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Organization: Associação Palas Athena
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Posted: April 27 2005,11:26 If you wrote this report, you will find a button here that you may click
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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?

There is clearly a growing demand for the training courses and other peace initiatives launched by us since 1999, after the Manifesto 2000, especially:
-from the governmental and private schools. This demand is of approximately 10 governmental schools weekly, that request training in Universal Values and Culture of Peace; also private schools request talks, workshops, and seminars on Peace for teachers, parents, pupils, and staff.
- from the Municipal and State Legislative Assemblies that request consultancy on how to form Culture of Peace Advisory Boards
- from hospitals, health units, and community health agents that request training in Culture of Peace and Conflict Mediation.
- from ONGs, especially those working in the area of violence and social inclusion, as well as those involved in the National Disarmament campaign, that will be subject to a referendum, initially scheduled for October 2, 2005, now being voted in Congress.
It has not yet been possible to create indicators capable of measuring the results of this process.

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

It is difficult to create an efficient inter-sector articulation for working at once with governmental departments, international agencies, and NGOs.
Public policies and programs are interrupted every 4 years, when new governors, mayors, and president are elected.
Lack of engagement of governmental and private universities
ONGs lack efficiency and do not establish common goals for common projects with multi-institutional teams.

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


1. Gandhi Week
2. Martin Luther King Week
3. Inter-religious Dialogue
4. Gandhi and Non-violence for the: Military Police Force and Civil Police Force
5. Peace Wants Partners
6. Gandhi Square
7. Universal Values, Ethics, and Citizenship - Teacher's Training Courses
a. Priceless Values Seminars
b. From Linear to Complex in Thought and Action Seminar
c. Peace Schools
d. Textbook: Peace, how is it made? - Sowing Culture of Peace in Schools
e. Peace in Action - Culture of Peace Leadership Training Course
f. Young Apprentice Program
g. Peace Teachers
8. Peace Flag Network
9. Open Doors
10. Ethics of Welcoming
11. Gandhi Network
12. São Paulo Committee for the dissemination of the Manifesto 2000 of UNESCO
13. Culture of Peace Decade Committee of São Paulo
a. Culture of Peace Decade Committee of the Northwest region of São Paulo State.
b. 1st Restorative Justice Brazilian Symposium
14. Parliamentary and Municipal Culture of Peace Advisory Boards

1. GANDHI WEEK                                                                    
Since 1982, during the first week of October, and to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's birthday (Oct. 2, 1869) we have been holding a week of activities and reflections regarding the methodology, grounding, and pedagogy of non-violence. Since the year 2000, and observing the request by UNESCO to work on the building of a Culture of Peace, the Gandhi Weeks started to include activities in Parks and Public Squares in order to welcome all citizens. 23 Gandhi Weeks have been produced and in October 2004 the 24th Gandhi Week will take place.

- Simpler living - avoid excess and waste
- Ethics of solidarity - foster the art of living together - promote responsible citizenship - participate in the management of common wealth and public spaces.
- Value differences and welcome them as sources of richness

Activities based on these principles are developed in several Brazilian states and cities (Araçatuba (Sao Paulo), Baurú (Sao Paulo), Sorocaba (Sao Paulo), Belém do Para (Para), and Fortaleza (Ceara)), always open to the public in general and free of charge. Over 750 people attend these activities yearly.

Since 2004, the first week of April is dedicated to activities that invite us to  remember, consider, and talk about the life experience of Martin Luther King and kindle the flame of vigilance, in order to create antidotes for all that robs our humanity and retards the implementation of a global culture committed to peaceful interaction, making diversity legitimate, and a cooperative disposition. As the ancient African word ubuntu expresses: "I am what I am because of who we all are". Talks, shows, commented video exhibitions, and other activities all have free admittance, and are carried out in public squares, governmental schools, and at the Associação Palas Athena. In 2004 approximately 200 persons attended, and in 2005 approximately 700.

3. INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE                    
This movement started in 1982 due to the initiative of then Archbishop of São Paulo, Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, and afterwards supported by the Casa da Reconciliação (Catholic) and the Jewish Congregation of São Paulo. Formerly, in partnership with the United Religious Initiative (URI), the Religious Studies Institute (ISER), and supported by the World Business Academy (WBA), we have been promoting inter-religious dialogue in Brazil.

4. GANDHI AND NON-VIOLENCE - for the Military Police Force and Civil Police Force (1999 - 2000)
This project was developed in order to disseminate the ideas of the great spiritual and political leader, and to discuss subjects that are crucial for social interaction: violence, the environment, cultural diversity, ethics, and citizenship.

The first essay-writing contest counted with 82.000 military policemen of the Sao Paulo State, sponsored by Associação Palas Athena and the Consulate General of India, and institutional support of the National Secretary of Human Rights and the project "Discrimination, Prejudice, and Stigmatization" of the Education Faculty of the University of São Paulo (USP).

The second essay-writing contest counted with 35.000 civil policemen of the São Paulo state. Seminars and meetings for these policemen were also conducted as part of the contest.

This project was also adopted in Natal (Rio Grande do Norte) and Belém (Para) in the years that followed.

March 2001 to the present date
This outdoors event is carried out in public spaces such as parks and squares offering the population several recreational activities designed to show and allow participants to experience the three basic principles of Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy:
- Active non-violence: nurture pacific action and attitudes in all dimensions of our life.
- Individual responsibility: foster the awareness of our personal power to act in benefit of our community.
- Simpler living: avoid waste and excess; circulate what is stagnant, recycling things and ideas; minimize irresponsible consumerism.

Conducted entirely by volunteers, and free of charge, the activities are: Dialog and story telling, dancing, singing, origami, ikebana, collective artistic activities, hiking, games, etc. They benefit the local population that comes to parks and public squares in São Paulo and other cities, and has been receiving over 650 persons yearly.

A Peace Wants Partners Event


In July 2004 Gandhi square was created at the Túlio Fontoura Square, in São Paulo, to stimulate and host culture of peace and non-violence activities. In order to implement this idea, Associação Palas Athena established a partnership with SENAC (landscape design department), the Consulate General of India, and the Municipal Sub-district of Vila Mariana. The project was sponsored by 10 private enterprises, and building is under way. It will be a model public area in terms of accessibility for visually and otherwise handicapped persons.

August 1999 to present date

20-hours of training, with institutional support of UNESCO and sponsored by private companies.
- Create awareness and motivation for teaching ethics and universal values in schools where many adolescents face problems such as drug addiction and violence.
- Discuss basic human ethical issues, paving the way for the construction of a society based on principles of peaceful interaction and constant learning.
- Foster the development of educational programs based on values such as: dialogue, peace and non-violence - since they are urgent for society and  can be learned and taught.
- Prepare for the development of intercultural values, according to principles based on respect of cultural differences and religious traditions.
- Develop a critical understanding of the consumer society in order to foster citizenship and a sense of social participation in students.
- Discuss the importance of knowing and taking care of ones own body, and the adoption of healthy habits for the individual, the community, and the environment.

This program has trained 5598 teachers up to this moment. Another 10.000 teachers and education workers of governmental schools have attended related workshops and talks in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in their schools.

Seminars for education officials of the governmental network of schools.

Training of the teachers taking part of UNESCO's pilot project for Peace Schools in Rio de Janeiro. 380 teachers and monitors were trained.

TEXTBOOK "PAZ, COMO SE FAZ? SEMEANDO CULTURA DE PAZ NAS ESCOLAS" (Peace, how is it made? Sowing Culture of Peace in Schools) (2002).
This textbook was written by the Palas Athena team for UNESCO and provides tools for teachers that want to guide their pupils in the development of communication, creativity, acceptance of others, and dialog - abilities that contribute to the construction of active peace in communities. It provides a bridge between theory and practice, and is based on the four pillars of Education for the Future (learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, learning to be), presented in the UNESCO Report by the International Commission for Education in the XXI century, presided by Jaques Delors: Education a treasure to discover, and also in the 6 points of the Manifesto 2000. Over 300.000 copies were distributed in several Brazilian States, and also available for download at www.unesco.org.br (publicações / edições nacionais / edições em desenvolvimento social / Paz, como se Faz? / online).

PEACE IN ACTION - TRAINING IN CULTURE OF PEACE LEADERSHIP (in partnership with UNESCO).     (2003 to present date)
Goals: Provide training for teachers, principles, and other education professionals that are willing to create Culture of Peace and Non-violence dissemination centers in their schools in order to influence the students' families and the communities they belong to.
During its 120 hours, this course covers the following subjects: Diversity and social inclusion; Responsible consuming; Culture of Peace and law; The seven knowledges necessary for the education in the future; Politics, complexity and Culture of Peace; Poisons for the mind: anger, envy, and jealousy; Ethics and peace education; Fundaments and strategies of Non-violence; Philosophical contribution to education for the 21st century.
270 education professionals have attended 2 courses in São Paulo and 1 in Caxias do Sul (Rio Grande do Sul)

Training in Human Values and Professional Ethics for Adolescents. A 132-hour course for classes with 70 adolescents participating of the First Job Program of Banco Real ABN-AMRO in São Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro.

PEACE TEACHERS (2002 to present date). Training of teachers from the governmental network of schools. Upon request of the Municipal Government and Education Department of Araçatuba, and State Department of Education, this project was implemented in the following cities of São Paulo State: Araçatuba, Guararapes, Rubiácea, Bento de Abreu, Valparaíso and Santo Antonio do Aracanguá. Every fortnight, school principles, teachers, and coordinators are trained by the Palas Athena team. In Araçatuba all 41 schools are already in the second phase of the project, implementing dialogue and focus techniques. In 2005 the entire pedagogical planning was based on the 6 principles of the Manifesto 2000. The program has trained 13.067 education professionals up to the present date.

8. PEACE FLAG NETWORK               Jan. 2000 to present date

In partnership with Abaçaí Cultura e Arte (Culture Department of the State of Sao Paulo), the first Peace Flag was planted in Jan. 25th, 2000. After that, the network of flags has been growing in the State of São Paulo, with each flag planted, a sustainability unit is created in order to: promote Culture of Peace and Education for Peace by means of research, education, and experience; to foster autonomy, dialog, and cooperation in order to avoid conflicts by strengthening the social tissue, peaceful coexistence and envisioning a multicultural world; to allow the access to useful knowledge and ethical values, and create awareness regarding human rights and responsible citizenship; to produce knowledge capable of fostering a Culture of Peace. There are 6 sustainability units to the present date in:
- Atibaia, SP (in partnership with: Education and Culture Municipal Departments)
- Jarinu, SP (in partnership with the Education Municipal Department)
- São Bernardo do Campo, SP (in partnership with Meimei Social Assistance Institute)
- São José dos Campos, SP (in parnership with Cassiano Ricardo Cultural Foundation and Culture of Peace Municipal Council)
- São Paulo, SP (in parnership with the Rio Branco School)

Yearly, approximately 2000 persons attend the planting of the flags.

- Join several segments of the community in order to discuss violence and search for integrated solutions based on a common ground of needs and interests.
- Stimulate the creation of projects and support their activities
- Efficiently articulate, organize and harmonize the several activities developed in order to reduce violence in the city of Ribeirão Preto.

9. OPEN DOORS         Jan. 2001 to present date
Improve the perspective of social inclusion, life quality, and a better future for children and youth by creating relationships based on and sustained by universal ethical values, thus contributing to build a Culture of Peace.

The project was created when the Municipal Health Department of Sao Paulo city requested a program to teach universal values to young people (12 - 25 years). The project is now carried out entirely by volunteers, who maintain constant relationships with 130 children and adolescents by means of activities such as capoeira, music, dance, arts, information on health issues, and professional training courses.

Aug. 2000 to present date
This project was initially developed upon request of the Municipal Health Department of São Paulo State. It is now an independent project and is being carried out in several cities in Sao Paulo and in Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul.

- Create awareness, within the Municipal Health Network, of the harmful consequences of considering human and subjective aspects less important than technical, scientific, and operational ones when working with patients.
- Demonstrate, by means of cases, that this situation can be changed, not only in the Health services.
- Show that the change is operated initially by establishing trust, solidarity, and familiarity between patient-citizens and health professional-citizens of the administrative area and those working with patients.
- Develop the potential for relationships latent in the health professionals and create awareness for the need to use their full potential.
- Broaden the participation of public healthcare users by welcoming their representatives and volunteers.
- Stimulate the search for partnerships with other private and public institutions and organizations
- Foster communication skills in order to face an environment where fear, mistrust, and alienation are the main themes, creating a conversational network that disseminates trust, participation, inclusion.

Persons trained: 3611

40.000 copies of the book "Welcoming" were distributed free of charge to workers of the public health network, published by the Municipal Health Department of São Paulo, with the official seal of UNESCO, and written by Associação Palas Athena.

This project was extended to other areas: Education, Health and Social Assistance in Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul. This was accomplished by means of the course: Training of Multipliers in Values, Ethics, and Culture of Peace for Prevention of Violence. (96 hours - 100 participants).

Also, in the Municipal Hospital of Ermelindo Matarazzo in São Paulo, SP, the course:Training of Multipliers in Ethics of Welcoming was attended by the hospital staff and members of the community committee. (64 hours - 150 participants).

Another 42 events have been held in several cities of several Brazilian States (7 meetings, 7 workshops, 4 seminars, 6 talks). A total of 1700 persons attended.

March 2004 to present date
This initiative was created during the XX National Congress of Municipal Health Secretaries, and I Brazilian Congress of Health, Culture of Peace and Non-violence on March 17 - 20, 2004, in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, where 1500 participants representing over 500 Brazilian cities were attended. The constitution of Gandhi Network was approved by 14 states,

- To supply training, information, and guidance on Culture of Peace-oriented activities and knowledge
- To supply grounding for efficient public policies capable of mobilizing civil society
- To create new scenarios for social inclusion
- To promote and disseminate Culture of Peace skills, abailities, and talents.
- To welcome diversity in order to generate life quality
- To foster the creation and sustainability of programs, projects, and activities conductive to the goals of this network
Mission: Reduce violence in all of its aspects and manifestations, and promote a Culture of Peace, not only as the opposite of war but also as the necessary condition for satisfactory social coexistence, and full development of each human being's potentialities.  

From May 10 - 13, 2005 the II National Health and Culture of Peace Congress will be held in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso.

This Committee was created by a Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Associação Palas Athena, and hosted by the Public Health Faculty of USP. It collected 570.000 signatures for the Manifesto 2000. Also, by means of Agreements signed with the São Paulo State Secretary of Education, of Culture, and of Citizenship.

Oct. 2000 to present date
In partnership with UNESCO
Further mobilized the social movements and persons that adhered to the Manifesto 2000, having accomplished the following:

- 41 monthly forums on Culture of Peace issues. Entrance is free of charge. Speakers are volunteers, and eminent specialists in their respective subjects.
- Training and management meetings are held once a month. During these meetings Culture of Peace issues are studied in depth and the activities of the Committee are planned.
- The site www.comitepaz.org was created in order to offer the main international documents and reference texts on Culture of Peace in Portuguese, as well as pedagogical materials for Culture of Peace. It also supplies the dates of the Committee's activities and other information.
- Jointly created the Parliamentary Culture of Peace Advisory Board with the Sao Paulo Public Assembly. This Board is composed of delegates and members of the civil society, religious organizations and social movements. Its goal is to foster public policies conductive to a Culture of Peace. It was the first initiative of this kind in the world, and today there are similar boards in another 6 Brazilian cities.
- Participated in several campaigns and events, among which the National Campaign for Disarmament.

Activities are attended by 250 persons monthly.

On November 4th, 2003 this Committee was created, inspired by the Sao Paulo Committee. It is coordinated by Interação - Educação Corporal e Integração Humana, a partner of Associação Palas Athena.  

- 13 forums and 16 management and training meetings have been held to the present date at the Casa do Advogado de Araçatuba, SP. Approximately 100 persons attend these events monthly.
- A Culture of Peace Volunteer Agency was created to act as an interface between organizations with culture of peace projects and persons willing to work for this cause, who receive training based on the 6 principles of the Manifesto 2000
- Participation in the seminar "Ethics in Politics" at the Araçatuba Municipal Assembly.
- Dissemination of Culture of Peace concepts and projects at the Agribusiness Fair in Araçatuba.


Co-organized by Espaço Interação and Associação Palas Athena, with institutional support of UNESCO.
For the first time in Brazil specialists in penal law and the administration of justice to adolescents and children will gather to discuss this innovative way of transforming our legal procedures into a non-violent process capable of: leading young law breakers back to the condition of responsible citizens integrated to the community; repairing the victims losses; and strengthening the community.

The goals of this symposium are: to inspire Restorative Justice projects within the Brazilian legal system; to create a permanent network of restorative practices and studies; to foster partnerships and professional projects with local communities; to promote training of mediators and conciliation agents; to create a permanent reference information board on restorative concepts and practices. Judges, prosecutors, lawyers, technicians and civil servants of the judiciary branch, members of the network of support and protection to children and adolescents, university students, entrepreneurs, and the community as a whole are invited to attend.

Oct. 2001 to present date
The first Parliamentary Advisory Board of its kind in Brazil. It was created and inspired by the São Paulo Committee for the Culture of Peace Decade on December 17, 2002, and made official by Resolution nº 829 of the São Paulo State Assembly.

It is composed of 36 representatives of social institutions or movements from civil society, and 12 deputies from the several parties.

Its mission is to create awareness, mobilize, and articulate all segments of society so as to engage them in the building of a Culture of Peace.

Due to the accomplishments of this first Parliamentary Advisory Board, others were created:

São Paulo Municipal Assembly - Law nº 01-0075/2003
Itapecerica da Serra Municipal Assembly - Law  nº 1107/2003
São José dos Campos Municipal Assembly - Law nº 15/2003
Diadema Municipal Assembly - Law nº 11/2003
Curitiba Municipal Assembly - soon to be voted
National Congress - to be voted

Regarding the International Peace Day (September 21), we have been creating and organizing events to disseminate the Culture of Peace concepts as presented by UNESCO. Some of them include: Peace Wants Partners Project in public squares and parks on this date (2001, 2002); Training for teachers at the CIEESP Education Congress (2003); Training for journalists of the Editora Abril (leading media agency), Vida Simples Magazine (2004).

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?

Involve all UN agencies (and not only UNESCO) in the Culture of Peace efforts, and allot resources for the publication and dissemination of books, videos, and audio recordings and other materials for implementing tools such as conflict mediation, deliberative democracy, inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue, and the approximation of traditional knowledge (of minority cultures, indigenous and others) and science.

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

Our programs and projects are held in partnership with governmental departments, international agencies, religious institutions, and non-governmental organizations. Formal partnership agreements have been signed with:
Abaçaí Cultura e Arte / Aliança pela Infância / Associação Comunitária Monte Azul / Banco Real ABN AMRO / Brasfanta / Casa das Áfricas / CECCO - Centro de Convivência e Cooperativa Santo Dias / CONASEMS - Conselho Nacional de Secretários Municipais de Saúde / Consulado Geral e Embaixada da Índia / COPIPAZ - Comitê Primeira Infância na Cultura de Paz / EMBRAER / Espaço Interação / Faculdade de Saúde Pública da USP / FERSOL / Gandhi Peace Foundation  / GARP - Grupo Ambientalista Ribeirão dos Pássaros - Monteiro Lobato (SP) / Iluminattis / Imprensa Oficial do Estado de São Paulo / Instituto de Estudos do Futuro / IPAZ - International Peace Agency / Joseph Campbell Foundation - USA/ Natura / Projeto Cooperação e UNIMONTE - Santos - SP / PUC São Paulo / Rede Gandhi: Saúde, Cultura de Paz e Não-violência / Rede Paz - Rede de Educação para a Paz/ Secretaria de Estado da Cultura de São Paulo / Secretaria Municipal da Educação de São Paulo / Secretaria Municipal de Saúde de São Paulo / SENAC-SP / SESC-SP / Subprefeitura de Vila Mariana / UNESCO / UniFMU / Universidade de Caxias do Sul / Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul / UNIPAZ - Universidade Holística Internacional Fundação Cidade da Paz / UPEACE - Universidade para a Paz das Nações Unidas - Costa Rica / URI - United Religions Iniciative / VIVA RIO

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)?

To consolidate and widen our network within the educational, cultural, health, and justice areas.
To evaluate the efficiency of the actions of the Culture of Peace Municipal and Parliamentary Advisory Boards.
To write, and publish books on Culture of Peace and related themes.
To create a Reference Research and Studies Center on Peace, Conflictology, and Mediation. To this effect we have already contacted and started to work with UPAZ (Universidade para la Paz de Costa Rica), with Gandhi Peace Foundation (India), and with Educación para la Paz (Spain), among other institutions.

Postal address of organization

Rua Leôncio de Carvalho, 99 - 04003-010  São Paulo, SP - BRAZIL

E-mail address of organization


Website address of organization


Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Education for a Culture of Peace

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

Free flow of information and knowledge

Highest priority country of action (or international)


Second priority country of action (or international)

India, since we are connected to gandhian social movements and institutions
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