|Posted: April 07 2010,06:47
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Postal address of organization/institution
5/1, Roland Tower, Dharmaraja Mawatha, Off Alfred House Avenue, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
E-mail address of organization/institution
Website address of organization/institution
Telephone of organization/institution
+94 (0) 11 2500229/ +94 (0) 11 2555028
PRIORITIES: All of the organization's domains of culture of peace activity
EDUCATION FOR PEACE
UNDERSTANDING, TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY
TOP PRIORITY: The organization's most important culture of peace activity
EDUCATION FOR PEACE
PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?
1) The World Future Council - Hamburg, Germany
2) Asia-Pacific Centre for Education in International Understanding (APCEIU) Seoul, South Korea
3) International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA)
4) UNESCO Offices Paris, Regional and Others (ex UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning - Hamburg)
5) Nuclear Age Peace Foundation - Santa Barbara, USA
6) Bertelsmann Stiftung, Berlin, Germany
7) Japanese Peace Boat, Japan
8) UN Peace University Costa Rica
9) UN University, Tokyo, Japan
10) Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy
11) South Asia Coorperative Environmental Programme, Colombo, Sri Lanka
12) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
13) McGill University Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, CISDL, Canada
14) International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
15) Castan Centre for Human Rights at Monash University, Australia
16) International Court of Justice, The Hague, The Netherlands
17) The Hague Appeal for Peace, New York, USA
18) Mayors for Peace
19) City Montessori School, Lucknow, India
ACTIONS: What activities have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the ten years of the Decade? If you already made a report in 2005, your information from 2005 will be included in the 2010 report.
Founded in 2001, the Centre rests on the three pillars of Peace Studies, Intercultural Understanding and International Law. Its philosophy is that each of these is an indispensable instrument of peace. The view it takes of peace is that it depends not merely on the absence of conflict, but on the presence of justice, as Martin Luther King (Jr.) and other peace activists have stressed. The work of the Centre therefore aims at spreading understanding in these areas, each of which entails a historical and conceptual minimum of information which unfortunately is lacking in the vast majority of the citizens even of the most advanced countries. The filling of this void in public awareness is one of the most urgent tasks of our time. Yet it is one of the most neglected. The Centre aims at imparting this information as all levels, from the school room upwards.
In pursuit of these ideals the Centre has held camps for school children, workshops for undergraduates, seminars for law students, conferences for young lawyers, judicial awareness programmes and symposiums with international organisations such as the International Red Cross, the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms and the World Future Council. It has also conducted research for the Law Reform Commission of Sri Lanka on topics such as “Victims of Crime” and “Protection of Witnesses”, which is leading to national legislation on these topics.
The work of the Centre has received mention from UNESCO, when Judge Weeramantry, the Chairman, received the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education, 2006. At the award ceremony in Paris the Secretary-General of UNESCO referred to the Centre’s work in “the promotion of peace education, human rights, intercultural education, social integration, interfaith understanding, environmental protection, international law, disarmament and sustainable development.
A similar reference was made to the work of WICPER when Judge Weeramantry was awarded the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) in the Swedish Parliament in 2007.
Another activity of the Centre has been its association with the Japanese Peace Boat Project by supplying students and lecturers to the Project’s “Floating University of Peace”. This project aims at imparting peace education to students from conflict areas on board an ocean liner which travels around the world.
The Centre also publishes research studies on such topics as cross cultural education, inter-religious understanding and duties towards future generations, on which work has been done in collaboration with the World Future Council in Hamburg.
TRAINING FOR TRUSTEESHIP WORKSHOPS 2008, 2009 -
An important initiative which the Centre has taken towards the achievement of its objectives is the institution of Training For Trusteeship workshops which are held to train future leaders of the country in the concept that they have duties to the community to the environment and to future generations. The concept of trusteeship is emphasised to bring home to them the notion of responsible management of our inherited culture and resources for the benefit of those who are to come after us.
The trainees selected for this purpose are the final year students of all the Universities in the country and some of the most outstanding youth leaders from Rotaract, Lions, Scouts, Youth Parliament, Beyond Borders etc. The programme brings together students from all disciplines, all regions, all cultural groups and all backgrounds so that they can spend four days together, coming to understand each other and working out how to participate in common projects aimed at the future betterment of Sri Lanka and its people.
An important feature of the workshop will be the projects which the participants will be encouraged to formulate and develop. Assistance for the implementation of the best projects formulated will be provided, so that the students will be able to interact meaningfully with a view to continuance of these projects, after the termination of the workshop.
• Rehabilitation and reintegration projects
• Community education projects
• Reconciliation projects
• Rural self management projects
Speakers with special experience and expertise in these fields will offer the necessary guidance to enable the participants to set up their projects and carry them forward.
Project Director of this workshop Neshan Gunasekera is an Attorney at Law and has been involved in many different forums on youth leadership, peace and development in Sri Lanka during the last few years.
A short clip on the purposes and objectives of the Training for Trusteeship Workshop -
Sri Lanka Law Commission Project 2007
The Centre was commissioned by the Sri Lanka Law Commission to research two neglected areas in the Justice System in Sri Lanka, namely the protection of witnesses and the rights of victims of crime.
US AID Anti Corruption Project 2007
The Centre was entrusted by US AID with research on a comparative study of the Anti Corruption legislation and institutional structure in Sri Lanka. Comparisons with other jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia were involved in this study.
Peace Boat 2004-
The Centre has been in association with the Japanese Peace Boat which conducts voyages around the world based on the floating university concept. The Centre coordinates the participation of youth leaders and facilitators on the Peace Boat to engage on topics such as peace education, conflict transformation, human rights, language learning etc.
In 2007, the Centre together with Peace Boat organized a cross cultural peace festival between Japanese students and Sri Lankan Students.
World Future Council 2005-
The World Future Council based in Germany, of which Judge Weeramantry is a founding member, requested the Centre to conduct a study of the teachings of the great religions on the long-term human future.
Joint Seminars with the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC) 2003-2008
The Centre collaborated with the International Committee of the Red Cross in organizing a series of seminars on Customary International Humanitarian Law.
Harvard Research Project 2007
The Medical Faculty of Harvard University has been in the vanguard of research on Xenotransplantation – the transplantation of animal organs into human bodies to meet the shortage of organs from human donors.
Launch of ICAN 2007
On 23rd April 2007 the launch took place of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Australia. The Meeting was held in Parliament House Melbourne and the Keynote Speech was delivered by Judge Weeramantry on the “Legal and Moral Imperatives for Nuclear Abolition”. He also spoke on the growing Nuclear Threat.
Australia New Zealand Society of International Law 2007
On 28th June 2007 there was an annual meeting of ANZSIL held in Canberra. Judge Weeramantry delivered the Keynote address on Restoring the Rule of Law in International Affairs.
Peace Seminars for School Leaders 2007
In Association with Rotaract club the Centre has provided sessions on peace studies for school prefects and school leaders. Speeches, lectures and skills development workshops were carried out for around 50 school leaders at the Mt.Lavinia Hotel.
Multicultural Youth Camp for school children 2004
Youth camp for fifty, (50) children from multi-ethnic and multi-religious backgrounds was organised in association with the Institute of Integral Education, Piliyandala August 2002.
Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim children were taught about each other’s cultural traditions for two days, placed in each other’s houses for five days and brought together again for two days. This was a great success and the children have expressed the view that they are friends for life.
Youth Camps for young graduates 2004
In association with the South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg the Centre is organising an intensive week long work shop for forty young graduates drawn from all the universities of Sri Lanka who will be instructed on all aspects of peace studies. Each participant will be asked to carry the message to six groups of forty students each.
Conference for School Principals 2002
Work has commenced with the Ministry of Education especially with the Ministry’s Peace Education Department to promote human rights and peace education within schools. As a preliminary project Judge Weeramantry addressed over 400 School Principals and Education Officials at the Education Ministry on 20th July 2002 on the importance of including peace education in the school curriculum. A sequel to this seminar is being organised where the target audience would consist of students of schools and institutions of higher education.
Publications of Peace Studies
The Centre prepares illustrated booklets containing much information on Peace related matters The World Court: Its Conception, Constitution and Contribution. These are written at a level readily understood by children of the ages of fifteen and sixteen.
Five hundred copies of the above publication were distributed free to five hundred schools in Sri Lanka.
Translations of the above are being done made into Sinhala and Tamil.
Publication of Books and booklets - The World Court, Why the Nuclear Danger Grows from Day to Day, Xenotransplantation, Tread Lightly on the Earth, A National Reawakening etc.
A Vademecum of Peace Studies 2005-
Jointly authored by Judge Weeramantry and Dr. Arthur Eyffinger, the former Chief Librarian of the International Court of Justice and one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of peace, this project is well under way. Its objective is to produce an attractive illustrated book which could be used by schools throughout the world.
Island Wide essay competition 2003 -
The Centre has continues to conduct essay competitions for students at the school, university and academic levels on cross cultural human rights. In 2003 the prize giving was presided over by his Excellency the Ambassador of Japan. The prize winning essay at university level has been published in the Sri Lanka Journal of International Law.
Seminar on Nuclear Weapons 2002
A seminar was organised at the Hotel Galadari in association with the Bar Association of Sri Lanka on the theme of nuclear weapons. It was an interdisciplinary seminar conveying both legal and scientific information and was addressed on legal aspects by Judge Weeramantry and Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala the Former
Under Secretary General for Disarmament of the United Nations
and on the scientific aspects by Professor Osmund Jayaratne
retired professor of Physics and former President of the Colombo
campus and Dr. Rosa a specialist in nuclear physics. The interest of
the occasion was heightened by a donation of posters and films
by the Mayor of Hiroshima. It was attended by over two hundred
persons from all walks of life. An attractive booklet on the
Conference proceedings has being prepared for world wide circulation.
Enrichment of Cultural Perspectives – Distinguished personalities are brought to Sri Lanka to deliver lectures on numerous topics related to Peace, Human Rights and Peace Education.
Public lectures have been arranged under the auspices of the Centre to promote cultural awareness and understanding, as for example a lecture to the Dutch Burgher Union by Dr. Arthur Eyffinger on the History of the Dutch East India Company. The lecture was arranged in connection with the ceremonies commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Dutch arrival in Sri Lanka.
Truth and Reconciliation
The Centre organised a major seminar on Truth and Reconciliation - the South African Experience at the Holiday Inn Hotel which was attended by over two hundred persons including members of the Diplomatic Corps, Military Forces, Police and the general public.
The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission has great relevance to Sri Lanka and the current peace process. A very useful discussion followed the presentation. The main speakers, who came to Sri Lanka especially to address the seminar were Professor Winston Nagan, who has direct experience of the South African Commission and Dr. Arthur Eyffinger, the eminent legal historian from Holland, who gave a historical panorama of peace and reconciliation down the ages.
Manual for Peace Education Teachers
The Centre has assisted in reviewing a peace education manual for peace education teachers on the invitation of Caritas Sri Lanka July 2002, Colombo Sri Lanka.
Final Evening at the Training for Trusteeship Workshop, where youth leaders have gathered around the campfire, representing all regions, religions and cultures joined together to demonstrate their unity and recites a pledge to work together for betterment of current and future generations
Swami Shankat Kamalnatha (Hinduism), Ven. Olande Ananda (Buddhism), Fr. Noel Dias (Christianity) and Moulavi Nilam (Islam)
PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the second half of the Decade?
Yes, with the ending of the three decade conflict in the May 2009, there have not been any suicide attacks or bombs going off in Sri Lanka. This has created an opportunity for people from various parts of the country to move around. Our programme which brought together people from within the conflic t zones initially in the years 2004 and 2008, had to be flown in across the lines of conflict, which enabled them to participate at our workshops. There were larger number of participants from the former conflict zones that participated in the training in 2009 thus increasing the cross cultural expereince of all the participants.
There is still a lot of work to be done, for the healing and reconciliation to take place and for the country to emerge from the residues of thirty years of violence.
OBSTACLES: Has your organization faced any obstacles to implementing the culture of peace and nonviolence? If so, what were they?
The main obstacle for us was bringing together people from the various parts of the country, especially reaching out to those in the conflict zones. Yet, we managed to have the participation of several university students from the conflict Zones as they were supported financially by UNESCO National Commission in Sri Lanka to be flown into Colombo to participate in our sessions.
Another obstacle were the nuance interpretations and applications given to the word 'PEACE' during the time of conflict. Due to this we were required to find ways and means of bridging the culture of peace agenda within other themes such as TRUSTEESHIP. Raising funds for peace and education is an arduous task especially when a nation is engaged in an internal potracted conflict wherein most of the national budget is focused on military expenditure.
PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization in the short, medium and long term to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence?
Short - continuing the annual training workshop which has now progressed to include year around projects in various parts of the country where youth leaders engage many different levels of society in carrying out their projects which are all focused on community service.
Continuing the research of the Centre which brings together the cumulative wisdom of cultures, religions, traditions of the world and links them to international legal principles.
In the long term, the dream of establishing a Peace University which will bring together international experts from various fields and which would focus on our responsibilities toward current and future generations.
GLOBAL MOVEMENT: How do you think the culture of peace and nonviolence could be strengthened and supported at the world level??
Principles encapsulated within the culture of peace and non-violence should finds it way into the corridors of power. The policy making level should necessarily be infused with the rich repository of wisdom found within the work of the international peace movement for a culture of peace and non-violence.
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