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

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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
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Towards a Culture of Peace
Section co-ordinated by Richard Pétris (Ecole de la Paix, France)

Let us globalize peace!

A revolution has taken place in our minds but it is far from having produced its effects, and peace can no longer be understood as the mere silence of canons, or the absence of war; we wish for peace that is "fair", "worthy", "long lasting"... With the end of the cold war, and simultaneously with the paradoxical observation that the conflicts of our times lead to a big majority of civilian victims, it is as if we have finally realized that peace cannot be lukewarm.

The emblematic conflict of the Middle-East today demonstrates it. The resolution through a process of multiple dialogues and agreements matured over a period of time, was show cased for a long time as exemplary. The report of an external commission on the fresh start of violence does not seem to surprise Israelis and Palestinians underlining that "trust" was lacking. But the culture of peace that upholds virtues of tolerance and equality must encourage a concrete political and "societal" construction of peace. Faced with a situation that is increasingly complex, this construction must combine justice, truth and know-how, and should be everywhere, whether it is the Balkans, Latin America or Africa...

As for Africa, it is the risk of conjuring 'non-assistance to a continent in danger', overpowered by so many ills, that lends a systemic dimension to the issue. Whereas, at one end of the continent, in Algeria, the causes of an "invisible" war are yet to be fully unravelled, at the other end, in South Africa, they have chosen to abolish apartheid and engage a process of reconciliation. Can this set up a trend? In any case, it is envied at least by some of the neighbouring countries. We can vouch for that, having participated in some of the exchanges. The serious situation that has prevailed in the region of the Great Lakes for the past ten years, warrants due attention by questioning and contributing towards the quest of a much needed "African reconstruction".

This section devoted to a culture of peace does not have the pretensions of being exhaustive. It shows the expansion of a concept from the fundamental rights of an individual and right of peoples to self-determination, to the challenges of development and preservation of life. This induces a change in mentality and behaviour and one can notice the new paths of civil society, of the formation and progress of governance and democracy. Working through a network is not something new under the sun, but it is certainly the best of internationalization, towards the quest for human universality and fraternity.

Richard Pétris
Director of the Ecole de la Paix

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