Colombia: The first meeting is held in Cali to weave a network of peace initiatives in the territories

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An article from the Ministry of Culture of Colombia

Between April 3 and April 5, the first national meeting took place for territorial networks for a culture of peace, an initiative of the Culture of Peace Strategy of the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Knowledge.

The beginninf of the space was marked by the voices of the Cantaoras de Pogue (Bojayá) who evoked the pain of their history; an echo to leave war and seek peace.

The song invited the 25 artistic and cultural organizations from the municipalities of Antioquia, Nariño, Chocó, Putumayo, Caribe and Bogotá, attending the event, to reflect on the transformative power of unity, mutual protection and trust in the ability of the territories to forge peace.

Space for mutual recognition of organizations. Photo: Paula Beltrán.

The objective of this meeting is to recognize the artistic and cultural organizations strengthened by the Culture of Peace Strategy of the Ministry of Cultures and promote their exchange of experiences, methodologies and processes.

“In the arts you show us that other country that some have called ‘the geography of hope.’ We must move from resistance to guarantees of rights, so that we can advance beyond war and everything that has harmed us,” said Adriana Molano, Vice Minister of Heritage, Memories and Cultural Governance.

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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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It is expected that during the three days of the meeting, these organizations will connect experiences, create peace networks and share their territorial processes, commitments and methodologies around the creation of a culture of peace.

For the Culture of Peace Strategy, these initiatives are platforms that, from the territories, make it possible to address daily violence, long-term violence and the factors of persistence of armed conflict.

The main purpose of the strategy is to enhance the political and transformative nature of culture in the care of all forms of life, as well as in the understanding and processing of conflicts.

“We work with children and young people, so that through culture they are part of a new world. I think that this meeting invites us to learn about the initiatives of the other groups, to know how we are all working for that long-awaited peace,” said Fernanda Tenorio Quiñones, who comes from Tumaco and is a member of the Pacific Folklore School Foundation.

A culture of peace for what?

Since 2023, Minculturas has been accompanying and supporting territorial peace culture initiatives. It does so with processes to strengthen its management capabilities, training spaces and guaranteeing the visibility of its actions. This is in line with the commitment to recognize that peace is forged from the territories and that the cultural efforts coming from the communities are decisive for the transformation of the stories of war into new imaginaries of the nation.

The proposal of a Culture of Peace is to strengthen political participation and territorial transformation, promote the sensitivity that art contains towards daily life, dignify life, process mourning and repair damage. To build, together, new stories of the nation.

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Speech by Brazil President Lula at the opening of the 37th African Union Summit

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

A report from the Government of Brazil on February 17

It is with great joy that I return to Africa for the twenty-first time, once again as President of Brazil, to address the leaders of the African Union. I come to reaffirm the partnership and bond between our country and our people and the sister continent.


Lula and Africa

The African struggle has a lot in common with the challenges faced by Brazil. More than half of the 200 million Brazilian citizens recognize themselves as Afro-descendants. We, Africans and Brazilians, must chart our own paths within the emerging world order.

We must create a new global governance that is capable of facing the challenges of our time.

Minimal State theories are no longer applicable. Planning agricultural and industrial development has once again become part of public policies in all sectors.

Energy and digital transitions require government leverage and guidance.

Attempts to restore a global system based on ideological blocs are not applicable in the real world. Multipolarity is an inexorable and welcome component in the 21st century. Consolidation of BRICS as the world’s most important arena for the articulation of emerging countries is an undeniable advance.

Without the participation of developing countries, it will not be possible to open any new cycle of global expansion — combining growth, environmental preservation and reduced inequality and with increased freedoms.

The Global South is becoming an unavoidable part of the solution to the main crises that afflict this planet.

These crises arise from a model that concentrates wealth, and which mainly affects the poorest — and, among these, immigrants. The alternative to the ills of neoliberal globalization will not come from the racist and xenophobic far right. Development cannot be the privilege of a few.

Only an inclusive social project will allow us to establish prosperous, free, democratic, and sovereign societies. There will be no stability or democracy if hunger and unemployment remain.

The time is ripe to revive the best humanist traditions of the great leaders of African decolonization.

Being a humanist today means condemning the attacks perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli civilians, and demanding the immediate release of all hostages. Being a humanist also demands rejecting Israel’s disproportionate response, which has killed almost 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza—the vast majority of them women and children—and caused the forced displacement of over 80% of the population.

The solution to this crisis will only last if we move quickly towards the creation of a Palestinian State that is also recognized as a full member of the United Nations—a strengthened UN that harbors a more representative Security Council, in which there are no countries with veto power, and which includes permanent members from Africa and Latin America. For two years now, the war in Ukraine has exposed the Council’s paralysis. Beyond the tragic loss of life, its consequences are also being felt around the world in food and fertilizer prices.

There will be no military solution to this conflict. The time has come for politics and diplomacy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Africa—with its 1 billion 500 million inhabitants and its immense and rich territory—has enormous possibilities for the future. Brazil wants to grow alongside Africa, but never dictating any paths.

The Brazilian people are recovering their political and economic sovereignty. We are adopting an ecological transformation project which will allow us to take a historic leap forward. We are reviving our democracy and making it increasingly participatory.

Through Bolsa Família and other successful public policies, we will once again leave the hunger map and lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty.

Talking about “Inclusive Education”—this Summit’s main topic—is talking about the future. Around the world, almost 250 million children do not attend school. In Brazil we are implementing full-time schools, as well as granting a benefit to the poorest high school students as a way of reducing the number of school dropouts.

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(Click here for the Portuguese version of this article)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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I am proud to say that thousands of African citizens have concluded their studies in Brazil—but we are going to do even more. We are going to increase the number of scholarships we offer so as to welcome African students to our public higher education institutions.

We are willing to develop educational programs in Africa, and to promote intense exchange of teachers and researchers. Let us collaborate so that Africa may become independent in its food and clean energy production.

Africa harbors 400 million hectares spread across over 25 countries which have the potential to make this continent one of the great breadbaskets of the world, enabling policies to combat hunger and produce biofuels.

I also want to extend our partnership to the health sector. There is much to learn from both of our health strategies, and from the possibility of structuring robust and broad-reaching public systems.

We will work alongside the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to tackle neglected tropical diseases. We will aim to expand access to medicines, avoiding repetition of the vaccine “apartheid” that we saw in COVID-19.

Taking care of the health of the planet is also our priority. The imperative of protecting the world’s two largest tropical rainforests—in the Amazon and the Congo basins—makes us protagonists in the climate agenda.

Current international instruments are insufficient to effectively reward the protection of forests, their biodiversity and the people who live in them, take care of them, and depend on them.

By recovering degraded areas, we can create a true green belt to protect forests in the Global South. Alongside African partners, Brazil wants to develop and construct a family of satellites to monitor deforestation.

To carry all this out, we are going to create a cooperation outpost with the African Union in sectors such as agricultural research, health, education, environment, and science and technology.

Our diplomatic representation in Addis Ababa will soon include employees from government bodies such as the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, EMBRAPA and FIOCRUZ—our research and development bodies in agriculture and health.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our paths will meet again at the G20 Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, and at COP 30, in Belém. The presence of the African Union as a full member of the G20 will be of great value—but including more countries from the continent as full members is still also necessary. We have common agendas to defend.

It is unacceptable that a world capable of generating wealth in the order of USD 100 trillion dollars per year still harbors the hunger of more than 735 million people. We are creating the Global Alliance against Hunger at the G20 so as to promote a set of public policies and mobilize resources to finance them.

Around 60 countries—many of them in Africa—are coming close to financial insolvency, allocating more resources to paying external debt than to education or health. This reflects the obsolete nature of financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, which often worsen crises that they should be resolving.

Solutions to transform unfair and unpayable debts into concrete assets—such as highways, railways, hydroelectric plants, wind and solar energy parks, green hydrogen production and energy transmission networks—must be sought after. We need to follow the evolution of new technologies step by step.

Artificial Intelligence cannot be monopolized by a few countries and companies—and may also become fertile ground for hate speech and misinformation, as well as cause unemployment and reinforce racial and gender biases which accentuate injustice and discrimination.

Brazil is going to promote G20 interaction with the High-Level Panel created by the UN Secretary-General to support discussions on the Global Digital Compact.

In this way, we hope to contribute to effective and multilateral governance in Artificial Intelligence that fully incorporates the interests of the Global South.

My friends,
I want to close by saying that there is no Global South without Africa.

Resuming Brazil’s rapprochement with Africa means recovering historical ties and contributing to the construction of a new, more just and supportive world order. Above all, it allows us to join forces in overcoming the challenges that lie ahead.

Thank you very much.

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Mary Robinson key note at the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s 148th Assembly (April 6)

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

Text transcribed from video on You Tube

Excellencies, distinguished delegates to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, it’s an honour to address the general debate of your 148th Assembly. I’m speaking to you  as Chair of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela who work for peace, human rights and a sustainable planet. I’m also speaking as a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former President of my own country, Ireland and a former Senator.


Video of speech

I served for 20 years in the Upper House of the Irish Parliament and in all these roles  and all throughout my career, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to engage with the IPU. Parliaments play an indispensable role in building bridges for peace and understanding and consensus  on how to tackle shared challenges. This role is particularly valuable today  in an era of increasing social polarisation and geopolitical tensions.

The IPU plays a critical role as a forum where parliamentarians can come together,  exchange experiences and discuss the challenges of the hour, something I learned from attending  IPU events during my time in the Irish Senate in the 1970s and 80s and it has been a privilege  to be invited to address the Assembly on a number of occasions since. Today I’m happy to hear that the Assembly will also focus on multilateralism in this year when the world is gathering at the upcoming Summit of the Future convened by the UN Secretary-General to chart a new  pathway forward for international cooperation. It’s no exaggeration to say today that we are at  a moment of crisis in multilateralism.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

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Our world faces existential threats that can only be tackled collectively from the climate and nature crisis and pandemics to nuclear weapons and the risks  of unregulated artificial intelligence. But at precisely the moment when cooperation is critical,  geopolitical tensions and confrontations are rising and too much decision-making is governed  by short-term self-interested calculations. While the COP28 summit in Dubai last December  did make some progress producing the first text that directly recognized the need to move away  from fossil fuels, we remain in a climate and nature emergency.

Each month since June  last year has seen a new temperature high and the pathway we are on is unsustainable. Yet leaders are still not acting at the pace and scale required. We’re four years on from the  onset of COVID-19, a global pandemic that cost the lives of millions and exacerbated inequality  between and within nations.

But we are struggling to form consensus on a pandemic accord that would  help prevent and better prepare the world for future pandemics. 55 years after the treaty onthe non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear powers have not met their commitment to reduce  their arsenals. Instead, the few remaining nuclear agreements mitigating catastrophic risk are  expiring and we face a renewed nuclear arms race with some leaders openly threatening to use  nuclear weapons in current conflicts.

We see a proliferation of conflicts including Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine and Israel’s disproportionate response to the horrific  October attacks by Hamas. The multilateral international peace and security architecture, most notably the UN Security Council, appears completely ill-equipped to deal with these crises. While conflicts elsewhere, from Myanmar to Sudan, are not getting the attention that they need.

It’s against this backdrop that The Elders are calling for long-view leadership to tackle existential threats and to build a more resilient and equal society. Long-view leadership means showing the determination to resolve intractable problems, not just manage them. The wisdom to make decisions based on scientific evidence and reason and the humility to listen to all of those affected.

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Dr. Shirin Ebadi Speech In Paris on International Women’s Day

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A report from the Nobel Women’s Initiative

On March 8th, I congratulate all of you. I hope that in the coming year, we will witness better conditions for all women around the world.

Firstly, I would like to express my sympathy with the Palestinian and Israeli families who were killed or subjected to sexual violence after the October 7th attack. Undoubtedly, the terrorist attack by Hamas must be condemned, but the painful point is that innocent people in Gaza are paying the price for the actions of a few terrorists. In Gaza, not a single intact building remains, and one or more members of each family have been killed, prompting people around the world to ask, what is the guilt of innocent civilians? Some, including Mr. Netanyahu, argue that the people of Gaza chose Hamas in an election and must bear the consequences of their choice, but this argument is flawed.

On the other hand, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, lives safely with his family in Qatar, while innocent civilians in Gaza are being killed. Moreover, Netanyahu does not have the full support of all Israeli people, and opposition among Israelis against the continuation of the massacre of innocent people in Gaza has begun.

In my opinion, if both Hamas and Israeli leaders were women, we certainly wouldn’t see such conditions, neither would the events of October 7th occur, nor would innocent people in Gaza be killed and displaced.

Unfortunately, the world of politics has become more masculine than ever, and one of the reasons for the endangerment of peace in the world is this fact. After the Arab Spring, I stated in several articles and interviews that the Arab Spring would not begin in Islamic countries unless women achieve equality, and unfortunately, we saw how the spring turned into autumn.

In the negotiations currently taking place regarding Palestine, the discussion mostly revolves around ceasefire and the release of hostages, but I believe it is better to move towards peace. Peace will only be sustainable when an independent state of Palestine is recognized, and Gaza is handed over to the Palestinian people. Two independent states of Palestine and Israel, by forgetting their bloody past, can peacefully coexist. And in the early years, to prevent any unforeseen incidents, a UN peacekeeping force must be deployed at the border between Israel and Palestine.In this case, we will see how the Islamic Republic of Iran regime and other terrorist groups it supports, such as the Houthis and Hezbollah in Lebanon, are weakened. They justify their terrorist activities under the pretext of supporting the Palestinian people.

If we examine the situation of women worldwide, we will realize that women have not yet achieved full equality in all countries, and gender discrimination exists in all countries to varying degrees.

In some western countries like European countries and the United States, discrimination is less, while in others, it is more. In European countries, Canada, and the United States, there are laws against gender discrimination, and women are recognized as having equal rights. However, due to some issues such as dual responsibilities of children and caregiving, working outside the home, and also due to patriarchal culture in some social classes, women are less likely to enjoy equal rights.

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Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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A look at the number of women among presidents and leaders of political parties compared to men in such positions is quite indicative of a regrettable reality.

How many women are among the top bankers and CEOs of large multinational companies? Many examples indicate the existence of inequality, and it seems that equality remains on paper and has not yet occurred in society. But in some other countries, often Islamic countries, laws are the source of inequality and oppress women, and discrimination is prevalent. In Iran, after the 1979 revolution, many laws were passed against women. In some cases, they explicitly ignored women’s human identity, under the law of “Diyeh” (blood money), where a woman’s “Diyeh” is half of a man’s. The testimony of two women in court is equivalent to one man’s testimony. A man can have up to four wives and divorce his wife whenever he wants, but getting a divorce for a woman can be very difficult and sometimes impossible.



A girl who gets married for the first time, regardless of her age, needs written permission from her father. A woman who is married cannot travel without her husband’s written permission. And many other discriminatory laws. These medieval laws are not commensurate with Iran’s rich culture and the education of women because for years, half of the students in Iranian universities have been girls, and many professors are women. The mismatch between laws and the cultural conditions of society, especially Iranian women, has led to numerous protests and movements throughout the 45 years of the Islamic Republic regime’s rule. The latest of these was The Women, Life , Freedom Movement which occurred in 2022 following the murder of a young girl named Mahsa by government agents for not adhering to the compulsory hijab. Iranian men also actively participated alongside women in this movement, which was severely suppressed by the government.

According to statistics, over 590 people were killed on the streets by government agents, many were injured or lost their sight, and 20,000 were detained. 70 citizens have been sentenced to death for participating in protests, and eight of them have been executed so far. Although the government managed to suppress this movement to some extent and return people to their homes, Iran is like a volcano that could erupt at any moment.

The Mahsa Movement had the intention of the International community. The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights to Mahsa, who had been killed, and invited her family to accept the prize, but the Islamic Republic banned Mahsa’s father, mother, and brother from leaving the country, preventing them from attending the ceremony. Additionally, the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Narges Mohammadi as a symbol of the Women, Life, Freedom Movement. Narges Mohammadi has been imprisoned for over six years for her human rights activism—these two examples alone is enough to show how any form of opposition in Iran is suppressed.

As for Afghanistan, the situation is even worse than in Iran. Afghan women don’t even have the right to attend high school or university, and they are deprived of any form of social activity. They don’t have the right to work in government offices or international organizations. They don’t have the right to obtain business licenses or engage in independent businesses, not even in small-scale activities. Recently, they have also been denied the right to speak to or be interviewed by the media if the reporter is a man, along with many other restrictions.

Afghan women activists have not remained silent. They continue their struggles both inside and outside Afghanistan, but we see that the Taliban suppress women even more ruthlessly than the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Warmest regards

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United States: Cornel West on His 2024 Presidential Bid

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

Excerpts from video interview by C-Span on April 2

2024 Independent presidential candidate Cornel West talked about his candidacy, platform, and views on U.S. politics today.

Pedro Echevarria

If you had to boil down your candidacy to a few sentences what would you tell people?

Cornel West

It would be based on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr and Fannie Lou Hamer, which is trying to get beyond all the lies, all the revenge. I try to talk about truth, justice and love in a context where it seems it is very, very difficult to have any moment of substantive morality, where politics has become legalized corruption and normalized bribery, where they will say anything to stay in office and where there is no genuine concern for people, let alone poor people, working people, people who have been subjugated and degraded.  This is not just empty moral rhetoric. If we give up on serious commitment to public life and citizens being human beings, as opposed to being objects to be manipulated. then the country is over, the American project as we have understood it will be over. I want to raise my voice to mobilize people and get people to see that Trump is leading us toward second civil war and Biden is leading us to a third world war. We’ve got to do better than those two as an option at this particular moment of history.

Video of interview

Pedro Echevarria

Do you have a political background? And what do you think about electing someone to office without a political background?

Cornel West

Well, I think what we need, Brother, is we need new persons, new characters and new visions injected into our system.  My political background is that I have been fighting for poor and working people for 55 years. I’ve worked with a number of different candidates. Sometimes they were within the Democratic party, sometimes they have been outside. More and more they have been outside, because the Democratic party, itself, has succumbed to capture by Wall Street and the Pentagon, by the war profiteers, on the one hand, and the money-makers, on the other. The Republican party has given up for a long time, captured by big money.  It’s true that people look at me and say, “Well, you have never been an elected official.” That’s exactly right. I have been an active citizen trying to ensure that truth and justice can procure a place in American politics and that is very much what i would do as president. i would set a completely different tone, a completely different vibe coming from the White House. And that would be “working people you are at the center of public policy. not Wall Street, not looking at the stock market but rather Main Street and looking at access to health care, access to quality education, access to safe communities, access to housing as a human right just like health care is a human right. we have to push back these predators that have been pushing out so many poor and working people when it comes to housing a whole host of other rights.

Pedro Echevarria

On your website one of the things you advocate for is a wealth tax on all billionaire holdings and transactions, a $27 minimum wage and establish a federal universal basic income commission.  As far as the wealth tax is concerned, I know that President Biden has called for increased taxes on the wealthy, but what is your definition of a wealth tax? How would that work?

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

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Cornel West

Well, a wealth tax, really, is something that is very difficult to enforce. as much as i would put it on paper, we know that the wealthy are so clever with their lawyers and create loopholes. I am much more concerned about disinvesting from the military. 62 cents for every one dollar in the discretionary budget in Washington goes to the military.  We have 800 military units around the world and special operations in 130 countries. We have to cut back massively on military spending and put it directly into universal basic income.  Alaska was the first state to endorse me and the Aurora Party, in part because we agreed there should be a basic universal income, a social net below which people cannot fall. It’s so much easier to disinvest from the military and reinvest directly into satisfying basic social needs than to follow through on a wealth tax, because we can have some of the most marvelous wealth taxes on paper and you can’t execute it because these loopholes are still there and the lawyers are hired, and there’s tax evasion in the Cayman Islands.  You know the story, how difficult it is to follow through. Yes, I do support that on paper, but in terms of actually gaining resources for poor and working people we need to support a strong minimum wage and strong wing of the trade union movement as well as the fight for benefits and contribute to a robust public life in the country, we have to engage in a significant disinvestment of the military into satisfying basic social needs of our citizens. 

I go to schools all the time and I see more policemen in elementary schools than nurses and counselors.  Can you imagine if that was the case when we went to school? Good God Almighty, these are precious students, in the hood, in the barrios, the reservations, poor whites.  What kind of future are we talking about with that militarized context? I was just at Atlanta, where we see the militarization, not just of the police, but any security officer. Why? Because as the society begins to decay we appeal to the military and we end up with more and more mass shootings and militaristic ways of dealing with conflict. That is the sign of a country going under.  We’ve got to fight back as countervailing forces against organized greed and institutionalized hatred and routinized indifference to the most vulnerable. The 25th chapter of Matthew is a fundamental lens of which to view the world. What you do to prisoners, poor, the elderfly, the children, the widow, the orphan, the fatherless, the motherless. that is the criteria. . . .

Pedro Echevarria

Dr. West, I want to address a couple of things on your platform, making news even as we are talking today: one step to codify abortion rights as a constitutional mandate and to nationalize the health care industry, including the pharmaceutical industry.  Why do you think that is necessary?

Cornel West

We have to have a fundamental commitment to women having control over their bodies. We know that if there were a debate and a conversation over abortion in men and men were the only ones who gave birth there would be a very different conversation. Let’s be honest about the patriarchal context of the discussion over abortion. Abortion is in many ways a difficult and delicate issue but we have to have a sensitivity to the woman and the child. I am firmly committed to women having control over the reproductive rights, and I am firmly committed to taking the greed out of our health system. I don’t know why we can’t have the same kind of health care system that the congress has, that the military has. They call that single payer because those are the offices tied to national security. i believe that health care like poverty and the human right to housing those are issues of national security too.  The pharmaceutical companies and medical systems have been obsessed with profits and makes it difficult to satisfy the fundamental basic needs of the most vulnerable, and that is why i am committed to ensuring that every citizen has access to quality health care, quality education, safe neighborhoods with communities having oversight over the police . . .

Pedro Echevarria

How much ballot access do you have?

Cornel West

We began with Alaska with the Aurora Party, and then we moved to the United Citizens Party in South Carolina. Very interesting because that was the party that brother Cliburn helped to found in the 60’s and 70’s. I always applaud his early years, and that is the party that endosed me. I’m on the ballot in Utah. on the ballot in Oregon with the Progressive Party. We are on the move. We have low hanging fruits in terms of states where we’re able to get on the ballot once I make the announcement of a Vice-President candidate and they open up their particular dates to get on the ballot.  We are very much on the move and trying to make sure that truth, justice and love has a place in a moment of overwhelming barbarity.

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United States: Exclusive interview: Jill Stein discusses Green Party goals and local issues on Racine visit

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An article by Denise Lockwood from the Racine Country Eye

Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, spoke at the Dekoven Center in Racine (Wiscosin) on Tuesday (March 12) as part of her third bid for the White House, bringing attention to various national and local issues.

Stein’s campaign focuses on the Green Party’s core principles, which include environmental sustainability, social justice and a commitment to nonviolence. The party positions itself as an alternative to the two dominant political parties in the United States.

The Green Party, known for its advocacy for environmental issues, emphasizes the need for sustainable energy, strong social programs and a reduced military budget. It champions grassroots democracy and aims to counter corporate political influence, offering voters an alternative that stresses ecological wisdom, social justice and nonviolent solutions.

During her visit, Stein spoke with Racine County Eye reporter Denise Lockwood about the heightened engagement in the current election cycle, indicating a shift in public sentiment.

“People are like, shall we say, are much more engaged in this election than I’ve seen before,” Stein said.

In her previous presidential bids in 2012 and 2016, Stein, originally from Lexington, Mass., has consistently advocated for the Green Party’s ideals. Trained as a physician at Harvard Medical School, Stein’s political transition was driven by her growing concern for the connection between public health and environmental issues.

She also addressed the financial struggles of many Americans, highlighting the burdens of debt.

“What we’re hearing now is like what we’ve learned over the last decade, but the volume is way turned up,” she stated, drawing attention to the pressing issues of college and medical debt and their broader implications for ordinary citizens’ financial stability.

Stein discusses local issues

In discussing local issues, Stein focused on concerns specific to Racine and similar communities, such as housing challenges, gang violence, and childhood lead poisoning. As a physician, she expressed particular concern about Wisconsin’s high rates of lead poisoning and the broader public health implications. Stein linked these issues to larger systemic problems, including racial disparities and inadequate federal housing policies.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

A central component of Stein’s platform is the Green New Deal, which proposes an ambitious plan to address economic, environmental, and social challenges simultaneously.

“Our program intends to eliminate poverty. And number two, ensure that racial justice is a major dimension of our Green New Deal, a major economic redevelopment program,” Stein explained, illustrating her vision for an integrated approach to these intertwined issues.

On immigration, Stein criticized U.S. foreign policy, suggesting that it has contributed to the current migrant crisis. She advocated for comprehensive reforms, including addressing climate change and stabilizing countries economically and politically to reduce the necessity of forced migration.

Stein also discussed the potential for reallocating resources currently directed toward military expenditures.

“We are spending $12,000 this year maintaining forever wars in the Forever War Machine—$12,000 per household—in our tax base,” she claimed, suggesting that these funds could be more effectively used to address domestic issues.

Campaign strategy

Stein’s campaign’s financial strategy, which focuses on smaller donations, reflects a grassroots approach distinct from her competitors.

“We do have small donations coming in. We can do things for far less,” she shared, highlighting the campaign’s reliance on public support rather than large donors.

Stein’s visit also provided insights into the changing political landscape in Wisconsin, a state known for its fluctuating political allegiances. The potential impact of new political groups and the adoption of ranked-choice voting was discussed, indicating possible significant shifts in future elections.

She concluded her visit by emphasizing the need for broader political choices, suggesting that many Americans seek a system that more effectively serves their needs.

“The American people are clamoring for a fair shot,” she said, summarizing the sentiment that her campaign and the Green Party aim to address.

Following the interview, Stein participated in a community discussion about the Green Party’s platform. We’ll have a story about that discussion later today

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First message to the nation from President Bassirou Diomaye Faye – on the eve of Senegal’s independence day

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

A report from The Point, Gambia (translation from the French by CPNN)

My dear compatriots,

Tomorrow, April 4, 2024, we celebrate the 64th anniversary of the independence of our country. To everyone, I extend my warm congratulations. I pay tribute to each and every one of you for your attachment to the cardinal virtues of peace and democracy that underpin our daily experience. The significant peaceful changes that we have just experienced demonstrate, once again, the maturity of our people, the vitality of our democracy and the strength of our institutions. We should all be proud of this great performance. This year again, by divine grace, our national holiday takes place under the sign of spiritual communion, with Easter Holy Week which has just concluded Lent and the month of Ramadan which is drawing to a close.

Given the circumstances, instead of the traditional parade, tomorrow I will preside over a simple and symbolic raising of colors ceremony at the Palais de la République. This evening, as we celebrate our newfound freedom, my thoughts go to our valiant resistance fighters, famous or unknown heroes, who, giving themselves body and soul, defied the odious colonial system and its so-called civilizing mission, to defend the freedom of our people and their values of culture and civilization. I would also like to salute with respect and affection our veterans, who sacrificed their youth far from their families, at the cost of their lives and their freedom.

I pay vibrant tribute to my predecessors, Presidents Senghor, Diouf, Wade and Sall, each of whom made his contribution to the work of national construction. It is on the basis of this legacy that I want to continue with you our collective quest for the Senegal of our dreams.

My dear compatriots,

The national holiday honors our Defense and Security Forces.

To you, officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel, who have chosen the risky profession of arms, I reaffirm the recognition of the Nation. I express to you my pride, my support and my complete confidence in your missions in the service of the homeland, peace in Africa and in the world. I salute the memory of our Jambaars who fell on the field of honor and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. The State will always stand in solidarity with their families, with care and compassion. The theme of this edition, The Armed Forces at the heart of national cohesion, challenges us with its topicality and relevance. It reminds us that beyond the ceremonial, the national holiday is above all an opportunity for individual and collective introspection on our common desire for a common life.

Our Defense and Security Forces, under the Army-Nation concept, symbolizing the diversity and cohesion of their socio-cultural components, offer us a fine example of what Senegalese living together should be like.

As Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, and guarantor of national unity, I am determined to preserve our living together inherited from our ancestors; because we only have one homeland: Senegal, our common shelter, which we all love, which does not begin with us, and does not end with us.

In this spirit, my role, and I intend to assume it fully, is to reach out to everyone, to bring together, reassure, appease and reconcile, in order to consolidate the peace, security and stability essential to the economic and social development of our dear country. From east to west, from north to south, I hope that our dear Senegal remains united and indivisible, in peace and in harmony with our national motto: One People-One Purpose-One Faith. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children. We owe it to future generations.

This is why our vibrant youth, the beating heart of the nation, will remain at the center of my concerns.

Dear young people of Senegal, I make your dreams, your aspirations, and your legitimate ambitions to succeed in order to be useful to yourselves, your families, your communities and your country my own. Education, career training, employment and entrepreneurship for young people and women remain major challenges to overcome. I will make it a high public policy priority, in consultation with the private sector. To this end, we must revisit existing mechanisms, improve and rationalize them so that they better meet the needs of employment and other income-generating activities for young people.

To encourage job creation, I plan to rely on a strong private sector because it is supported by the STATE. Based on our priority needs, we will work together to endogenize our economy. Of course, the international private sector will have its full role to play. The Senegalese are brave but they are tired and expect solutions from us to combat the high cost of living. The question of the cost of living particularly concerns me and commands my full attention. In the days to come, strong measures will be taken in this direction, after the consultations that I will undertake with the stakeholders concerned.

My dear compatriots, From independence to the present day, our political, institutional and judicial system has experienced many adventures, some happier than others.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

(Click here for the original version in French)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Sixty-four years later, the time seems come to me to learn the lessons of our successes and our failures for a more modern, more republican public governance and more respectful of human rights. This is why, after resigning from my position as secretary general of PASTEF-Les Patriotes, to put myself above the fray, I will convene broad consultations with the political class and civil society for :

– Reform of the system electoral in particular;
– Replacement of the CENA by an Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) with a strengthening of its operating means and its prerogatives;
– Rationalizatio of the number of political parties, as well as their financing;
– Registration of citizens on the electoral register concomitantly with the issuance of the national identity document

“Moreover, to restore the image of justice, give it the value it deserves and reconcile it with the people in whose name it is rendered, I intend to organize meetings bringing together the professions of the profession (magistrates, lawyers, bailiffs , clerks and other justice officials), university professors and citizens to identify possible solutions to justice problems.

In the quest for a better Senegal for the benefit of all, I intend to establish virtuous governance, based on the ethics of responsibility and accountability. In addition, I will without delay initiate a bold policy of good economic and financial governance through:

– A relentless fight against corruption;
– Criminal repression of tax evasion and illicit financial flows;
– Protection of whistleblowers;
– Fight against the embezzlement of public funds and money laundering;
– Amnesty of nominees and their profit-sharing under the condition of self-denunciation;
– Publication of reports from the IGE, the Court of Auditors and OFNAC.

Likewise, the exploitation of our natural resources, which, according to the constitution, belong to the people, will receive particular attention from my government. Thus, in addition to the already effective posting of mining, oil and gas contracts online, on the EITI Senegal website, I will carry out the disclosure of the effective ownership of extractive companies, in accordance with the EITI Standard, at audit of the mining, gas and oil sector and more sustained protection of local content for the benefit of the national private sector. Furthermore, I would like to tell all our private partners that they are welcome in Senegal.

In accordance with the laws and regulations in force, the rights of the investor will always be protected, as will the interests of the State and the populations.

To our friendly and partner countries, I would like to assure that Senegal remains an open and welcoming country for all.

We will constantly strive to maintain and strengthen good neighborly relations and active solidarity within our community organizations, notably ECOWAS and UEMOA.

Heirs to the pan-Africanist ideal of Cheikh Anta Diop and Léopold Sédar Senghor, one of the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity, we remain firmly committed to the construction of African integration and the achievement of the objectives of the Zone. of African continental free trade.

Our foreign partners from all walks of life are of equal dignity to us. We owe everyone respect and consideration. And we ask for respect and consideration from everyone. We will remain committed to fairer and more inclusive global governance, respecting the equal dignity of the values of cultures and civilizations.

My dear compatriots,

The national holiday, symbol of our sovereignty, reminds us that we are alone in the face of our destiny, and that no one will do for us what we are not willing to do for ourselves. We have the historical responsibility to consolidate our sovereignty by breaking the chains of economic dependence through the permanent cult of work and results. In this spirit, the Administration must act at all levels in a more welcoming and more efficient manner for users of the public service. We must ban from our practices undue procedures and formalities which alter the effectiveness of the State.

With this objective, we intend to invest massively in the digitalization of services and administrative procedures. Likewise, there is an urgent need to gain our food sovereignty by investing more and better in agriculture, fishing and breeding, the three nourishing breasts of our country.

I am particularly keen to ensure that the substantial subsidies spent each year in the agricultural campaign benefit real producers and not intermediary players.

Ultimately, my dear compatriots, the independence that we celebrate tomorrow is certainly a festive event, but also and above all a test of resilience and greatness for the nation. Our merit and our honor is to pass the test, displaying resolute confidence in ourselves, to overcome our fears and our doubts, to overcome the obstacles before us, and to continue together our united march towards our common destiny, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. This is what I invite you to do, in the communion of hearts and minds. Long live Senegal, in peace and security, united, free and prosperous! 

Good evening and happy Independence Day.

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Togo: The craftsmen and motorcycle taxi drivers of Bassar are committed to patriotism and peace

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . . .

An article by Alida Akakpo in Lomegraph

In a coordinated approach aimed at encouraging patriotism and fostering an environment of peace, an initiative took place in the commune of Bassar, Togo. Around fifty young people, mainly craftsmen and motorcycle taxi drivers, participated in an awareness session on Monday March 25, 2024.

The session was organized by the Ministry of Human Rights, Citizenship Training and Relations with the Institutions of the Republic. During the meeting, emphasis was placed on the importance of patriotism and the culture of peace for development and national stability.

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

Questions related to this article:

Can a culture of peace be achieved in Africa through local indigenous training and participation?

The culture of patriotism and peace

The theme of awareness raising is “let’s preserve our homeland, let’s build peace and security together”. Its objective is to contribute to strengthening the patriotic fiber among young people, to bring them to love the homeland and to truly commit to peace and the co-production of security.

Tchakpala Alfa Olivier, head of the conferences and seminars division, and Tchandao Piabalo, study manager at the civic training directorate, interacted with the participants, addressing the themes of respect for authority, patriotism and promoting the culture of peace.

The speakers encouraged young people to feel pride in their nation and actively engage in preserving peace and progress of the country. In addition, practical advice was provided to help young people promote peace in their environment. They also stressed the importance of close collaboration with the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) as well as local authorities.

Participants are invited to convey the messages received within the population with a view to improving defense and protecting the interests of the Togolese.

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United States: the Path to Victory for Southern Autoworkers

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from the United Auto Workers (UAW)

Autoworkers at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama have been organizing to win their union. Today they met with UAW President Shawn Fain and Region 8 Director Tim Smith to talk about their path to victory. Here are remarks that President Fain shared with them:

Good afternoon, Union Family.

It’s my honor to be here, to be with so many badass, fed up autoworkers who are ready to stand up.

Today I’m here to talk about the path to victory. It’s a powerful idea. The path to victory. Because first things first — there is a path.


Before we can even talk about what we need to do to get what we deserve, we have to acknowledge one thing. Working class people, like all of you here today, have the power to change the world. You have the power to change your circumstances. You have the power to take back your time. To take back your life. To win real time off the job. A fair wage. Good healthcare you can afford. A better life for your family. For all of Alabama.

The first thing you need to do to win is to believe that you can win. That this job can be better. That your life can be better. And that those things are worth fighting for. That is why we stand up. That’s why you’re here today. Because deep down, you believe it’s possible.

There is a path. But here’s the other thing about the path to victory. It’s only a path. You have to walk it. Nobody can walk it for you. I didn’t come down here to tell you what all I’m going to do for you as the President of the UAW. That’s not what this is about. Everything you win in this fight will be because you won it.

You are in spitting distance of a life-changing victory. That’s because all of you are coming together with your coworkers to do the work of organizing your workplace. And the company knows it too. That’s why Mercedes is pulling out every trick in the book to instill fear, uncertainty, and division. To scare people off of standing up for a better life.

I’ve been meeting with UAW staff and with some of you. And what’s clear to me is we are doing things differently this time. This time, we are going to make sure we have leaders on each line, on each shift, talking to each other about building their union. That is the path to victory.

And it’s not just about the vote. True victory is not just winning a vote. We want to win big on the day of the election – but we also need to build that organizing muscle, that unity, and that determination to win big in a union contract. That’s what changes lives. That’s what this is all about.

But you have to walk that path to victory. You have to say – I’m ready to talk to my coworkers. I’m ready to have my name be public on a vote yes petition. I’m ready to go to work every day and proudly wear my UAW hat for everyone to see. I’m ready to stand up, strong and loud, and proud about this fight. I can’t win that for you. Our staff can’t win that for you. Only you can walk that path to victory.

Let me be clear, that doesn’t mean you’re walking alone. Our staff, our union, and hundreds of thousands of UAW members are behind you. Across this country, there are working-class people looking to you. For inspiration. For hope. And we’ve all got your back.

I opened these remarks with “union family,” because we are a family. But here in Alabama, it hits close to home. Many of you may not know this but my family’s roots are in the South. I have family from Alabama. And three of my grandparents were from Tennessee, one from Kentucky, and after the Great Depression, all of my grandparents had to move north. And they were blessed to hire in at GM and Chrysler in the early days of the UAW. They stood up for themselves and went and got a better life.

But the real meaning of union is not having to leave for greener pastures. Not having to leave your family and your life behind just to be able to live. The real meaning of union is fighting for a better life where you are. Because it’s your job. It’s your body. It’s your time. It’s your family. It’s your community.

I look around here and I see a lot of people who remind me of myself and my roots. I know struggle. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck. I’ve been on unemployment. I’ve received government aid to get formula and diapers for my firstborn child.

(article continued in right column)

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

(article continued from left column)

Joining the union, the UAW, changed my life. It gave me a wage I could raise a family on. It gave me a job I could rely on. And it gave me hope for the future. So, I put everything I had into building this union. I walked that path. I know what it’s like to be out there at the gates, trying to get your coworkers organized. I know what it’s like to have to fight the company tooth and nail just to have a little dignity on the job. And I know if I didn’t do it, if regular autoworkers like me and you don’t stand up, nothing’s going to change. So, do it for yourself. Do it for your family. And we’ll have your back every step of the way.

You’re so close to the finish line. Some people get within inches of their goal and quit before they realize that if they’d have given one more push they would have reached it.

My running for president of the UAW was very similar. If I hadn’t relied on faith and faced fear and doubt and took on the insurmountable odds of running for president of the UAW, nothing would have changed.


People said I was crazy for running for President. Some who were previously in power tried to make the members afraid to vote for change. But the members took a leap of faith and voted for new leaders and look what we are accomplishing.

Our Big Three contract campaign was the same. People said we were crazy for going for the things we did. Companies said they couldn’t afford it. Companies made threats. The media said we were crazy.

But guess what? We focused on facts in our Big 3 campaign and strike. The fact that the companies made a quarter of a trillion dollars in a decade. The fact that CEO pay went up 40% over the previous 4 years. And the fact that workers were being left behind, although the workers generate those massive profits through their labor. 75% of Americans sided with us in that fight. Using the power of facts and a unified membership.

We won a record contract and the companies still paid out massive stock dividends to investors. CEOs are still giving themselves massive raises, and business is fine.

It’s the same here in Alabama.



Facts: The German three made double what the Big Three made in the last decade. A half a trillion. $460 billion. Mercedes’s CEO got an 80% raise last year. The eight managers on the Mercedes management board got a collective $27 million raise last year. The average Mercedes executive makes $3,600 an hour. It would take a Mercedes production worker at the top rate two years to make what a Mercedes executive earns in one week.

The company, the Governor, and the Business Council are trying to make you afraid to stand up, because you are so close to realizing a life many thought wasn’t possible. Mercedes is using fear, uncertainty, and division because they are afraid.

Mercedes is afraid of you having a voice in your work life. Mercedes is afraid of sharing any control over your work lives. Mercedes is afraid of paying you the wages and benefits you deserve for the massive profits your work, your sacrifice, your blood, and your sweat create. You are an at-will employee, you have no rights, and management has all the control. It’s time to change that.

Years ago, my grandparents had to leave Tennessee to live the American Dream. You don’t have to leave. You can achieve it right here in Alabama.

The first thing I do when I get up every day, daily reading and pray. Recently, I thought of you when I read my daily reading, Hebrews 11:1, “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”
`
The only people who can organize the South are the workers in the South. And those workers who stand up are forever going to go down in history for doing what so many people said was impossible. Why not you? Why not here?

I said during our campaign at the Big Three that this is our generation’s defining moment. That faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, and we moved mountains.

Now, here in Alabama, we have another mountain to move. This is your defining moment to change your lives. To change America. And to change the world for the better. So, let’s walk down that path to victory together in Solidarity and let’s finish the job.

So, I came here not to win this thing for you. Not to tell you what to do. I came here to find out for myself the answer to one question. Are you ready to Stand Up? I believe you are, and I believe in you.

If you’re ready, the time is now. This is your defining moment. If we have public supporters in every department, on every line, on every shift, Mercedes workers will be guaranteed to win your election. Raise your hand if you can commit to being that person for your line.

Before you leave today, put your name on the public petition and join your coworkers on the path to victory. We will not let the company divide us. That’s how they win. Solidarity is our strength. That’s how we win.

This isn’t about power, It’s about control. Without a Union contract, they have all the control. You have the power. You just have to recognize it and use it. Let’s finish the job that started so long ago. Let’s walk a new path for working-class people together in solidarity.

Thank you.

English bulletin April 1, 2024

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY AROUND THE WORLD

Celebrations and protests marked International Women’s Day around the world on March 8.

CPNN carried photos from many of the these events.

In Europe, they came from Albania, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain and Ukraine.

In Asia and the Pacific, from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

In Africa and the Middle East, from Algeria, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Palestine, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and Uganda.

In the Americas, from Argentina, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, United Nations, United States and Venezuela.

In the capitalist countries, the events were mostly protests and demands for women’s rights in the face of widespread discrimination and violence against women, including criminal prosecution for abortion. Many events condemned in particular the violence against women in Palestine and Israel in recent months.

In many of the socialist and former socialist countries, the events were celebrations rather than protests. This was the case in Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, North Korea, Cambodia, and Vietnam. this reflects the history of the day, which was initiated by socialist organizations at the beginning of the last century, and then celebrated primarily by the socialist movement and communist countries until its adoption by the United Nations in 1977.

This year the United Nations celebrated the Day with the slogan “Invest in women to accelerate progress.” They criticized an “alarming lack of financing” for achieving gender equality: “Feminist organizations are leading efforts to tackle women’s poverty and inequality. However, they are running on empty, receiving a meagre 0.13 per cent of total official development assistance.”

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, founded to oppose World War I, and boasting the Nobel Peace Prize to two of its founding members, dedicated their celebration of the day to solidarity with the people of Palestine, concluding that “the world sees Gaza as a global front against the rule of oppression, colonialism, and tyranny, so they act in solidarity with Gazans and for justice for all including themselves.”

The organization, The Warriors of Peace, also condemned the violence against women in israel and Palestine, and added reference to violence against women in many other regions of the world. They wrote that “This International Women’s Day has a special flavor. We know to what extent wars and conflicts can destroy struggles and weaken achievements. We, The Warriors of Peace, are convinced that women, when they unite, form the most powerful shield against the destruction of the world. We are the resistance. We are the ones who hold on, who stay standing . . . Feminism is justice, equality and dignity for all. It is the refusal of assignment and division. Feminism is peace.”

As discussed in the blog this month, “we are entering an era of economic and political contradictions that will lead to revolutionary change. Insofar as women take leadership, we have a greater chance that the change will lead to a culture of peace.”

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



International Women’s Day: Asia/Pacific

HUMAN RIGHTS



South Africa requests ICJ emergency orders to halt “unspeakable” Gazan genocide

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Greta Thunberg, 40+ Other Climate Activists Block Entrance to Swedish Parliament

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Peace Wave 2024

  

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



Kremlin, NATO at odds over pope’s call for Ukraine to show ‘white flag’ and start talks

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



FIJCA 2024: JAZZ as an instrument of social cohesion in Ivory Coast

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY



Search for Common Ground in Israel and Palestine

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



France: Speech by Jean-Luc Melanchon on the force of action for peace