explore: Oasis of Peace

From www.viewchange.org website:

“Problems arise when people simply do not understand one another. At the community school in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam—named in both Hebrew and Arabic—children learn both languages at a very young age, thus cultivating a spirit of communication and mutual understanding. The village is a true rarity, as Jews and Palestinian Arabs live together in cooperation and respect.”

Technology and Peace: UPeace offers new course

The United Nations University for Peace is offering an exciting new course called, Technology and Peace. The course is being taught by AshokaPeace’s Nick Martin. The course will teach how technology is currently shaping the peace-building and conflict management process. It will also explore the potential that technology has for peace.

Here is the course description:

“Course Description: The advent of new technologies has fundamentally changed the capacity for processing and exchanging information in the 21st century. NGOs and governments, and companies alike are just beginning to understand the potential that these tools and systems can have in analyzing and addressing a range of social problems. This dynamic one-week course will explore how technology is being used to transform conflicts, build more sophisticated statistical models, fight diseases, monitor elections, distribute food, design better economic development measures, and much more. It will also consider some of the key challenges related to access, implementation, scale, and evaluation that working with technology presents. The course is designed for professionals from both the private and public sectors to assist them in developing strategies and skills to benefit their organization amid this rapidly evolving landscape. Participants can expect a hands-on and interactive learning environment with a variety of real world examples from organizations working in the field.”

I hope that this course will be put up online for free for people to learn from, share and contribute to–which is, of course, in the spirit of what technology allows us to do. While there is a lot of resources out there on the peace-building process it requires careful curation of the educational content. When an organization or individual approaches a conflict that needs mediation and a peace-building process, it would be beneficial if they had the credentials and knowledge of how to deal with the conflict from an accredited institution. By institutionalizing the educational content of peace-building and conflict management, careful academic consideration can be applied to the curriculum.

Check out this slightly outdated video on the United Nations University for Peace:

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For more information, please visit their website at: http://upeace.org

UNESCO Global Forum in Bangkok, Thailand

The second Global Forum on the Power of Peace, 28-30 October 2009 was a timely occasion to build on past discussions, collaborations and activities. Within the context of difficult economic times and rapidly changing social realities, the place and efficacy of a Power of Peace Network can be reassessed.

To understand more about the Power of Peace Network initiative, please visit the PPN Project page.

PPN was discussed in the context of forum themes touching on the role of media and ICTs relating to mutual understanding, conflict management, new opportunities for collaboration, faith and religion, and the leadership of youth and universities.

Please consult the Bangkok Forum website created by UNESCO for background documents, concept papers, the Forum mission, goals and objectives, the forum evolving program and speaker roster, registration information and more.

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Video introduction of Ken Coates at the beginning of the forum

UNESCO Global Forum

The second Global Forum on the Power of Peace, 28-30 October 2009 was a timely occasion to build on past discussions, collaborations and activities. Within the context of difficult economic times and rapidly changing social realities, the place and efficacy of a Power of Peace Network can be reassessed.

Continue reading “UNESCO Global Forum”

Power of Peace Network

The Power of Peace Network (PPN) fosters global collaboration in the use of the tools of information and communication for cultural self-expression, mutual understanding, the reduction of conflict incidents, and the support of sustainable living.

PPN

The Power of Peace Network (PPN) fosters global collaboration in the use of the tools of information and communication for cultural self-expression, mutual understanding, the reduction of conflict incidents, and the support of sustainable living.

The PPN endeavours to bring young people to the forefront of this effort, drawing on their energy and often groundbreaking approaches to the challenges that lie ahead.

The PPN Mission:

Our mission is to increase mutual understanding around the world by supporting diverse social and cultural self-expression through modern tools of information and communication. Initiated by UNESCO, PPN is being built as a multi-partner not-for-profit business using television, radio, the internet and cell phone technology worldwide to share locally produced stories and product in pursuit of peace.

Continue reading “Power of Peace Network”

Uri Savir, the Modern Peace Treaty

I am currently reading the book, Peace First, by Uri Savir. Savir was director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 1996 and served as Israel’s chief negotiator for the Oslo Accords. In 1996 he founded the Peres Center for Peace, and in 2001 he established the Glocal Forum, which encourages intercity diplomacy around the world.

From the book:

Drawing on his experiences negotiating the Oslo Peace Accords as well as on trenchant examples from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, and the former Yugoslavia, Savir argues that an enduring peace is built from the bottom up, not from the top down. He describes a new model based on establishing and nurturing mutually beneficial forms of cooperation beginning on the local level, city to city and organizations to organization.

In the first chapter, Savir outlines the current problems with the peace process between states which rely on obsolete elements and structural weaknesses. The peacemakers that are engaged in the international diplomatic discussions are most commonly previous warmakers who simply attempt to qualm violent outbreaks with a peace treaty which has minimally evolved beyond a “real estate” treaty.

Savir uses examples from many conflicts around the world to highlight the idea that these treaties do not take into consideration deep seated and structural issues between conflicting states. That means that the peace treaty only lasts a finite amount of time before the issue rises again and the states are once again in direct conflict.

Modern treaties fail to promote a culture of peace because they fall into old-fashioned peacemaking strategies. Specifically, these modern treaties

1. further traditional aims and dwell on the past;
2. reflect a narrow security doctrine;
3. fail to promote a culture of peace;
4. fail to establish a mechanism against increased socioeconomic gaps;
5. fail to emphasize economic cooperation;
6. lack planning for regional development and international assistance;
7. fail to promote peace socially and politically and lack implied sanctions against domestic opposition; and
8. involve past warmakers acting as peacemakers.

Of course, not all peace treaties fall into these traps. Many treaties have successfully ended a conflict which evolved into a culture of peace where nations are able to focus their energy on trade, cultural enrichment and scientific exchange.

Savir continues in the book to outline how to strengthen these peace treaties so that they can properly and sustainably promote a culture of peace.