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Organization: UNESCO Chair on Peace, Human Rights and Democracy - Stadtschlaining/Austria
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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?

(i) At international level, progress has been especially seen in developing the UNESCO Chairs' scheme in Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance to a worldwide scheme within UNITWIN; the number of participating Chairs has more than doubled from 27 Chairs in 22 countries (1998) to 55 Chairs in 46 countries (2002 until today).

Highlights of this process were the Second and Third International Meeting of UNESCO Chairs (Stadtschlaining/Austria, 2000, 2002) that adopted far-reaching decisions on their strategies and action set forth, inter alia, in 'The Stadtschlaining Declaration on Promoting Human Rights, Democracy, Peace, and Tolerance' as well as in the 'Agreement of Co-operation Between UNESCO Chairs on Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance'. On the occasion of the Second International Meeting (May, 2000), the European Museum for Peace at Schlaining Castle was inaugurated by a national exhibition on "War or Peace - From the Cult of Violence to the Culture of Peace", organized by the European University Center for Peace Studies and its UNESCO Chair and dedicated to the International Year for the Culture of Peace. and exchange on issues related to War, Violence and Conflict, Security and Peace/Culture of Peace.

The European Museum for Peace has developed into a focal point for information and exchange on issues related to War, Violence and Conflict, Security and Peace/Culture of Peace, and the  cultural impact of the Peace Center and its UNESCO Chair at the national level and beyond has remarkably increased during last years through this progress achieved.

Issues of a Culture of Peace are given highest priority by the big majority of Chairs, in close connection with issues of human rights, democracy, tolerance, non-violence and conflict resolution. This is clearly reflected in all issues of the international Bulletin of UNESCO Chairs annually published since 1999 by the EPU and its UNESCO Chair on Peace, Human Rights and Democracy and widely disseminated to the Chairs, their partners and a large audience of other readers.

The Bulletin has become a rich source of information and exchange between the Chairs as well as their great number of partners outside the scheme, an expressive chronicle of the Chairs' development and action, a useful link between their International Meetings and a unique means for promoting a Culture of Peace.

Appended to Bulletin issue 2005, a collection of about 100 essays and monographs on major issues of a Culture of Peace, Human Rights and related issues will be published, provided from 2002 to 2005 by Chairs and their partners. This will represent the first 'academic volume' on major issues of our time presented by the UNESCO Chairs of the scheme and their partners and help spreading ideas, initiatives, problems and prospects related to the Culture of Peace and closely connected issues.

(ii) Participants in international training courses (2005: 23 male/46 female, together 69), summer academies, seminars, international/regional conferences etc. as well as in International Civilian Peace-keeping and Peace-building Training Programmes at the Peace Center 'Schlaining Castle' repeatedly expressed their view that the Center (including its UNESCO Chair) constitutes an out-standing international model in making manifold efforts conducive to the creation of a Culture of Peace. For its verification, 2 selected fields are drawn on:

- The EPU provides the comprehensive framework and infrastructure for inter-national post-graduate study courses on issues of peace, conflict management, human rights and development problems Many students come from least developed countries and conflict regions of Africa, e.g. from countries of the "Southern African Development Community" (SADC) and of the "Great Lakes' Region". Graduates are further on assisted by the "Alumni Network" initiated and guided by the EPU under the auspices of Dr. Gerald MADER, Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair and President of the Peace Center Schlaining Castle.

- The EPU's "Peace Library", located in a beautiful, restored former Synagogue and effectively promoted by the Chair, has a rich stock of 25.000 volumes and 300 permanent subscriptions to international journals/periodicals on issues related to peace and conflict studies, non-violence, human rights, democracy, tolerance, and sustainable development. The furtherance of this unit is evidently resulting in its increased utilization by scientists, students, teachers, tourists and interested visitors from near and far. The UNESCO Chair issued itself a great number of publications and a series of multi-media material. The Peace Center attaches high importance to the Media that are involved in all public highlights of the Center.

Details of progress selectively and briefly described has also been reflected at Internet in the 'UNESCO Portal' (www.portal.unesco.org) and the new homepage of the EPU UNESCO Chair (www.aspr.ac.at/unesco/main.htm) which itself represents an effective progress achieved during in 2004/05.

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

On national level, cutback in expenditure by the national government for the EPU including its UNESCO Chair is to be drawn on first.

On international level, change of paradigms in UNESCO strategy (mainstreaming Human Rights) should avoid to be enforced 'at the cost' of the Culture of Peace; any (including hidden) dualism in this field has proved to be counterproductive; recognizing the principle of interrelationship and interdisciplinary approach remains to be indispensable.

For implementing the UN documents adopted on the Decade for a Culture of Peace, an international lead organization would be most important as at former times represented by UNESCO.

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

Highlights of promoting a culture of peace and non-violence were the Second and Third International Meeting of UNESCO Chairs (Stadtschlaining/Austria, 2000, 2002) that adopted far-reaching decisions on their strategies and action set forth, inter alia, in 'The Stadtschlaining Declaration on Promoting Human Rights, Democracy, Peace, and Tolerance' as well as the 'Agreement of Co-operation Between UNESCO Chairs on Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance'.

The participants of the Second International Meeting (May, 2000) were witnessing the opening of the European Museum for Peace at Schlaining Castle inaugurated by a national exhibition on "War or Peace - From the Cult of Violence to the Culture of Peace", organized by the European University Center for Peace Studies and its UNESCO Chair and dedicated to the International Year for the Culture of Peace. Since then, the European Museum for Peace has developed into a focal point for information and exchange on issues related to war, violence and conflict, security and peace. Beside the large permanent basic exhibition, special exhibitions are shown annually, so in 2003 on the theme "Peace - World wards", in 2004 on "Mysterious East - Horrors, Treasures, Destinies" and in 2005 on "From Liberation to Freedom - the long way to the State Treaty".

Issues of a Culture of Peace are given highest priority by the big majority of Chairs, in close connection with issues of human rights, democracy, tolerance, non-violence and conflict resolution. This is clearly reflected in all issues of the international Bulletin of the UNESCO Chairs annually published since 1999 and widely disseminated to the Chairs, their partners and a large audience of other readers. The Bulletin has become a rich source of information and exchange between the Chairs as well as their great number of partners outside the scheme, an expressive chronicle of the Chairs' development and action in this field, a useful link between their International Meetings and a unique means of promoting a Culture of Peace.

Appended to Bulletin issue 2005, a collection of about 100 essays and mono-graphs on major issues of a Culture of Peace, Human Rights and related issues will be published, provided from 2002 to 2005 by Chairs and their partners. This will represent the first 'academic volume' on major issues of our time provided by  UNESCO Chairs of the scheme and help spreading ideas, initiatives, problems and prospects related to the Culture of Peace.

Participants in international training courses, summer academies, seminars, international and regional conferences etc. as well as in International Civilian Peace-keeping and Peace-building Training Programmes at the Peace Center 'Schlaining Castle' repeatedly expressed their view that the Center (including its UNESCO Chair) constitutes an out-standing international model in making efforts conducive to a Culture of Peace.

Two selected fields should be drawn on for its verification:

- The EPU provides the framework and infrastructure for international post-graduate study courses on issues of peace, conflict management, human rights and development problems and covers the total cost of implementation of all international training courses in Stadtschlaining (one- and two-semester courses, including a two-semester Master's Programme at university standard).

Many students come from least developed countries and conflict regions of Africa. The EPU seeks to provide the chance to students from Africa, e.g. from countries of the "Southern African Development Community" (SADC) and of the "Great Lakes' Region", to start or continue participating in the EPU study courses, the pressing need of which is quite obvious with a view to the aggravating situation in these regions concerned.

The UNESCO Chair is actively promoting the preparation and implementation of training courses, for instance on "Capacity Building in Specific Conflict Regions of Africa through Education and In-service Training", with a view to the following point of attachment: The situation in regions of crisis, in wartime, post-war conditions or in danger of outbreak of war, is also characterized by drastic prejudices, discrimination, refugees, health and supply problems.

Considerable peace-political endeavours are necessary for peace-keeping, for securing sustainable conflict de-escalation in connection with constructive changes of the comprehensive conflict environment. To a great extent, success in regions of crisis depends on the endeavours of persons and organizations engaged in peace-political actions. Due to missing personal and professional preconditions, they are often not sufficiently able to meet these challenges. They need a fundamental knowledge and practical skills in conflict management as well as special knowledge on reconstruction and stabilization of economic structures. Furthermore, they need the capabilities in observing and promoting the situation of human rights and democracy (including elections), the development of information and education structures as well as educational programmes, conducive to understanding and carrying out activities necessary for peace-keeping including the elimination of prejudices and enemy images.

The EPU has integrated these tasks into its training courses, in order to provide to students from African countries the chance to become additionally trained for meeting these concrete tasks. Until now, this offer has been accepted and utilized with great interest and effectively contributed to the development of a network in Africa assisted and guided by the EPU.

During the training programme, students meet participants from the same conflict region, but with different political, ethnical or religious background in different conflict parties. They are to guarantee to apply and implement the knowledge acquired afterwards in their region in practice. Therefore, members of relevant organizations or with a respective personal and professional background might be especially capable to meet this challenge.

This aims both at strengthening personal capacities in civil conflict management, and making sure that the participants purposefully apply these improved capacities in conflict regions. At the same time, they are prepared for utilizing the contacts established during their training and are further on assisted by the "Alumni Network" initiated and guided by the EPU under the auspices of Dr. Gerald MADER, Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair and President of the Peace Center Schlaining Castle.

- The EPU's "Peace Library", located in a beautiful, restored former Synagogue, has been effectively promoted by the Chair. Its rich stock of 25.000 volumes and 300 permanent subscriptions to international journals/periodicals is permanently increasing. So in 2004, 945 new volumes were integrated many of them acquired free of charge. The Peace Library provides a wide range of issues related to peace and conflict studies, non-violence, human rights, democracy, tolerance, and sustainable development. The furtherance of this unit is evidently resulting in its increased utilization by scientists, students, teachers, tourists and interested visitors from near and far. The UNESCO Chair prepared and published itself a great number of publications. There is also a series of multi-media material (CDs, films, cassettes as well as a collection of 90 videotapes on peace-related topics, mostly in English. Films are shown to students and visitors once a week."

In this regard, and in general, the Peace Center attaches high importance to the Media. They are not only involved in all public highlights initiated and organized by the Center, but there are frequently joint events and activities with Austrian Radio (ORF) and non-governmental organizations, for example, a large public gathering held in Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland, on the occasion of the World Peace Day on 21 Sept. 2003.  

It is worth mentioning that the Chairholder is permanently present in the print media at national level through interviews and articles on actual national and international issues that find a remarkable public resonance.

Details of progress selectively and briefly described has also been publicized at Internet in the 'UNESCO Portal' (www.portal.unesco.org) and

the homepage of the EPU UNESCO Chair (www.aspr.ac.at/unesco/main.htm).

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?

For implementing the UN documents adopted on the Decade for a Culture of Peace, an international lead organization would be most important as at former times represented by UNESCO.

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

- UNITWIN network of UNESCO Chairs, UNESCO Chairs in Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and International Understanding
- "Alumni Network" of graduates from EPU international training courses initiated and guided by the EPU under the auspices of Dr. Gerald MADER, Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair and President of the Peace Center Schlaining Castle.

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)?

Beside the continuation of the manifold running engagements:
- organization, together with one or two other  UNESCO Chairs, of the 4th International Meeting of UNESCO Chairs in Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance
- regional preparatory meetings
- annual publication of the UNESCO Chairs' Bulletin
- collection and publication of the second scientific volume of essays and monographs on topical issues of a Culture of Peace, Human Rights, Democracy and Tolerance

Postal address of organization

A-7461 Stadtschlaining/Burg, Austria

E-mail address of organization

aspr@aspr.ac.at

Website address of organization

www.aspr.ac.at/unesco/main.htm

Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace


Second priority action domain of a culture of peace


Highest priority country of action (or international)


Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: UNESCO Chair on Peace, Human Rights and Democracy - Stadtschlaining/Austria

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