Peace Day - September 21, 2008 - 66
PioNeersMAkIngstrides ore and more people are coming to realize that it is only by focusing our energies on tackling all forms of violence, including that to the environment, that the human race will have a viable future. In recent years groups in over 35 countries have concluded that this vital work needs to be a central role of government. These Departments of Peace or Ministries for Peace would operate in the realm of foreign affairs as well as at home. Their work abroad would include monitoring the world scene for signs of conflict and taking pre-emptive measures as appropriate in partnership with other nations and world bodies, helping with the nonviolent resolution of conflicts that exist, and assisting with rehabilitation and reconciliation work after the cessation of conflicts. Their work at home would involve fostering a culture of peace at all levels of the community by transforming conflict in the home, the workplace, the school, and in all aspects of government. The vision is of a world in which peace, toleration, and justice prevail, within and between nations. Where all ethnic, racial, and religious differences are welcomed; in which territorial, cultural, and human rights are respected; and in which national and international structures are created to ensure that such rights prevail. The first Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace was held in London in 2005, to bring these groups together to assist one another. Since then an annual Summit has been hosted over Peace Day weekend each year - in Canada in 2006 and Japan in 2007. The Summit will be hosted in Syndey, Australia this year (Sept. 17-26), and in Costa Rica in 2009. A peek at their progress: M africa Seven African nations attended the Japan Summit in 2007 where they formed the African Alliance for Peace, that will promote structures in government for establishing a culture of peace throughout Africa. Their first regional summit was in May 2008, including a 6 day training in nonviolent communication. What a wonderfully inspiring time we had in Accra, Ghana for the AAP Summit 1416 May 08. So much accomplished, I can hardly believe it. Twenty Africans from five countries attended the AAP Summit: Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and South Africa. I am only sorry more weren’t able to attend, much as they wanted to. During three days of deep sharing and hard work in small groups and plenary discussions, by unanimous consent, they: tional structure featuring a process of consent decision making in which all participants and perspectives have an equal voice and providing for networking with WANEP, Mediators Beyond Borders, and other African peace organizations; • Articulated a set of operating principles for the organization; • Formulated a work plan for the coming year, leading up to the Second AAP Summit, to be held in May 2009 in South Africa, including timelines and assignment of responsibilities; and • Developed a rough budget and fundraising plan. Many thanks to Miki Kashtan for her compassionate facilitation magic, which worked so well and was so appreciated by all attending. The Summit was followed by a 6 Day Non-Violent Communication training. • Crafted refined vision and mission statements; • Designed an egalitarian organiza- The first meeting of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace was in held in London, England 2005 66 Peace Day 2008
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