Category Archives: EDUCATION FOR PEACE

The Rez of the Story: What is a culture of peace?


An article by Vince Two Eagles in the Lakota Times (located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, USA)

Yesterday, February 4th, was recognized as the “International Day of Human Fraternity by the United Nations.” The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls for we humans to “…reaffirm our commitment to bridging divides, fostering religious understanding and cooperation among people of all cultures and beliefs. Together, let us forge a path towards a more peaceful, just and harmonious work for all.”

The headline reads, “Human fraternity for peace and cooperation” on the UN website. The very valid question, “What is the culture of peace?” is asked and answered as follows:

“The culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions and models of behavior and ways of life based on:

1. Respect for life, ending of violence and promotion and practice of non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation;

2. Full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law;

3. Full respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

4. Commitment to peaceful settlement of conflicts;

5. Efforts to meet the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations;

6. Respect for and promotion of the right to development; Respect for and promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men;

7. Respect for and promotion of the right of everyone to freedom of expression, opinion and information;

8. Adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, culture diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among nations; and fostered by an enabling national and international environment conducive to peace; (Source: A/ RES/53/243).”

The UN site goes on to state:”We need — perhaps more than ever before — to recognize the valuable contribution of people of all religions, or beliefs, to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.”

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Question for this article:

Can the vision of a culture of peace help inspire action?

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“We also need to underline the importance of raising awareness about different cultures and religions, or beliefs, and the promotion of tolerance, which involves societal acceptance and respect for religious and cultural diversity, including with regard to religious expression. Education, in particular at school, should contribute in a meaningful way to promoting tolerance and the elimination of discrimination based on religion or belief.”

“Furthermore, we must acknowledge that tolerance, pluralistic tradition, mutual respect and the diversity of religions and beliefs promote human fraternity. Thus, it is imperative that we encourage activities aimed at promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue in order to enhance peace and social stability, respect for diversity and mutual respect and to create, at the global level, and also at the regional, national and local levels, an environment conducive to peace and mutual understanding.”

“Within that frame, the General-Assembly took note of all international, regional, national and local initiatives, as appropriate, as well as efforts by religious leaders, to promote inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, and in this regard took note also of the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the signing of the document entitled ‘Human fraternity for world peace and living together’.”

“Following the devastation of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. One of its purposes is to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems, including by promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

“In 1999, the General-Assembly adopted, by resolution 53/243, the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which serves as the universal mandate for the international community, particularly the United Nations system, to promote a culture of peace and non-violence that benefits all of humanity, including future generations.”

“The declaration came about as a result of the long held and cherished concept — contained within the Constitution of UNESCO — that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” The Declaration embraces the principle that peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but also requires a positive, dynamic participatory process, in which dialogue is encouraged and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.”

“On 20 October 2010, the General-Assembly in resolutionA/RES/65/5 pointed out that mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and established World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith. It further recognized the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.”

“At the core of all the faith systems and traditions is the recognition that we are all in this together and that we need to love and support one another to live in harmony and peace in an environmentally sustainable world. Our world continues to be beset by conflict and intolerance with rising numbers refugees and the internationally displaced in a hostile and unwelcoming world around them. We are also, unfortunately, witnessing messages of hate spreading discord among people. The need for spiritual guidance has never been greater. It is imperative that we double our efforts to spread the message of good neighborliness based on our common humanity, a message shared by all faith [and non-faith] traditions.”

“The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 4 February as the International Day of Human Fraternity, with resolution 75/200.”

And now you know the Rez of the story.

Doksha . . . (“see you later” in the Sioux language)

Book review: The Real Nobel Prize


A CPNN book review

Frederik Heffermehl begins his book, “The Real Nobel Prize” with the words from the testament of Alfred Nobel: a prize “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for creating the brotherhood of nations, for the abolition of reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Nobel tasked the Norwegian parliament to establish a five-member committee to award the prize.

The internal committee’s archives are available until 50 years ago, and for more recent years Heffermehl examined the reports from consultants and the committee’s shortlist to determine if Nobel’s intentions were respected. “It was a daunting task. The material is enormous. Fortunately, the Nobel Foundation, at its website, presents all laureates with a short essence of the reasons – under Facts.”

Considering the choices made by this committee over the years, Heffermehl says, “No doubt, the Norwegian committee has honored many fine people and purposes, humanitarian aid, democracy, resource conservation, the fight against poverty and child labor, for the environment, climate, human rights, education” but these do not correspond to Nobel’s testament as expressed above. Heffermehl concludes that only 36 awards over the 134 years pass the test.

If his Nobel’s will had been carried out correctly in recent years, Heffermehl argues that the prize could have gone to the following nominees:

2020: Federico Mayor, who created the Culture of Peace Programme at UNESCO.

2021: Julian Assange, who distributed to the world press “a huge and horrifying amount of revealing documents on US diplomacy and war crimes in Asia.”

2022: Alfred de Zayas, who “has become a leading, most prolific defender of improving global co-operation and “Building a Just World Order”, the title of his latest book.

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Question for this article:

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

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Instead, the prize in 2020 went to the World Food Programme “for its efforts to combat hunger.”

The prize in 2021 went to Maria Ressa (Philippines) and Dmitry Muratov (Russia) “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.” As Heffermehl says, “In 2021 the committee had several nominations asking it to help stop the probably deadliest onslaught against media feedom in human history”, e.g. Assange, “but the committee did not wish to embarass the US war machine. . . ”

In 2022, the prize went to three human rights advocates, Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, Memorial from Russia, and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties. “As was the case in 2021, all three laureates were financed generously by a tool for the US secret services, the National Endowment for Democracy. They used their acceptance speeches to ‘parrot US State Department:Pentagon talking points’, even directly asking the the Norwegian government for weapons. . . the prize was used to take sides in an ongoing war, instead of against all war and war culture.”

As a Norwegian citizen and scholar concerning the Nobel Prize, Heffermehl has tried to correct the work of the Nobel Prize Committee. He first published his critique in 2007. The first official response came in June 2008 from the speaker of the Norwegian parliament who argued that “Parliament has no power to instruct the Nobel committee.” A few months later he became a member of the committee.

Over the years, Heffermehl has continued to request the Parliament to nominate committee members who would respect Nobel’s testament, and several times he has been joined in his request by other specialists. However, the Parliament even voted against the idea that Nobel’s intention should count in the election of members for the Nobel Committee.

One should not give up, however, and the book provides an appendix on how to nominate, and how to get nominated for the Nobel Prize.

At the end of the book, after listing his many acknowledgements, Heffermehl concludes, “My warmest thanks . . . to the inspiring line-up of peacemakers I discovered in the archives of the Nobel Committee. It has been heartbeaking to follow how our society, blinded by militarism, so far has been unable to benefit from their wisdom and unselfish dedication to our common security and survival.”

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(Editor’s note: On December 12, two months ago, Frederik Heffermehl sent me an email, saying “Thanks for the fine contribution to the Vijay Mehta and David Swanson talk on the net Saturday. I think you should consider my latest book as a very useful tool for peace education and creating awareness of the vast and varied movement for a fundamental change of attitude to weapons and war – launched a month ago: The Real Nobel Peace Prize. I would like to send you a copy – but then will need your postal address.” In reply I sent him my address and then received a copy of his book in the post. I then wrote the above review and sent it to him for his additions and corrections. But I did not receive a reply, and recently learned that he died on December 23. An article about his life is reprinted here on CPNN.)

The Culture of Peace – Utopia or Alternative Security Policy?


Received at CPNN by email

Is it possible to see the UNESCO/UN culture of peace program as a blueprint for a feminist, non-violent security policy? Are there alternatives to war and militarisation, or is the culture of peace just utopia? Can a more pacifist view help us out of the increasing horrors of war?

These are questions that Ingeborg Breines, a former UNESCO director and president of the International Peace Bureau, raises in her new book The Culture of Peace – Utopia or Alternative Security Policy? published May 2023, by the Orkana Publishing House, Stamsund/Oslo. The publication, which is written in Norwegian, has gotten good reviews. It consists of 416 pages in hard cover and includes rich reference material and some illustrations.

The publication has three parts. The introduction describes the intentions of the author and the challenges facing the culture of peace vision. (See attached table of contents.) The author argues both for peace on earth and peace with the earth. Drawing on her background she challenges the old thinking that “Si vis pacem, para bellum/If you want peace, prepare for war”. For the survival of humanity it is considered urgent to develop a new paradigm and new structures and practices underlining that “If you want peace, prepare for peace”!

Part I describes the culture of peace program of UNESCO/UN – the origin, the process, the vision, the goals, the partners, the hopes, the enthusiasm, the achievements. The author brings to the forefront a series of guiding documents, inspiring projects and publications such as the International Year for a Culture of Peace, the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World, the Manifesto 2000 on a Culture of Peace, the Seville Declaration on Violence, the Statement on Women’s Contribution to a Culture of peace, the Declaration on the Right to Peace and not least the Constitution of UNESCO with its emphasis on international intellectual and ethical cooperation and its credo: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that defences for peace must be constructed” .

Part II highlights factors that hinder the culture of peace to take roots, notably the broad and growing militarization, not only of society but also of the human mind. The author argues that humanity is facing three alarming existential crises: (i) the climate and environmental catastrophe, (ii) the growing gap between the “haves” and the “have- nots”, and (iii) the nuclear arms threat. She considers that the military-industrial complex seriously – economically, ecologically and ethically – stand in the way of finding innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges facing humanity.

Part III presents an holistic approach to peace-building based on the eight pillars of the UNESCO/UN culture of peace program: (i) Learn to live together, (ii) Promote sustainable social and economic development, (iii) Promote respect for human rights, (iv) Secure equality between women and men, (v) Foster democratic participation, (vi) Foster understanding, tolerance and solidarity, (vii) Promote free flow of information and knowledge, (viii) Foster international peace and security, with special emphasis on pillar one on education and pillar eight on peace-building.

Part III contains descriptions of relevant international structures and institutions, both within the UN system and regional and sub-regional, as well as peace building projects and ideas, including from the international peace movement and visionary individuals. Seen together, the publication provides both important knowledge and suggestions for an effective transition from a culture of war and violence towards cultures of peace and non-violence.


Military expenditure was reduced in the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001 and many people started to hope that finally the world’s military and political resources would be used for welfare instead of warfare. UNESCO developed a global program for a culture of peace that got broad and enthusiastic support. Individuals, organisations, institutions and countries contributed to the development of the vision of a culture of peace and got inspiration, energy and sense of community and meaning. The UN, both in a visionary and hopeful way, put the culture of peace as the headline for the new millennium.

But the war against terror changed everything. Also Norway participated in wars in countries where we had no controversies. Fear, enemy images and suspicion were created – again. The climate- and environmental crisis is threatening both humanity and the planet. A worldwide pandemic has further aggravated poverty, violence against women and social unrest.

The war in Ukraine has brought the horrors of war closer to us. Could it lead to disgust for all war, for war as an option? Could the vision and experience of a culture of peace help us stand against a dominating and desperate belief that weapons, ever more numerous, ever more lethal and potentially capable of full extinction of humanity, and that it is necessary in order to build peace and justice? Is the time ripe for acknowledging that it is only through disarmament and détente that we can manage to meet the ecological and social challenges facing us?

This book is a contribution to the strengthening of the world’s fragile peace architecture and gives suggestions as to how a culture of peace may be build through education, diplomacy, dialogue, democracy, justice, gender equality, art, culture and sound common sense.




° The dream of peace and the fight for a world organisation
° Utopia
° The vision
° The League of Nations
° The UN
° UNESCO and the Culture of Peace
– The vision of a culture of peace – a new Millennium – new hope
– The concept of a culture of peace
– The culture of peace program
– The International Year for a Culture of Peace and the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence
for the Children of the World.
– Manifesto for a Culture of Peace
– Culture for peace
– Women and a culture of peace
– National culture of peace programs
– The UN High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace


° Corona collapse and a new security concept
° Hindrances for a culture of peace
° Military meaninglessness and powerlessness
° ”Security” or peace?
° Militarisation
° Criminalizing war
° War against terror
° Why would a rich country need an arms industry?
° Economic warfare – sanctions
° Hybrid war
° Defensive, non-aggressive defence
° Nato – beyond expiration date
° Closing down Nato
° Our “big” ally
° Star wars
° Norway says no to the UN, yes to Nato
° Russia, our neighbour
° Neighbours as friends, not foes


° Anthropocentric
° Mother Earth
° Nexus environment – security
° The military and the environment
° Ecocide
° Food insecurity
° From capitalism to a new green deal


° The billionaire report
° The social report
° Inequality between men and women

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Question for this article:

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

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° How to stigmatise, delegitimize and prohibit nuclear arms.
° How many nuclear weapons exist, and where?
° Status symbol?
° It is called balance of terror?
° Usable nukes
° Enough is enough
° First use
° Nuclear weapons agreements
° The Non-proliferation Treaty
° The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons, TPNW
Norway, party to the NATO strategy on nuclear weapons
The International Atomic Energy Agency – verification and dual role
° Environmental and health consequences
° Nuclear weapons and nuclear energy – Siamese twins
° Depleted uranium
° Women and nuclear weapons
° Nuclear free zones
° With the UN for nuclear disarmament and development
° Anti-nuclear arms organisations


° Mother Earth and the Matriarchy
° Rather pluralism than unilateralism
° Who do we want to be?
° World future orientation
° Meaning and happiness
° Change and transformation
° Positive thinking
° Emotional intelligence
° Getting out of fundamentalism
° The Seville Declaration on Violence
° Radical love, the ultimate goal?
° Hope
° Creativity


° Education for all
° Good development requires good education
° Children on the run
° Peace education
° Disarmament education
° Methodology
° It is fun to be nice
° My history – and your history
° What is the situation for peace education in Norwegian schools?
° How to avoid militarization in schools?
° The education of the heart
° Moral codex and ethical standards
° Pakistan – Afghanistan – examples
° To teach a culture of peace in Pakistan


° The desired future – the UN Agenda 2030
° Food security
° Limits to growth
° To do without – what is enough?
° Finance capitalistic globalisation
° Human – humanistic – humanitarian
° Ecologic economy
° What is productive work?
° Useful, bullshit and dangerous jobs
° Converting the military industry
° Progressive taxation
° Guaranteed minimum income – basic salary – citizen’s salary
° Social contract
° Democratic multilateralism


° The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
° The Human Rights Council
° Universal Periodic Review, UPR
° The International Court of Justice, ICJ
° The International Criminal Court, ICC
° International law – the duty of peace – prohibition of violence
° Humanitarian law– the international law of war
° Responsibility to Protect, R2P
° Norway, a champion of international law?
° From international law to the law of war?


° The rights, resources and representation of women
° Gender equality is healthy
° The end of Patriarchy?
° Men and masculinities
° The rationality of care
° Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security
° Sexualized violence
° Feminism – both a tool for change and an imperative
° Feministic foreign policy


° Are the people allowed to rule?
° Democracy-ranking
° Direct democracy or disciplined democracy?
° Lobbying
° 99% versus 1%
° Non-hierarchical structure and local democracy
° Centralization weakens local democracy
° Military exceptions
° Thinking globally – acting locally
° Regional cooperation


° The grey-pink race and racism
° Symbols and statues
° Longing for meaning
° Religious tolerance – interreligious understanding
° The image of God of Spinoza
° Violations, humiliations of honour and human dignity
° Ethical disposition
° Compassion


° New Information and Communication order
° Languages
° News and fake narratives
° Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Expression
° The language of peace – the language of war
° Getting rid of enemy images
° Dialogue – debate – discussion
° Whistleblowers and human rights defenders
° Peace journalism
° Women in the media – women journalists
° War and cultural industry


° Peace by peaceful means
° The right to peace
° Peace as a condition for sustainable development
° Disarmament, essential, but not in vogue
° How to strengthen the political will to disarm?
° Peace race or arms race?
° Dismantling of national capacities for war
° Preventive diplomacy
° Is the UN able to unite the nations?
° Human security
° Common security
° Pacifism
° Civil obedience – civil disobedience
° Nonviolence
° Conscientious objection – civil service
° Equality in the military – on whose terms?
° Community service – new conscription
° Ministries of a culture of peace
° Peace tax
° Peace movement
° Peace research – research for peace?
° The Nobel Prize for Peace Promoters
° Nobel Summits
° Military-free and environment conscious Costa Rica – a role model


° Bibliography
° UN days
° Acronyms

Ingeborg Breines (

Art for peace in Mexico City


An article by Azaneth Cruz in El Heraldo de México

“Cracks and fissures. Where peace appears” exhibits the work of 12 artists from different neighborhoods of the capital and the State of Mexico and reflects on violence

For the artist Carlos Amorales, the neighborhood is “more synonymous with community than with violence,” a reason that led him to join the mentoring of the artists who participated in the group exhibition Cracks and Fissures.

Credit: Fotos: Especial

The exhibition “Where peace appears,” continues until June of this year at the University Cultural Center (CCU) Tlatelolco. It is part of the Peace Laboratories, a project created in 2021 that seeks to contribute to cultural development, peace building and social transformation in territories affected by insecurity and violence through art.

From the portraits made by Esteban Viveros of the people who live in the Guerrero neighborhood; to the landscapes of Jessica Islas, who denounces the burning of the forests in Xochimilco; and the collective work of Atardecer Dwsk that demonstrates that art heals the hearts of those who feel loneliness and depression, the creators seek to question prejudices about the places they inhabit.

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

Question for this article:

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

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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“We have talked a lot about violence.

We have been talking about violence for 15 years, documenting it and experiencing it more and more closely, however, little is proposed to internalize peace, for this reason we establish different projects that are carried out in the laboratories. An example of this is this exhibition, in which 12 artists share and defend what the neighborhood means to them,” explained Paola Zavala, director of outreach at CCUTlatelolco.

He added that the exhibition: “is an invitation to the counterculture of drug trafficking, to the series, to the activities that incite violence and the objectification of women, to link young people to other successful roles that help us to the construction of communities of peace through art as a space for encounter, reflection, resistance and proposal.”

The exhibition is mentored by historian Alesha Mercado, actress and human rights defender Minerva Valenzuela, collector and architect Roberto Shimizu, curator Cuauhtémoc Medina and artists Eduardo Abaroa and Carlos Amorales.


Participating artists come from Xochimilco, La Merced, Iztapalapa, Magdalena Contreras and Chimalhuacán.

The CCU Tlatelolco Peace Laboratories were created in 2021.

12 artists participate.

The exhibition lasts 5 months.
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Declaration of Cuban Culture institutions in support of artists from Argentina in the face of Javier Milei’s measures


An article from Cuba Information

Different cultural institutions in Cuba have expressed their concern about the Argentine government’s attempt to “ignore and mutilate the rich cultural life” and urged “a return to the urgency of recognizing that art and culture are a powerful tool to reconstruct the memory of the continent for its spirituality and the recognition of its diversity, to offer an “other” view of the historical-social reality, to decolonize knowledge and to stop the looting of our heritage and the aggression against our identities.

The declaration was promoted by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, the House of the Americas, the House of the Film Festival, the Foundation of New Latin American Cinema, the International Film School, the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, the National Ballet of Cuba, the Hermanos Saiz Association and the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba.

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

Question for this article:

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

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“There are many challenges for artists faced with the government’s attempt to cut their support and to dismiss their role as guarantor of the national essence. The complex reality that Argentina is experiencing and the continuous messages that come to us from intellectuals and artists about the danger that the culture of that country faces under the government of Javier Milei, demands that we express our solidarity and most sincere support to those who fight to defend the achievements made by that nation. Their creative production is of great relevance , not only for its recognized quality, but for its positive impact in the Latin American and Caribbean region,” according to the declaration.

In the declaration, Cuban institutions from different artistic branches state that “culture is one of the most conflictual domains within Argentine political reality. Intellectuals and artists, especially filmmakers and performing artists, face a scenario in which their performances may be dramatically affected and, as a consequence, the reconstruction of collective memory and national and regional identity would be hindered. Argentine culture and cinematography have a prominent place on the continent. They must be defended as a space where ways of acting and thinking about the past and imagining the future are recombined. They provide a setting for the collective construction of symbolic universes, social practices and political agendas. Culture offers the most important possibilities of choice and freedom.”

(Note: The integral text of the declaration is available on the website. The declaration is still open for signatures at

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If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to with the title “Comment on Declaration of Cuban Culture” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

Colombia: Artists who were victims of the conflict unite their voices for peace in their regions


An article from Noticias RCN

More than 45 artists who are victims of the conflict joined their voices to once again ask for peace in their regions. Singers, poets, dancers and musicians answered the call of the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace and created an album of various genres, in order to send the message against violence: “enough is enough”.

(click image and go to the video)

The album contains a mix of Afro-Colombian rhythms, ordinary songs and rap. It is a cry of hope and faith to bridge the gap between youth and those who take up arms. Noticias RCN spoke with several of its creators about their reasos to participate in the initiative.

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

Question for this article:

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

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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“The idea is that, instead of holding a gun, youth can pick up an instrument to play the music of our ancestors,” said Michelle Valverde, a member of “Juventud ancestral.”

Music as an element that transmits peace

For her part, Adriana Botero, advisor to the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, explained that the initiative is meant to use art against violence.

“Rap worked for us as a tool of social transformation. It is a bridge that allows us to communicate with all our societies,” added Denise Cáceres, member of ‘Motilonas rap’.

The initiative seeks to raise awareness of the need to develop constructive processes where all voices are heard. In it, music is understood as an element that transmits, and on this occasion, the message is peace and reconciliation.

“Without a doubt, music is an element that communicates, in this case, peace and reconciliation. We tell the whole world that through art we can build society,” concluded Edwin Eregua, singer of llanera music.

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If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to with the title “Comment on Colombia artists” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

The artists Mira Awad and Noa: voices for peace in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict


An article from enPositivo

Amid the chaos and tragedy that has marked the conflict between Israel and Gaza, the voices of Israeli singer Noa (Ahinoam Nini) and Arab-Israeli singer Mira Awad stand out as passionate calls for peace and coexistence. Representing a rare alliance between two seemingly opposing cultures, these artists have shared the stage and messages of hope over the years, seeking an alternative path to perpetual suffering and destruction.

In a world marked by tragedy and mistrust, these two exceptional voices represent beacons of hope, reminding us that, even in the midst of conflict, there is room for dialogue, understanding and, above all, the possibility of a more peaceful future.

This week (December 20) Noa and Mira Awad join forces again in a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic, whose funds will go to the Israeli forum that represents the relatives of the hostages in Gaza and to two women’s organizations for peace, one Israeli and the other Palestinian.

The talented Israeli singer Noa, known for representing Israel at Eurovision in 2009 in a duet for peace with Mira Awad, has strongly expressed her rejection of war and her firm support for the two-state solution. In a recent interview, Noa commented on the devastating events of October 7 and the subsequent bombings in Gaza, reinforcing her belief in the urgent need to end the conflict in the Middle East.

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

Question for this article:

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

How can just one or a few persons contribute to peace and justice?

(continued from left column)

“I do not support the cult of death. We have to do everything possible to save and protect human life, whether Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian… all human life,” Noa emphasized. Her position in favor of a diplomatic solution backed by international intervention is clear: “I want international intervention tomorrow.”

Additionally, Ella Noa advocates for the release of all Israeli and Palestinian hostages as part of a possible plan to stop the violence. Highlighting the tragedy unfolding in Gaza, she calls for empathy and understanding of the suffering on both sides of the conflict.

For her part, Mira Awad, the first Arab to represent Israel in Eurovision alongside Noa, offers a unique vision as an artist and activist.

From her London home, Awad reflects on the horrors of October 7 and the subsequent escalation of violence in Gaza. “The alternative to peace is the hell we see now,” she states forcefully.

Awad highlights the pain that Gazans are going through and exposes the complexity of the conflict, underscoring her commitment to peace and the recognition of Palestinian rights. Although she recognizes the difficulties of dialogue in the midst of trauma, she advocates for mutual understanding and recognition.

Both artists, despite their differences, share a common vision: the importance of working tirelessly for peace.

The two-state solution, mutual respect and an end to violence remain the fundamental pillars of their joint message: “There has to be another way.”

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United States: The Black Choreographers Dancing Toward Justice


An article by Hannah J. Davies from Hyperallergic (produced in collaboration with the Arts & Culture MA concentration at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism)

Since it began over a decade ago, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has celebrated the literal movements of its participants. People protesting killings of Black people have not only marched in the streets; they have krumped, twerked, vogued, and resurrected the electric slide of the ’70s and ’80s in often impromptu responses to the emotions underpinning their demonstrations. Black choreographers, in turn, have woven the grief, anger, and sadness of the BLM movement into formal concert dance.

Choreographer Chanel DaSilva’s Tabernacle (2023) (photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy the Dallas Black Dance Theatre)

Choreographer Kyle Abraham presented “Absent Matter” in 2015, just two years after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, ignited BLM and one year after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. A work of fluid and athletic gestures, Abraham’s performance took its cues from hip-hop, ballet, and politically minded anthems like Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” In 2016, David Roussève’s “Enough?” — with an accelerating choreographic phrase danced to a soundtrack of Aretha Franklin — asked whether dance can be a sufficient medium for considering the brutality often inflicted on Black people.

Now (January 2024), eight years later, that question is being answered in the affirmative on major dance stages around the United States. Choreographer Jamar Roberts’s “Ode,” a somber and sensuous dance first performed in 2019 as a response to gun violence, was restaged for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 65th anniversary in December. Last May, Chanel DaSilva’s “Tabernacle” premiered at the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, fusing Afrofuturism, hip hop, and African dance in a direct response to BLM. And last fall, as part of the French Institute Alliance Française’s (FIAF) Crossing the Line festival, the French-Malian choreographer Smaïl Kanouté’s “Never Twenty One” made its New York debut, its title borrowed from a BLM slogan. A trio of dancers whose bare arms and torsos were emblazoned with words like “death,” “negro,” and “PTSD” engage in movements akin to mortal combat onstage, punctuated by moments of kinship, in homage to people of color killed through gun violence in the US, South Africa, and Brazil before they had reached their 21st birthdays. After the performance at FIAF, one audience member noted that she had cried 63 times while watching.

While there is a clear difference between dance erupting on sidewalks and performances choreographed for the stage, there is overlap between the two forms. In addition to a sense of urgency, they share some of the same movements and gestures. In “Never Twenty One,” for example, the spasmodic krumping motions that originated in South Central Los Angeles in the ’90s were seen in protests in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd. One audience member animatedly joined in from her chair during the show at FIAF in perhaps an unusual move, but in another setting, it would be almost rude not to.

Dr. Shamell Bell, a dancer, Harvard lecturer, and one of the founding members of the Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles, explained to Hyperallergic the importance of rooting such pieces in lived experience and “[reaching] out to the people that you’re supposedly wanting to bring attention to.” Having begun her career dancing on the streets as a youth activist, Dr. Bell now works on performance pieces that, like “Never Twenty One,” play with the conventions and traditions of vernacular Black dance genres to shine a light on difficult topics.

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Question for this article:

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

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Dr. Bell served as a co-social impact director for Ritual of Breath Is The Rite to Resist (2022), a transmedia opera at Dartmouth and Stanford that brought together dance, music, visual art, and text. Composed by Jonathan Berger and choreographed by Neema Bickersteth and Trebien Pollard, the piece was loosely based on the last moments in the life of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old African-American man who was killed by a New York City Police Department officer in 2014. His final words — “I can’t breathe” — became a major slogan for the BLM movement.

“We asked the community what they needed to heal,” Dr. Bell said. “One of the most important aspects of doing performance as activism is making sure it has tangible resources for and connections with the community it matters the most to.”

Dr. Bell reached out to Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, and others who had lost children to police brutality, not only entering into a dialogue with them but also creating rituals aimed at supporting them emotionally. In a similar vein, Kanouté incorporated the testimonies of bereaved families into his piece at FIAF, including haunting monologues in multiple languages that comprise the show’s soundtrack. Both works go beyond archiving the experiences of their subjects to also provide a space for grieving. “Dance is a healing modality,” Dr. Bell added. “And we need to heal ourselves in order to heal this world.”

Of course, BLM and other movements for racial justice are just the latest chapters in a long history of Black cultural activism in the United States. Artist and academic Stafford C. Berry Jr., a scholar of what he describes as “African-rooted” dance at Indiana University, told Hyperallergic that these choreographic works extend and are part of “the trajectory and existence of Black lives from enslavement up until now,” adding that the BLM movement “is really a contemporary recapitulation of our earlier movements.” Mentored by the influential choreographers Chuck Davis and Kariamu Welsh, Berry noted that he has long drawn inspiration from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and ’70s, which emerged in tandem with Black Power. Even so, Berry sees the BLM movement’s resurgence in recent years as a step forward in understanding Blackness in America. Berry noted that the works that BLM has inspired have been “bold and unapologetic, by people who are centering themselves and trying to figure out what BLM means for the United States, and the world.”

This certainly seems true of Kanouté, who is based in Paris and was inspired by what he described to Hyperallergic as the “powerful echo” of events in the US to look at the loss of Black lives across the world. “We had a young man called Nahel [Merzouk] who was shot by the police,” he said, catching his breath backstage after the FIAF performance as he recalled the case of the 17-year-old boy of North African descent who was killed by French police last June, sparking protests across France. “The racism and separation I grew up with was under the surface, but now it’s come out.”

In the same way that popular dance can offer a sense of hope and resistance at protests, there is a cathartic quality to Kanouté’s work. Despite the frequent choreographed clashes among the three men on stage, “Never 21” was infused with a sense of truly owning and embracing Blackness and Black joy in its many forms. Kanouté explained that he draws particular inspiration from Black communities living in cities like Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro, whose joy often exists side by side with danger and precarity.

“They have to create their own identity, their own music, their own dance, because they don’t know if tomorrow they will still be there,” Kanouté said. “In that kind of atmosphere, you create powerful things.”

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Artists in Turkey: Let us be a voice for peace


An article from ANF News

In an urgent appeal to the public, hundreds of artists from Turkey called for negotiations on a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. The declaration “Let us be a voice for peace”, signed by 564 personalities, was presented today at the Taksim Hill Hotel in Istanbul. Among the signatories are prominent names such as musician Cevdet Bağca, writer Ayşegül Devecioğlu, art critic and painter Feyyaz Yaman, author Firat Cewerî, director Haşim Aydemir, actress Jülide Kural, musician Mikail Aslan, documentary filmmaker Nejla Demirci, photographer Özcan Yaman, painter Sevinç Altan, author Şanar Yurdatapan and director and DEM deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder.

Writer Ayşegül Devecioğlu read the declaration, the full text of which reads as follows:

“We, the undersigned people of art and literature, would like to share with the public our objection to the obstacles preventing the Republic from attaining a democratic, populist and libertarian character in its second century. Concerned about the future of Turkey, we wish to be a modest voice in this environment of multiple crises. If we remain silent today, there may be no one left to speak tomorrow.

We, the people of art and literature, who will not stand by and watch Turkey waste another century, propose to weave together a future in which all ethnic, religious and cultural identities live freely and are not oppressed or subjected to pogroms.

We have the responsibility to speak a new word, to form a new sentence in this muddy ground where the legislature is under the pressure of the government, the independent judiciary has lost its independence under the ‘one man regime’, secular and free education has fallen behind the times, trustees have been appointed to universities and people’s municipalities, women are subjected to violence, brain drain has reached an extreme level, and youth are leaving the country out of fear for their future.

We believe that we need a new way of looking and seeing in this atmosphere of deepening social and economic crises, where democratic possibilities are excluded in solving problems arising from denial and assimilation, and violence is constantly updated as a policy.

For a hundred years, many humanitarian demands for rights, especially the democratic demands of the Kurds and the freedom of belief of Alevis, were postponed, not resolved, and consolidated by the governments as a phenomenon of separation between our peoples. The divisions between peoples and cultures have been deepened.

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Question for this article:

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

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Pressurized by multiple crises, public opinion is under heavy manipulation by the government. Those who govern Turkey are distracting the public from the real agenda with secondary agendas. Isolation practices have turned into a management apparatus in the hands of the autocratic government. Society is under an ideological and political siege. Isolation and war policies deepen social and economic crises.

Thousands of people are unlawfully imprisoned for their political views and are almost political hostages. Practices in prisons that violate human rights are increasing day by day. Thousands of political prisoners are currently on hunger strike against isolation practices. The demands of political prisoners on hunger strike must be listened to and resolved through negotiations.

We believe that Turkey’s problems should be solved through negotiation. Starting in 2013, the ‘Resolution Process’, which created great hope for reconciliation among the people, was a valuable experiment. Negotiations with Abdullah Öcalan, one of the interlocutors of the issue, created the possibilities for peace. With the consent of a large part of society, the process can start again. Society must be courageous for peace. It should not be afraid to dialog and talk.

It is our open call to everyone in the position of interlocutor; the conditions set forth by universal law and human rights need to be fulfilled without hesitation by the political representatives of the time. The government must abandon the politics of oppression, isolation and war. We believe that these ideas and suggestions by people of art and literature will be embraced by all those who desire the construction of social peace.”

Speaking at the meeting, Feyyaz Yaman from Karşı Sanat (Counter Art) said that they came together to “protect peace”. Yaman said, “But while doing this, our framework has been in the field of art. Art has never experienced such an environment of violence, victimization and injustice as today. Its voice has never been silenced like this. In each of these situations, we see that this silence is not only due to the economic difficulties experienced by artists. Artists cannot perform, writers cannot write their books. The real reason for this whole crisis is that the social consensus has also broken down at the legal level. This silencing environment we are experiencing all over the world today prompts us to seek our rights. If art is to speak a critical language, then it must first weave rights and the coexistence of peoples. We invite artists to stand together against those who continuously impose a process of extermination and to claim this need. We have something to do for this, we need to produce a process of real dialogue. We have to bring together and defend the injustices we have suffered in this environment of differences on our common ground of righteousness. As those who believe in the power of art, we invite everyone to re-establish this peace.”

See also French artists and intellectuals: Let us be a voice for peace

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Algeria: National Graffiti Festival-Sétif; Fethi Mjahed wins 1st Prize


An article from L’Expression (translation by CPNN)

The artist Fethi Mjahed from Tiaret won the Best Graffiti Prize on Thursday at the end of the fifth edition of the National Graffiti Festival which opened Monday in Sétif for his optimistic work. Second and third places went respectively to Hamza Mokrani from Khenchela and Salah-Eddine Adhimi from Sétif.

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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?

In a statement to APS, Nacer Fadli, president of the organizing committee and director of the Office of Youth Establishments (ODEJ) of Sétif, recalled that “40 artists from several wilayas took part in this traditional event organized by the league of cultural and scientific activities of young people in concert with the Odej and the direction of youth and sports as part of the implementation of the annual program of the supervisory ministry

Unlike previous editions during which the participants drew on the walls in different places in the city, the organizers opted this year to put the grafitti on wooden panels on the square adjoining the Sétif amusement park. The panels can then be used to decorate certain establishments or participate in other competitions, said Mr. Fadli.

The objective of the festival is to make these works of art a means of raising awareness of citizenship and the dissemination of the culture of peace, while allowing young people to exchange their experiences and participate in local activities, added the head of Odej.

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