United Nations Department of Public Information Briefing
Ms. Cora Weiss, President, Hague Appeal for Peace
Ms. Dot Maver, President, National Peace Academy
Mr. Michael O’Malley, Program Associate, Soka Gakkai International
THE UNITED NATIONS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION OPENS ITS 2012 BRIEFING SEASON WITH CULTURE OF PEACE!
31 January 2012
What better way for the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) to start 2012 than to kick off 19 January with the potent theme: “Culture of Peace: Amplifying the Unseen and Unheard Voices of Peace.” Surely, it was a dream-come-true — at least for the United for Culture of Peace (U4CoP) group (www.gmcop.org) who’s “culture of peace” passion at the UN empowered them to collaborate behind the scene with a delightfully responsive DPI, to make it happen. It seems an omen for the promise of what is yet to come in 2012, as the world shifts towards a culture of peace!
The distinguished panel consisted of Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury – Senior Special Advisor to the UN General Assembly President; Dot Maver, PhD –National Peace Academy President; Michael O’Malley – Soka Gakkai International Program Associate; and Cora Weiss — Hague Appeal for Peace President. Moderated by DPI Chief, Maria-Luisa Chavez, it began with a moment of silence, in keeping with the spirit of peace, something DPI had never done before.
Ambassador Chowdhury questioned how to “bring in” the Culture of Peace Programme of Action. He hopes everyone reads it (http://mod.sgi.org/assets/pdf/UN_CulturePeace_bklt_r4.pdf) as it “transcends boundaries for eternity.” All UN offices should highlight and support it at the grassroots. Women and youth are essential; and each of us becomes an agent of peace in how we act. He stressed the importance of spirituality and the growing recognition of the “human right to peace.”
Dot Maver inspired with her declaration that peace is sweeping the world. There are so many peace groups in society, it is impossible to name them all. Infrastructures for peace are needed to pull them together (peace ministries, academies, commissions, doctors of peace). 2012 is proving to be a turning point for humanity — the year to make peace an organizing principle of society.
Michael O’Malley admitted how hard it was at first to understand “culture of peace” because it seemed so abstract. Now he gets that it is about consciousness. He spoke of the new United for Culture of Peace group at the UN and its mission to amplify the global movement for the culture of peace, citing launch of its new website that day (www.gmcop.org).
Cora Weiss directed everyone to remember what WWW really stands for — World Without War! Another UN Resolution is needed to ban nuclear weapons and she would support an Occupy movement to achieve it. Education is key and the Human Right to Peace movement is critical.
A concluding message from Gita Brooke (Operation Peace Through Unity in New Zealand) was read, thanking DPI and all who poured energy into the vision this special Briefing held. Observed by a full house — along with many unseen – unheard voices actively participating by various social media; webcast to a worldwide audience; and archived at http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/dpingorelations/home/events/briefings/ws2012/19jan2012, the Briefing seemed to anchor the culture of peace at the UN. The excitement in the room was palpable. Audience questions were exceptional. The positive feedback about it exceeded all expectations.
Submitted by United for Culture of Peace: Global Movement for a Cullture of Peace (http://www.gmcop.org/about-us/)
The Culture of Peace initiative was launched in 1989 by UNESCO at an international peace conference in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire. Its final declaration called for the construction of “a new vision of peace culture based on the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between women and men.”
The Member States of UNESCO then adopted in 1992 a proposal for a Culture of Peace Programme to bring peace to states newly emerging from conflict. With the full support of the UNESCO Director-General, national programmes were then established, beginning with El Salvador and Mozambique, and over the next few years extended to a number of other countries. But the national culture of peace programmes did not receive the financing that had been expected from the UNESCO Member States, and by the end of the decade they had mostly disappeared.
Meanwhile, at the UN General Assembly in New York, the Member States from the South began as early as 1995 to request a global culture of peace programme for the UN system. In 1997 the General Assembly recalled in its resolution A/52/13 that “the creation of the United Nations system itself, based upon universally shared values and goals, has been a major act towards transformation from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence.” The following year, the General Assembly proclaimed an International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010) in its resolution A/53/25 on November 10, 1998. At that time, they had already declared the Year 2000 as the International Year for a Culture of Peace, and they had received from UNESCO a draft document for a Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.
The culture of peace concept, as presented in UNESCO’s draft document A/53/370, was specifically presented as an alternative to the culture of war. For each of eight fundamental aspects of the culture of war, eight alternative programme areas were proposed for the culture of peace. The UNESCO draft called for “a global movement” involving “partnerships for a culture of peace . . . between the United Nations and the Member States with various inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations, including educators, artists, journalists, parliaments, mayors and local authorities, armed forces, religious communities, and organizations of youth and women.”
In 1999 the UN General Assembly, after long deliberations, adopted a Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (Resolution A/53/243) which included the eight programme areas proposed by UNESCO and which called for a “global movement for a culture of peace” that would include initiatives of the civil society as well as governments and the UN, and that would be “promoted through sharing of information among actors on their initiatives in this regard”.
For the International Year in 2000, UNESCO organized a campaign to involve the civil society and individuals around the world. Over 75 million people signed the Manifesto 2000, committing themselves to cultivate a culture of peace in daily life.
During the International Decade (2001-2010), the leadership was taken by over a thousand civil society organizations as described in World Civil Society Reports at the mid-point and end of the Decade.
More detailed information is available at http://culture-of-peace.info/history/introduction.html and http://decade-culture-of-peace.org
(Description by the Global Movements for the Culture of Peace: http://www.gmcop.org/about-us/)
The UN Declaration and Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace, 1999: