Looking back at 2023, one bright spot has been the continued advance of the culture of peace in Latin America and Africa.
In Latin America, this has been particularly dramatic in the case of Colombia, which is emerging from decades of civil war. Last month we featured articles from the cities of Armenia, Cúcuta and Florencia. Earlier in 2022, we published articles from Cartagena, Viotá, Medellin and Tuluá, as well as numerous articles on national initiatives for the culture of peace.
In Armenia, the Observatory for the City, Peace, Coexistence and Citizen Culture has been created so that organizations, associations and foundations, public and private entities, as well as members of civil society and victims of armed conflict can contribute to the construction of the peace of the municipality. Armenia is the second city in Colombia to establish such an observatory.
In Cúcuta, during the Nights of Peace. the neighborhoods of Cúcuta and the adjacent rural area will be visited for 17 days, with different entertainments including a theatrical presentation, puppet shows, musical acts and, of course, the traditional prayer of the Novenas of Bonus. All these are framed under the message of the culture of peace and the promotion of the values of respect, forgiveness and reconciliation.
In Florencia, 45 university students, social leaders and victims of the armed conflict attended a course and received the diploma “Transitional justice: a contribution to the construction of territorial peace”. The course started last July for which ten accredited national and international organizations contributed their knowledge and experience.
Mexico, too, is heavily involved. In 2022, we published articles on the Mexican cities and states of Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Alamo and Queretero, Jalisco and Chihuahua, as well as national government initiatives for a culture of peace. Additionally, in December, we published the following:
In San Juan del Rio, various commitments have been established by Rotary International as part of the project “Building a culture of positive peace”,
In Atlixco, the First Day of Culture of Peace included a discussion with local actors “to generate a space for the exchange of knowledge, dialogue and learning for reconstruction of the social fabric and the construction of a Culture of Peace..”
In Jalisco, the “V Global Forum on the Culture of Peace” was held to analyzing the conflicts and problems that trigger violence, as well as proposing solutions to promote social reconciliation.
In Hidalgo, networks of Women Peace-Builders (MUCPAZ) were created in Apan, Tula de Allende and Pachuca, strategic municipalities for the reconstruction of the social fabric.
In Brazil, the project “Weaving Networks for a Culture of Peace and Violence Prevention” was part of the Culture of Peace Fair of Juiz de Fora, dedicated to the establishment of an effective network for preventing and coping with the various forms of violence in the city.
Also in Brazil, the XII Educational Guidance Forum in Brasilia addressed the theme “Educational Guidance for a Culture of Peace”, to prevent violence and for a culture of peace in the daily lives of schools.
In Honduras, the Festival of Inclusion of Cerro Juana Laínez was dedicated to strengthen the inclusion and participation of women, youth, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, people with disabilities, the LGBTIQ+ community and Honduran citizens in the processes of social oversight and participation politics, as a contribution to the culture of peace.
As for Africa, during last year we carried articles on the culture of peace from Togo, Mali, Guinea, Gabon, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Chad, Niger and Zimbabwe.
In December alone, here are additional articles from Africa.
In Chad, the provinces of Lac and Hadjer-Lamis came together for a sports cultural festival focused on the culture of peace and living together.
In Morocco, the city of Agadir hosted the the 6th Edition of the African Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes targeting Local Governments. One of the themes was “Capacity building for the promotion of the Culture of Peace and the art of negotiation.”
In Burkina Faso, it was announced that the 28th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival will take place in February with the theme “African Cinemas and Culture of Peace”.
And in the Gambia, the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) convened a day’s ‘bantaba’ (group discussion) on youth participation in decision-making and peace-building to strengthen the capacity of peace building practitioners, governmental and non-governmental institutions, and to develop conflict prevention networks and mechanisms to promote the culture of peace.
Finally, the results of the World Cup of Football were celebrated in terms of the culture of peace in Latin America and Africa. From Argentina, Alicia Cabezudo considers that World Championship as an opportunity for education for cultures of peace. And from Africa, the embrace of footballers Achraf Hakimi of Morocco and Kylian Mbappe of France but African ancestry was celebrated as “the spirit of sport which is the culture of peace”.
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