Category Archives: EDUCATION FOR PEACE

Mexico: XIX World Congress and XXIII National Mediation Congress 2023


An article from Noticias de Queretaro

The Nineteenth World Congress and the Twenty-Third National Mediation Congress 2023 closed with great success. It took place from November 6 to 10 in the Municipality of Querétaro with participants from more than 10 countries, and with activities, analysis, study and dissemination of mediation issues, as well as the culture of peace for the benefit of the people of Queretaro.

Under the motto “A Life for Peace and Concord”, 83 academic activities were carried out, including 31 presentations, 18 conferences, eight book presentations, 11 successful projects, eight dialectical analysis forums and philosophical dialogues, and 27 workshops.

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Questions for this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

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Specialists from different parts of Mexico and other countries including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Portugal, and Spain combined efforts to carry out the project for the implementation and dissemination of mediation and the culture of peace.

This international event sparked the interest of participants from 20 states in the Mexico, including Jalisco, Yucatán, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Baja California, Chiapas, Mexico City, State of Mexico, Sonora, Sinaloa, Nuevo León, Puebla, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Aguascalientes and Quintana Roo. They met at the Educational and Cultural Center of the State of Querétaro, “Manuel Gómez Morín”, the Arts Center of the State of Querétaro.

It is worth highlighting the great participation and interest in all activities, both by specialists and by attendees. Attendees included students and schools at the high school and professional level of Mexico and more than 1,300 congressmen during the five days of the event which closed with important conclusions that will be translated into actions and public policies that will promote the peace and harmony that citizens need.

(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Ogarit Younan : Gaza, Now! 8 points


To CPNN from Ogarit Younan, Founder of the Academic University for Non-Violence and Human Rights, Beirut – AUNOHR,;

Dear all,

Under the weight of suffering, and without introduction, I present you with 8 points upon which to reflect together. It is more than a plan of action, above the moment of urgency. It is more than an innovative strategy much needed in this historic conflict. This is a reflective text written in the first week of the war of October 2023.

1. Our humanity, our humanism, above all.

According to the words of Bertrand Russell: “Remember your humanity and forget the rest.”

It is about our morality, our ethics. Politics is ethical and efficient at once. As efficiency steers away from ethics, the more it falls into violence to justify itself.

It is about our conscience. The conscience, “the higher law” in the words of Henri David Thoreau, the pioneer of the concept of “civil disobedience”, is radically incompatible with violence. Therefore, it is the position of facing violence, all violence, that is the fundamental question of our humanity.

2. An immediate ceasefire. Urgent common goals.

An immediate ceasefire, including lifting the siege of Gaza, – and more than the introduction of aid -, at the same time, the return of the kidnapped hostages of Israel along with the remains of those killed, and the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Urgent objectives, in common, as “one”, before it’s too late. We must insist on both camps showing good intentions, not just to bring an end to this battle, but to be able to continue working on a just final solution.

Israel, the United States and their allies want to free the hostages, and, in principal, this exceeds all expectation. They will enter Gaza, as a father in search for his son, with the right of no other, set everything ablaze as such do the heroes of ruthless Hollywood movies, coming back with the hostages, and the world justifies this oppression while turning a blind eye.

Hamas, the Islamist Jihad and their allies say they want to save Gaza and that it is their duty to do so inasmuch as a Palestinian resistance, and to evacuate the Palestinian prisoners from the prisons of Israel, over and above all other consideration. Wisdom dictates to block Israel’s path in its objectives of destruction, to prevent the continuation of crushing civilians, arresting new prisoners and displacing the population of Gaza: Gaza, of which its objective has gone from breaking the siege to merely surviving.

Our role is to transform the goal of finding the kidnapped, and to free the prisoners, these human targets, that currently serve the purpose of justifying a war, into a cause to stop the war.

Insisting on a ceasefire, without any conditions, because peoples lives everywhere are more important than any conditions. Stop the evil. It is about the capacity to seize the moment.

The moment is not to lift the standard of violence… Basically, victory cannot be achieved over the piles of human bodies! Louis Lecoin, the non-violent French militant was in the habit of saying: “If it were proved to me that making war, my ideal had a chance of being realized, I would still say ‘No’ to war. For one does not create human society on mounds of corpses.”

3. Let’s not forget that the root cause is occupation.

The occupation of Palestine is the problem. We are at the beginning of the eighth decade of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to stir things worldwide, and which has no solution nor justice until now. Nelson Mandela said: “We all know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians…Palestine is the greatest moral issue of our time.”

The supporters of the Israel project, ever since it was offered the “gift” to become an entity, to be implanted “above” Palestine, its land and its people, with the “generosity” of supporting its expansion, stripped of its status of occupation, and further, this “State” has constantly been “cajoled” by the West and its allies, including numerous Arab countries, with a huge denial of justice. This entity was imposed by the wrong-doing of colonialism and their political and economic interests, and also by the west’s attempt to atone for its sin of persecuting the Jews creating a supposed solution leading to problems in every sense of the word. What a shameless and arrogant policy! While claiming to render justice to the Jews, they extended injustice to Palestinian, offering something which didn’t belong to them, this “gift” provided by the “plunder” of the Palestinians at their own cost, with displacement, murder, fragmentation, theft of basic human rights, humiliations, arrests, and biased decisions…up until Gaza today!

Therefore, the only solution is by going to the root of the problem.

The date of the conflict of the 7th of October, is not a military breech, a new group of prisoners or a hospital’s groans that shook the world, neither “Hamas” nor “Gallant” nor “Netanyahu”, neither the siege of Gaza…The occupation is the fundamental cause of distress.

Whereas the horror of today’s violence, has become clear to the point that violence breeds violence and pulls everyone under, and of which it imposes each time further decline to the solution and a fragmentation of the problem. Have we not seen that the solution is yet to be found, since 1948 and the perpetuation of conflict and its violence?! It is an existential and strategic question.

4. The war on and by civilians.

The scene is lost between the thirst for violence, exploitation of violence and aversion to violence. Unfortunately, with everything that has happened, the thirst for violence and its investments continue and increase till today.

(Click here for this article in French.)

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Question for this article:

Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?

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Thankfully, and maybe due to the horror of what happened, the aversion to violence and its attitude towards it have lost in vigor.

In the logic of war, civilians are used as tools. Humans are no longer humans, but mainly “arms” and targets that the adversary seizes, no matter their destruction, they become “Things”. In the non-violent French philosopher Simone Weil’s words: “Violence is that which makes a thing of whoever submits to it. Exercised to the extreme, it makes the human being a thing quite literally, that is, a dead body.”

There exist supporters of just cause all over the world, only left is to sustain the struggle of non-violence, or else we will be complicit in the strategy that renders civilians as Things. “Violence believes it destroys evil, but it is in itself an evil” according to the words of the French philosopher of Non-Violence Jean-Marie Muller.

5. The political result is the question.

The political result is the question and the goal. In the struggle for non-violence, “The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree”, like Gandhi used to say. While in violence and Machiavellian politics, all is permitted and cruelty is at its height.

The supporters of Israel affirm its right to self-defense, to strike and destroy Hamas as some continue to present them as the Islamic State (IS). They promote this as the political issue of the battle, despite similar and scandalous propaganda upon which the blood hasn’t dried yet (the invasion of Iraq, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, September 11th, ISIS, etc.)

The supporters of Hamas and their allies, as well as those of Hezbollah, affirm that they draw once again the lines of power between the main actors, the USA and Iran, with Iran’s blessing, and they have effectively brought the Palestinian question to the forefront in an unprecedented manner and so victoriously. The reality is that Gaza loses every day, more and more horrible losses that determine themselves the political issue at hand. It is true that the Palestinian question fills our screens, but at what price and whose gain?

As to Iran and the USA, we looked over the “flirting”, the parallel declarations and the shared tune, as well as the rhythm of exchanged strikes. “They are in an existential partnership, within a crossed fertilization of evil”, according to the words of non-violent Arab thinker, Walid Slaybi, in his book “Forces of Death, Forces of Life”.

We are distrustful of violent parties, and we are unsure of the true objectives of all the violent forces.

The political result to which we aspire measures in the restoration of rights, justice and peace for the oppressed people.

6. Two violent camps, based on religious ideology, currently lead the ring of combat.

Two camps of violence are leading the war of October 2023 from now on, and with them included are the two great camps of USA and Iran.

In this context, we don’t have only war and violence, but we are confronted with an additional dilemma, represented by the political nature of violent theocratic sources of those that are the leaders of the current arena from now on, at the light of the rise of extremist forces in Israel, the control of extremist Palestinian forces of resistance in Palestine. This is an obstacle in itself to any solution of justice and peace.

For our part, we reject violence coming from all parties, we reject terrorism of all parties, we reject the ideological violence in the name of religion or other doctrines, and we reject the perverse manipulation of peoples and their just cause by hegemonic countries, from western and non-western countries alike.

7. We cannot equate the violence of the oppressor to the violence of the oppressed. And we do not justify any violence whatsoever.

As Walid Slaybi says, who wrote and advocated a lot for a non-violent resistance in Palestine:

* “By using violence, the oppressed looks ‘equal’ to the oppressed.”

* “I do not think that violence yields a desired just goal, for a simple reason, it’s not because it cannot win over the bearer of the unjust scheme, but because it defeats the bearer of the just cause.

And you can say that the moment of the peak of the military victory over the adversary is the moment of the peak of the militant’s defeat.

The adversary is defeated militarily, the militant is defeated humanely; violence has won.”

* “The violence of the oppressor serves the cause of the oppressor. The violence of the oppressed serves the cause of the oppressor too.”


8. We are not doomed to unilateral violence. The responsibility of the non-violent.

Violence exists. Non-violence exists. We are not condemned to unilateral violence. There is hope.

All logic is lost if we describe each party as though they follow one absolute direction: “Everyone in Israel is made up of violent racists who reject peace, thrive on occupation and the elimination of the people of Palestine.” “Everyone in Palestine is made up of violent extremists, who reject peace, thrive on militarization and the elimination of the other party.”

Our prime duty is to gather non-violent forces, individuals and groups, in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Israel, throughout the world, to highlight their voices, and thus accelerate, in order for the image broadcast to be over and above violence. We know that the majority who await solutions other than through means of destruction, including those who are currently suffering the destruction, prefer a non-violent solution, and at least, disfavor a violent solution.

From now on, it is a crucial moment, we are on a hinge, and not pessimistic. Walid Slaybi used to say: “We are not in a world where violence has won, we are in a world where Non-Violence has not won enough yet.”

The Palestinian cause continues to sway, even to regress. “Occupied” Palestine which remains its name until now, is not just Palestine, but a name and nickname, awaiting its nickname to be eliminated and resolved. What the Palestinian people have the right to do, is to revolt against injustice. Of course, we want it to be non-violent. As Albert Camus said: “I rebel, therefore we exist. The rebellion is limited to refusing humiliation for the self without asking for it for the other.”

African Union: Leveraging Arts for Peace – Training on Silencing the Guns


An article from the African Union

As a follow-up to the December 2021 Seminar for African Artists on Silencing the Guns, the African Union (AU) Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), convened a five-day virtual training for another cohort of artists from 18 to 22 September 2023, under the theme: ‘Leveraging Arts for Peace’.  The training was grounded in the belief that Art helps prevent conflict in communities by raising awareness and inspiring tolerance around societal differences.

Held during the Africa Amnesty Month, the training, organised by the AU Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), through the Silencing the Guns (STG) Unit, brought together 25 African artists from all the regions of Africa, to not only raise their consciousness about promoting peaceful co-existence in communities, but also to sensitize them against the use of the art to incite violence, promote hate speech, hate crimes or other forms of conflict.

In his opening remarks at the start of the training, the AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns in Africa, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, underscored the need for artists to champion and advocate for peace with an enhanced understanding of efforts undertaken towards a cohesive society – through conflict prevention, resolution and reconciliation. “As artists, you have the power to not only bring people together, but also inspire a sense of community”, said Dr. Chambas.

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Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?

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

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On her part, Ms. Svenja Vollmer, on behalf of Mr. Evariste Karambizi, the Director of the Division for Peace at UNITAR, applauded artists for their unique ability to translate complex emotions, experiences and societal issues into tangible and relatable forms. Ms. Vollmer called upon the artists to use their creative energy to bolster the common goal of silencing the guns in Africa. “Through music, dance, visual arts, literature, theatre, and more, your guilds have historically challenged injustice, promoted dialogue, and kindled the flames of social change”, she stated.

During the five-day training, discussions centered around the role of artists in advancing peace advocacy through arts; principles for effective advocacy and outreach; AU’s work in advancing peace and security; and the existing approaches and frameworks to silencing the Guns in the continent, among others.  Furthermore, the training guided participants with the knowledge and skills to advance peace and security through artistic expression; heighten awareness and promote ownership of the AU’s Silencing the Guns initiative to campaign towards supporting country-level interventions to achieve a conflict free Africa and create favourable conditions for the continent’s socio-economic transformation.

The artists were also taken through the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa – the guiding document for the Silencing the Guns initiative, which highlights interventions that need to be taken in the political, economic, social, environmental and legal aspects; as well as an introduction to concepts of conflict and conflict analysis; and the role of artists in advancing peace, among others. In this regard, participants exchanged views and brainstormed on creative ideas that would heighten public awareness on Silencing the Guns and the negative impact of the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons on the continent.

In December 2021, the Silencing the Guns Unit organized a continental seminar on “Art, Culture and Heritage, as Levers to Silence the Guns in Africa”, in Accra, Ghana with the aim of sensitizing African Artists on the importance of promoting a culture of peace.

How to promote the culture of peace in the DRC?


An article from Radio Okapi

The Democratic Republic of Congo is still facing numerous challenges, particularly the risks of security instability and conflicts, during this electoral period. For experts, it is essential to promote the culture of peace and non-violence in the minds of men and women. It is in this context that Gospel artists decided to come together to promote peace through songs during the Festival called “100 voices for peace, Gospel Mass Choir for Peace” scheduled for next October in Goma (North-Kivu).

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(Click here for the French original of this article)


Question related to this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?

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Nearly 20,000 festival-goers are expected at this great celebration of peace. How are the preparations for this event going? How to promote the culture of peace through the Gospel?

Jody Nkashama talks about it with Ludovic Kalengay, coordinator of the Multisectoral Popularization and Awareness Program (PMVS), Marlon Mateta, Deputy Manager of the Festival “100 voices for peace » and with Mrs. Annifa Vahavi, President of Divine Gracia and member of the organizing team of the 100 Voices for Peace Festival

Towards an African renaissance through culture and history


An article from La Depeche d’Abidjan

Through oral tradition and knowledge of history, African culture can convey peace and creativity on the continent, beyond, and throughout the world.

In West African folklore, Anansi was a charming prankster with the appearance of a spider. He realized that human beings were sad, because they had no reason to hope or envisage a bright future. He then remembered that Nyame, the sky god, had magical things called stories. These stories could make humans happy, Anansi thought.

He visited Nyame and asked to buy his stories. However, the sky god told him that they were not for sale. “I won’t sell them for anything in the world, except for Onini the murderous python, Osebo the elusive leopard, Mmoatia the mischievous fairy and Mmoboro, the swarm of deadly hornets,” says Nyame. This mission was a feat, but not for Anansi, who managed to capture these four out-of-reach targets using his genius. When he delivered them to Nyame, the latter was not satisfied. However, having made a deal with Anansi, he had to honor his promise.

“Bring these stories back to earth and give them to humans,” Nyame said. They will be eternally grateful to you. Besides, they will name all the great tales “spider stories” in your honor. »

Thus, Anansi the joker became the god who knew all stories. The myth of Anansi illustrates the need for every society to create and share stories.

Netflix and UNESCO have joined forces to launch an innovative short film competition on the theme “African folk tales revisited” throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The winners of the competition will be trained and monitored by professionals in the field and will receive a production budget of $75,000 to produce short films which will be broadcast for the first time on Netflix in 2022, in the form of an Anthology of African folk tales. One of the main objectives of this competition is to discover new voices and give international visibility to young directors from sub-Saharan Africa.

From spider tales to African history

Stories such as those shared by Anansi have been at the heart of human life for thousands of years, a kind of cognitive game that stimulates the human mind, allowing us to understand natural and social phenomena, and to imagine different strategies for living in a complex world. It could be assumed that the more we collect and share these stories, the more we will be able to understand ourselves, others, the world around us, respective and common values and traditions. UNESCO’s work over the past decades to document, collect and write down these stories from around the world is not only a much-needed effort to protect and preserve precious heritage, but also an effort to develop knowledge of the world as well as our collective capacity to understand ourselves.

Spider tales are widespread in West Africa,. The Ghanaian tales of Anansi are among the best known, in the Akan language the name Anansi comes from the word “spider”.

Today, Anansi symbolizes the wisdom, creativity and complexity of the entire African continent. Oral traditions — messages, songs, fables and proverbs — are passed from one generation to the next without writing, allowing people to make sense of the world around them and teaching them essential aspects of their culture.

Like the tales of Anansi, told since the dawn of time, the history of the African continent has been passed down orally from generation to generation. Although historical writings have existed in West Africa for many centuries, the majority of people on the continent were unable to read them. Oral tradition allowed Africans to share their common history, whether they came from the north or the south of the continent, however Europeans considered that the latter had no history, because they were incapable of reading and understanding it. to understand. Thus, the history of Africa that was shared with the rest of the world began with the story of colonialism and that of Europeans in Africa.

Decolonizing African history

In the early 1960s, as Africa entered a phase of rapid decolonization, intellectuals and leaders of newly independent countries worked to liberate their history as well as that of their nation. In order to put an end to the general ignorance of African history, UNESCO launched the “General History of Africa” in 1964. The Organization invited African intellectuals to write, for the very first time, the history of their continent using sources often ignored by Western historians, such as folklore, traditions and culture, to provide an African perspective, free of the racial biases emanating from the slave trade and European intervention.

This ambitious project, intended to renew scientific approaches to the history of Africa, had immense repercussions on world history, and offered a new global perspective on the history of all continents. It placed Africa at the heart of the history of humanity. For the first time, we attempted to go beyond the borders of national stories in order to construct a true “general history”, highlighting the common points between peoples and cultures, revealing trends and exchanges over the centuries beyond borders. national, and highlighting identities like never before.

The African continent has the longest history in the world: it is the cradle of humanity. In the 19th century, Charles Darwin was the first to suggest that the common ancestor of human beings was most likely African, an idea that alarmed many at the time. “The fact that we could have evolved in Africa was anathema to many, who were unable to believe that the pure white, blue-eyed, flaxen-haired northern populations could have originated on the ‘dark continent’. ”. However, all the major events linked to our history date back to Africa,” explains the Kenyan paleontologist, Richard Leakey, one of the first contributors to the General History of Africa project. “We are an African animal, an African species that has colonized and recolonized the world at different times and in different ways. Today, no human being can say that Africa is not their motherland.”

The General History of Africa

The General History of Africa (HGA) is a pioneering, unprecedented project, aiming to cover the history of the entire African continent, from the beginning of humanity to the contemporary challenges faced by Africans and their diasporas around the world. A story which brings to light the pre-colonial period and intertwines the destiny of Africa with that of humanity by highlighting its link with other continents and the contribution of African cultures to the general progress of humanity. In recent years, UNESCO has begun the preparation and editing of three new volumes of the HGA (volumes IX to XI).

Starting from the example of Africa, UNESCO has led other vast historical projects on a regional scale, such as the General History of Latin America and the Caribbean, the History of Civilizations of Central Asia, the different aspects of Islamic culture as well as the History of humanity. These volumes and their thousands of pages, written well before the birth of online platforms such as Wikipedia, represent one of the most ambitious scientific endeavors aimed at building a common understanding of the human history we share. The General History of Africa has since changed the global perspective on how history is written and constitutes a historiographical shift in scale that modern “world history” and contemporary “connected histories” continue to explore .

The General History of Africa in video

The General History of Africa (HGA) launched by UNESCO in 1964 has entered a new phase with a nine-part documentary series, produced by BBC journalist and producer Zeinab Badawi. The latter traveled to the four corners of Africa, interviewing historians, archaeologists and African citizens whose testimonies and stories paint a vivid picture of their continent’s past and its influence on their lives today.

Teaching the General History of Africa

In March 2009, UNESCO launched “Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa” to respond to requests made by African countries concerning the adaptation of the content of the volumes of the General History of Africa. Africa to school education. To do this, UNESCO has developed educational content to teach to children in African primary and secondary schools in order to improve the knowledge of African pupils and students on the way in which African societies have evolved through time and space. and on the impact of these changes on the present and the future.

Celebrating a common culture: from north to south, from west to east

There is an expression common to many Southern African languages: “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”, which literally means “a person is a person through other people”.

In African culture, the “self” is not separate from the world, on the contrary, it is one with the natural and social environment. Although there are different ethnicities and nationalities — each with their own language, gastronomy and artistic expressions — all Africans share a common culture. This African wisdom echoes John Donne’s famous quote “no man is an island”, which reminds us that human beings do poorly when they are isolated from others and need to be part of a community to thrive.

The end of colonization at the beginning of the 1960s was no guarantee of lasting peace on the continent.

On the contrary, violent political events, rooted in ethnic conflicts, have hit sub-Saharan Africa since independence, causing millions of deaths and slowing economic development.

To ensure peace on the continent, regional communities understood that they needed to strengthen their ties and interact with each other, celebrating their common culture.

Let us draw together from our values, our traditions, our culture in order to find the path to prosperity and peace. Denis Mukwege, Congolese gynecologist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018

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

Question related to this article:
Can popular art help us in the quest for truth and justice?

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Building peace in Africa

Every two years, Luanda, the Angolan capital, transforms into a global center for peace in Africa, as the city hosts the “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace”, also known as the Luanda Biennale. More than 60 countries are represented, attracting representatives of governments, international organizations, NGOs and artists. They share ideas, enter into new partnerships and take part in cultural events, with one common goal: to strengthen the culture of peace on the continent.

The Biennale is the result of the joint efforts of the Angolan government, the African Union and UNESCO. It is organized to overcome the various obstacles to growth and prosperity in Africa.

It also constitutes a platform of choice for taking stock of and encouraging some of UNESCO’s most important initiatives in favor of education, science, press freedom and equality. genres across the continent. According to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), at least half of young people aged 15 to 17 in sub-Saharan Africa were out of school before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation is not only got worse. This is the highest proportion of any region in the world. More than half of those who should now be honing the skills they need for the job market or to access higher education are not even in school. As an example of concrete action, the UNESCO Global Education Coalition provided free internet access to Senegal and other African countries to facilitate immediate distance learning for a half-million learners, with the goal being to enroll an additional 3.5 million in the program.

The Luanda Biennale Partners Forum focuses on how to build innovative partnerships for inclusive democracy and peace across African countries. It brings together international organizations, the private financial sector, foundations and media as well as civil society, artists and cultural entrepreneurs.

This forum of ideas provides a platform for dialogue on the future of Africa, and focuses on solutions to prevent and resolve conflicts using culture, education and the free press. It addresses the protection of displaced people and migrants, the contribution of the African diaspora and the concerted management of the continent’s natural resources.

The women’s forum focuses on ways to end all forms of violence against women and the role of women’s networks in achieving peace in Africa. “I think it is important for us as a continent to come together and have a discussion about the paths we want to take and how we are going to get there,” said Xoliswa Phenya, Deputy Director of the development of crafts with the South African Department of Arts and Culture. Our leaders spoke of the African renaissance. Perhaps it is time for younger generations to step in to make this dream a reality. »

When African history helps us understand today’s societies

The Anansi spider has become the symbol of African finesse and wisdom in expression and its stories have survived through oral tradition. They have also traveled all over the world. This same oral tradition spread Anansi tales to the rest of the world, particularly to the Caribbean, through populations enslaved during the colonization of Africa.

For enslaved Africans and their descendants, Anansi became a symbol of resilience and survival. Tales recounting the spider’s ingenuity and trickery helped slaves survive the ordeal of captivity, perpetuate the link with their African past and assert their identity.

Today, nearly 200 million people across the American continent consider themselves of African origin. Several million more live in other parts of the world, outside the African continent. Understanding these historical and cultural connections is a prerequisite for meeting the contemporary challenges of social cohesion and the many forms of cultural belonging in modern multicultural societies. It is also an opportunity for all countries whose populations are made up of millions of citizens of African descent to encourage international dialogue and build links with other societies around the world. Citizens of African origin often represent some of the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups, with limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security. Understanding the past is perhaps one of the conditions for breaking the vicious circle and the legacy of racism, discrimination and exclusion.

During the transatlantic slave trade, some four million slaves were brought to American shores in Salvador de Bahia, in what is now Brazil, to work on sugar plantations. Some slaves managed to escape and settle on free land. Among them, the ancestors of Sandra de Santos, who created the agricultural community, Quilombo do Dandá, 250 years ago. Yet Sandra had to fight to preserve the land her family had lived on for generations.

“Tractors came to destroy our crops. There were conflicts. Overnight all our plantations were destroyed,” she says. After months of legal battle, she was allowed to stay on her land.

To help descendants of African slaves and people of African descent, UNESCO supported the International Decade for People of African Descent. Launched in January 2015, it will continue until December 2024. This decade aims to celebrate the importance and contributions of populations of African origin around the world, to advance policies of inclusion and social justice , to eradicate racism and intolerance, promote human rights and create more prosperous communities in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

African culture and art around the world

Aged 19 and originally from the Dominican Republic, Eveline Murmann is one of the young Afro-descendant activists who fight every day for recognition of their roots and an end to discrimination, trivialized in daily exchanges: “straight hair is more formal” and “pale skin is prettier”. Others use artistic expressions such as songs, rap, poetry and dance to tell their stories, as their ancestors did with the tales of Anansi.

“This is the starting point for ending the structure of racism that permeates our society. Being Afro-descendant implies accepting our origins, loving our culture and taking part in our history,” she says. It means being proud of this beautiful skin and this hair so full of freedom. It is recognizing our value and highlighting our contribution to the development of societies.

See us ! Hear us ! Count us in! » [Regardez-nous ! Entendez-nous ! Incluez-nous !]:

Voices from the Decade for People of African Descent

Video celebration of the first part of the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2014-2025): musical performances, mini-documentary produced in Latin America, conversations with experts and inspiring voices of young people of African descent African people from all over the world sharing their testimonies, their hopes and their dreams through dance, poetry, singing, rap, slam and other creative expressions.

Indeed, the voices of the African diaspora and its young representatives have become loud enough to be heard around the world. Like that of Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, a 31-year-old Senegalese author, who has won numerous literary prizes in recent years for works on contemporary themes such as racism, discrimination and Africa’s relations with Europe. Thanks to his latest novel, The Most Secret Memory of Men, he became the first author from sub-Saharan Africa to receive the most prestigious French literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, and one of the most young winners of all time.

Just like African history, African literature has never stopped living. The growing recognition of its authors is an important first step towards redefining Africa’s relationship with the world. UNESCO forms of recognition such as International Jazz Day or the inscription of the Congolese rumba as an element of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity are part of the numerous initiatives recently taken to highlight and raise awareness of the importance of artists and creators of African origin. By combining the musical tradition of their ancestors with arrangements and improvisations, artists of African descent created new musical codes, which led to the birth of blues and jazz on the banks of the Mississippi Delta in New Orleans. Congolese rumba singers and dancers have also been at the forefront of all struggles and aspirations for Congolese independence.

Focusing on Africa means improving our world. Recognizing and sharing the many ramifications of African history helps us understand today’s societies and live together. This is the driving force behind UNESCO’s commitment to Priority Africa, and the reason to believe that African culture is an accelerator of mutual understanding, creativity and innovation, allowing us to harness the field of possibilities. This is how UNESCO delivers on Anansi’s promise and writes the next chapter in the spider’s story.

UNESCO and its development partners are closely monitoring 54 African countries, using a stronger and more focused strategy. The African renaissance is underway: the adoption of Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development prepare the ground for action by the African Economic Community.

The African heritage

UNESCO firmly believes that sustainable peace and development are intrinsically linked to the capacities and skills of individuals as well as their dignity and rights. It is about taking advantage of this momentum by strengthening the assets of Africa, whose heritage represents a prodigious source of creativity. The richness of the continent’s heritage encourages us to safeguard it for future generations. Although Africa is under-represented on the World Heritage List with only 12% of the sites registered throughout the world, almost half of these sites are on the list of world heritage in danger.

Agenda 2063: the Africa we want

Agenda 2063 is the blueprint and blueprint for Africa aimed at transforming Africa into the global power of the future. It is the strategic framework of the continent which aims to achieve its objective of inclusive and sustainable development. It is a concrete manifestation of the Pan-African desire for union, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued within the framework of Pan-Africanism and African renaissance.

The African Cinematic Heritage Project (AFHP)

AFHP is a long-term project carried out in partnership with the Film Foundation, chaired by Martin Scorsese, and the Pan-African Federation of Cinematographers (FEPACI) to contribute to the localization, restoration and preservation of films made on the African continent. It will identify 50 films of historical, artistic and cultural significance and will subsequently undertake the restoration process. UNESCO plans to include these films in the “Memory of the World” register.

New book: Nonviolent Journalism, a humanist approach to communication


An announcement from Pressenza

This book aims to reflect the first twelve years of collective effort of a non-profit organisation run by volunteers from the fields of journalism and communication: Pressenza, an international press agency with a nonviolent approach. It is on the basis of this approach and the process of developing the agency that we are able to present these pages to you.

Twelve years of successes and failures, of experiments, alliances, and learning through dialogue with and the know-how of communicators, activists, and friends from academia who have provided us with the impetus to put down on paper the foundations and principles, the tools and suggestions that could shape a nonviolent approach to communication and journalism at the service of those who may find it useful. The team that worked on this production has been with the agency since its inception. We have lived and breathed this project, and that undoubtedly brings with it advantages and disadvantages to this text, which is why it is good for the reader to be aware of this fact.

As you will see, this production is halfway between a book and a manual. The reason is simple: we wanted to set out the elements that underpin the approach and also provide some tips that have helped us to put it into practice and to identify it in other allied media. Therefore, you will find examples taken not only from Pressenza but also from other media. We are not and do not aspire to be the “owners” of the content: we have learned from many people and in many environments. Our task is to integrate these learnings in the best possible way.

Who were we thinking of when we wrote these pages? Most especially in educational establishments where the new generations of communicators and journalists are being qualified. We would like this book to be useful in university lecture theatres, both for teachers and students. But we are also thinking of professionals in the field and activists in social collectives, movements and organisations whose agendas – also characterised by nonviolence – may find tools for dissemination in this approach.

This is the first edition. We reserve the right to improve it and, hopefully, in a little while, publish a second and third edition, etc. It is, therefore, a living publication.

Click here to purchase the English edition

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(Click here for the book in Spanish or click here for the book in French)

Questions related to this article:

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

Journalism in Latin America: Is it turning towards a culture of peace?

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About the authors

Pía Figueroa Edwards (Chile)

Chilean, has a degree in Art History and is an expert in ecology. From 2008 to date, she has been co-director of Pressenza, international press agency. She writes regularly, is an executive producer of television documentaries and has produced several research monographs. She has published three books, which form part of the current of thought known as Universalist Humanism.

Nelsy Lizarazo Castro (Ecuador/Colombia)

of Colombian and Ecuadorian nationality, has a postgraduate degree in Political Science and International Relations and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Literature. As a communicator and educator, she worked for twelve years, over two different periods, in ALER, the Latin American Association of Popular Education and Communication. She is a university lecturer and founder of Pressenza, as well as editor in the Ecuadorian bureau and, for the last five years, has been a co-producer of the radio programme Cuatro Elementos [Four Elements], which focuses on the analysis of international events.

Juana Pérez Montero (Spain)

has a degree in journalism from the Faculty of Information Sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid. She has worked in the written press and radio. She has developed her journalistic work collaborating with different groups, social movements and spiritual expressions. Her commitment to collective creation has led her to participate in the production of documentaries, books and monographs, as well as in the construction of networks of activists who advocate for an unconditional universal basic income, nuclear disarmament, dialogue and reconciliation between individuals and peoples.

Tony Robinson (United Kingdom)

As an activist in World without Wars and Violence, he took part in the first World March for Peace and Nonviolence which campaigned for the elimination of nuclear arsenals and all forms of violence. Since then, Tony has been first a writer, then an editor and finally a co-director for Pressenza, International Press Agency. In 2019, he produced the award-winning documentary film, The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons, with director Álvaro Orús.

Javier Tolcachier (Argentina)

is a researcher at the World Centre for Humanist Studies. He is a columnist and member of the founding team of Pressenza, International Press Agency. His works include the books Memories of the Future, The Fall of the Dragon and the Eagle, Humanising History and Trends, as well as papers, articles, studies and monographs that attempt to apply a humanist look to diverse fields of human activity. He has been involved in the Humanist Movement for four decades and lives in Córdoba, Argentina, his hometown.

About the book

At the time of writing, the book has been published in 3 different Spanish language editions in Chile, Ecuador and Colombia  and also in Italian.

Brazil Federal District: Management of Culture of Peace and Mediation completes one year this Wednesday


An article from Jornal de Uberaba

This Wednesday, the Office of Culture of Peace and Mediation of the Public Defender’s Office of the Federal District (DPDF) completes one year. It was a period of positive results in conflict resolution, in order to avoid new lawsuits and encourage dialogue between the parties. In all, 3,185 consultations were carried out, with 75% of conflicts resolved through agreements.

In addition, several other initiatives were adopted to accelerate mediation and conciliation during the period. Partnerships were established with regional administrations, public schools and law universities in the Federal District, which carried out mediations and conciliations, training with more than 200 civil servants with postgraduate degrees and distance learning courses, management and alignment workshops, training and the offer of postgraduate scholarships. graduation with the counterpart of the beneficiaries contributing to the growth of the culture of peace and mediation of the Public Defender’s Office of the DF.

The three most recurrent demands in management throughout this first year were alimony, consensual divorce and divorce.

The implementation of the results management tool with the systematic spreadsheet of data was also essential for improving management work and decision-making.

In commemoration of the management’s anniversary, the DPDF will create a specific sub-secretariat to concentrate mediation actions within the scope of the institution. It will be one more way to encourage the practice in the assistance provided by the Public Defender’s Office, as a way to avoid judicialization and speed up the cases. Currently, the Culture of Peace and Mediation Management is linked to the DPDF School of Legal Assistance

Also in honor of the date, the DPDF will promote, on August 18, a lecture with the judge of the Court of Justice of Bahia (TJBA) André Gomma, one of the creators of the self-composition methods of conflict resolution in Brazil and a national reference in the subject. The class will be part of the continuing education course on Family Law, Culture of Peace and Mediation, and Childhood and Youth, promoted by Easjur.

The management’s proposal is to promote appropriate methods for conflict resolution, emphasizing mediation and conciliation, in order to implement multi-door justice, provided for in the Civil Procedure Code of 2015. With the objectives of humanizing conflicts, seeking peace, promoting education in rights and the speed of the process, the solution rate of the first 2,200 demands received was 90%, between September 2022 and March 2023.

In commemoration of the Management’s anniversary, the DPDF will create a specific subsecretariat to concentrate mediation actions within the scope of the institution.

The general public defender, Celestino Chupel, recognizes the transformative role of management in the traditionally established scenario of excessive judicialization. “It is necessary to break with paradigms and update the techniques used in conflict resolution. Mediation allows for faster and more uncomplicated dispute resolution, in addition to facilitating effective communication between the parties”, he analyzed.

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese)

Discussion question

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

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For the public defender and head of the Culture of Peace and Mediation Management, Lídia Nunes, the work carried out in mediation is very important to avoid judicialization and possible overload of the Judiciary. “By means of self-composition techniques, we manage to make people aware and provide information so that they can build the solution to their conflicts themselves. It is a faster and more effective way of resolving disputes”, she explained.

Innovative project

The Legal Assistance Nucleus (NAJ) Deusa Maria de Carvalho, located in the Ceilândia Forum, innovated in the execution of the mediation project in ongoing processes. There were 203 hearings held in eight days throughout the month of July, with a success rate of 95%.

The success is due to the offer of 12 full postgraduate scholarships in Law at the Brazilian Institute of Teaching, Development and Research (IDP) to defenders and servants of the DPDF, who must collaborate with a minimum of 40 hours in mediation, conciliation hearings or attempted settlement in the administrative region. The purpose of the initiative is to increase the offer of hearings on peaceful methods of conflict resolution for residents of Ceilândia, the most populous region of the Federal District.

Management’s proposal is to promote appropriate methods for conflict resolution, emphasizing mediation and conciliation, in order to implement multi-door justice, provided for in the 2015 Code of Civil Procedure.

School of Legal Assistance

In the last year, Easjur has actively participated in the institutional evolution of the Culture of Peace and Mediation within the Public Defender’s Office of the Federal District. With the creation of management, the educational body conceived the workflows with the DPDF nuclei and bodies that make up the local public administration, as well as produced guidance materials that gave essence and direction to the work.

Established alignment with the Court of Justice of the Federal District and Territories (TJDFT) to ensure greater reach in service, in addition to partnerships with higher education institutions, enabling the entry of professors and hundreds of students in the institution to collaborate with the provision of services in mediation to the underprivileged population.

On the other hand, with a view to ensuring training and technical improvement, in line with private institutions, hundreds of postgraduate scholarships and training courses were offered to DPDF defenders and servants.

Dejudicialization of claims

One of the purposes of mediation and conciliation is the resolution of conflicts through dialogue, thus avoiding the judicialization of demands and the overload of the Judiciary.

One of the people who approached the Culture of Peace and Mediation Management during this period was Regiane Braseiro, 32 years old. She is the mother of five children and contacted the DF Public Defender’s Office to carry out a DNA test on her youngest son, who is eight months old. “I need proof of paternity for my youngest child to include the father’s name on the birth certificate and apply for child support,” she explained.

Conciliar Space

In April, the DPDF, the TJDFT and the Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories (MPDFT) inaugurated the Conciliar Space. The new environment offers a multidisciplinary service, with the aim of identifying the feasibility of resolving conflicts without filing a lawsuit, resolving issues through mediation or conciliation in loco and free of charge.

UK: Peace Education Network offers free lessons on Oppenheimer’s legacy as new film released


An article from Quakers in Britain

To mark the release of the new Oppenheimer film, Quakers in Britain and the Peace Education Network (PEN*) have released lessons examining the legacy of early atomic scientists.

The two lessons will support secondary school teachers, most of who believe students should learn the humanitarian consequences of using nuclear weapons according to a recent survey.

Video: Was Oppenheimer Right?

The film follows the rise and fall of J. Robert Oppenheimer who organized the building and testing of the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos in July 1945.

Shortly after, nuclear weapons were used by the USA to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing around 200,000.

Many survivors faced leukemia, or other terrible side effects from the radiation, and the world was left battling the proliferation of weapons which could destroy all life.

More than 90 per cent of teachers do not agree that nuclear disarmament education is too political to be taught, the survey from the Nuclear Education Trust found.

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Question related to this article:
What is the best way to teach peace to children?

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The lessons from Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) combine science and citizenship and ask secondary school students what atomic scientists in the first half of the 20th century wanted to happen.

As the Doomsday Clock sits at 90 seconds to midnight, or “a time of unprecedented danger”, students are asked to evaluate the choices these scientists made.

The free lessons are part of Teach Peace Secondary, a pack compiled and designed by Quakers in Britain on behalf of PEN. Fifty-plus lessons will be released in full in the autumn.

Linked to English, Welsh and Scottish curricula, the Atomic Scientists lesson explores the knowledge, skills and values of peacebuilding.

Through the lives of Oppenheimer and his contemporaries, the first lesson examines the great strides they were making, from how atoms were structured to whether the atom could be split.

Learners can then examine the legacy of the Manhattan Project and the arms race which followed with SGR’s Nuclear Weapons, a beginner’s guide to the threats.

They will look at what the use of a nuclear weapon would mean and the issues it raises for scientists and society in the 21st century.

SGR promotes ethical science, design, and technology, and PEN, of which it’s a member, brings together people and organizations committed to building a culture of peace and nonviolence.

Teachers will be able to continue the learning journey, using resources from CND Peace Education, War Child, Quakers and others.

Find the two lessons here.

* For a list of the 40 member organizations of PEN, the Peace Education Network, click here.

Experts explore effective approaches for sustainability in peace, education (Rwanda)


An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education

Prominent academics, researchers, educators, policymakers, and civil society representatives convened in a groundbreaking international peace education conference to discuss and reflect on the most effective approaches to address conflicts, promote human well-being, and achieve sustainable peace.

The conference, which was organized by the University of Rwanda, Kent State University, and Aegis Trust run from July 11 to July 13 and significantly contributed to the global understanding of peace education as a transformative process.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Peace education was recognized as a means to impart the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values necessary for behavioral change, enabling individuals to prevent conflict and violence at all levels.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda, Didas Muganga Kayihura, emphasized that the conference facilitated the exchange of experiences, practices, and strategies to enhance peace and values education. The outcomes of this gathering would assist decision-makers in making more informed actions and decisions.

“No matter how great of a scientist or researcher one may be, without peace or a commitment to peace, everything is lost,” he noted.

The conference also provided invaluable insights into Rwanda’s unique challenges regarding peace education, including its experience with the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the integration of peace education into the curriculum, post-genocide reconciliation efforts, and societal healing approaches.

Kayihura emphasized that peace education is indispensable at all levels, encompassing schools, churches, communities, families, and institutions. It should cater to both illiterate and literate individuals of all ages, from adults to youth and children. The shared experiences and knowledge among researchers at the conference aimed to identify gaps in peace education and pave the way for sustainable peace in societies plagued by war and conflict.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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Key elements such as tolerance, diversity, freedom, equity, gender, and social cohesion were highlighted as crucial for building peaceful societies and achieving sustainable peace. The Vice Chancellor stressed that peace education is essential in fostering a culture of peace.

He also recognized the pivotal role played by the University of Rwanda’s Centre for Conflict Management (CCM), the Rwanda Peace Academy, and the National Civic Education Program in peace education. These institutions serve as platforms for sharing experiences and knowledge with other countries.

Mandy Munro-Stasiuk, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University, highlighted the significance of holding the peace education conference in Rwanda. The government’s commitment to integrating peace education into the national curriculum and communities across the country made Rwanda an ideal location for such an event.

The conference was a result of the growing collaboration between Kent State University and the University of Rwanda. Both institutions are drawing on their respective histories to forge a path toward global peace. Kent State’s Board of Trustees approved the formation of a non-profit corporation to be based at the University of Rwanda in Kigali. This corporation will serve as Kent State’s operational hub for recruitment throughout Africa, deepening the relationship between the two universities.

“We are collaborating to enhance educational capacity and learn about effective peace education tools,” Munro-Stasiuk stated.

James Smith, the Founder and Deputy Chair of the Aegis Trust Board of Trustees, emphasized the importance of strengthening peace education, particularly in light of ongoing denial of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Smith, also a co-founder of the UK’s National Holocaust Centre and Museum, played a pivotal role in establishing the Kigali Genocide Memorial in collaboration with genocide survivors and the Kigali city council.

“Peace education is not merely about learning about peace; it is about actively making peace,” he emphasized.

Freddy Mutanguha, CEO of the Aegis Trust, a key organizer of the conference, stressed the need to enhance peace education to prevent conflicts that could lead to genocide. By integrating peace education into various curricula, students, teachers, and graduates would possess the capability to teach peace education worldwide, fostering sustainable peace for future generations. Mutanguha emphasized the importance of sharing experiences and lessons from different countries to improve peace education further.

Pacifique Niyonzima, a PhD student and researcher who participated in the conference, expressed enthusiasm about collaborating with students and researchers from other countries. Their goal is to inform policy makers about necessary improvements in peace education to achieve sustainable peace.

Niyonzima emphasized the importance of conducting research not only on Rwanda’s history but also in other conflict-affected nations. He highlighted the partnership with students from Kent State University to facilitate these research endeavors.

Promotion of the Culture of Peace in Africa – A Pan-African School of Peace in Yamoussoukro


An article by Harry Diallo in L’Intellgent d’Abidjan

The Pan-African School of Peace (EPAP) will soon open its doors in Yamousoukro.

The course documents and training content, the various certificates, certificates and diplomas that this school will be able to issue were presented during a workshop on Monday, July 10, 2023 at the Foundation Felix Houphouët-Boigny of Yamoussoukro. The workshop involved Professor Abou Fofana, Director of Higher Education, and his teams of university experts in the sciences of peace and in Human Rights and Citizenship Education, as well as to heads of decentralized services, community and religious leaders and students

Thus, under the aegis of the African Union and Unesco in a few months, the high-level pan-African center for training and research for the culture of peace will open its doors in the Ivorian political capital within the Foundation Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

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(click here for the French original of this article)

Question for this article:

The Houghouët-Boigny Foundation of Yamoussoukro: what is its contribution to the culture of peace?

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This school for peace, said Abou Fofana, will have the mission of equipping professionals, leaders, political and economic decision-makers, media men, religious leaders, traditional leaders, youth organizations and women, civil society leaders with high-level knowledge and skills in matters of peace and human rights as well as the mental dispositions and attitudes necessary to prevent violence and guarantee peace and sustainable development in the world in general and in Africa in particular. This will be done through scientific, cultural and educational activities.

To do this, the EPAP will offer qualifying and diplomat training in the form of workshops, seminars, and introductory and advanced courses. This will include training modules for obtaining attestations (10) and certificates (9) on peace and two diplomas, in particular the license and the master’s degree in science of peace and in Education in the Right of Man and Citizenship (EDHC).

The satisfaction of the FHB Foundation and Unesco

With regard to the training courses which lead to attestations and certificates, they are open to all actors of civil society, institutions wishing to learn about the culture of peace. As for those sanctioned by a university degree (bachelor, master or even doctorate) in science of peace and Education in Human Rights and Citizenship (EDHC), they are open to people who have obtained a Bac + 2 or equivalent to do a license in Edhc and for the master in Edhc, The license is required, all sectors combined.

Representing, on the occasion, Professor Jean-Noël Loucou, Secretary General of the FHB Foundation for Peace Research, Kouakou Mathias reiterated his institution’s commitment to work for the full success of this school of peace.

Bamba Seydou, on behalf of the Ivorian National Commission for Unesco, welcomed this initiative which is in line with the ideals of Unesco, which are the search for and establishment of peace through international cooperation in education, science and culture. He thanked the team of experts for the work they have done.