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globe logo     Caravan: Newsletter of the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World
Number 8 June 2001

bulletTrip to Kenya
bulletBooklets of Proposals
bulletDebate on Charter
 · Globalize peace!
 · Abandoned shoes
 · Ecole de la Paix
 · Network for Peace
 · Youth Actions
 · Struggle abandoned...
 · Afghanistan
 · Palestine
 · Reconstruction of Africa
 · Great Lakes (Rwanda)
 · Great Lakes (Congo)
 · Juan Carrero Saralegui
bulletNgecha Artists
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"Peace at Heart", G. Chege

Towards a Culture of Peace

The Ecole de la Paix and culture of peace

Haven't we heard ourselves ask -- "Who was the first one to have used the idea, 'culture of peace' -- at a conference organized by UNESCO? The question proves that we are not indifferent to the subject. At the Ecole de la Paix, we realised very soon that considering the problem of culture of war versus culture of peace is far more valuable than the good old opposition of war and peace. In 1995, we decided to launch a collection of books called 'Culture of peace'. Since the year 2000 was declared by the United Nations as the 'International year for a culture of peace', we present here below our activities according to the six engagements of the Manifesto 2000 prepared by UNESCO. We also refer to some of our partners here.

"Respecting all forms of life"

Through exhibitions of photographs along with detailed captions and even an explanation aimed at high school children as well as adults, we sensitize them to the tragedy in Rwanda and the war in Kosovo in order to suggest possible direction for the future. In Vietnam, we are trying to contribute to the development of forming associations that involve citizens and which are autonomous.

"I cannot do what I feel like with any life, not even mine, for it is like an object entrusted to my care momentarily, to be bequeathed to the cycle of the earth in the best condition possible so that life may continue" Yehudi Menuhin - Musician

"Unleashing one's generosity"

Along with many other organizations, we support the "project of life and hope" for thousands of farmers belonging to a disputed zone in Colombia. Since 1977, these farmers chose to mobilize themselves in "communities of peace" on their native land in order to defend their rights using non-violence, and by participating in the process of peace. It is a question of sensitizing the public opinion and inciting solidarity.

"I dream of a country that is conscious of its lands, its trees, its seas and its creatures, where to speak of economy would be to know how the last child of the Republic lives" William Ospina - Poet

"Rejecting violence"

An exhibition (with games) on tolerance, differences and respect for the other, invites children and the youth to think about themselves and recognize the value of exchange and participation in collective life. It is the starting point of an initiative for training in order to "learn to live together" with the help of games and other interactive activities.

"Non-violence is making use of life to gain, whereas in violence, you are always threatening the other with death, his/her death" Jacques Sémelin - Historian

"Listening to understand each other"

In the Middle East as well as in the heart of Europe, knowing the other and accepting diversity in the biggest challenge to peace. A project called "universal class" brings together schools and groups of young people from all continents to exchange ideas and thought, in order to answer the following question: "how to learn peace at school?"

"Education of peace consists in learning to put oneself in the other's shoes and to know how groups having different collective memories can live together" Jean Halpérin

"Preserving the planet"

Faced with the challenges of the 21st century, the Ecole de la Paix follows a two-fold programme of research: on problems of security, from conversion of arms' industries to world governance; on culture of peace itself in the context of setting up a UNESCO chair for culture of peace.

"To protect Humanity in its wealth and the Planet in its integrity, unity and diversity must reconcile at all levels" Pierre Calame

"Reinventing solidarity"

Working through a network is essential for the construction of peace. Ecole de la Paix has been increasing exchange of information and experience with associations and various organizations in France and abroad. Actions of mediation and solidarity specifically highlight the role of women.

"Starting from socialization of maternity warranted by the situation, Mothers of the May Square invented Maternity as a political argument: an anti-institution with a constant anxiety to renew and harsh criticism of all powers" Eric Sarner - Writer

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Ecole de la Paix & the workshop
on Conversion of Arms' Industries

A centre for information, training, research and action, Ecole de la Paix contributes to the following:

  • encourage construction of peace wherever it is threatened
  • create bridges between cultures
  • foresee violence and foster learning to live with others in schools or neighbourhoods
  • understand the conflicts and act towards a culture of peace

As an active signatory of the Alliance for a responsible, plural and united world, the Ecole de la Paix is involved since 1995 with the workshop on the conversion of arms' industries and the issues here are considerable. Indeed, an enormous amount of money and a lot of talent are wasted in producing arms. With the end of the cold war, citizens are more conscious of its absurdity. How can we convert the energy and talent presently involved in arms' production? Science, technology and economics are closely linked in the competition for military supremacy. Theoretically, conversion of technology is simple but conversion of markets and mentalities are far more complex and difficult. Five fields of action have been marked out: a plan of programme for conversion; a more peaceful research and development; collective security; large workshops; education and training for peace. This workshop publishes a news bulletin called Conversion where ideas and experiences are exchanged with Russian, European and American correspondents. An international meeting took place at Moscow in Spring 2000.

For more information on the activities of the Ecole de la Paix and on the workshop, contact:

Richard Pétris, Ecole de la Paix
7 rue Très Cloîtres, 38000 Grenoble, France
Tel.: +33 4-76-63-81-41 - Fax: +33 4-76-63-81-42

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