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Organization: Ecole de la paix
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

In our daily task to promote an education to peace and to study the conditions for the construction of peace, we have noted a true progression - slow as it may be but nonetheless real ! - from a culture of war towards a culture of peace.

In our field, which is peace education in the very broad meaning, and especially in the schools, high-schools and colleges where we use to act through exhibitions, presentations, conferences and lectures, we witnessed a growing interest for the issues of solidarity and global development which are important paths to peace.

We are studying (see below) the possibility of "measuring" peace through spécific indicators.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

The strongest obstacles remain :
- the mainstream thinking about the permanency of war in history and mankind,
- the bad understanding of what is really peace,
- the lack of imagination to go beyond the refusal of war and to conceive concrete actions to build peace,
- the growing complexity of our world,

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

We can examine two fields in which such progress in the culture of peace has been notable since the beginning of this decade :
a) Military order progressively coming to an end
b) A greater consciousness for the necessity of developing an education for peace understood in its broadest meaning.

Through our relationship with the military.

More and more often, dialogue has been made possible with those that used to be considered as the main instigators of war and those responsible for the great suffering it brings about. We had a personal experience of this during our meetings of the World Social Forum in  Porto Alegre and Mumbai, between 2002 and 2005, where we had invited high ranking officers from France and other countries, as well as generals and admirals to debates and workshops.  It was observed that they proved to have a real interest in these exchanges with the civil society and that their presence appeared more and more natural with each new forum. The necessary complementarity between civil and military action has been clearly stated by the military themselves : without hesitating they pleaded for resorting to civil means of prevention in the treatment of crises. We can testify on many circumstances when the military have been playing a constructive role in this respect : for example , as concerns thee Indian subcontinent, efforts toward an appeasement in the conflict between India and Pakistan have been engineered by former Indian and Pakistani officers. In Brazil, the Ministry of Defense is headed, for the first time by a civilian. More and more, security problems are relevant to global policies, and on this point the primary responsibility of the political class bas to be underscored.

Reconverting military installations shows not only a new restructuring of the means of defense but also a new mission for equipment that has become useless : in Spain the largest fortress in Europe is looking for a new function through the hosting of seminars between military, political and administrative local authorities, and civil society ; in France a community of towns around Mulhouse in Alsace is undertaking the restoration of a monument to commemorate the memory of Worid War I as a manner of educating citizenship through pedagogical action ; a town around Lyon is inciting us to help find a new vocation for an ancient fort by endowing it with a role in promoting sustainable development and the culture of peace.

Progress in peace education

The very notions of peace and the culture of peace have become enriched : they are integrating wider notions, namely sustainable development, human development human security, governance, international co-responsability. Thus we are now in  contact with a vietnamese peace and development Foundation (Vietnam peace and development Foundation), recently created by Vietnamese authorities, that closely associates peace and development in order to promote cooperation between nations, protection of life and human resources, human progress, etc...

In July 2003, there appeared in the official bulletin of the French ministry of  Education new instructions concerning the education of "development and international solidarity" aiming at "fostering greater understanding of the imbalance of the world and allowing for a reflection on the means to remedy it, so that every nation and every individual may have a right to contribute in, and benefit from the development." For two years, we have been engaged in a project in Colombia trying to define a strategy for peace education at a national level, associating all the actors of society, among whom the Colombian Ministry of Education which has just
Launched a program called "Competencias Ciudadanas".

Also to be noted, is the part that the economic sector is taking in these efforts.  Companies increasingly recognize their "social responsibility" and are more willing  to support supporting educational programs through the actions of foundations.

The university network that we put together at the instigation of the Culture of Peace program of UNESCO has developed well since we have started organizing and participating in various university modules. Through this program, we have witnessed an increasing number of trainees.  We are thus happily surprised by the interest generated by this program among young people as well as among the university officers. There is indeed a point of convergence between an original idea and the realization that it is necessary to undertake such an action and to reflect on this matter.

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?

Since the dialogue between the military and civilians becomes easier we have to consider that the main problem is more and more the responsibility of political authorities and we ought to find the ways to get from the politicians the right decisions to promote and foster peace. The very challenge is that not only the citizens but also - maybe first ? -  those in power have to be taught to deal with peace issues, to act with cleverness to build peace.
Why not try to emphasize the importance of the Millennium goals themselves as the conditions to make progress toward peace.

PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

- la Coordination française pour la décennie internationale de la promotion d'une culture de la non-violence et de la paix au profit des enfants du monde
- the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?

The project is entitled “Peace Indicators Project.”  It was launched in 2005 at the École de la paix (School of Peace) in Grenoble.  After the initial phase where we studied the feasibility of such a project, we are now beginning the developmental process and are already looking at its potential practical applications. The premise upon which this project was born is that something that can be measured will more useful than something that is not.

The purpose, quite simply, is to establish a reliable manner in which to measure « peace. »  Then, we seek to diffuse these findings.  The nature of the work is threefold : quantitative, qualitative, educational.  The basic idea of this project is that peace is not just an absence of conflict, and therefore that it needs to be studied as a phenomenon largely independent from war.

The quantitative part is the most difficult since many elements relating to peace are either subjective or difficult to measure.  Nevertheless, we seek to establish a fairly reliable barometer of peace, using various indicators in order to come up with numbers for national, regional and international figures. We call this barometer the Passy Scale, in honor of the first Nobel Peace laureate, Frédéric Passy (1901).

The qualitative work will complement the quantitative findings and will take the form of a World Report on Peace that will explain the nature of the indicators, analyze the different trends and focus on case studies.

Finally, since one of the missions of the School of Peace is peace education, we seek to make our findings accessible to a wide public that includes students of all ages.  For this reason, we will also be producing a World Atlas of Peace.

Postal address of organization

Ecole de la paix
7 rue Très-Cloîtres
38000 Grenoble
France

E-mail address of organization

ecole@ecoledelapaix.org

Website address of organization

www.ecoledelapaix.org

Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Education pour une culture de la paix

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

Paix et sécurité internationales

Highest priority country of action (or international)

Internationale

Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: Ecole de la paix

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