and religious systems in other regions that discourage conflict. One notable example is the blood pact, a traditional ceremony where individuals in Idjwi pledge allegiance by exchanging blood, symbolising a commitment to never harm one another. Although this practice has diminished in recent years due to concerns about hygiene and modernisation, it retains deep respect within the community. The case of Idjwi, approximately equivalent in size to Malta and inhabited by 300,000 individuals, is noteworthy for its capacity to uphold peace amid the catastrophic conflict of Congo that has resulted in the loss of millions of lives. This highlights the considerable influence of these beliefs in preserving peace on Idjwi Island.

To highlight the crucial role of local participation in peacebuilding, the author references the peacebuilding strategy of the Life & Peace Institute (LPI) as an illustrative example. Initially, LPI adhered to the notion that external actors could lead peacebuilding efforts, but this approach proved counterproductive. LPI then shifted its approach to embrace the Participatory Action Research Method. In this revised approach, outside researchers, project implementers, and intended beneficiaries collaborated as co-investigators to collectively identify and address problems. They then engaged in multiple cycles of research, action, and reflection, empowering ordinary citizens to analyse community conflicts, agree on solutions, and implement them. LPI continuously monitored its actions, partners, and impacts, incorporating local advice and learning and adjusted strategies accordingly. Despite being messy, time-consuming, and unconventional, this process proved effective.

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Questions for this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?

What are the most important books about the culture of peace?

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Autesserre  discusses the many  drawbacks of international peacebuilding, often labelled as “top-down tyranny.” She remarks that time constraints, recruitment processes, and security protocols influence the effectiveness of template-oriented international peacebuilding. Most international peacebuilders don’t have time to understand the conflict, andtime constraints remain strong due to  the high turnover among staff within peacebuilding organisations, where diplomats, NGO personnel, peacekeeping contingents, and UN civilian employees frequently rotate every few months to a few years, preventing the development of a deep understanding of local dynamics. International interveners often travel from one conflict zone to another without adequately grasping the nuances of the situations they aim to address. In addition to this, peacebuilding organisations frequently recruit and deploy staff outside their area of expertise, undermining the relevance and impact of their interventions. Finally, strict security protocols enforced by headquarters contribute to the disconnect between foreign peacebuilders and local populations, hindering information collection essential for designing robust interventions.

Autesserre also notes that international interveners often neglect grassroots tensions, favouring top-down approaches guided by “liberal peacebuilding” principles. They impose the Western-led and donor-driven agenda that disregards the intricacies of local contexts and fosters a dependency on international aid, further exacerbating conflict dynamics. Driven by the stereotypes that external “experts” possess the solutions to conflicts, international interveners tend to overlook the expertise and perspectives of local populations. This approach, rooted in the Peace Inc. paradigm, underestimates the capabilities of local individuals, which often prove counterproductive.

The failure to understand local contexts for needs assessment leads to ineffective and sometimes absurd initiatives. For instance, in 2010 United Nations peacekeepers tried to protect civilians in Congo by distributing cell phones to point persons in some villages. In theory, the villagers would call the nearest peacekeepers if attacked, though in reality, there was no mobile internet access and no electricity to charge the devices.

International peacebuilding is affected by two further crucial factors: how the impacts of interventions are assessed and how the funds are released and distributed among intended beneficiaries. For evaluating their program impact, foreign peacebuilders and their donors prioritise quantifying the qualitative impact of their actions, neglecting local populations’ involvement in assessing success.

Another claim is that the flow of international aid incentivises participation in grassroots conflict resolution for financial gain rather than genuine peacebuilding, leading to numerous cases of “briefcase NGO” corruption. These examples add to the erosion of local peace infrastructures and, eventually, a legitimacy crisis in the eyes of local communities.

The lessons learned from Afghanistan, Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste illustrate that depending exclusively on top-down strategies leads to disastrous consequences. Similarly, relying solely on bottom-up approaches can only result in a fragile and temporary decrease in violence, as national leaders manipulate or interfere from neighbouring armed factions, thus undermining any local peace effort. Additionally, civilians do not possess the capability to overcome armed groups independently, nor do they have the necessary networks to establish peace across an entire nation.

Hence, peacebuilding success hinges on leveraging insiders’ and outsiders’ knowledge, perspectives, networks, and resources. For this reason, model and experienced peacebuilders, akin to Vijaya Priyadarshini Thakur, Déo Buuma, Urbain Bisimwa, and Banu Altunbas, understand the importance of bolstering and reinforcing local peace efforts rather than imposing a donor-driven peacebuilding agenda.

Hence, Autesserre suggests that foreign peacebuilders must challenge existing stereotypes such as the belief that outsiders always know best, the perception that local individuals are untrustworthy and incompetent, the notion that using standardised templates are beneficial, the belief that only top-down initiatives are necessary, the misconception that grassroots peacebuilding cannot occur during ongoing violence, and the idea that peacebuilding is always expensive and time-consuming. Their program needs to incorporate not only national elites but also local leaders, beneficiaries, and citizens. More importantly, long-term engagement is also crucial to deeply understanding the local context and building trust and credibility with local stakeholders, which is essential to make peacebuilding successful and sustainable.

This is a review Séverine Autesserre’s Frontlines of Peace (Oxford University Press 2021). ISBN: 9780197530351

Dr Anurug Chakma is a Research Fellow within the Migration Hub at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia. For inquiries or further communication, Dr Chakma can be reached at anurug.chakma@anu.edu.au. 

Press Release: Peace Starts Here – The Global Movement For Local Peacebuilders

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A press release from Peace Starts Now

Today (January 31), a cohort of local peacebuilders from around the world launch Peace Starts Here, a global movement for peacebuilders. The campaigners are inviting people to sign a manifesto demanding that local peacebuilders be seen, heard, and better supported locally and globally. 

Peace Starts Here will highlight the effectiveness and necessity of local peacebuilding, while calling for more international support and educating the bigger system about the realities of local peacebuilding. It will also galvanise a movement for change in the sector.


Through a manifesto for change, this campaign aims to ignite a movement that will change the status quo. With five separate asks, the manifesto centres local peacebuilders, and calls on the wider sector to ensure they are supported to lead:

° Make space for local peacebuilders – Create more inclusive ways for local peacebuilders to lead, shape and influence the peace process in their regions.

° Fund more local peacebuilding efforts – Remove the barriers to funding for all genuine grassroots peacebuilding initiatives making a difference for local people, and proactively channel resources to local peacebuilders in communities closest to conflict.

° Support and strengthen local peacebuilders – Build the capacity and resilience of local peacebuilders so they can participate in sustainable peacebuilding and build trust with policymakers, funders and donors.

° Centre peacebuilding around local people – Invest in more human-centred, collaborative, and community-led approaches to global peacebuilding efforts, encouraging local peacebuilders to play an active role in decolonising the role of global actors.

° Learn from local peacebuilders – Promote successful local peacebuilding initiatives to aid learning, insight-sharing and collaboration in the wider peacebuilding sector.

Join the movement today by sharing your thoughts on the asks and signing the manifesto.

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Question related to this article:

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

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Backed by Peace Direct and now with the added support of United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) and Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) Peace Starts Here is for local peacebuilders and by local peacebuilders.

Diana Ishaqat, one of the campaign’s co-creators and local peacebuilder, says:
“We are calling for the recognition of local voices for peace. It is us who navigate the consequences of conflict and violence; it is us who should lead in building long-lasting peace. This is the real story of peace, told by local peacebuilders. It starts with them. It starts with their work. It starts in their communities.”

Visit www.peacestartshere.world  to read about the co-creators behind this campaign, their journey and the manifesto asks.

Notes for editors:

° Peace Starts Here is a global campaign created by 10 peacebuilders from around the world

° For the past year, ten local peacebuilders from around the world have worked together to co-create a global movement to improve recognition and support for local peacebuilders. Together, they drafted a manifesto for change based on their experience of the peacebuilding sector, particularly their experience of the marginalisation of local perspectives in international discourse

° The idea of a co-created global campaign began in Beirut, Lebanon in August 2018. Peace Direct’s Peace Exchange event brought together a group of peacebuilders from around the world to discuss how to best resolve conflict in their communities and build sustainable peace. During one of these conversations, the idea of a locally-led, global campaign was born

° The campaign creation phase was facilitated by Peace Direct, an international peacebuilding NGO, InsightPact and creative agency Neo.

Contact details:

° Luis Alvarado Bruzual, Campaign Co-Creator, Caracas, Venezuela – luisalvarado528@gmail.com (GMT -4hrs

° Diana Ishaqat, Campaign Co-Creator, Beijing, China – dianaishaqat@hotmail.com (GMT +8hrs)

° Ruth Mileham, Peace Direct, London, UK – ruth.mileham@peacedirect.org (GMT)

° Amal Atrakouti, Peace Direct, Montreal, Canada – amal.atrakouti@peacedirect.org (GMT -5hrs)