General Summary of the Whole of the Debates
- Useful Links on
- A Few Statistics
We would like first of all, to express our deep appreciation to
the Charles Léopold Foundation for the Progress of Humankind
(FPH), based in Paris, France, which was the instigator of this
international forum and supported it throughout, both financially
and logistically, and in particular Gustavo Marin, in charge of
the “Future of the Planet” program at the FPH, who represented
the FPH within the Forum Coordination and whose presence was a permanent
source of encouragement. Our thanks, too, to Richard Pétris,
Director of the School of Peace, based in Grenoble, France, joint
organizer and sponsor of the forum, who provided the forum with
the experience and the spirit of his institution, and his colleagues,
Philippe Reyx, Denis Grandjean, Philippe Mazzoni, and Xavier Guigue,
who put their heads together once a month to look at what the forum
had produced and add an extra dimension to what had been said. A
very special thought and tremendous gratitude to Delphine Astier,
who processed all the incoming messages, gave them titles and wrote
their abstracts, then translated them into two other languages,
to Arnaud Blin, who with outstanding talent summarized the debates
weekly and monthly and without whose help the debate would not have
been able to progress as it did, and to Marina Urquidi, who was
in charge of the overall coordination of the forum and its organizing
team, of facilitating the whole of the debate, and of keeping track
of its evolution and in touch with its participants. Finally, of
course, we owe almost everything to the 160 persons around the world,
whose active, or even silent, participation was the very soul of
this experience. May peace be with you all.
On September 11, 2001, we were brutally thrust
into questioning the world in which we live. Fears and doubts suddenly
rushed forth and forced us to consider issues that some us thought
we were only remotely concerned with: terrorism, international and
geostrategic relations, the relationship between local situations
and global imbalances, money laundering, our responsibilities as
ordinary citizens, our possibilities for taking some kind of action
in areas within our scope, and so on.
It was to provide a medium to express our dismay
and our questions, as well as to step back and think about the importance
and the means for building alternatives to violent conflict that
the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World http://www.alliance21.org
offered to open an Internet-based discussion forum.
In keeping with the Alliance’s philosophy,
rather than opting for an on-line Web-based forum—which requires
sometimes difficult and costly Internet connections—the discussion
was designed to rely exclusively on e-mail facilities, paving the
way to a broader participation. Nonetheless, for safekeeping, all
the information, the documents, and the archive of the contributions
to the debate are published and can be accessed on the Web at http://www.forums.alliance21.org/info/pax
Given the context and the general state of shock,
the first phase of the forum consisted in allowing emotions and
reactions to be expressed following the attacks. This was also designated
as a time for the participants to introduce themselves to the assembly:
in any meeting, it is of capital importance to know whom you are
addressing, all the more so when such meetings are attended by people
you can neither hear nor see. The introductions revealed a great
diversity of participants (the number of which reached approximately
160 by the end of the debate), both in geographic and cultural terms,
as well as from the standpoint of their fields of activity. Many
Americans joined to exchange their thoughts and ideas with people
in other parts of the world: having been the first victims of the
attacks and the responsibility of world U.S. power having thus been
hurled into the international spotlight, their active participation
proved priceless in this dialogue of an emerging global society.
The debate, which was moderated, structured¸
and translated into three languages—English, French, and Spanish—discussed
the following points successively:
- December 2001 – January 2002: Reactions to September 11th,
reflection on the causes of violence, and participants’ introductions.
- February: How are our relationship to the environment and the
implementation of a truly sustainable development connected to peace
- March: What is the relationship between a socioeconomics of solidarity
- April: What type of governance, from the local to the global scales,
do we need to strive for to secure lasting peace?
- May: How is peace related to education, values, art, and culture?
- June: This last period was devoted to our thoughts on the path
we had traveled together during the previous six months.
Between each formal discussion theme, participants
had a one-week “coffee break,” during which they were
able to converse on an informal basis.
This agenda gave us a framework to consider peace
in all of its facets: individual, collective, international, etc.
It also allowed us all to question ourselves regarding our own responsibilities
and our possibilities for acting for peace as ordinary citizens.