Category Archives: EDUCATION FOR PEACE

Africa Well-represented in Catholic Non-Violence Initiative on “just peace” in Rome


An article from ACI Africa

Africa was well-represented at a recent Rome conference that explored the concept of the gospel of nonviolence and “just peace”, interrogating Catholic “just war” teaching in the present day as an example of Vatican II’s call to “scrutinize the signs of the times” referenced in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, 4.

Credit: Martin Pilgram/Pax Christi International

Members of the Clergy, women, and men Religious, and Laity from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda were among the participants in the three-day conference that concluded on December 7.

Organized by Pax Christi International under the theme, “Pope Francis and the Fullness of Pacem in Terris”, the conference that brought together some 70 activists, peacebuilders, theologians, academics, war victims and survivors, Clergy, Consecrated, and Laity was a follow up to previous meetings in 2016 and 2019.

In a reflection shared with ACI Africa following the conference in Rome, John Ashworth who is part of the Catholic nonviolence Initiative says that for decades, the Catholic Church has sought to find out the possibility of having a “just war”, amid growth in scale and destructive power of modern weaponry.

“Beginning with Pope St John XXIII, through Paul VI, St John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Francis, there has been a trajectory of recent Papal teachings questioning whether there can ever truly be a ‘just war’ given the scale and destructive power of modern weaponry, and returning us to the nonviolent teaching of Jesus who taught us to love not only our neighbor but also our enemy, and not to return a violent slap on the cheek with a similar slap but to offer the other cheek,” Mr. Ashworth says.

He adds, “On the one occasion in the gospels when we might have thought that violence could be ‘justified’ to prevent the unjust arrest of Jesus, Our Savior’s command to St Peter was, ‘Put away your sword!’”

“The early Church took this seriously, and Christians refused to fight for the Roman Empire even if it led to them being imprisoned, tortured, and martyred. It has been said that as Christians we should be prepared to die for our beliefs, but not to kill for them!” Mr. Ashworth says in his reflection shared with ACI Africa December 10.

The retired Catholic missionary who has spent forty years working with the Church in Sudan and South Sudan refers to the invitation of Pope Francis who has challenged the people of God to rethink the concept of a “just war”.

The Holy Father says, “A war may be just; there is the right to defend oneself. But we need to rethink the way that the concept is used nowadays… Every war leaves our world worse than it was before.”

According to the Holy Father, war is “a failure of politics and humanity, a shameful capitulation, a stinging defeat before the forces of evil.”

“War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment. If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and peoples,” Pope Francis says.

In his reflection following the Rome conference, Mr. Ashworth notes that deeper than simply avoiding war (and other forms of institutionalized violence such as capital punishment), nonviolence calls the people of God to a new spirituality, a new way of life that respects the human dignity of every individual, whichever side of a conflict they are on.

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Question(s) related to this article:

Religion: a barrier or a way to peace?, What makes it one or the other?

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“As Christians, we do not have enemies – all are our sisters and brothers, created in the image and likeness of God, and in whom we see Christ! And as the Holy Father’s namesake St Francis of Assisi taught us, all of creation is also our sisters and brothers, so that nonviolent respect must also be extended to our environment, which is in crisis at this moment,” the author says.

He describes nonviolence as a broader concept than pacifism, saying, “It is much more than the absence of violence and it is never passive. Violence is utterly opposed to the Gospel; nonviolence is at the heart of the Gospel.”

“Nonviolence is a paradigm of the fullness of life. It is a spirituality, a constructive force, a method for social transformation, and a powerful way of life committed to the well-being of all,” Mr. Ashworth says.

Active nonviolence works, he says, adding, “Many people perhaps feel that it would be a good thing but they don’t believe that violence can successfully be countered by nonviolence.”

The Kenya-based retired Catholic missionary refers to an evidence-based study, “Why Civil Resistance Works” by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, which he says found that nonviolent resistance is twice as likely to succeed as a violent struggle.

Non-violence, He says, is far more likely to produce a peaceful, stable, democratic, human rights-respecting post-struggle society than a violent liberation struggle.

Mr. Ashworth says that it was nonviolence that overthrew a brutal military dictatorship in Sudan in 2019, adding, “Although the military eventually launched a fresh coup d’etat, the nonviolent struggle continues.”

He recalls that South Sudan, on the other hand, attained its independence after a violent 22-year civil war, but that the violence did not produce a just and stable society because a mere two years later, the new country relapsed into a fresh fratricidal conflict.

He notes that many African countries have experienced violent liberation struggles, whether from the evil of colonialism or the excesses of military regimes, as well as ethnic and religious conflicts. In all this, Mr. Ashworth says, there is an increasing awareness that responding to violence with violence does not bring peace.

“Violence begets more violence in an endless cycle which needs to be broken,” the Catholic author says, adding that in South Sudan, church leaders within both the Catholic Church and the council of churches have included quotes from Pope Francis’ 2017 World Day of Peace message “Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace” in their pastoral messages.

The Church leaders, he says, have been constantly appealing for peace.

Ashworth acknowledges that training for nonviolent resistance is beginning little by little in many African countries.

A nonviolent movement, he emphasizes, must be committed, organized, disciplined, and trained.

“There will be casualties… but the nonviolent activists hold the moral high ground and gradually their numbers are swollen by ordinary people, young and old, female and male, across the divides of religion, ethnicity, and politics, people who simply want a just and peaceful society in which to raise their children and grandchildren,” he says.

In his reflection shared with ACI Africa, Mr. Ashworth urges the people of God to reflect on non-violence, now that most places in the world are experiencing war of one kind or another.

“A brutal war between nations is waged in Ukraine, and no less brutal civil wars continue across Africa and many other parts of the world. Pope Francis has described the current situation as ‘a third world war being waged in installments’. Now is surely an opportune moment to reflect on nonviolence,” he says.

The retired Catholic missionary says that the importance of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative for the universal Church was brought to the fore at the closing Mass of the conference that ended on December 7 in Rome.

Robert Cardinal McElroy and several Bishops and Archbishops from France, Germany, Italy, the Philippines and the USA participated in the conference, while South African Bishop Kevin Dowling was unable to attend due to ill health but followed closely on WhatsApp.

Two senior Vatican officials also participated in the conference. These were Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Sr. Nathalie Becquart, and Prof. Emilce Cuda, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, along with staff of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development whose Prefect is Michael Cardinal Czerny.

Brazil: Forum brings together advisors to discuss culture of peace in schools


An article from Acontece no RS

The XII Educational Guidance Forum, held at the Catholic University of Brasília (UCB) was marked by a relaxed and participative and sharing of experiences. This year, the training addressed the theme “Educational Guidance for a Culture of Peace”.

The forum was also a tribute to the Educational Advisor’s Day, celebrated this Sunday (December 4). Held on Friday (December 2), the forum was attended by more than 700 public school tutors, who discussed good pedagogical practices.

“We want to strengthen the educational guidance network. Congratulations to all the mentors! The work they do to prevent violence and for a culture of peace in the daily lives of schools is valuable”, highlighted Iêdes Soares, the head of the Basic Education Articulating Management Unit of the State Department of Education (SEE),.

The XII Forum was promoted in partnership with Sebrae DF, through the Entrepreneurial Education Program. Entries for the Educator Transformer Award were also announced at the meeting, which aims to recognize transformative educational projects. Several practices shared with the teachers at the event can be entered in this competition.

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese.)

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

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Valuable materials for education

The event was also marked by the launch of a magazine which enables educational advisors to share their experiences in the school context and which reflects on the constant evolution of work with students. The reports of 50 advisors from the DF public network are pubished in the issue, Educational Guidance Magazine – “Pedagogical Letters and Other Writings: Our Praxis for the Culture of Peace!”

Érika Goulart, the Educational Guidance manager of SEE, highlighted that the forum was an important moment of reunion after two years limited to online event due to covid-19. According to Érika, sharing between supervisors is fundamental for the development of public education. “We need to record what you do at school. Ideas and work need to go down in history to be shared,” she summarized.

The e-book Educational guidance in the context of the covid-19 pandemic was also launched, with reports from education professionals.

The XII Educational Guidance Forum also brought the experiences of public school students from projects proposed with the support of educational guidance.

An inspiring and provocative moment was led by the writer and poet Allan Dias Castro during the lecture with the theme “Breath”. He invited the advisors to reflect on life and took contributions that favor the development of pedagogical actions and help in this process of going through personal dissatisfaction until dreams can be achieved.

The meeting was an opportunity to reflect on how personal self-criticism can become excessive; an invitation to overcome the fears that impact on people’s lives. “The dream comes after the fear. When the fear of making a mistake is greater than the will to fulfil the dream, an opportunity is lost”, declared Allan.

Burkina Faso: FESPACO will take place in February with the theme “African Cinemas and Culture of Peace”


An article from Libé (translation by CPNN)

The Director of Cabinet of the Burkinabe Ministry of Communication, Culture, Arts and Tourism, Atéridar Galip Somé, announced on Thursday the holding of the 28th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou “FESPACO” from February 25 to March 04, 2023.

“It seems appropriate to announce to you, officially and solemnly, the organization of the 28th edition of FESPACO to be held from February 25 to March 04, 2023”, declared Mr. Somé, according to the Agency of Information from Burkrina (AIB).

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

Question for this article:

Film festivals that promote a culture of peace, Do you know of others?

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Adressing the national and international press, he indicated that “the decision has been taken by the president of the Transition, the captain Ibrahim Traoré, who observes significant progress in the preparations”, adds the same source, emphasizing that this 28th edition will take place under the theme: “African Cinemas and Culture of Peace”.

The Minister of Communication, Culture, Arts and Tourism, according to his chief of staff, invited “cinema and audiovisual professionals to take ownership of this theme and above all to make their cinematographic works a a factor of cohesion and integration for the construction of a stronger and more united Africa”.

The general delegate of FESPACO, Moussa Alex Ouédraogo, taking stock of the preparations, indicated that at the current stage, the delegation has recorded 1142 registered films, including 84 Burkinabe films.

According to him, Burkinabé films are classified in the categories feature film, documentary, short fiction, short documentary, school film, TV series and animation.

Unlike FESPACO, several other cultural events have been postponed, in particular the Ouagadougou International Crafts Fair (SIAO) and the National Culture Week (SNC-Bobo 2022) for difficulties related to the national context.

Peace Pals International Art Exhibition and Awards


Excerpts from the website of Peace Pals International

This year, Peace Pals International celebrated our 25th anniversary with artwork coming from 77 countries and 4,540 young people creating beautiful artwork filled with love and hope for a peaceful world.  We would like to thank our International Judges for 2022  for taking the time and voting for our winners and finalists.

Video of exhibition and awards

To view the Winners and Finalists Artwork, Please CELEBRATE our 25th Anniversary with us and watch the video above or click on an image below. .

First prize and second prize for ages 5-7.

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Question for this article:

Education for Peace dialogues hosted by National Ministry of Education in Cartagena, Colombia


An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education

With more than 150 attendees from different regions of the country, the Education for Peace dialogues took place in Cartagena for two days. Teachers, teaching directors, officials from the secretariats of education, students, representatives of higher education institutions, and social organizations from different parts of the country participated in the dialogues.

The scenario served for the socialization of recommendations for education for peace, school coexistence and non-stigmatization. In different conversations and workshops, the importance of explicitly having socio-emotional, citizen and reconciliation education in undergraduate degrees was discussed, so that teachers leave with tools that allow them to present solutions and initiatives to communities.

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(Click here for a version in Spanish)

Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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The importance of forming a culture of peace was expressed, with support networks, for children and adolescents, taking into account the social context to which they belong, to promote the concept of peace in their territory, recognizing the needs of students. and their participation, to transform contexts. Likewise, generate strategies based on art and culture that allow emotions to be managed for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and for reconciliation.

On the other hand, the need was identified to strengthen the training of teaching directors and teachers to lead pedagogy strategies and construction of learning strategies and networks around peace and violence mitigation in order to guarantee the rights of children. and young people; as well as supporting pedagogical projects focused on restorative justice, peace, reconciliation, human rights and coexistence, which must be transversal.

Another point that was addressed referred to the understanding of the processes of self-education, respect for the knowledge of the communities and the promotion of research in the classroom. In this way, peace must be promoted by teachers from all areas and the commitment also of the secretaries of education so that they can generate actions.

The regional meeting on education for peace was organized by the Ministry of National Education and had the support of the Secretary of Education of Cartagena, the Japan Cooperation Agency JICA, EducaPaz and the Norwegian Council for Refugees.

Global Peace Education Day: Virtual Conference


Excerpts from the website of Global Peace Education with links to youtube videos

Global Peace Education Day Virtual Conference
20th September 2022 – 11 am New York Time

Part 1: Call for a UN Day for Global Peace Education

Conference Host:

Michael Nouri: International screen actor; Goodwill ambassador for Seeds of Peace and the Multiple Sclerosis Society

Conference Chair:

Gabriela Ramos: UNESCO Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences (Click here for her remarks)

Welcome from Founders

Alberto Guerrero: President, Federación Española De Asociaciones, Centros Y Clubes Para La UNESCO

Why Campaign for a United Nations Peace Education Day

The United Nations declared 2021 as the International Year for Peace and Trust. The United Nations has established more than 150 international days for different humanitarian themes. However, there is no day dedicated specifically to the theme of peace education.

Because peace education is central to the United Nations central mission, it certainly deserves a special day for public awareness – a day to promote practical efforts in peace education throughout the world, a day to empower educators for peace; a day to connect and celebrate with others in the peace education field.

Keynotes: Call to the UN

Anwarul Chowdhury
Founder; Global Movement for a Culture of Peace; Former Under-Secretary-General, United Nations; Former President, UN Security Council (Click here for his keynote address)

Federico Mayor Zaragoza
Founder, Culture of Peace Foundation; Former Director General, UNESCO (Click here for his remarks)

Doudou Diene
Former Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (Click here for his remarks)

Ouided Bouchamaoui
2015 Nobel Peace Laureate, President, Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) (Click here for her remarks)

Prof Karim Errouaki, PhD:
President Emeritus of the American University of Europe . . .

Reiner Braun
Executive Director, International Peace Bureau (Click here for his remarks)

Garry Jacobs
President and CEO, World Academy of Arts and Sciences

Ambassador Amat Al Alim Alsoswar
Former Minister of Human Rights, Yemen . . .

Francisco Rojas
8th Rector, University of Peace (UPEACE), Costa Rica

Part 2: A Culture of Peace

What skills and knowledge do we need to build a culture of peace on a healthy planet? Some leading voices offer examples.


Federico Mayor Zaragoza: Founder, Culture of Peace Foundation; Former Director General, UNESCO

Prem Rawat: Author; Founder of The Prem Rawat Foundation and the Peace Education Program.

Steve Killilea AM: Founder & Executive Chairman, The Charitable Foundation; Institute for Economics and Peace

Ramu Damoradan: Former Chief of Academic Impact, United Nations

Alexander Laszlo, PhD: Human Evolution to Peace

Willow Baker: Program Director, Peace Education Program, TPRF

Special Features

Tony Jenkins, PhD: Mapping Peace Education

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Question for this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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Part 3: Restoring Humanity

What skills must we learn to support more than a million people forced to flee their homes by conflict, climate change and persecution? Can peace education make us more human?

Keynote – Peace Skill: Right Relationship

Lisa Worth Huber PhD: President and Board Chair, National Peace Academy


Guila Clara Kessous, PhD: Moderator – UNESCO Artist for Peace

Richard F. Mollica, MD, MAR: Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT) at Massachusetts General Hospital

Enayet Khan: Artist; Photographer; Publisher Rohingya Together; Mentor, Rohingya refugee youth in Cox’s Bazar, world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Professor Nisha Sajnani: founder of the Arts and Health initiative at New York University.

Héloïse Onumba-Bessonnet: victimologist specialising in sexual violence in armed conflict.

Part 4: Peace & Justice

“No justice, no peace.” How do we create a culture that offers peace, prosperity and dignity to every human being? How will peace education help us to face prejudice and injustice? How do we make equality reality?


Bishop Horace Smith, M.D: Pastor, Chicago Apostolic Faith Church


Philip Shelton: Moderator – Director, Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity, Indianapolis . . .

Rita Rubin Long: Educational consultant. Peace education facilitator.

David Weinberg: Executive Director, Global Peace Education Network, Inc.


Chic Dambach: President Emeritus, Alliance for Peacebuilding

Part 5: Peace & Leadership

How do peacebuilding skills merge with global economics to promote a culture of peace? How will peace education stop the scourge of prejudice and violence?


Stephane Monney-Mouandjo, PhD: Directeur Général, Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administrative pour le Développement (CAFRAD)


Marc Levitte: Moderator – Executive coach; Senior Facilitator, the Art of Hosting.

Bakari Sidiki Diaby: Founder, CADHA-Afrique

Rachidi Adam: President, Paix et Education; Assistant Administratif, FODEFCA

Philippe Rio: President of the Association “Maires pour la Paix France”

Special Feature

Michael Nouri: Mayors for Peace letter

Part 6: Peace & Planet

The UN Secretary General warns that “we’re sleepwalking toward climate catastrophe.” How can education reverse this trend? Young global activists showcase solutions


Kehkashan Basu: M.S.M. Founder, Green Hope Foundation

Francisca Cortes Solari: Founder, Filantropia Solari

Alexia Leclercq: Grassroots environmental justice organizer; Co-founder, Start: Empowerment

Part 7: Arts and Peace

The language of the arts flows through borders and transforms lives. How do arts and culture nurture peace skills? Our artists offer a creative exploration.


Aixa Portero Y De La Torre PhD: Fine Arts Professor, University of Granada

RoundTable Panel

Alla Rogers: Moderator – Artist & Curator

Richard Dana: Artist

Melvin Hardy: Chairman, Millennium Arts Salon

Lucian Perkins: Independent photographer, and filmmaker

Sarah Tanguy: Curator

Part 8: Peace & War

Nuclear holocaust is closer than ever before. Armed conflicts are raging in 27 countries, with civilian populations mistreated by the military. How can peace education help end the threat of war?


Gina Langton MAMBM FRSA: Founder of 80,000 Voices Ltd . . .

Monica Willard: URI and International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation

Fawziah al-Ammar Phd: senior research fellow with the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies . . .


Tezekiah Gabriel: Executive Director, Pathways to Peace

Tadhi Blackstone: Institute of Noetic Sciences

Philippines: Davao peace summit underscores role of academe


An article from Philippine News Agency

DAVAO CITY – Peace education is not only about learning the culture of peace but also about having the right mindset and skills to defuse potentially violent conflict situations, an official said Thursday.

In a statement, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said peace education must be geared toward building competencies among stakeholders.

Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity. (Photo from OPAPRU Facebook Page)

“Peace education approaches should aim to go beyond curriculum development and must be geared towards building particular competencies, values, and practices that can be effectively applied outside the classroom,” said Galvez, who graced the 1st National Peace Education Summit here from  Sept. 26-27.

At least 100 peace education champions across the country converged during the two-day summit, which would provide recommendations on how to promote peace and understanding in the basic and higher education sectors.

Galvez said the summit seeks to facilitate more robust peace constituency-building interventions through partnerships and network-building of peace education in the country.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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He also underscored the role that the academe plays in promoting the culture of peace, as they can help in weeding out violence, hazing, and bullying, especially in the formative years of young learners.

“Peace education is vital in providing spaces to generate important lessons on negotiations, mediation, conflict resolution, fraternity, common good, justice, and unity,” he said.

Issued in 2006, Executive Order (EO) No. 570, entitled “Institutionalizing Peace Education in Basic Education and Teacher Education,” paved the way for the implementation of peace education activities in academic institutions throughout the country.

Since the issuance of EO 570, the OPAPRU began efforts to mainstream peace education in the country’s education curriculum.

However, these were not sustained, as the agency’s initiatives were focused on the implementation of peace agreements.

Last year, the signing of EO 158 entitled “Strengthening the Policy Framework on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity and Reorganizing the Government’s Administrative Structure for the Purpose,” put peace education at the core of OPAPRU’s peacebuilding strategies.

Meanwhile, Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte highlighted the need to revitalize the mainstreaming of peace education efforts.

“I look forward to collaborating with the community of peace education practitioners who have developed peace education teaching exemplars and are implementing peace education programs,” Duterte said in her message which was read by DepEd Assistant Secretary Dexter Galba.

Duterte urged the peace builders to help the children and the youth heal from the trauma brought by armed conflict and to protect them from being recruited into joining violent groups like the New People’s Army.

In Bolívar, Ecuador, the month of the culture of peace was commemorated with the event “justice, peace and art”


An article from Diario los Andes

With the purpose of commemorating the Month of the Culture of Peace, the Provincial Directorate of the Council of the Judiciary (CJ) of Bolívar, developed the event called “Justice, Peace and Art”, an activity that took place in the Theater of the House of Culture – Nucleus of Bolívar, with the participation of provincial authorities, Justices of the Peace, and citizens in general.

Bolívar province has 12 justices of the peace in the parishes: San José del Tambo, Régulo de Mora, La Magdalena, La Asunción, San Sebastián, San Vicente de San Miguel and San Lorenzo. At the national level there are 479 justices of the peace, who through conciliation and dialogue contribute to the peaceful solution of individual and neighborhood conflicts, generating savings for the state of 6,936,708, if we take into account that a conflict resolved by ordinary means generates a cost to the state of 613 dollars.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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The Provincial Director of Bolívar, Ab. María Soledad Solano, recognized the justices of the peace for their responsible and altruistic work, bringing justice services closer to citizens living in rural areas of the province. She highlighted the benefits of the Justice of the Peace System and reiterated the commitment of the #CJ to promote actions that promote equity, well-being and effective enjoyment of rights. During the event, a discussion was held, with the participation of important social actors of the province, in which the following topics were addressed: “Conciliation and Culture of Peace as an Alternative to Conflict and Construction of Social Justice”, “Justice of Peace as an Element of Social Peace” and Justice of the Peace in Urban Marginal Parishes”.

Within the framework of the event to commemorate the month of the Culture of Peace, a rug was delivered and donated to the Provincial Director of Bolívar, made by artisan weavers from the Salinas, Simiatug and Facundo Vela parishes, with the slogan “We are Art, Culture and Peace – Bolívar”.

Olivo Vargas, Justice of the Peace of the San José del Tambo parish, Zone 3, explained that justices of the peace know and resolve individual and community conflicts on the basis of conciliation and equity, since they know the social and cultural reality of their communities.

The “Justice, Peace and Art” event was complemented with the artistic intervention of the Chamber Group of the Guaranda Symphony Orchestra and the exhibition of handicrafts by the group of women artisans from the Salinas and Simiatug parishes.

The Justice of the Peace System is an instance of administration of justice, recognized in the Constitution of the Republic and in the Organic Code of the Judicial Function, it is oriented to guarantee quick and effective access to justice services by the citizens who live in rural and marginal urban areas of the country.

Panama promotes the practice of values ​​for a culture of peace by students


An article from the Ministerio de Gobierno, República de Panama

The Ministry of Government, the Administration Attorney’s Office and the Norwegian Refugee Council have implemented the project “Cultivating Builders of Peace” with the aim of promoting the practice of values ​​in students for the construction of a culture of peace.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

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

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It was the Minister of Government, Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, who started the pilot plan at the Justo Arosemena Institute to the joy of fifth graders. The Minister expressed the importance that each student plants the seeds of peace and tolerance, the values ​​that we need as human beings. In the same way, she exhorted them to each be a peacemaker to resolve conflicts at school, at home and in the community.

The project will be developed through three thematic axes: Values ​​to build peace, Learning to live together and Techniques for the peaceful resolution of school conflicts. The development of each phase will be the responsibility of the technical personnel of the organizations that are part of the project, who should motivate the participation of the students for meaningful learning. As for the students, they should explore their prior knowledge, relating concepts to daily life and the learning experiences acquired.

IFLAC World Peace Festival : First edition in Argentina


An article from Le Nouvelliste

Evans Okan, General Director of Educultura Educación Sin Fronteras and International Director for Latin America of IFLAC World (International Forum for Literature and Culture of Peace), talks about the first edition of the IFLAC World Peace Festival that he conducted this year in Argentina from September 21-25, 2022.

Ticket: What is the iFLAC World Peace Festival? (Tell us a bit about the festival; Date of creation, objective, etc.?)

Evans Okan: The first edition of the iFLAC World Peace Festival, which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from September 21 to 25 this year, brought together around 30 poets, artists and cultural leaders, from countries such as Sri Lanka , Argentina, Colombia, United States of America, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Haiti, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, among others. This international event has been promoted by several cultural and educational organizations such as Educultura, IFLAC World, Fundación FEPAIS, Universidad de la Marina Mercante, La Casa del Poeta del Reino Unido, La casa de la Cultura de Buenos Aires and Asociación Civil Casa Paraguaya.

I had the great honor of leading the festival this year as International Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of IFLAC World, but also as Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the event, accompanied by three renowned poetesses of the region: Samiri Hernández Hiraldo, festival coordinator, originally from Puerto Rico, Jennifer García from Colombia was in charge of promoting this great event and Alicia Muñoz Veri from Argentina, as vice-president of the committee.

We have the firm conviction that peace is born from the heart and becomes an act and an immediate presence when the word manages to penetrate and deeply move souls, deciphering their dreams and clarifying their uncertainties. It is therefore from poetry, art, creative thought and culture that the world can change and in fact it does, despite the great differences and conflicts that sometimes divide us and seek to isolate.

Ticket: How is this event important to you as a Haitian?

Evans Okan: First of all, we must consider that Haitian literature is a literature of resistance, which is directly associated with the struggle for freedom and the promotion of universal peace, as mentioned by Dr. Reina Sotillo, Minister Plenipotentiary of Argentina, in his opening speech. Our literature was born at the time of the revolution and culminated with the great epic of Toussaint Louverture and the proclamation of independence in 1804.

Yet the first free country in Latin America and the Caribbean suffered from foreign harassment from the start, starting with the abusive debt of independence that France demanded from our country and that took more than a century to liquidate.

For me, as a Haitian, faced with this harsh reality and in a world largely marked by war, borders and discrimination, the IFLAC World Peace Festival Argentina 2022 was the perfect opportunity to:

1. Remind our brothers in Latin America of the great cultural richness and social ties that unite Haiti to the other countries of the region in a common dream of freedom, peace, greatness and prosperity, beyond linguistic differences or others. It is this wave of love and fraternity that has united us. The love of our roots, of what we really are and not of what the other wants us to be.

2. Advocate for a more humane political and social system in our region, whose sole purpose is development and the common good.

3. On the other hand, it was also an opportunity to plead, through art, for real social justice in our countries, for a fairer distribution of wealth and opportunities. We cannot speak of peace when, before our very eyes, neighboring countries are dying of hunger and whole populations sinking into violence, conflict and disease.

4. To say that in 2022, it is UNACCEPTABLE that many countries in the Caribbean region and Latin America, such as Haiti, the first black republic, the country that was the first to rise up against slavery to obtain freedom from colonialism, be plagued by internal conflict and ruined by the burden of international debt for Third World countries.

5. Draw the attention of our leaders and the various sectors in Haiti to this, to remind them that the only way out is to be able to decide for ourselves and take charge of the future of our people. Together we can eradicate hunger, poverty, injustice, violence, mental slavery and domination.

6. Remind everyone that Haiti is a land of art, culture, spirituality and mystery, far from being the poorest country in the Americas.

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(click here for the French original of this article)

Question for this article:

How can poetry promote a culture of peace?

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Ticket: The festival brought together different countries including Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, among others. What explains the choice of these countries in particular?

Evans Okan: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace (IFLAC), is a voluntary association founded and directed by the Egyptian-born Israeli writer Ada Aharoni (Ph.D), since 1999, in addition to her vice-president, writer Elena Vargas, who lives in England, the organization enjoys a global reach, with 22 years of promoting peace and representations in several countries around the world. But, this particular festival was sponsored by the regional representation that I lead, which includes Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain.

In this context, poetry, art and the different cultural manifestations of the countries of the region were present in a fraternal encounter full of hope, with the aim of creating new links and spaces of solidarity, recognition and cultural diffusion. through the voice of our poets, writers, artists, journalists, teachers and cultural promoters as the most effective, authentic and powerful way to build a better, more harmonious and more humane society in pressing and difficult times like the ones we are experiencing .

Ticket: Why the choice of Indran Amirtanayagam as one of the two personalities to be honored within the framework of this first edition?

Evans Okan: It was a wonderful opportunity, as part of the official program, to highlight and recognize two important personalities in the international literary world who represent two different generations, namely Indran Amirtanayagam from the United States, IFLAC World PRIZE World Poet and young Colombian poet Jennifer García, IFLAC World Entrepreneurship And Poetry PRIZE.

These awards are now part of the official activities and initiatives of IFLAC World, to stimulate, promote and exalt the life and work of writers, artists and cultural leaders committed to the ideals of peace that define them.

For IFLAC World and Educultura, awarding this prize to these two great literary references is a unique opportunity to celebrate their fundamental principles and values ​​expressed in a poetry full of meaning and quality, always attentive to the evolution of history and realities. of our peoples.

The life and work of the poet Indran Amirthanayagam, is a categorical example of consecration and humanism in our century, not only for his immense creative talent, but also for his very high quality as a human being, as a leader, as a diplomat, as a teacher and as a friend to all.

Ticket: Who were the representatives of Haiti at this first edition of the iFLAC World Peace Festival?

Evans Okan: We all know that literature is a strong point of Haitian culture, on this occasion Haiti was represented by me, not only as international director of IFLAC World Latinoamerica but also as a writer, because in addition to n being in charge of the direction of the festival, I participated in two reading tables where I presented some of my poems written in French.

Jovanie Jean Pierre, a young student from the city of Jérémie, who is participating in the Educultura study program in Argentina, did me the honor of reading the Spanish translation of my poems, which was a very moving moment for me. and for all the public.

On the other hand, the Haitian poet Martine Milard, residing in France, was also invited to participate in the event, but could not attend for personal reasons.

Ticket: A review of this edition? What are your prospects for the other years to come?

Evans Okan: During the four days of the festival, cultural and educational activities were carried out, which the local people received with great affection, enthusiasm and gratitude. The IFLAC World Peace Festival, Argentina 2022 has successfully fulfilled its mission to bring a message of peace to the world and to summon the highest commitment, responsibility and love for our people, our country, our continent.

Haiti has long been considered a symbol of peace and freedom, however, due to the social, political and economic problems the country is currently facing, this image has weakened. We are aware that art, education, culture and creative thinking are the best way to recover communities, strengthen their connection with the world and contribute to their development. For this reason, we are working so that the location of the next IFLAC World Peace Festival is Haiti, because among other things, we recognize its great cultural richness, its heritage and all that it can offer to the other peoples of Latin America.

The fact that the first edition held in Argentina was led by a Haitian artist and cultural ambassador opens the door for this project to be enthusiastically welcomed by my people next year. The IFLAC World Peace Festival, Haiti 2023, is now our main focus. We hope to bring poetry, art and other cultural manifestations to this community, through a fraternal encounter, which generates new bonds and spaces of solidarity, recognition and cultural diffusion.

Finally, I would like to thank the whole team at Le Nouvelliste for allowing me to reconnect with my roots through this interview and for giving me the opportunity to remind our society that our country still retains many values ​​and the hope of a future change.