The gathering of the Mandela Fellows, class of 2017, at Rutgers, thanks to President Obama’s initiative. Six thousand individuals apply, less than 100 are able to be supported. It’s a privilege to work with them, to teach and to learn from them.
Posted, here, is the annual report from the Carnegie Endowment on its efforts this year in advancing the cause of peace among nations, hastening the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, encouraging and promoting methods for the peaceful settlement of international differences and for increasing international understanding and concord, and, finally, aiding in the development of international law and the acceptance by all nations of the principles underlying such law.View Report
Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow gave the Third Annual Lecture at the University of the Free State in South Africa in February, 2014. The speech, to which a link is provided here, was entitled: “Forgiveness, Law and Justice.” It focused on forgiveness of people, societies, and nations and the role that law plays in helping with reconciliation after a wrongdoing. In her remarks, Dean Minow told the audience: “The issue of getting along after conflict is urgent.”
The conflict resolution field includes work on apology, on reconciliation, on building societies following violent civil strife. This article in the New York Times Magazine, examines the faces and listens to the voices of people in Rwanda, twenty years after the country’s genocide, a small collection of those commissioned by Creative Court, an arts organization based in the Hague. The Court’s director, Pieter Hugo, has this to say:
“These people can’t go anywhere else — they have to make peace…..Forgiveness is not born out of some airy-fairy sense of benevolence. It’s more out of a survival instinct.”
And, yet, from the Times’ essay: “…the practical necessity of reconciliation does not detract from the emotional strength required of these Rwandans to forge it — or to be photographed, for that matter, side by side.”
After decades of separation, Greek and Turkish Cypriots are working together on projects in order to re-build their severed relationship. They are restoring Greek and Turkish monuments, including mosques, that have deteriorated in divided Cyprus, and as one citizen observed, “Each one understands the pain of the other, which is considered the pain of Cyprus….” And, another, “It can be this peaceful, if everybody wants it.”
Building Peace: A Forum for Peace and Security in the 21st Century is the first issue in a series produced by the Alliance for Peacebuilding. It features Liberian peace activist and Nobel Laureate, Leymah Gbowee, on the cover and introduces the breadth and scope of peacebuilding. There is also a new website: http://buildingpeaceforum.com. The idea is to gain from the suggestions of peacebuilding experts from around the world through a free, online publication that shares stories of people, communities, and organizations that are transforming the face of peace and security around the world.
It opens a window into how those in the peacebuilding field foster and support resilient, peaceful and inclusive societies around the world.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding has Completed its Work on Mapping the Field: “Peacebuilding 2.0: Mapping the Boundaries of an Expanding Field”
It’s an important document for all of us who work in this field.
As Melanie Greenberg, president of the Alliance, said in a recent email:
“…despite recent downward trends in conflict around the world, more than1.5 billion people still live in fragile and conflict affected states and suffer acute levels of violence. Furthermore, violence in the 21st century is increasingly rooted in the interlinkages between political conflict, state fragility, organized crime, and porous borders, making a single conflict management approach impossible. In meeting these challenges, the peacebuilding field has grown exponentially in both impact and influence over the past twenty years. Yet, in order for the peacebuilding field to meet the challenges of 21st century violence, it must evolve from what we refer to as Peacebuilding 1.0 – a dynamic, yet disconnected series of activities across a broad range of sectors – to Peacebuilding 2.0, a unified field that harnesses the collective power of all peacebuilding interventions and leads to more stable, resilient societies.”
The Alliance (http://www.allianceforpeacebuilding.org/ ) will continue exploring avenues for expanding the scope of the field and it will provide up-to-date information about the peacebuilding field and beyond. We will continue to post those developments here.
The United States government is taking a number of steps to institutionalize greater conflict prevention capacity into its foreign policy structures. Prominent among these is the creation of the Bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations in the United States
Department of State (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/11/177636.htm)
This initiative complements work done by a number of not-for-profit organizations including the American Friends Service Committee which is a primary partner in the Prevention and Protection Working Group (http://fcnl.org/issues/ppdc/working_group_calls_for_prevention_funding_in_fy2012/)
which has recently established an Atrocities Prevention Board. The Working Group is the primary coalition of human rights, humanitarian, religious, and peace organizations in Washington dedicated to improving the United States’ government’s capacities to help prevent deadly conflict and to protect civilians threatened by it. The coalition
engages US officials in agencies and in Congress.
Gustavo Delgado, Director of Partnerships in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations joined Mary Stata, Legislative Associate with the Friends Committee on National Legislation and coordinator of the Prevention and Protection Working Group, and Tod Wilson, Senior Advisor to the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations met with members of peace and conflict prevention and resolution organizations working domestically and abroad, to discuss these new initiatives on December 7, 2011 in Washington.
The program, “Peacebuilding and U.S. Policy,” was organized and sponsored by the Alliance for Peacebuilding. (http://www.allianceforpeacebuilding.org/)
MORRISTOWN, N.J. – United Way of Morris County’s Success By 6® coalition is bringing “Peacemaking Skills for Little Kids” to preschools throughout Morris County. In collaboration with the Peace Education Foundation, Success By 6® is working to educate caretakers of young children about the dynamics of conflict while promoting peacemaking skills in school, at home, and throughout the community.