United States: Six years as a ‘City of Peace’: Happy anniversary, Ashland!


An article by David Wick in Ashland News

Tuesday, May 16, is the sixth anniversary of Ashland officially becoming a City of Peace and joining the International Cities of Peace Association. On May 16, 2017, Mayor John Stromberg, with a unanimous vote of the Ashland City Council , proclaimed that “…the City of Ashland, Oregon is a City of Peace in perpetuity and encourage city and community leaders to develop policies and procedures that promote a culture of peace in our region.”

City officials and Ashland Culture of Peace Commission Executive Director David Wick, center, tie the ribbon at the International City of Peace Ribbon Tying Ceremony in 2017, as a symbol of joining together. Graham Lewis photo

The focus and engagement on this accomplishment has lessened over the last three years due to the impact of COVID, but the legacy of Ashland, the 163rd International City of Peace, has never lessened internationally nor in the hearts of many community members.

Among the current 380 International Cities of Peace in Peace in 70 countries on all six inhabited continents, Ashland has always been held in high regard as an example to learn from. With the guidance of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC), working closely with the City of Ashland, many segments of our community, and other peacebuilding organizations, we are seen as an ideal way of co-creating an infrastructure of peace.

International Cities of Peace (ICP) is an association of citizens, governments and organizations who have by proclamation, resolution, or by citizen advocacy established their communities as official Cities of Peace. The fundamental focus of a City of Peace is on safety, prosperity and quality of life.

There is no 100% peaceful city — rather, all are on the path to “becoming” a more peaceful city. Various forms of violence or hostility affect every community, yet as Mahatma Gandhi reminded, “…acts of love and service are much more common in this world than conflicts and quarrels.” Hundreds of cities around the world are building on their legacy of peacebuilding in a forward commitment to work toward a community-wide culture of peace. Establishing a community as a peace city recognizes past achievements, encourages current initiatives, and inspires future generations for practical peace building.

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Question related to this article:
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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The Ashland community and city have taken many steps to manifest a City of Peace, many more than can be listed here. This list includes: Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA) and others assisting people in need, establishment of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, Chamber of Commerce action to support businesses, wildfire protection action by Rep. Pam Marsh, Travel Ashland (VCB) Advisory Committee initiatives, installation of the World Peace Flame with middle school Flame Keepers, initiation of the Police2Peace program, Ashland Food Bank, Peace House initiatives and Uncle Foods Diner, Peace Village Festival, the Peace Wall and climate action by The Geos Institute, among many others.

Being a City of Peace is a continual state of making daily choices individually, organizationally, systemically, every one of us. On May 16, 2023, what does this look like in Ashland now and moving forward? How do we want to increase the safety, prosperity and quality of life for all in Ashland, in our region? This can begin with a smile for the next person each of us sees.

Ashland.News Editor Bert Etling and Ashland Police Department Chief Tighe O’Meara both served as Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) Commissioners and were recently asked what they value about taking steps to co-create Ashland as a City of Peace.

Bert Etling responded: “I value ACPC’s raising awareness of values that too-often go unspoken and unrecognized, which makes them more likely to fall into disuse. The very existence of ACPC prompts people to think about qualities worth affirming and practicing. On a more concrete level, organization of and participation in events offering the opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds to share their perspectives and harmonious space builds peace in the community. And, of course, the Peace Flame as an ongoing reminder of that energy (in the wonderful Thalden Pavilion space), and sustaining learning about, sharing and passing along those values through the students tending to the site.”

Chief O’Meara’s reply is: “One of the things I value most about the ACPC is that through it we promote conversations, connections, and better mutual understanding. We may not always be able to agree, but unless we come together, we certainly won’t. In those connections and conversations, we have our best chance at understanding, and through that peace.”

As a city and community, we have gone through some rough patches and there are more to come in the challenging times we live in. And the choices and directions are in our hands both individually and collectively. Let’s co-create the very best ongoing City of Peace that we can, together.

An International City of Peace information center is being created at Catalyst Ashland, 357 E Main St., Ashland, 541-625-6565 by owners Precious Yamaguchi and Andres Rivero, and myself, David Wick of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission.

David Wick is executive director of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission ( and president of the Rotary EClub of World Peace. Email him at

Mayors for Culture of Peace


Excerpts from April Newsletter of Mayors for Peace

Join us in promoting the culture of peace

Mayors for Peace outlines three objectives in the Vision for Peaceful Transformation to a Sustainable World (PX Vision): Peacebuilding by Cities for Disarmament and Common Security. One of them is to promote the culture of peace, which the PX Vision explains as follows:

We will cultivate peace consciousness and cause the culture of peace—the culture in which the everyday actions of each member of the public are grounded in thinking about peace—to take root in civil society as the foundation of lasting world peace.

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(Click here for the French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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This April Issue of the Mayors for Peace News Flash features some of Mayors for Peace initiatives promoting the culture of peace. We hope these examples will inspire your city to implement initiatives promoting the culture of peace.

Celebrate the Month for the Culture of Peace

We encourage your cities to celebrate one particular month of the year as the “Month for the Culture of Peace” holding a variety of cultural events to raise peace awareness among citizens. The aim is to have them think about the importance of peace through music, fine art, and other forms of art expressing desire for peace, as well as through sports and other activities that emotionally connect people across language barriers.

The City of Hiroshima, since 2021, has designated November as the “Month for the Culture of Peace.” This Month sees a variety of events under the theme of the culture of peace held intensively in cooperation with private sector companies and groups of citizens. These events include, for example, lectures on the culture of peace and stage performances and art exhibitions by youths.

See “Month for the Culture of Peace 2022” by the City of Hiroshima (in Japanese).

Organize Events to Commemorate the International Day of Peace

We recommend your cities organize outreach activities and commemorative events on the UN’s International Day of Peace, which is observed on September 21st every year, to have as many citizens as possible share in the wish for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

May Day around the world


Information compiled by CPNN from various sources as indicated

May Day was celebrated by workers around the world, as shown in these photos. Click on text to go to the source for more information or click on photo to enlarge or to go to video.

Video of rally in Athens with bilingual banners in Greek and French reading “The peoples will win”

Percussionists in traditional Lebanese clothing lead the chants in the annual Labor Day parade in Beirut (AP Photo/Hussein Malia)

In Buenos Aires, activists held banners and chanted slogans at a rally in front of the Presidential Palace to demand an increase in the minimum wage and protested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal. (Reuters)

Government supporters rally marking May Day in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Scene from Colombia Foto: AFP

Members of the Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation hold a May Day rally at Muktangan in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Map of May Day rallies in France with total estimated by the trade unions as 2.3 million participants, including over half a million in Paris alone.

In Germany, demonstrations took place in Berlin and Hamburg (Reuters)

On the occasion of International Labor Day, daily wage workers of Birbhanpur village (India) took out a rally, demanding employment and increase in wages from the government.

Scene from video of May Day rally in Istanbul under the motto “Labour is our future”.

May Day demonstration in the Horse Statue area of Jakarta (KONTAN:Francis Simbolon)

Bolivian President Luis Arce participates in the International Workers’ Day march organized by the Bolivian Workers’ Central (COB) in La Paz. 

Members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers raise their hats as they march to celebrate International Labour Day in Lagos, Nigeria. [Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP]

In London, the march comes down Clerkenwell Road, past Farringdon. (Photo by André Langlois)

Hundreds of Filipino activists took to the streets in Manila calling on the government for better wages and treatment of labourers. (Reuters)

Mexico City: Thousands of workers demonstrate on May 1 in the Zócalo. Foto María Luisa Severiano

Communist party supporters with red flags march near Red Square in Moscow, Russia. [Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo]

Multan, Pakistan – Workers of different organizations are participating in a rally on the eve of World Labour Day. APP/SFD/TZD/MOS

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

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Scene from video of rally in New York City including New York City Coalition for Domestic Workers

Women walk close to a banner reading “Domestic workers we do not agree with the Government,” during a May Day rally in Pamplona, northern Spain, May 1, 2023 (AP).

May Day demonstration celebrating Labour Day in Porto, Portugal (Reuters)

May Day in Potenza, Italy, the procession of CGIL, CISL and UIL

Scene from rally in Prague (AA)

Scores of workers gather at the Saulsville arena (Pretoria) to observe Workers Day. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

In Quito, people take part in a march on International Workers’ Day to demand that Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso, who is facing an impeachment process, leaves office amid rising crime and insecurity, (Reuters)

Rally in the heart of the Mission District of San Francisco with many immigrants from Latin America

A protester holds a sign that reads in Spanish “El Salvador, the biggest jail in Latin America” during an anti-government march on International Labor Day in San Salvador, El Salvador, Monday, May 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

People attend a May Day, or Labor Day, rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, May 1, 2023.(AP)

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions march toward the presidential office in Yongsan following a Labor Day rally in downtown Seoul. (Yonhap)

The crowd at the May Day rally of the Marxist–Leninist communist party JVP, in Sril Lanka

Workers from various confederations and labor unions pass the South Sumatra DPRD office

Labour day parade march in front of the town hall in Vienna, Austria. [Lisa Leutner/AP Photo]

Medics hold slogans reading “I want benefits” during a May Day rally in Taipei, Taiwan (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Members of left-wing parties and trade unions march in traditional May Day parade, one of the smallest ever, to mark Labour Day, in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, May 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

People take part in a ‘Feminist Revolution’ May Day protest rally and some clash with the police in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, May 1, 2023. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)

International Cities of Peace: May Newsletter


Excerpts from the May Newsletter of International Cities of Peace


380 Cities of Peace; 71 Countries; 6 Continents — the global network of International Cities of Peace (ICP) continues to grow. Practical work is being done. Below the headlines of violence and war is a profound story of peacemaking in communities. Safety, prosperity, and quality of life are the Consensus Values of Peace and hundreds of International Cities of Peace, thousands on peace teams around the world, are at the forefront of a grassroots organizing principle: localizing a culture of peace.



An extraordinary benefit exclusively for ICP Liaisons

My team at the Media Education Centre and I would like to support our movement and promote as much as possible the Global Network of OUR Cities of Peace because supporting PEACE is more important than ever. . . . . And I believe that political solutions must guide all our peace operations. We must show that it is a Global Movement ready to INCLUDE, ready to PROMOTE and interested to SUPPORT the peace around the Planet. . . . The best way I can propose to all the International Cities of Peace is to help me to show how many cities in how many countries respect and promote peace. To invite many other cities to join us. If you like to support our idea, please be so kind as to express your goodwill to contribute to our promotion with a short video about your city. To be easier to communicate and exchange video and basic information please fill out the form and I (or somebody from my team) will back to you with instructions.


From Buenos Aires: International City of Peace in South America
May 31, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Av. Maipú 2502, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic.
There will be face-to-face meeting at the Conference with participation by the Ambassador of Peace, Nicolás Incolla Garay of U.N. ECOSOC, as well as Carlos Palma, Coordinator of the Living Peace Project, among other speakers.
Call to Action: Participate from your country by following the instructions in this simple form, you will be part of our summit on May 31, 2023.


Mesa, Arizona, U.S.A. has been an International City of Peace since 2022. Liaisons Paula Osterday and Dr. Ruth Lim, the focus of the peace initiative in Mesa is on the next generation. “We focus on three things in Mesa,” Dr. Lim notes.

We empower children and families to be advocates for peace and non-violence. Our Annual Week Without Violence showcases the community’s advocacy with posters and poetry in different school districts

We have community and business champions that support with Proclamations and Letters of support, including the Governor, the Mayor’s office, Rotary Club, community colleges, and nonprofits like Chicano Por La Causa working on community development.

We placed peace poles in community schools, churches, and colleges.

The Mesa Team was instrumental in Arizona’s observance of “A Week Without Violence”, which created awareness, educates, and strengthens the advocacy for non-violence which in return will help make their community a safer place to live. The Proclamation by Governor of the State of Arizona, Douglas A. Ducey, proclaimed peace as the “deepest hope” and “guiding inspiration” for all of humanity. There are several Cities of Peace in Arizona and many of the leaders are working toward Arizona becoming a State of Peace, the criteria of which is detailed below.

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Question related to this article:
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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376th City of Peace! Kashojwa, Nakivale, Uganda

There are 74 villages in the Nakivale, Uganda Refugee Camp. Desperate, they come from D.R Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other countries. A peace leader in the Nakivale settlement of Kashojwa, Nakivale, Uganda has established his village as an International City of Peace. Iragi Bakenga is a Congolese national, a courageous young man, that is taking the leadership. “I have decided with my team to start volunteering for orphans and vulnerable teenagers and youths to fight illiteracy among them. What courage and resolve! (cities listing)

377th City of Peace! The Central District of Lima, Peru

Established as an International City of Peace by Ms. Rosi Castellaneos who leads an extensive peacebuilding network, Lima is a MegaCity with over 40 districts in a country that has recently had many political setbacks. Yet Rosi and her colleagues have many positive activities, including promoting the Roerch Flag of Peace, inspired by the work of Inés Palomeque and the Argentine-based Mil Milenios de Paz. Thank you, Rosi! (cities listing)

378th City of Peace: New Kigali, Nakivale, Uganda

“To see a developed community where women are fully employed, and children access education.” — this seems a universal vision, yet for January Mutimanw it is very personal. Congolese by nationality, he reached the Nakivale Refugee camp in Uganda in 2015 and envisioned himself as a young man destined to change the New Kigali community for the better. We are with you, January. Take advantage of the tools, resources and network of ICP — that is why we are here. (cities listing)


I like, as a woman, that we can do great work so that we women will fight to build peace in our country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.” The words of a current and future peacemaker go to the core of why International Cities of Peace is an extraordinary platform for youngers and elders. Ms. Bahozi Chance is 25 years old and is dedicated to fight for peace in her city of Bukavu and for parity between men and women. “We planted fruit trees and utilize Agro forestry,” Chance said, “to overcome the problem of natural disasters, erosion and floods in the city of Bukavu and live with nature.” Onward toward local/global peace! (cities listing)


Have you planned for Peace Day, 2023?

September 21st is less than four months away. Designated by the United Nations, International Day/Week/Month of Peace is a wonderful opportunity. WE celebrate peace, educate on peacebuilding, and YES! contemplate the work to be done. Many Liaisons use the time to gather their teams to plan for the next year of projects — how has safety, prosperity, and quality of life in your community made progress… or degenerated? Either way, peacemakers are necessary to keep the momentum or to create momentum for community peace.

The ICP sponsored Global Feast for Peace is in its 11th year. How you gather is entirely up to you. Yet through the Feast for Peace, we make a unified and profound statement to the world that peace is an active engagement. Plan an event, or many events, during September. Remember, peace is not something we keep inside, or among our friends and family. Peace must be shouted from the rooftops and mountains! We must rise together to overcome the silence. Invite the community. International Day of Peace is humanity’s gift from the United Nations.

Celebrate. Plan. Listen. Enjoy. Feast for Peace with hundreds of International Cities of Peace around the globe! (Peace Day)

J. Fred Arment
Chair, Lead Facilitator
International Cities of Peace

Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso Promotes Community Resilience through Dialogue and Peace Initiatives in Ouahigouya


A press release from Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso

Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso partnered with the municipality of Ouahigouya to organize an unprecedented event to promote peace and social cohesion in the context of security challenges, the spread of violent extremism, and intercommunity tensions in Burkina Faso.

The event was organized within the framework of the project “Un Futur à Construire” (A Future to Build), funded by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany and Denmark through the PATRIP Foundation and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

More than 500 participants, including local authorities, religious and customary leaders, and representatives of eight communities – Peules, Mossé, Samo, Gourounsi, Gourmantché, those of the Southwest (Lobi, Dagara Djan Pougli, Birifors), Bissa and the Malian community, which was invited as a guest of honor – took part in the event. The strong participation of women, with 300 present, underscored their crucial role in promoting resilience and community cohesion.

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Questions for this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?

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Under the theme “Community Resilience in the Face of Security Challenges,” the event focused on building community resilience to combat insecurity and promote peace. Participants exchanged messages of peace, tolerance, and coexistence and shared inspirational quotes on the importance of unity and coexistence.

During the day, Adama, a local radio host, emphasized the importance of rediscovering the values that allowed their ancestors to live together peacefully, while Achille, the organizing committee’s communications manager, acknowledged his previous distrust of a particular community. However, he was moved by the message of that community’s representative and stressed the importance of analyzing one’s own prejudices and biases.

The event included games and a fair that lasted all day, promoting unity and friendship between the different communities. The participation of members of a community that was previously distrusted by others is a significant achievement demonstrating its courage and willingness to promote cohesion despite stigma and fear.

Community representatives expressed regret at escalating violence between the communities and called for dialogue to return to peaceful coexistence. The event was praised for the quality of the messages and the interest shown by the different communities towards each other, despite the initial tensions.

Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso remains committed to promoting peace and social cohesion in Burkina Faso through various initiatives that encourage dialogue and collaboration between communities. We call on all stakeholders to join us in this effort to reduce conflict and promote sustainable peace in Burkina Faso.

(Click here for a French version.)

Niger: First edition of the Peace Festival in the agro-pastoral zone in Gadabedji


An article from Agence Nigérienne de Presse

The Minister of Culture, Tourism and Handicrafts, Mr. Hamid Hamed opened on March 18, 2023 in Gadabedji (Department of Bermo) the 1st edition of the Festival of Peace in Agro-pastoral Zone in the presence od the Minister of State at the Presidency, Mr. Rhissa AG Boula, delegations from the regions of Tahoua, Zinder, Agadez and Maradi, as well as craftsmen from all regions of our country.

Placed under the theme “Intercommunality-social cohesion-Peace and security”, this Festival of Peace in pastoral areas is initiated by leaders committed to supporting the State in its mission to strengthen social cohesion and community security. The initiative is motivated by the fear of violence spreading from the security situation prevailing in certain regions of the country and the persistence of hotbeds of tension in countries with which Niger shares long and porous borders.
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(Click here for the French version of this article)

Question related to this article:


Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

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For the organizers of this festival, it is a question of mobilizing the available energies to preserve peace in this area and to forestall insecurity by focusing on the dynamics of existing and latent conflicts. The objective is to contribute to the strengthening of security and social cohesion based on the traditional socio-cultural values.

Several activities, punctuated by musical and cultural interludes took place during this first edition. These are communications on banditry and the fight against the penetration of terrorists; communication on the dialogue between actors; on the management of shared resources; the contribution of the municipalities in connection with the themes presented and the declaration of the young people; messages from civil society and farmers’ organizations. These communications were moderated by panelists including Dr Elbak Adam, Dr Ali Saley, Dr Bodé Sambo and Col. Director of the Gadabedji reserve.

In his opening speech, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Handicrafts recalled that this festival is an inter-municipal initiative and it comes at the right time because the current context challenges us all, so that together we participate to the development of our country.

“This is why my Ministerial Department, in accordance with its mission of supervision and promotion of culture, has agreed to support this initiative which fits harmoniously into the dynamics of enhancing the cultural, tourist and artisanal potential of Niger. ” he said.

He added to the organizers that their idea of organizing a festival on the culture of peace fits perfectly with the daily concerns expressed by the highest authorities in Niger.

He expressed the wish to see this festival take place in fraternity and conviviality. “The objective of my Ministerial department is to see Nigerien culture valued in all its splendour. I urge you to take ownership of this project, to show discipline and to submit any suggestions for improvement,” he said.

The Manama Declaration: A message of hope from the Inter-Parliamentary Union


A press release from the Inter-Parliamentary Union

At the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Manama, Bahrain, parliamentarians representing close to 140 countries adopted by consensus the Manama Declaration Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance and a landmark resolution on Cybercrimes: The new risks to global security.

Map from Wikipedia. The United States withdrew from the IPU in September, 2000. Reasons for continued absence are listed by Heritage Foundation.

The Manama Declaration: A message of hope

The Declaration follows a debate in which a record 151 parliamentarians spoke before an audience of their peers from every corner of the world.

In the Declaration, the parliamentarians pledge “to fight inequality through rights-based economic and social policies that put people before profit and the weak before the strong, and that uphold the equality and dignity of every person.” The declaration also urges parliamentarians “to implement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – leaving no one behind – as the best hope for peace, democracy and sustainable development for all.”

The Declaration is a message of hope which calls for a more tolerant world where diversity is celebrated, and where every human being is recognized for their contribution to society.

It also calls for parliamentarians to make “hate-motivated acts and all forms of violence linked to religion, belief, xenophobia, racism or intolerance of marginalized groups an offence under the law”

Cybercrimes: The new risks to global security

The IPU resolution is timely given the increase in cybercrimes worldwide due to a growing reliance on technology and the digitalization of many aspects of life, which accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also means that a forthcoming United Nations convention on cybercrime, expected in 2024, will have direct upstream input from parliaments.

There is no comprehensive definition of cybercrimes. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, cybercrimes are acts that violate the law and are perpetrated using information and communications technologies. Aside from attacks on computer systems, they include a wide range of other acts that can be facilitated by technology, including online child sexual exploitation and abuse..

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Questions for this article:

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

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The resolution underlines the need for international cooperation to address cybercrimes, as well as to protect global peace, security and economic stability while upholding human rights, including freedom of speech.

The resolution emphasizes the responsibility of parliaments in building a regulatory framework to protect citizens in cyberspace in the same way as in the physical world. It notes that cybercrimes may constitute a serious threat to democratic processes, especially interference in elections through cybersecurity breaches or false social media accounts.

It acknowledges that women, young people and children are among the most vulnerable and suffer from the most aggressions on the internet.

The resolution is the result of a long consultative process, including a record 320 amendments received from Member Parliaments, often with opposing views, culminating in a final agreed text, demonstrating the importance and sensitivity of the issue today.

The resolution also shows that there is a growing appetite to include the voices of parliamentarians, as representatives of the people, in United Nations processes and conventions. The IPU resolution and the future United Nations convention should ultimately lead to stronger national legislation to combat cybercrimes.

Action on humanitarian crises

The Assembly also adopted an emergency item resolution on Raising awareness and calling for action on the serious humanitarian crises affecting the peoples of Afghanistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Yemen and other countries, and on the particular vulnerability of women and children.

The resolution calls on the international community to collaborate to protect human lives, to alleviate suffering, to safeguard dignity, and to guarantee access to basic services such as food, medical care, water and shelter for all persons, regardless of their origins, through legal and policy measures at the national level.


With ongoing wars and multiple conflict situations around the world, the IPU stepped up its role at the Assembly as a global convener of parliaments, promoting dialogue and diplomacy between countries.

The IPU Task Force for the peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine met again with high-level delegations of MPs from both the Russian Federation and Ukraine, separately, with a view to keeping parliamentary diplomatic channels open for future peacebuilding.

The IPU Committee on Middle East Questions brought together parliamentarians from the region, including MPs from Palestine and the first parliamentary delegation from Israel to visit Bahrain since the normalization of relations between the two countries through the 2020 Abraham Accords.

The IPU Group of Facilitators on Cyprus also met to take stock of and propose measures to soothe tensions on the island.

New report of Inter-Parliamentary Union shows that women MPs have never been so diverse


A press release from the Inter-Parliamentary Union

According to the latest IPU report, Women in Parliament 2022, women’s participation in parliament has never been as diverse and representative as it is in many countries today. And for the first time in history, not a single functioning parliament in the world is male-only. 

Celia Xakriaba, a climate activist, is one of 4 indigenous women to be elected to the Brazilian Parliament. Photo from Wiki Commons.

The findings in the annual IPU report are based on the 47 countries that held elections in 2022. In those elections, women took an average 25.8% of seats up for election or appointment. This represents a 2.3 percentage point increase compared to previous renewals in these chambers.

Brazil saw a record 4,829 women who identify as black running for election (out of 26,778 candidates); in the USA, a record number of women of colour (263) stood in the midterm elections; LGBTQI+ representation in Colombia tripled from two to six members of the Congress; and in France, 32 candidates from minority backgrounds were elected to the new National Assembly, an all-time high of 5.8% of the total.  

Other positive trends include technological and operational transformations, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have increased the potential for parliaments to become more gender-sensitive and family-friendly. The influence of gender issues on election outcomes, with increased awareness of discrimination and gender-based violence, as well as alliances with other social movements, also helped drive strong results for women in some of the parliamentary elections.

However, overall progress towards global gender equality remains painfully slow: the global share of women in parliaments stood at 26.5% on 1 January 2023, a year-on-year increase of only 0.4 percentage points, the slowest growth in six years.

Mixed regional findings

Overall, six countries now have gender parity (or a greater share of women than men) in their lower or single chamber as of 1 January 2023. New Zealand joined last year’s club of five consisting of Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), at the top of the IPU’s authoritative global ranking of women in parliament.

Other notable gains in women’s representation were recorded in Australia (the strongest outcome of the year with a record 56.6% of seats won by women in the Senate), Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Malta and Slovenia.

High stakes elections in Angola, Kenya and Senegal all saw positive strides for women. Wide divides characterized results in Asia: record numbers of women were elected to the historically male-dominated Senate in Japan but in India, elections to the upper chamber led to women occupying only 15.1% of seats, well below the global and regional averages.

The Pacific saw the highest growth rate in women’s representation out of all the regions, gaining 1.7 percentage points to reach an overall average of 22.6% women in parliament. Every Pacific parliament now has at least one woman legislator.

In the 15 European chambers that were renewed in 2022, there was little shift in women’s representation, stagnating at 31%.

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Questions for this article:

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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In the Middle East and North Africa region, seven chambers were renewed in 2022. On average, women were elected to 16.3% of the seats in these chambers, the lowest regional percentage in the world for elections held in the year. Three countries were below 10%: Algeria (upper chamber: 4.3%), Kuwait (6.3%) and Lebanon (6.3%).

Bahrain is an outlier in the region with a record eight women elected to the lower chamber, including many first-time lawmakers. 73 women ran for election to the lower chamber (out of a total of 330 candidates) compared with the 41 women who ran in the last election in 2018. Ten women were also appointed to the 40-member upper chamber.

Quotas work

Legislated quotas were again a decisive factor in the increases seen in women’s representation. Legislated quotas enshrined in the constitution and/or electoral laws require that a minimum number of candidates are women (or of the under-represented sex). Chambers with legislated quotas or combined with voluntary party quotas produced a significantly higher share of women than those without in the 2022 elections (30.9% versus 21.2%).

Women’s leadership on climate change

Women in Parliament 2022 gives several examples of female climate leadership including Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland, who has pushed for net zero by 2035, and Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, who is aiming to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.

At COP27, the UN Climate Change Conference, Senator Sherry Rehman, the Minister of Climate Change in Pakistan, was one of the prominent advocates which led to the successful establishment of a loss and damage fund to support poorer countries who are greatly affected by climate change. However, despite this leadership, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making positions on climate. For example, women accounted for less than 34% of country negotiating teams and only 7 out of 110 Heads of State present at COP27.
Quotes from IPU leadership

Lesia Vasylenko, President of the IPU Bureau of Women MPs.

“Every woman who is elected brings parliaments one step closer to becoming more inclusive and representative. And it’s great to see much more diversity this year in many elections around the world. But overall progress is far too slow, with half the world’s populations still vastly under-represented. There is an urgent need to change this to strengthen democracy everywhere.”

Duarte Pacheco, IPU President

“The only way to make real progress toward achieving gender equality in parliaments is to share the responsibility between men and women. I call on my male colleagues in every parliament in the world to work with their female counterparts to move forward and accelerate the pace of change.”

Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General

“Our research shows that there are still too many barriers preventing women from entering parliament or indeed forcing them to leave politics, as we have seen recently. We have the data, tools and solutions to make gender equality a reality by, for example, making parliaments gender-sensitive and free of sexism, harassment and violence. What we now need is the political will at the highest level to make it happen.”


The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments. It was founded more than 133 years ago as the first multilateral political organization in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, the IPU comprises 178 national Member Parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced and more representative. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world.

Mexico: Initiative for a Law on Peace in Durango


An article by Juan Cardénas in El Siglo de Durango (translation by CPNN)

In order to strengthen respect for human rights, security and justice for all the people of Durango and to ensure that no place is left for violence, the State Congress will analyze an initiative to create the State Law for the Culture of Peace, as well as the creation of two Councils on the matter.

The peace agenda is part of the issues that are being considered by local deputies for the current regular session.

“It is not enough to increase the sanctions or aggravate punishments, but we must attack the origin of the criminal acts and provide the State and society with useful tools that guide us effectively to live in peace,” said local deputy Verónica Pérez Herrera .
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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

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

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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Expanding the reasons for her initiative, the legislator referred to the culture of peace fostering values, attitudes and behaviors of respect, tolerance, equality, solidarity, dialogue and negotiation, strengthening harmonious coexistence and ties between individuals of the community and promoting a perspective that contributes to the construction of a just society.

“Peace not only consists in the absence of conflict but also its prevention, so it is up to all members of a society without distinction to seek and preserve respect and justice to achieve peace,” Pérez Herrera said before the meeting of the Congress.

The initiative seeks to establish a State Council that would be headed by the Secretary General of the Government and that groups together the public entities that have a direct impact on the formation of a culture of peace in society. These include the State Attorney General’s Office, the State Commission for Human Rights, the State Institute for Women, the Secretary of Public Security and the DIF System; as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society.

Also proposed is a Citizen Advisory Council for the Observance of the Culture of Peace, made up of citizens with experience in the matter, which will provide the organization with moral quality to issue opinions and recommendations regarding the actions to be carried out.

These will lead to the creation of the State Commission for the Promotion and Diffusion of the Culture of Peace, which will exercise the actions, plans, programs, projects and measures approved by the State Council and the Consultative Council, made up of representatives of both Councils.

Lula: “We will rebuild relations with all the countries of the world.”


The inauguration speech of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva reprinted by Progressive International (translation by Progressive International

My gratitude to you who faced political violence before, during, and after the electoral campaign, who occupied the social networks and took to the streets under sun and rain, even if it was only to win a single precious vote. Who had the courage to wear our shirt, and, at the same time, wave the Brazilian flag when a violent and anti-democratic minority tried to censor our colors and appropriate the green and yellow that belongs to all Brazilian people. To you, who came from all corners of this country, from near or far away, by plane, by bus, by car or in the back of a truck, by motorcycle, by bicycle, and even on foot, in a true caravan of hope for this celebration of democracy.

But I also want to address those who opted for other candidates. I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not only for those who voted for me. I will govern for all, looking to our bright common future and not through the rear view mirror of a past of division and intolerance. Nobody is interested in a country on a permanent war footing, or a family living in disharmony. It is time to reconnect with friends and family, bonds broken by hate speech and the dissemination of so many lies. Enough of hate, fake news, guns and bombs. Our people want peace to work, study, take care of their families, and be happy. The electoral dispute is over.

I repeat what I said in my speech after the victory on October 30th, about the need to unite the country. There are not two Brazils. We are a single country, a single people, a great nation. We are all Brazilians, and we share the same virtue. We never give up. Even if they pluck all our flowers, one by one, petal by petal, we know that it is always time to replant, and that spring will come, and spring has already arrived. Today joy takes hold of Brazil in arms with hope.

My dear friends, I recently reread the speech of my first inauguration as President in 2003, and what I read made it even more evident how far Brazil has gone backwards. On that first January 2003, here in this very place, my dear vice-president José Alencar and I made the commitment to recover the dignity and self-esteem of the Brazilian people. And we did. Of investing to improve the living conditions of those who need it most, and we did. Of caring for health and education, and we did. But the main commitment we took on in 2003 was to fight inequality and extreme poverty, and to guarantee to every person in this country the right to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day, and we fulfilled this commitment, we put an end to hunger and misery, and we strongly reduced inequality.

Unfortunately, today, 20 years later, we are returning to a past that we thought was buried. Much of what we did was undone in an irresponsible and criminal way. Inequality and extreme poverty are back on the rise. Hunger is back, and not by force of fate, not by the work of nature nor by divine will, hunger. The return of hunger is a crime, the most serious of all crimes committed against the Brazilian people. Hunger is the daughter of inequality, which is the mother of the great evils that delay the development of Brazil. Inequality belittles our continental-sized country by dividing it into unrecognizable parts. On one side a small portion of the population that has everything, on the other side a multitude that lacks everything and a middle class that has been growing poorer year by year due to the injustices of the government. Together we are strong, divided we will always be the country of the future that never arrives and that lives in permanent debt with its people. If we want to build our future today, if we want to live in a fully developed country for everyone, there can be no room for so much inequality. Brazil is great, but the real greatness of a country lies in the happiness of its people, and nobody is really happy in the midst of so much inequality.

My friends, when I say govern, I mean to take care. More than governing, I will take care of this country and the Brazilian people with great affection. In the last few years Brazil has gone back to being one of the most unequal countries in the world. It has been a long time since we have seen such abandonment and discouragement in the streets. Mothers digging through the garbage in search of food for their children. Entire families sleeping outdoors, facing the cold, the rain, and the fear. Children selling candy or begging when they should be in school, living the full childhood they have a right to. Unemployed men and women workers, exhibiting at the traffic lights cardboard signs with the phrase that embarrasses us all: “Please help me”. Queues at the door of butcher shops in search of bones to alleviate hunger, and, at the same time, waiting lines to buy imported cars and private jets. Such a social abyss is an obstacle to the construction of a truly fair and democratic society and a modern and prosperous economy.

That is why I and my vice-president Geraldo Alckmin assume today, before you and all the Brazilian people, the commitment to fight day and night against all forms of inequality in our country. Inequality of income, gender and race inequality, inequality in the labor market, in political representation, in State careers, inequality in access to health, education, and other public services. Inequality between the child who goes to the best private school and the child who shines shoes in the bus station with no school and no future, between the child who is happy with the toy he just got as a present and the child who cries of hunger on Christmas night. Inequality between those who throw food away and those who only eat leftovers. It is unacceptable that the richest 5% of people in this country have the same income share as the other 95%. That six Brazilian billionaires have a wealth equivalent to the assets of the 100 million poorest people in the country. That a worker earning a minimum monthly wage takes 19 years to receive the equivalent of what a super-rich person receives in a single month. And there is no point in rolling up the windows of a luxury car to avoid seeing our brothers and sisters who are crowded under the viaducts, lacking everything. The reality is there on every corner.

My friends, it is unacceptable that we continue to live with prejudice, discrimination, and racism. We are a people of many colors and all of us must have the same rights and opportunities. No one will be a second-class citizen, no one will have more or less support from the State, no one will be obliged to face more or less obstacles just because of the color of their skin. That is why we are recreating the Ministry of Racial Equality, to bury the tragic legacy of our slaveholding past. The indigenous peoples need to have their lands demarcated and free of threats from illegal and predatory economic activities, they need to have their culture preserved, their dignity respected, and sustainability guaranteed. They are not obstacles to development. They are guardians of our rivers and forests and a fundamental part of our greatness as a nation. This is why we are creating the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples to combat 500 years of inequality. We cannot continue to live with the hateful oppression imposed on women, subjected daily to violence in the streets and inside their own homes. It is unacceptable that they continue to receive lower salaries than men, when in the exercise of the same function they need to conquer more and more space in the dissuasive instances of this country, in politics, in the economy, in all strategic areas. Women must be what they want to be, they must be where they want to be. That is why we are bringing back the Ministry of Women. It was to fight inequality and its sequels that we won the election. And this will be the great mark of our government, from this fundamental fight a transformed country will emerge, a great and prosperous country, strong and fair, a country of all by all and for all, a generous and solidary country that will leave no one behind.

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(Click here for the article in Portuguese.)

Questions related to this article:
Latin America, has it taken the lead in the struggle for a culture of peace?

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My dear comrades, I reassume the commitment to take care of all Brazilians, especially those who need it most, to end hunger in this country once again, to take the poor out of the bone line and put them back in the Union’s budget. We have an immense legacy still vivid in the memory of each and every Brazilian, beneficiary or not of the public policies that made a revolution in this country. But we are not interested in living in the past. Therefore, far from any nostalgia, our legacy will always be the mirror of the future that we will build for this country. Under our governments, Brazil has reconciled record economic growth with the greatest social inclusion in history, and has become the sixth largest economy in the world, at the same time in which 36 million Brazilians have been lifted out of extreme poverty, and we have generated more than 20 million jobs with signed work cards and all rights guaranteed. We adjusted the minimum wage always above inflation. We broke records of investment in education, from kindergarten to university, to make Brazil also an exporter of intelligence and knowledge, and not only an exporter of commodities and raw materials. We more than doubled the number of students in higher education and opened the door to universities for the poor youth of this country. Young whites, blacks, and indigenous people for whom a university degree was an unattainable dream became doctors. We fought one of the great focuses of inequality, access to health, because the right to life cannot be held hostage to the amount of money one has in the bank. We created the Farmácia Popular (Popular Pharmacy), which provided medicines to those who needed them most, and more than that, which brought care to about 60 million Brazilians in the outskirts of the big cities and in the most remote parts of Brazil. We created Smiling Brazil to care for the oral health of all Brazilians. We have strengthened our Single Health System. And I want to take the opportunity to make a special thanks to the SUS professionals for the great work during the pandemic, bravely facing a virus, a lethal virus, and an irresponsible and inhumane government.

In our governments we invested in family agriculture and in small and medium farmers, responsible for 70% of the food that reaches our tables, and we did this without neglecting agribusiness, which obtained investment in record harvests year after year. We took concrete measures to combat climate change and reduced the deforestation of the Amazon by more than 80%. Brazil has consolidated itself as a world reference in the fight against inequality and hunger, and has become internationally respected for its active and haughty foreign policy. We were able to accomplish all of this while taking care of the country’s finances with total responsibility; we were never irresponsible with public money. We have made fiscal surplus every year, eliminated the foreign debt, accumulated reserves of 370 billion dollars, and reduced the foreign debt to almost half of what it was when we took office. In our governments there has never been and never will be any unnecessary spending. We have always invested and will invest again in our most precious asset, which is the Brazilian people.

Unfortunately, much of what we built in 13 years was destroyed in less than half of this time. First by the coup against President Dilma in 2016, and then by the four years of a government of national destruction whose legacy history will never forgive: 700,000 Brazilians killed by covid-19, 125 million suffering some degree of food insecurity from moderate to very severe, and 33 million going hungry. These are just a few numbers that are actually not just numbers, statistics, and indicators. They are people, men, women and children who are victims of a misgovernment that was finally defeated by the people on the historic October 30, 2022. The technical groups of the transition cabinet coordinated by my vice-president Alckmin, who for two months delved into the entrails of the previous government, have brought to light the real dimension of the tragedy.

What the Brazilian people have suffered in the last few years has been the slow and progressive construction of a true genocide. I want to quote, as an example, a small excerpt from the one hundred pages of this true chaos report produced by the transition cabinet. The report says: Brazil has broken feminicide records. Racial equality policies have suffered severe setbacks. Youth policy was dismantled and indigenous rights have never been so violated in the recent history of the country. The textbooks that will be used in the 2023 school year have not yet begun to be published. There is a shortage of medicine at the popular pharmacy, and no stock of vaccines to confront the new variants of covid-19. There is a lack of resources for the purchase of school meals. Universities run the risk of not finishing the school year. There are no resources for Civil Defense and the prevention of accidents and disasters. And who is paying the bill for this blackout is, once again, the Brazilian people.

My friends, these last few years we have lived through, without a doubt, one of the worst periods of our history, an era of shadows, uncertainties and a lot of suffering. But this nightmare came to an end through the sovereign vote in the most important election since the re-democratization of the country. An election that demonstrated the commitment of the Brazilian people to democracy and its institutions. This extraordinary victory for democracy forces us to look forward and forget our differences, which are much smaller than what unites us forever: the love for Brazil and the unshakeable faith in our people.

Now is the time to rekindle the flame of hope, solidarity, and love for our neighbor. Now is the time to take care of Brazil and the Brazilian people again, generate jobs, readjust the minimum wage above inflation, lower the price of food, create even more vacancies in universities, invest heavily in health, education, science and culture. Resume the infrastructure works of Minha Casa, Minha Vida, abandoned by the neglect of the government that is now gone. It is time to bring in investments and reindustrialize Brazil, fight climate change again and put an end once and for all to the devastation of our biomes, especially our beloved Amazon. We must break away from international isolation and resume relations with all the countries of the world. This is no time for sterile resentments. Now is the time for Brazil to look forward and smile again. Let us turn this page and write together a new and decisive chapter in our history.

Our common challenge is to create a fair, inclusive, sustainable and creative, democratic and sovereign country for all Brazilians. I have made a point of saying throughout the campaign: Brazil is resilient. And I say it again with all conviction, even in the face of the picture of destruction revealed by the transition cabinet: Brazil is resilient. It depends on us, all of us. And we will rebuild this country.

In my four years in office, we will work every day for Brazil to overcome the backwardness of more than 350 years of slavery, to recover the time and opportunities lost in these last years, to regain its prominent place in the world, and for each and every Brazilian to have the right to dream again and the opportunities to realize what they dream of. We need all together to rebuild and transform our beloved country. But we will only really rebuild and transform this country if we fight with all our strength against everything that makes it so unequal. It is urgent and necessary to form a broad front against inequality that involves society as a whole, workers, entrepreneurs, artists, intellectuals, governors, mayors, deputies, senators, unions, social movements, class associations, public servants, liberal professionals, religious leaders, ordinary citizens. After all, it is time to unite and rebuild our country. That is why I make this call to all Brazilians who want a more just, solidary, and democratic Brazil. Join us in a great collective effort against inequality. I want to end by asking each and every one of you that the joy of today be the raw material of the fight of tomorrow and of all the days to come, that the hope of today ferments the bread that is to be shared among all, and that we are always ready to react in peace and order to any attacks from extremists who want to sabotage and destroy our democracy. In the fight for the good of Brazil we will use the weapons that our adversaries fear the most, the truth that has overcome the lie, the hope that has overcome fear, and the love that has defeated hatred. Long live Brazil and long live the Brazilian people!