POP TV Session facilitated by Okan Erdogan in 2013.
Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing non-violence as well as women as peace builders in an effort to challenge your ideas about peace, build your knowledge about the culture of peace and also to inspire you to connect a culture of peace to your daily life. You can also expect that we will be recommending resources to continue to feed your curiosity toward peace.
For today’s topic, we will explore:
-what a culture of peace is,
– think of ways that a culture of peace relates to our own lives
– and have a brief overview of how our themes this year of practicing non-violence and women as peace builders relate to a culture of peace.
Let’s have a working frame to know what a culture of peace is:
– a set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations.
The concept of a culture of peace has a long history that led up to a declaration by the United Nations to establish a decade for a culture of peace in 2000.
The definition is pretty broad, with 8 keys (ways) to obtain peace, and they are called “peace keys”:
– Foster a culture of peace through education
– Promote sustainable economic and social development
– Promote respect for all human rights
– Ensure equality between men and women
– Foster democratic participation
– Advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity
– Support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge
– Promote international peace and security
Each of the peace keys break down into more detail, but befor we go into that, let’s set up an understanding of our themes and then weave them into the relevance of each description of the peace keys.
If we look at the theme of practicing non-violence, what we will discover is that there are a variety of definitions and opinions about what non-violence means to different populations. For the purposes of exploring the topic later on during the course of our entire POP series, review the explanation that a group called ACTUP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) uses for their civil disobedience training.
“Practice is a key word in understanding nonviolence. A nonviolent approach assumes that people take active roles, making choices and commitments and building on their experience. It also presents a constant challenge: to weave together the diversity of individual experiences into an ever-changing vision. There is no fixed, static “definition” of nonviolence.
Nonviolence is active. Although to some the word nonviolence implies passivity, nonviolence is actually an active form of resistance. It analyzes the sources of institutional violence and intervenes on a philosophical and political level through direct and persistent actions.
Gandhi’s vision of nonviolence is translated as “clinging to truth” or sometimes “truth force”, which includes both determination to speak out even when one’s truth is unpopular, and willingness to hear the truth of other people’s experience. He also defined two other components of nonviolence: the refusal to harm others and willingness to suffer for one’s beliefs.”
If we seek to explore our theme of women as peace builders, it can be observed that many times when peace is negotiated, men are the dominant, if not the only presence. Yet on the ground, women are often working behind the scenes to secure peaceable spaces and are actually also negotiating all the time, just perhaps not on a level in the spotlight. As an organization, EOTO World generally thinks it is important to highlight the contributions of those not often focused on, which for the theme of women peace builders, we must then focus on the contributions, challenges and strategies of women peace builders.
Q: What do you think about the themes?
Q: Can you see any connections between the two themes?
Let’s take a look at how our themes can be explored via the keys to peace, and please feel free to add anything that you feel may be missing, we are presenting short commentary.
Foster a culture of peace through education : Developing attitudes and skills for living together in harmony, putting an end to exclusion and oppression by revising the educational curricula to promote qualitative values, attitudes and behaviors of a culture of peace, including peaceful conflict-resolution, dialogue, consensus-building and active non-violence.
– This is interesting in that nonviolence is already defined within this peace key as active, which points to some of Ghandi’s definition of peace explained in the ACTUP training document.
– With this description of a COP through education, we can see that it is our responsibility to promote not only values, but the attitudes people should have and the behaviors they should exhibit. It is all encompassing. Can you see the connection to the label of women as “nurturers”, which is how one can also see the culture of peace in general: as a nurturing of society? It would then make sense for women to be included in peace building, would it not?
Promote sustainable economic and social development : Making sure that progress and development are good for everyone and for the environment by reducing economic and social inequalities, by eradicating poverty and by assuring sustainable food security , social justice, durable solutions to debt problems, empowerment of women, special measures for groups with special needs and environmental sustainability.
– Throughout this entire description, there is an urgency to actively resist poverty and all that contribute to it. That certainly fits into our theme of non-violence.
– There is also a direct mention of women in regards to empowerment, of which the main voice to carry a culture of peace on this aspect must be women. To that end, incorporating women peace builders in building peace is a logical step and a necessity.
Promote respect for all human rights :Respecting the rights and dignity of each human being, human rights and a culture of peace are complementary: whenever war and violence dominate, there is no possibility to ensure human rights; at the same time, without human rights, in all their dimensions, there can be no culture of peace
– This peace key touches on both of our themes in that it recognizes no peace without the cessation of violence and human rights that respects the dignity of each human being.
Ensure equality between women and men :Ensuring an equal place for women and men in building society through full participation of women in economic, social and political decision-making, elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women, support and assistance to women in need.
— This peace key addresses women directly in relation to their access to power, decision making, social and economic mobility. Women peace builders become an extension of empowering women and nonviolence becomes the tool that provides a common ground for both men and women peace builders to build upon.
Q: Are there any examples that you can think of that incorporate the portions of the culture of peace that we have reviewed?
– Peace in Action, has a running archive of examples of nations around the world using a culture of peace.
Some countries reported on include the Philippines, Liberia, Colombia, Gambia, Spain- Basque country, Nepal, India, Peru, Kenya… and more. The publication even breaks down activities into categories like building a culture of peace in schools and student action.