Here Is the Vision! A Global Movement for a Culture of Peace

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 17 Jun 2024

David Adams | Transition to a Culture of Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

10 Jun 2024 – Two weeks ago we said “Here are the people.” And we asked, “Where is the vision?”

And now, as if in response, the United Nations has declared that the official theme for this year’s International Day of Peace is “Cultivating a Culture of Peace” with reference to the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

This is the vision that is needed ! This is a very important opportunity to advance the agenda of history and to safeguard the future of human civilization !

The millions of people who participate each year in the International Day of Peace should be forged into the action that is proposed in the Programme of Action: “Partnerships between and among the various actors as set out in the Declaration should be encouraged and strengthened for a global movement for a culture of peace.”

Who are the various actors set out in the Declaration? They are listed in Article 8 of the UN Declaration: A key role in the promotion of a culture of peace belongs to parents, teachers, politicians, journalists, religious bodies and groups, intellectuals, those engaged in scientific, philosophical and creative and artistic activities, health and humanitarian workers, social workers, managers at various levels as well as to non-governmental organizations.

That tells us what is to be done ! It gives us a programme of action. We need to contact and involve all of these actors to make this years’ International Year for the Culture of Peace the launching date for the global movement.

Parents? We can already see the dawn of a global youth movement for action against climate change. They should engage their parents, pointing out that the Programme of Action calls for “Actions to promote sustainable economic and social development.”

Teachers? The teachers associations, internationally and nationally, including Education International and the Associated Schools of UNESCO, should inform and mobilize their members to take a leading role. In turn, the teachers can inform and inspire their students.

Politicians? Yes, there are still many progressive politicians in the world ! How can we reach them to put this project into their programs?

Journalists? The journalists of alternative media are well-placed to carry this message to thousands of readers. Although the mainstream media journals are mostly consumed by the culture of war, their journalists, in many cases, wish to see a better world. How can we reach them, and how can they manage to slip the message into the mass media.

Religious bodies and groups? State religions adopt the state’s culture of war, but otherwise religions work for peace. Pope Francis is not the only religious leader who is actively and explicitly calling for a culture of peace ! All religious bodies and groups should be encouraged to play a leading role !

Intellectuals, those engaged in scientific, philosophical and creative and artistic activities? When we needed to publicize the Seville Statement on Violence, we were able to involve the American Psychological Association, American Anthropological Association, American Sociological Association and other scientific and humanistic associations around the world. That can serve as a model to mobilize intellectuals. And as for the creative writers and artists, here is an opportunity for them to insert a new and vital theme into their creations !

Health and humanitarian workers, social workers? The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for their work to make the world healthy on a global scale. They give us a good example. They and many other organizations like them can play an important role.

Managers at various levels? There are millions of managers around the world who are concerned with the day-to-day management of their various organizations. But in addition to that they should think about the future, not only of their enterprise but also of the community, country and region in which they work. How can we reach and mobilize them? What role can they assume?

Non-governmental organizations? During the United Nations Culture of Peace Decade we documented the contributions of almost a thousand non-governmental organizations? They continue to mobilize annually for the International Day of Peace. They should be mobilized to play a key role in the launching of the movement. Already in France, the Mouvement de la Paix sets the example by mobilizing and dedicating each International Day of Peace to a movement for the culture of peace.

In addition to the preceding actors listed in Article 8 of the Declaration, the following actors are listed in section A of the Programme of Action: Member States; Civil Society; United Nations system; UNESCO in particular.

Although most Member States are caught up in the culture of war, there are some that are committed to the culture of peace, especially in Africa and Latin America, and they can help launch the global movement. The African Union sponsors the biennale of Luanda for a culture of peace in Africa. In 2014 the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace  proclaimed Latin America and the Caribbean as a ‘Zone of Peace.’ Point 6 calls for “The promotion in the region of a culture of peace based, inter alia, on the principles of the United Nations Declaration on a Culture of Peace.”

Civil society is covered by the actors mentioned above in the Declaration.

The UN system has launched the process. Now its many agencies and departmets should take up the task. UNESCO is mentioned in particular in the Programme of Action saying that it “should continue to play its important role in and make major contributions to the promotion of a culture of peace.” How can this be stimulated?

There are other important actors that are not mentioned in the Declaration and Programme of Action, but can play an essential role in the development of the global movement:. These include women’s organizations, trade unions, and cities.

Unlike men who make up most of the military officers and soldiers around the world and who are the CEO’s of the military-industrial complex, women tend to be engaged in work for a healthy world, including the birthing and raising of the next generation. Their associations, that we see around the world on International Women’s Day, can play an essential role.

Trade unions represent millions of workers for their day-to-day protection. We see them on the streets on May 1. But also they mobilize for the future, as for example in the negotiation of the contracts for their employment. Should they not also mobilize for the future of the planet by joining the global movement on the International Day of Peace?

Unlike states, cities have no nuclear weapons, no armies, no military-industrial complex, no borders to defend or to regulate travel and commerce, no enemies, in short, no culture of war. Cities with peace commissions and cities in general can dedicate this year’s celebration to the launching of a global movement for the culture of peace. Eight thousand cities are members of Mayors for Peace. What a tremendous contribution they would make if they would mark this year’s International Day of Peace by launching an alternative security council to issue regular press releases on what mayors would do if they ran the UN Security Council !

We have work to do ! Please add your suggestions by posting a comment below.

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Dr. David Adams is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace.  Previously, at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, he was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behavior, the history of the culture of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and he helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. Send him an email.

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One Response to “Here Is the Vision! A Global Movement for a Culture of Peace”

  1. I responded to the previous announcement in TMS (5 June 2024) with the following: Very important question. Many offer answers but with no ability or motivation to engage with the answers of others — often after framing others as simply wrong or misguided. How do we handle an ecosystem of visions when the wood cannot be seen from the trees?

    My concern at this point is what has been learned from previous appeals of that kind — to what learnings are peace advocates resistant? What can be usefully said in this space, given the quality of peace that reigns at this time?

    I unfortunately recall a long past response to an earlier condition of this kind: Collective Learning from Calls for Global Action, 1981 (https://www.laetusinpraesens.org/docs/callglob.php)

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