CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of March 1, 2020

Cities Take the Lead

Nuclear disarmament. New York City is becoming the most recent city to plan for divestment of their funds from the nuclear weapons industry. Public hearings in the city on January 28 heard from a wide range of speakers in favor of this action. Speakers included the global campaign, Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, Mayors for Peace, young peope from Peace Boat and a representrative from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. Participants at the hearing expressed their love of the city and strong unwillingness to see New York, or any other place on the Earth, to be exposed to the threat of irreversible destruction that nuclear weapons poses.

Hundreds of cities have joined the cities appeal of ICAN calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. The appeal states: “Our city/town is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world. We firmly believe that our residents have the right to live in a world free from this Threat. Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment. Therefore, we warmly welcome the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by the United Nations in 2017, and we call on our national government to join it.”

The Appeal is also supported by Mayors for Peace with its network of 7675 cities in 163 countries around the world. The most recent city to support the appeal, on January 27, was Oxford in the UK.

Sustainable development. UN Habitat recently sponsored the Tenth World Urban Forum to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by world leaders in 2015. At the meeting, which took place in Abu Dhabi from 8-13 February, the 13,000 participants  recognized that “an increasingly urbanized world is a ‘transformative force’ that can be harnessed and steered to boost sustainable development.” Among the organizations of cities taking part in the Forum was ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), a network of cities in over 100 countries, with global experts in 22 offices.

At the World Urban Forum, the Global Parliament of Mayors presented a project called the Virtual Parliament, an online tool to connect with Mayors around the world, to debate and vote on political issues and to exchange experiences. For example, it has supported an action of the US congress of Mayors against gun violence.

Reducing international tensions. The organization of International Cities of Peace reports that the first City of Peace on the Korean peninsula was established February 5 near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Pocheon. A major celebration was held at City Hall where Mayor Park signed a Proclamation as a crowd of media, dignitaries, and over 100 citizens packed the hall. Pocheon has the potential to help make the dream of Reunification of South and North Korea come true in order to benefit citizens of both countries.

Urban violence. A new initiative, the Strong Cities Network (SCN), is working with a broad coalition to reduce urban violence. According to the SCN, “Today, 83% of deadly violence occurs outside of conflict zones, with the majority of this violence concentrated in cities.” Their report highlights successful initiatives in Glasgow (Scotland), Oakland (California), and cities in Ecuador.

Tackling urban violence is also the priority of the World Forum on Cities and Territories of Peace, which is a project of the United Cities and Local Governments. Previous forums were held in Madrid in 2017 and 2018. The next one will take place this coming October in Mexico City to construct “solutions that promote urban environments capable of eliminating expressions of violence.”

According to the Strong Cities Network, “Nation states have dominated the global political arena for centuries, but with more than half of the world’s population today residing in cities, it may be time to rethink who should be at the table when it comes to decisions on how we can reduce violence.” The same could be said with regard to nuclear disarmament, sustainable development and the reduction of international tensions.



Strong Cities Network: Reducing violence is not impossible, and cities are proving this


Peace promotion in the Sahel: The best award-winning radio productions


Amnesty International: New generation of young activists lead fight against worsening repression in Asia


New York City hearings pave the way for nuclear weapons divestment


For Bob Marley’s 75th Birthday, Ziggy Marley Reflects On His Father’s Legacy


The Wet’suwet’en Fight Against New Pipeline Spreads Across Canada with Blockades & Occupations


Switzerland: Lutheran World Federation marks World Interfaith Harmony Week


Devoted to discovery: seven women scientists who have shaped our world

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of February 1, 2020

Military Swallows up THE AMERICAN BUDGET

Usually this bulletin puts the emphasis on positive actions that promote the culture of peace. But this month, it seems that the most important events were negative, and we need to look at them in detail.

In particular, the principal center of the American empire, the budget of the United States, is being almost completely swallowed up by military spending. Last month, the US congress, both Republicans and Democrats voted to adopt a military budget of $738 billion dollars.

As shown by a recent analysis, the military portion of the budget is even higher than reported because much of it is hidden from the eyes of the public. According to the analysis, the US government has spent a staggering $5.4 trillion on its post-9/11 war on terror, with an additional $1 trillion due for veterans’ care in the future. That’s an average of $23.7 billion monthly for the past 228 months.

Every indication says that this spending will continue.

Following the recent drone strike by the US military that killed Iran’s most powerful general, the big US defense companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon scored huge military contracts worth $1.93 billion and $758 million respectively.

As reported in the CPNN article, “Traditionally, defense stocks tend to outperform the market during periods of budget growth,”  “shares of defense companies outperform the broader market in the six months after a crisis event in the Middle East.”

One can easily see that this is driven by a huge military-industrial-complex, which is perhaps better described as a “military-industrial-congressional complex.”

There is no indication of a political solution in the United States. Senators and representatives in the US tend to receive big campaign contributions from the companies and individuals that profit from military contracts, and this is necessary because their election campaigns are very costly. The vote for the military budget was 377-48 with 188 Democrats joining with 189 Republicans.

And not a single candidate for President in this year’s election campaign has proposed an alternative budget. It seems that the military budget is politically “untouchable.”

Where does this lead? Rather than trying to analyze the historical significance of these events here, I refer the reader to my blog for this month: “Why the bloated military budget threatens to bring down the American empire.



‘Atrocious’: 188 Democrats Join GOP to Hand Trump $738 Billion Military Budget That Includes ‘Space Force’


A Brutal Violation of Press Freedom’: Glenn Greenwald Targeted With Investigation by Brazilian Government After Reporting on Corruption


Tens of thousands march in southern India to protest citizenship law


Peru: Electoral peace promoted in 4 native languages


Lebanon: Interview with Ogarit Younan (prize for conflict prevention and peace)


Greta Thunberg Addresses Global Elite at Davos: Our House Is Still on Fire


Burkina Faso: Struggle against radicalization: Imams and preachers strengthen their knowledge


UNWomen: In lead up to Generation Equality Forum, Action Coalition themes announced

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of January 1, 2020

The Struggle Against Global Warming

The world went to Madrid last month in the hope that the countries of the world would finally take serious action to stop global warming.

An example came to us from Lok Raj Joshi in Nepal.

He writes that “a government team from Nepal led by the Minister for Forests and Environment, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, is taking part in COP-25. . . . Nepal is going to propose formulating a plan for coping with the adverse conditions resulting from global warming. Nepal is also lobbying for the Green Climate Fund. Highly affected countries like Nepal are entitled to receive it as compensation from the responsible countries that are releasing large quantity of carbon into the atmosphere.”

Lok explains that “climate change is an urgent matter for Nepalese people. First, its northern region is comprised of the snow-covered Himalaya mountains . . . The region of the Terai which supplies food to the rest of the country depends on water from the north. This relationship makes the adverse effects of global warming even more complex, more intense and more widespread creating a vicious cycle of disasters in Nepal. Second, agriculture and tourism based on natural beauties including the Himalayas, rivers, glaciers, lakes, jungles and wild animals are the major sources of income for Nepal. Hydroelectricity is the most potential area that is expected to contribute to realization of the Nepalese dream of prosperity. Unfortunately, these all have been the first targets of global warming.”

Environmental activists came to Madrid from around the world to urge action, especially young people (See CPNN, A Global Youth Movement ?) The 500,000 people who marched in Madrid were addressed by Greta Thunberg who told them “We have been striking for over a year, and basically nothing has happened . . . The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power, and we cannot go on like this.”

Many of those coming to Madrid were representatives of indigenous peoples who are especially threatened by climate change. Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, put it this way:  “We’re here to stand in support of the people of Chile. We’re here to support the people of Colombia and Ecuador and Brazil who are fighting climate capitalism. We have to stand together with the people of the streets and of the forests and the land and the oceans, fighting neoliberalism, fighting imperialism. We’re fighting against the United States and its white supremacy, militarization. We have to look at these things and stand together in solidarity with the people.” CPNN readers might recall Tom Goldtooth from the Peru Climate Summit of 2014.

But those who came to Madrid, and the rest of the world, were to be disappointed by the results of the COP25 conference, as they were after previous COP conferences. In 2009, the rich countries pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 for the United Nations Green Climate Fund. But only $3.5 billion has been committed  out of $10.3 billion pledged. Now not only is Trump attempting to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement, but last year, he straight-up canceled $2 billion in promised climate aid to poor countries.

At the end of this year’s conference, civil society groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Oil Change International, and Friends of the Earth said, the deal that had been hammered out by the parties included an agenda brought by big polluters “straight to the halls of the U.N.” with the help of countries “historically most responsible for the climate crisis.” The deal as it stands would “condemn those on the frontlines of the climate crisis, while hiding the crimes of polluters . . . And it would lead to increased inequality with no increase in ambition, no real emissions reductions, and no pathway to 1.5 [degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.]”

“I’ve been attending these climate negotiations since they first started in 1991,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the  BBC. “But never have I seen the almost total disconnect we’ve seen here at COP25 in Madrid between what the science requires and the people of the world demand, and what the climate negotiations are delivering in terms of meaningful action.”

The issue of military pollution does not even make it onto the agenda of the COP. According to the study cited by the International Peace Bureau, “The US military is not only the most funded army in the world”, it is also “one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more climate-changing gases than most medium-sized countries”. The Department of Defence’s daily consumption alone is greater than the total national consumption of countries like Sweden, Switzerland or Chile.”

However, the relation of militarism and pollution is increasingly on the agenda of the global movements for peace and the environment. As we wrote in the November bulletin: The Pope’s propsal “that the money spent for these works of death should be devoted to human development and the struggle for the climate corresponds to the slogan adopted by the 160 or so organizations of the Collective “En marche pour la paix” which called for September 21 (International Day of Peace) to march for peace, climate, social justice and nuclear disarmament.”



In Final Hours, COP 25 Denounced as ‘Utter Failure’ as Deal Is Stripped of Ambition and US Refuses to Accept Liability for Climate Crisis


Groundswell of support for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange


PAYNCoP Gabon Pleads for Youth Involvement in the National Commission for Human Rights


International Cities of Peace in China


Xalapa, Mexico: International Film Festival for a Culture of Peace


Bolivia: Post-Coup Update


UN commemorates International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People


The world went orange: Putting a spotlight on ending violence against women

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of October 1, 2019

The Pope and Culture of Peace

Pope Francis is committing the Catholic Church to nuclear disarmament, sustainable development and the rights of indigenous peoples, key components of the culture of peace.

Speaking in Hiroshima on November 23, he said that “The use of atomic energy for the purpose of war is today more than ever a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future for our common home.”

And at the Vatican from October 6 to 27, the Pope hosted an unprecedented meeting of the Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region that denounced attacks on the environment and the life of indigenous people of the Amazon region and called for radical changes in planetary lifestyles, including:

  • to stop excessive consumption;
  • reduce dependence on fossil fuels, plastics and consumption of meat and fish;
  • and to seek sustainable alternatives in agriculture, energy, and transportation.

According to the spokesmen of Mouvement de la Paix, the Pope’s declaration in Hiroshima is another historic step in the fight for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. His proposal that the money spent for these works of death should be devoted to human development and the struggle for the climate corresponds to the slogan adopted by the 160 or so organizations of the Collective On the Move for Peace, which called for September 21 (International Day of Peace) to march “for peace, climate, social justice and nuclear disarmament”.

In the United States the Pope’s remarks were welcomed by activists who are opposing nuclear weapons, including progressive journalist Amy Goodman, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and the Plowshares movement, the group of seven Catholic peace activists who are awaiting sentencing for breaking into the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. Ellsberg reminds us that the Pope is a ” powerful voice in the world” and that “he has obviously undergone a considerable education on this, as have the people in Plowshares movement. And if he can pass that requirement on and its urgency to the bishops throughout the world, it will I am sure create conditions in which our own representatives will call on our executive branch at last to . . . negotiate seriously toward a verifiable mutual elimination of nuclear weapons”.

And according to the Climate Change News, the decisions of the Amazon Synod set out a collision course with Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro for the future of the Amazon and the “potential to reach a great audience” given the church’s presence across the region. Whereas Bolsonaro was elected on a campaign pledge to open-up the Amazon for mining and developments, the bishops agreed the need for an alternative development plan for the Amazon, focused on indigenous rights and environmental protection.

Writing in America, the Jesuit Review, Luke Hansen provides “five key takeaways from the synod“:

  1. It placed the indigenous communities at the center of the synod process over foreign economic interests. In the two-year preparatory process over 80,000 people participated.
  2. It called for “conversion”, challenging Europeans and North Americans to examine and change their lifestyles and engage in political action in solidarity with Amazonian communities.
  3. It sought to practice what it preached regarding “integral ecology” and care for our common home.
  4. All 120 paragraphs of the synod’s final document (currently available in Spanish only) were approved with the necessary two-thirds majority vote, including proposals related to married priests and women deacons.
  5. Since his election as pope in March 2013, Pope Francis has transformed the Synod of Bishops into a privileged place of discernment and conversion.

similar analysis is made by the Jesuit Michael Shuck from Georgetown University, who adds that a sense of urgency pervaded the testimonies of Indigenous men and women throughout the synod. At the final press briefing, Cardinal Czerny remarked that the ecological and human crisis is so deep that without this sense of urgency “we’re not going to make it”. This bold assertion was matched by the Final Document’s declaration that “integral ecology is not one more path that the Church can choose for the future in this territory, it is the only possible path”.

While these declarations are welcomed by nuclear activists, climate activists and Jesuits, we may see them in an even broader context as a major step in the transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace.


Pope Francis’ declaration in Hiroshima marks another historic step in the fight for the total elimination of nuclear weapons


Gambia : Banjul Regional Forum 2019: Engaging Young African Leaders to Achieve the 2030 and 2063 Agendas


USA: Exoneration of Scott Warren is a triumph for humanity


Alternative justice strengthens the culture of peace in Chiapas


Dominican Republic: Education ministry continues training on ethics, culture of peace and protection of rights


Catholic church denounces ‘attacks’ on Amazon people and forest


Top 5 takeaways from the Amazon synod


#NousToutes : Tens of thousands march in Paris

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of November 1, 2019


This year, the Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. Readers of CPNN may be already familiar with his contribution to ending the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, a conflict that had been going on for decades despite a peace deal that was signed some 18 years ago. In announcing the award the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated that they hope that the Prize “will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation.”

October was not only the month for the Nobel Prize for Peace, but also for many other peace and culture of peace prizes.

Desmond Tutu Announced the Winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize for 2019: Greta Thunberg from Sweden and Divina Maloum from Cameroun: “I am in awe of you. Your powerful message is amplified by your youthful energy and unshakable belief that children can, no must, improve their own futures. You are true change-makers who have demonstrated most powerfully that children can move the world.”

This year’s Seán MacBride Peace Prize, given by the International Peace Bureau, was awarded to Bruce Kent, who was one of the founders and main organizers of the European Nuclear Disarmament Campaign in the 1980s and who has continued to provide leadersip for disarmament even now in his 90th year.

The Peace Prize of the US Peace Memorial Foundation was awarded this year to Ajamu Baraka. In addition to being the national organizer and spokesperson for Black Alliance for Peace, Baraka is also an administrative committee member for the United National Antiwar Coalition and an executive board member of the U.S. Peace Council. He was the Green Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States in 2016.

The Alfred Fried Photography Awards for world-best pictures on the theme of peace went this year, among others, to photographers of climate protests in Europe, reconciliation in South Africa and animal sanctuaries in Asia.

The 2019 Goi Peace Award was presented this year to Nipun Mehta and ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 600,000 members from 171 countries that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free.

The 2019 Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders Awards went to Youth for Homeland in Yemen, Open Art Space in Syria (women-led peacebuilding) and the Amani Institute in DR Congo (music and the performing arts for community reintegration).

In Australia, the Sydney Peace Prize honored leaders of the Me Too Movement, and the Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize honored Antony Loewenstein, journalist, author, and film-maker, co-founder of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices and supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Moroccan researcher Karima El Azhary was awarded the International Sustainable Development Award for her work developing new sustainable construction and insulation materials, based on alimentary and agricultural waste. The aim of her work is improving thermal insulation and energy efficiency of buildings, mainly in underprivileged areas. Sustainable development is one of the key action areas of the culture of peace.

In the Philippines, the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement was recognized by the 2019 TOWNS awards. Its mission is to Make Every Filipino Child and Youth a Peace Hero.

Speaking of peace heroes, peace prizes can have an important positive effect, especially on young people. For example, Greta Thunberg, winner of this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize, was inspired by the 2018 winners of that prize the March for Our Lives in the United States.


Desmond Tutu Announces the Winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize 2019


Sign the petition: Down with war, let’s build peace!


PAYNCoP Gabon Partners with the National Youth Council to Stop Violence against Youth


Mexico: Inauguration of the II Global Forum of Culture of Peace, in CUCEA


Extinction Rebellion, not political? “We occupied the center of Paris for five days! “


Moroccan Researcher Karima El Azhary Wins International Sustainable Development Award


Kashmiri students run out of essentials, money; Khalsa Aid, J&K Students Assn extend help


Honouring the Me Too Movement with the 2019 Sydney Peace Prize

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of October 1, 2019


In our survey this year we found 655 actions for the International Day of Peace that took place throughout the world. It is more or less the same number as last year, although we counted them in a different way this year.

The theme this year, decided by the United Nations, was climate action for peace. In this way the theme of peace was linked to the enormous mobilizations against climate change that took place this month throughout the world.

The greatest number of actions for the International Day of Peace, 280, took place in the United States and Canada, thanks to the remarkable mobilization by Campaign Nonviolence. To quote from their website:, “For three decades, Pace e Bene has been leading nonviolence trainings, publishing books on nonviolence, and taking action for nonviolent change. In the spirit of St. Francis, Gandhi, Dorothy Day and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we have persistently invited people everywhere to walk the path of nonviolence. Now Campaign Nonviolence is taking this work further . . the annual Campaign Nonviolence National Week of Action, where every September we mobilize across the country and around the world for a culture of peace, economic equality, racial justice and environmental healing.”

There was also a very broad mobilization this year in France, thanks to the efforts of Mouvement de la Paix which was responsible for half of the 144 actions in Europe. To quote from their website, as translated by CPNN, “The Mouvement de la Paix acts for the disarmament, in particular nuclear, but also against the production and the transfers of armaments, for the reduction of the military budgets. Made up of close to 150 committees spread all over France and forming links with international peace organizations, the Mouvement de la Paix intends to propose initiatives around the 8 constituent points of the international decade (UN – UNESCO) of the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence:

  1. Strengthening a culture of peace through education,
  2. Promoting sustainable economic and social development,
  3. Promoting respect for all human rights,
  4. Measures to ensure equality between women and men,
  5. Measures to promote participation in democratic life,
  6. Measures to develop understanding, tolerance and solidarity,
  7. Measures to support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge,
  8. Measures to promote international peace and security.”

In the rest of the world, unlike North America and Europe, people are suffering from wars and armed conflicts, and that is where we find the most remarkable mobilizations for the International Day of Peace.

In Latin America, there were actions in Colombia in order to strengthen the peace agreement that put an end to decades of war and suffering. Especially remarkable was the fashion show in Bogota by former FARC guerillas who have turned from the gun to the sewing machine and who paraded on the catwalk with placards calling for implementation of the peace agreement.In Medellin it was a local bar that took the lead for for workshops and sporting events to support the agreement. In Tumaco it was a theatrical play and in Valleduopar a photo exhibition.

In the Ex-Soviet countries, the majority of the 54 actions took place across the two sides of the armed coflict in the Ukraine. There were poignant cries from both sides by mothers and children calling for an end to the violence and separation. Let us hope that their cries are heard and lead to peace!. In the East at Rovenka, “To the sound of the “Bells of Peace” the children stood in a circle and joined hands. . .  Together, they made a wish that the war would end in the Donbass.” “In Avdeevka, which has repeatedly come under fire, where they still hear gunshots and heal wounds (there are still a lot of houses destroyed and damaged by shelling), there is a special relationship to World Peace Day. It was expressed yesterday by students of school No. 7. . . who made paper doves, wrote what they would do for peace and and also arranged a dance flash mob on the street.” In the West in Kvasilovsky, “All those present had tears in their eyes as they watched the children . . . reach out to us adults: “I want peace! I don’t want to hear the word “war”! “..

In Africa 9 of the 53 actions took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which continues to suffer from decades of local wars. In Beni “While peace is celebrated in other countries of the world, here we celebrate assassinations, massacres, looting.” In Kananga “Since we are in the citizen movement fighting for change during or after the atrocities of kamwina nsapu we never stop to launch the message of peace, carry out awareness campaigns, participate in various broadcasts of radio stations to call the people who had the weapons in their hands to lay them down and make peace.” And in Sud Kivu “The International Day of Peace is celebrated while a climate of insecurity is maintained by the presence of armed groups that sow terror and desolation in South Kivu and throughout the eastern part of the DRC.”

As for the Arab states and the Middle East, in the face of a terrible ongoing war in their country, the International Day of Peace was celebrated in three cities of Yemen: Aden, Hadramaout and Taiz. In the latter young art students produced drawings with “writings expressing peace, coexistence, brotherhood, tolerance, expressions calling for dialogue and tolerance among all sects, parties and groups, giving priority to the interest of the nation, renouncing sectarianism and violence, and calling on all to work together for lasting peace . . .to deliver a message that Taiz, despite its siege and war, is still a city that loves life, art and beauty and is still a city of love, coexistence and peace.” Other actions were carried out to celebrate the recent peace accords in Sudan and to consolidate peace in Syria.

In Asia and the Pacific, the Day was not dedicated to the resolution of conlicts and tensions such as those in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Myanmar and Korea, but in China the massacre of Nanjing, which took place durig the Japanese invasion of 1937 continues to be commemorated, this year by a concert of peace songs by the choir “Zi Jincao”.

To conclude, we have emphasized here the aspects of the International Day of Peace that contribute to the consciousness needed for an eventual transition from the culture of war to a culture of peace.


What has happened this year: International Day of Peace


United States and Canada: International Day of Peace


Europe: International Day of Peace


Asia and Pacific: International Day of Peace


Ex-Soviet countries: International Day of Peace


Arab and Middle Eastern States: International Day of Peace


Latin America: International Day of Peace


Africa: International Day of Peace

Report of the 5th Network Meeting held on September 21, 2019 in conjunction with the Luanda 2019 Biennale in Angola


On Saturday, September 21, 2019, the meeting of the members of the Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa was held at the Agostino Neto Memorial in Luanda, Angola, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The following organizations participated in this meeting:

  • Eduardo Dos Santos Foundation, Angola
  • Antonio Agostino Neto Foundation, Angola
  • The UNESCO National Commission of Angola
  • The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Foundation, Côte d’Ivoire
  • UNESCO Chair for the Culture of Peace, Côte d’Ivoire
  • The UNESCO Transdisciplinary Chair in Human Development and Culture of Peace, Italy
  • The Pan-African Centre for Gender, Peace and Development, Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Senegal

Sorry, Professor Charles Binam Bikoi of the International Research and Documentation Centre on African Traditions and Languages (CERDOTOLA) sent his comments and suggestions in writing.

The agenda of the meeting was as follows:

  • Welcome address by Mr. Joao de Deus, President of the Network and Director of the Eduardo Dos Santos Foundation
  • Review of the Network’s activities and revision of the statutes and internal regulations
  • The renewal of the members of the Executive Board
  • The presentation of the Laboratory/School of Transdisciplinary Knowledge of Cultures for Sustainable Development and Peace, by Professor Paolo Orefice
  • Development and adoption of the action plan
  • Closing remarks by the President of the Network

In his opening address, the current President of the Network, Mr. Joao de Deus Pereira, welcomed all participants. He maintained the meeting despite last-minute defections by some Network members who, for various reasons, were unable to travel to Luanda. The major problems in the life of our Network require decisions that can no longer be postponed.

 After having the agenda adopted, Mr. Joao de Deus opened the proceedings of the Network’s ordinary meeting.

The floor was given to Mr. Jean-Noël Loucou, Permanent Secretary of the Network for the presentation of the Network’s Activity Report for the calendar year from September 2017 to September 2018. This report contains three sections devoted respectively to the implementation of the recommendations of the last General Assembly, and to the functioning and activities of the Network. On the first point, due diligence was carried out on the Network’s legal recognition procedure, the application for affiliation to UNESCO and the preparation of a budget. On the second point relating to the functioning, the Network held the annual meetings of its General Assembly. It received eight new applications for membership, one of which was confirmed. The Network’s website was completely renovated in 2017 and is managed by a community manager. Finally, the third part of the report referred to scientific and cultural activities. The Network thus organized three scientific symposia and participated, through the President and the Permanent Secretary, in three scientific meetings organized by UNESCO at its Paris headquarters.

After a brief discussion, the report was approved by all participants.

The Assembly then decided on the amendment of the Network’s statutes and rules of procedure. The Articles of Association have been amended to include two auditors and two treasurers. Articles 2, 5, 17 and 18 have been stylistically corrected. A new article (Article 21) has been added on Network projects that receive funding. It reads as follows.  “Article 21: These projects shall pay the Network a percentage of between 5 and 10 per cent of the amounts. “The internal regulations have been amended to take into account these amendments to the Articles of Association.

On the renewal of the members of the Executive Bureau of the Network, the participants approved the following list which includes 20 members:

Presidency: Eduardo Dos Santos Foundation (Angola)

Permanent Secretariat: Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research (Côte d’Ivoire).

Deputy Secretariat: Council for the Development of Social Science Research (CODESRIA), Senegal.

Members of the Executive Board

North Africa: Cairo Regional Centre for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping Training (Egypt).

East Africa: University for Peace-Africa Programme (Ethiopia); Centre for Peace and Development Studies (South Sudan).

West Africa: UNESCO Chair for the Culture of Peace (Côte d’Ivoire); Society for Peace Studies (Nigeria); Women Africa Solidarity (FAS), Senegal.

Central Africa: International Research and Documentation Centre on African Traditions and Languages (CERDOTOLA), Cameroon; Agostino Neto Foundation (Angola); Omar Bongo Ondimba Foundation for Peace, Science and Environment (Gabon); UNESCO Chair for the Culture of Peace (Democratic Republic of Congo).

Southern Africa: UNESCO “Oliver Tambo” Chair for Human Rights (South Africa); Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA), Mozambique.

Diaspora: Whitaker Initiative for Peace and Development (United States).

Regional institutions: Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Ethiopia.

Non-Regional: Culture of Peace Foundation (Spain); Centre d’Etude et de Prospective Stratégique (CEPS), France; UNESCO Transdisciplinary Chair in Human Development and Culture of Peace (Italy).

The headquarters of the Network is located in Yamoussoukro (Côte d’Ivoire), at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research.

The fourth item on the agenda was devoted to the presentation by Professor Paolo Orefice of the Laboratory/School of Transdisciplinary Knowledge of Cultures for Sustainable Development and Peace, which is part of the 2017/2021 project of the UNESCO Chair at the University of Florence (Italy). It is in line with the sustainable development objectives of Agenda 2030.

Finally, the Assembly elaborated and adopted an action plan that defines the actions to be carried out by the Network in the short and medium term.

In his closing address, the President of the Network, Mr. Joao de Deus, thanked the participants for their presence and active participation in the life of the Network. He called for the rapid implementation of the action plan and greater visibility of foundations and research institutions and their activities among citizens and national and international institutions.


Done at Luanda, September 21, 2019

The Permanent Secretary of the Network

Jean-Noël LOUCOU

Download the Report of the Meeting

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of September 1, 2019


If we look at the news and consider only the short-term, peace seems very distant between Israelis and Palestinians. But if we take a long-term historical view, there is reason to hope.

We begin with the short-term news.

The first two Muslim-American women in Congress, Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were barred from visiting Israel and the Occupied Territories, presumably because they support the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Commenting on this, Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories, remarks that this was due to the “unhealthy relationship” that has evolved between the US and Israeli Presidents Trump and Netanyahu. For example, Trump had tweeted that Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib, hate Israel and all Jews.

Also in recent news, Democracy Now featured an interview with a Palestinian girl, Janna Jihad, who, at the age of 13 years, continues to expose the Israeli occupation of Gaza. She started telling stories about her home of Nabi Saleh when she was only 7, after her cousin and her uncle were killed in the village. Since then, Janna has shared countless videos about Palestinian resistance with viewers around the world, on Twitter, on YouTube, on Facebook, garnering tens of thousands of followers. Asked by Amy what she thought could be the solution, Janna replied “For me, the one-state solution is the solution that would work. It can be that all of us could live together, same rights, under one government, getting exactly the same rights, me like the same as any other person. And all the refugees could come back to Palestine. All the people could live in peace, just in equality.”

There is more hope if we look at the long-term.

Dr. Bahan Bastani traces the history of cultural interactions between Islam and Judaism, Muslims and Jews. He reminds us that during the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization, 9th-12th centuries, both the Muslim and the Jewish civilizations flourished in the Islamic centers of higher learning in Baghdad and al-Andalusia-Spain, and the Muslim territories was safe heaven for the Jewry of the world. In the fertile multicultural environment of al-Andulus, the Jewish and Muslim scholars made significant strides in astronomy, astrology, optics, geometry, medicine, philosophy, and literary works. Also, when Spain fell under the Spanish Catholic rule in 1492 and the Jews were being persecuted, it was the Ottoman Empire that send ships to rescue the Jews from Spain into the Muslim territories. For the following three centuries, the Jews in the Turkish Muslim Ottoman Empire ascended to high positions as court physicians and as foreign diplomats.

An even longer term view is taken by the Palestinian Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh who traces the history of the Land of Canaan. He begins with the dawn of civilization which took place in this region when people went from hunter-gatherers to agricultural communities. For the first 12,000 years there was very little conflict. “Palestine was multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural and multilingual society.”

If you go back before the present conflict, you would go to the Crusaders, 1190 AD. Like the present conflict, that, too, came from outside.” But, as Qumsiyeh says, “the patient is not hopeless . . . in biology when I look at the forest and I see one species dominate I don’t say this is a healthy forest. I say this is unhealthy, it’s going to decline. The strength comes from diversity, so we say that’s what will happen here and that’s another reason why I’m optimistic – we fight for equality and to maintain the country the way it was supposed to be: multi-ethnic multi-cultural and multi-religious.

Looking at the present times, Rabbi Michael Lerner says it compounds the problem to say simply that “Israel is a racist society and most Israelis are racists.” Instead of dismissing those who disagree, leftist activists need to understand the historical origins of Zionist attitudes, coming not only from the Holocaust, but also the experience of Jews from former Communist countries and those coming from Arab countries who were disrespected by Jews of European origin. He concludes “The outrageous actions of the Jewish majority in becoming oppressors of the Palestinians will remain, for thousands of years into the future, one of the most disgraceful moments in Jewish history. But it won’t be overturned until we can develop a new politics of compassion for both sides, and a renewed belief that people can be reached if we start from a perspective of respect and caring for them, even when we disagree with their current political proclivities.”

As long-time peace activists Len and Libby Traubman have put it: “An enemy is one whose story we have not heard.”

Can Zionism be redeemed?” The question is explored by Tikkun writer Yehezkel Landau. He sees hope in the mutual struggle of Israelis and Palestinians against the degradation of the environment as exemplified in the annual climate march. “When it was first organized five years ago, some 200 people took part. This year over 5,000 people marched, Palestinian and Jewish citizens from all over Israel. They carried banners proclaiming mutual solidarity in the face of environmental threats and the need to work together to ensure a common future. . . We need more signs of hope like these to boost our spirits and motivate action, within our respective communities and across boundaries.”

Meanwhile, the struggle for justice goes on. Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, urges support for the BDS in the face of attempts by the US Congress to suppress it. He reminds us that “BDS calls for Palestinian liberation on terms of full equality with Israelis and categorically opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.” And he concludes that “Our hope remains alive as we witness an inspiring shift in public opinion in favor of Palestinian human rights.”



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