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Building Peace: The Need to Understand, So We Can Act
An International Internet-based Debate on Peace Building
December 2001 – June 2002

- General Summary of the Whole of the Debates
- Useful Links on the Internet
- 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 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 .

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 building?
- March: What is the relationship between a socioeconomics of solidarity and peace?
- 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.

© 2001 Alliance pour un monde responsable, pluriel et solidaire. Tous droits réservés.