4th Global Summit for Ministries and Departments of Peace

Dear Global Alliance Community,

On behalf of the International Planning Team for the 2009 Global Alliance Summit in Costa Rica, it is with great joy and anticipation that we invite you, the international members of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace, to take part in this precedent-setting event in the history of international peace. We are pleased to announce that the Forth Global Summit for Ministries and Departments of Peace: Building Bridges of Peace will take place in San Jose, Costa Rica, September 13-21, 2009, hosted by the Costa Rican government and facilitated by GA Member, the Academy for Peace of Costa Rica.

Canada

Canada Working Group for a Federal Department of Peace

Our Working Group began in Fall, 2003 and has made considerable progress toward our goal, with several powerful supporters, both in current or previous governments, as well as a growing number of peace organizations and the Council of Canadians.

Our strategy for achieving a Department of Peace is based upon 3 tracks:

  1. Fast track: working with the party in power and opposition parties, in particular, the New Democratic Party and influential Canadians, to bring forward a motion in the House of Commons or for the Prime Minister to proclaim a new Department and Minister of Peace.
  2. International track: working with the other nations to build an international coalition to further our mutual goal.
  3. National track: developing a movement by forming chapters across Canada, generating publicity, and building a groundswell of support that becomes irresistible to politicians.

Although there has been movement on tracks 1 and 2, this is the period when we have to build the movement. At this time, there are chapters in Victoria, Vancouver and Ottawa with an inaugural event planned for Winnipeg. Other incipient chapters are in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

Referring to the international track, we were a co-sponsor of the People’s Summit for Departments of Peace, London, UK, October 18, 19, 2005, and we are co-sponsors, with Royal Roads University, of a second Summit of interested parties, June 21, 22, 2006, in Victoria. We are members of the International People’s Initiative for Departments of Peace.

Regarding the World Peace Forum(WPF), June 23-28, 2006, in Vancouver, Saul Arbess is the Coordinator, Working Group for Governmental Initiatives, and will organize all events in this area. We have the agreement of the WPF to present an international panel of supportive parliamentarians and a series of workshops on DoPs/MfPs, occupying a full morning. We have also proposed that US Congressman Dennis Kucinich be a keynote speaker at a plenary session.

It is our intention to build a web-based campaign and, to that end, we hope to upgrade our website with increased links, an interactive capability, on-line letter writing, a newsletter and on-line petition. For those interested in working with us, contact: Saul Arbess.

Costa Rica

The Rasur Foundation

The Rasur Foundation is named for a prophetic poem, Rasur or Week of Splendor, written in 1946 by Costa Rican, Roberto Brenes Mesen, legendary writer, educator and diplomat. It tells the story of a master teacher, Rasur, who mysteriously appears one day and woos the children of the village, Quizur, deep into a mountain. There he teaches the Costa Rican children about their connection to nature and their ability to be peacemakers. He tells the children, “Before directing the lightning in the sky, we must first harness the storms in our own hearts.” With joy, they return to the village to share this newfound knowledge with their parents. As the townspeople respond to the enthusiasm of the children, Quizur soon becomes a little culture of peace. The poem implies that Costa Rican children will become peacemakers to the world.

Roberto Brenes Mesen was ahead of his time in believing that Costa Rica would identify with peace, as this nation didn’t take its first step in this direction until three years later, when it abolished its army. He was also ahead of his time in understanding the value of social and emotional learning, which is the basis for Rasur Foundation projects.

Vision: To see Costa Rica become a model of peace and an inspiring leader of human progress for the global community.

Mission: To inspire, facilitate and educate toward a culture of peace in Costa Rica.

Current Projects:

  • The Peace Army of Costa Rica
  • Ministry for Justice and Peace Initiative for Costa Rica
  • Radio UPE

Core Value: Empathetic connection with ourselves and others

Peace Army of Costa Rica

President Oscar Arias, Costa Rican Nobel Peace Prize winner, said, “Peace is not a dream, it’s an arduous task. We must start by finding peaceful solutions to everyday conflicts with the people around us. Peace does not begin with the other person; it begins within each and every one of us.”

The Peace Army of Costa Rica is based on this same philosophy. For this reason, President Arias stated, “We are envisioning the Peace Army as a lasting force in Costa Rican culture and as a shining example to other countries of the possibilities for human progress.” To teach individuals how to create peace within themselves and with others, the Peace Army uses two proven methods that can be integrated into every classroom on a daily basis; HeartMath and Nonviolent Communication

The two social and emotional skills that are essential in achieving non-violence and maximizing learning are:

  1. Feeling peace, the ability to remain peaceful under stress (emotional skill taught through HeartMath)
  2. Speaking peace, the ability to communicate empathetically and honestly (social skill taught through Nonviolent Communication)

The Peace Army aims to train every willing teacher in Costa Rica in these skills, which will develop their social and emotional intelligence and empower them to create peaceful, creative classrooms where students thrive. The acquisition of these skills by the majority of teachers and their students would have a major impact on the level of violence and quality of education in Costa Rica.

A Ministry for Peace and Justice in Costa Rica

In July 2006, President Oscar Arias approved the Rasur Foundation Initiative below for presentation as a bill to be passed by Congress. It will be presented to Congress on September 21, International Day of Peace, 2006.

Rasur Foundation Initiative:

We propose changing the name of the Office of Prevention of Violence and Crime to an Office for Peace and subsequently changing the name of the Ministry of Justice to a Ministry for Justice and Peace. In addition to a name change, the Ministry for Justice and Peace would facilitate all Costa Rican peace efforts and collaborate in building a culture of peace.

This name change and new function would:

  • Reinforce national pride in identification with peace in line with the words of President Arias, “Our goal is that Costa Rica’s name becomes synonymous with love of peace”
  • Stimulate ministries and NGO’s to coordinate their peace programs with this office, thereby maximizing the use of resources for creating a culture of peace
  • Stimulate ministries and NGO’s to support the Office for Peace
  • Provide a coordinating point from which to offer proven methodology for building peace skills (the Peace Army Way) and other programs.
  • Aid in the prevention of violence and the reduction of its financial drain on the national economy

What is the mission of a Ministry for Peace and Justice?
This ministry will facilitate national efforts toward a culture of peace in conjunction with the continual improvement of the Social Adaptation System to insure that nonviolence and justice prevail at all levels of society.

Radio UPE

Radio UPE is a radio project for youth between 11 and 14 years of age. Its mission is to give Costa Rican youth a voice in the media to speak and learn about important issues of today’s world, including human values. In this way, Radio UPE seeks to promote a dynamic culture of peace based on dialogue, participation, respect and learning that transcends Costa Rica.

India

Global Initiatives for Departments of Peace – Indian Chapter

Year-long Intensive Campaign in India for DoP

The Missionaries of Nonviolence Foundation of India and the Indian Council of Gandhian Studies, New Delhi which spear head the Indian initiative for establishment of a Department of Peace in Government of India launches a year long intensive people’s campaign on the World Peace Day, ie., 21 September, 2006 with a series of programs.

World Peace Day, 21 September, 2006

The program on World Peace Day which will be held at Gandhi Park, Thiruvananthapuram in South India will consist of Children’s Painting Competition, inter faith prayer, recitals from holy scriptures, messages from prominent citizens, rendering of peace songs, a dance drama on Satyagraha, lighting of peace candles, pledge against violence and for World Peace and release of World Peace Day cards.

Discussions in different parts of India

This will be followed by consultation discussions in a phased manner in various parts of India in which prominent citizens, law makers, artists, peace activists, youth leaders will be involved.

Centenary of Satyagraha

The Gandhi birth anniversary celebrations which begin in the backdrop of the centenary of Satyagraha movement on 2 October, 2006 all over India will be used this year to highlight Gandhi’s passion for peace and harmony.

Contacting National Leaders on DoP

The first batch of senior political leaders of India will be contacted in New Delhi to appraise the global initiative for Departments of Peace and to seek their help in moving a bill in the Indian Parliament for the creation of a Department of Peace in Government of India.

National convention A National convention to highlight the campaign’s objectives is also being planned to be held in January 2007 in New Delhi.

The Indian Campaign committee invites everyone to join and support this initiative which is the need of the hour that too in the Centenary Year of the Satyagraha Movement.

Italy

Ministero per la Pace Italy

Ministry for peace is an organisation working for the creation of a Ministry for Peace within government, whose purpose will be to implement, in all areas of Italian government and society, the programme of action outlined in the 1999 UN Declaration on a Culture of Peace. This aims to create values, attitudes and behaviours that address the root causes of violence, with a view to solving problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations.

The 1999 Declaration was passed unanimously by the UN General Assembly. The Ministry for Peace would work in the action areas proposed by the Declaration:

  • Fostering a culture of peace through education
  • Promoting education for all, revising curricula to promote the qualitative values, attitudes and behaviour inherent in a culture of peace; training for conflict prevention and resolution, dialogue, consensus-building and active non-violence.
  • Promoting sustainable economic and social development
  • Targeting the eradication of poverty; focusing on the special needs of children and women; working towards environmental sustainability; fostering national and international co-operation to reduce economic and social inequalities.
  • Promoting respect for all human rights
  • Distributing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at all levels and fully implementing international instruments on human rights.
  • Ensuring equality between women and men
  • Integrating a gender perspective and promoting equality in economic, social and political decision-making; eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women; supporting and aiding women in crisis situations resulting from war and all other forms of violence.
  • Fostering democratic participation
  • Educating responsible citizens; reinforcing actions to promote democratic principles and practices; establishing and strengthening national institutions and processes that promote and sustain democracy. Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity
  • Promoting a dialogue among civilizations; actions in favour of vulnerable groups, migrants, refugees and displaced persons, indigenous people and traditional groups; respect for difference and cultural diversity.
  • Supporting participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge by means of such actions as support for independent media in the promotion of a culture of peace; effective use of media and mass communications; measures to address the issue of violence in the media; knowledge and information sharing through new technologies.
  • Promoting international peace and security
  • Through action such as the promotion of general and complete disarmament; greater involvement of women in prevention and resolution of conflicts and in promoting a culture of peace in post-conflict situations; initiatives in conflict situations; encouraging confidence-building measures and efforts for negotiating peaceful settlements.

In carrying out its work ministry for peace will be open, democratic, co-operative and creative, with the emphasis on dialogue and a non-confrontational approach. The intent is that the means will reflect the ends.

Japan

Japan’s Initiative for Ministry of Peace

In Japan, when Dennis Kucinich was introduced to Japanese people by Yumi Kikuchi as a presidential candidate who can bring about peace to the world, a support group for Dennis Kucinich was created (Friends of Dennis Kucinich, and a few other local groups) and they published a book “Dennis Kucinich – The Peace President of America” , which consists of Dennis’ speeches and Yumi’s essay in 2003. From the readers of this book, naturally emerged a voice for creating Ministry of Peace in Japan.

Yumi and Mr. Takafumi Tomita attended the 3rd Department of Peace Conference in Washington DC in Sep.2005, and when returning they organized telephone conference to listen to Dennis Kucinich (he was supposed to visit Japan last summer, but was canceled). 100 people who support Dennis Kucinich came to listen to him on the phone.

Then Yumi and Mr.Sasaki attended the 1st People’s Summit for Department/Ministry of Peace in London in Oct. 2005. And together, they called for the meeting on creation of the group that promotes Ministry of Peace in Japan.

They met for the 1st time in Tokyo on Dec 16, and two days seminar following that. 50 people attended and agreed on to call the group JUMP (Japan United for Ministry of Peace) and starting local groups. As of today (Jan 5, 2006) we have 12 prefecture (like state) coordinators out of 47 prefectures. Our aim is to have coordinators in all prefectures by the end of 2006, and 300 electoral district leaders by July 2007, when the next election takes place in Japan.

We also started fund raising effort to support the 3rd world peace workers to participate the 2nd People’s Summit in Victoria, in June 2006. Our target is to raise enough money for 20 people (7 million yen). We set up new account specifically for that, which is called Ministry of Peace Fund (Heiwa-sho Kikin).

We will be organizing concerts and lectures throughout Japan to raise awareness and fund at the same time.

We have sent our representatives to the 2nd People’s Summit for Department of Peace in Victoria and the following World Peace Forum in Vancouver.

Nepal

Nepal Peace Initiative Alliance

Nepal Peace Initiative Alliance (NPIA) is a national alliance of NGOs, CBOs, CSOs, media, and educational organizations working for peacebuilding and conflict transformation in Nepal.

NPIA was formed in December 2005 through an alliance of 10 organizations, and the list has been growing day by day. Manish Thapa has been extensively involved with the various organizations in peacebuilding and conflict transformation in Nepal who were proposed for this alliance in December 2005. He has been working with them to initiate and build a long-term, sustainable platform for effective public participation, and representation for the concerns of the wider civil society in the emerging national peacebuilding and conflict transformation process in Nepal. This emerging network will also act as a working group within the International People’s Initiative for the Department of Peace which is a growing movement worldwide.

Objectives

The Nepal Peace Initiative Alliance envisions working together with various people and organizations concerned with peace, democracy and development holding the following objectives:

  1. To be a part of an international initiative for the creation of Departments of Peace in governments throughout the world, including Nepal, by initiating a strong lobby for this purpose with a vision for starting on the path towards putting peace into power, and power into peace.
  2. To nurture a deeper appreciation among people of the urgent need for peace, and to promote a culture of peace, democracy and development through the active processes of reconciliation and dialogue;
  3. To create a better understanding at the popular level of peace as sine qua non for democracy and development.
  4. To raise consciousness on the crucial importance of fostering attitudes, values and ideas at both the personal and community level, which will help us attain a peaceful world.
  5. To inculcate within the human family, and at both the individual and collective levels, a profound commitment to a universal spiritual and moral vision of life and living together which will serve to guide humankind in its quest for peaceful co-existence and a just world;
  6. To fight poverty, deprivation, ignorance and injustice as these are fundamental causes of conflicts and violence, and to develop institutions that sustain peace, democracy and development.
  7. To enhance the capacities and expertise of the partner organizations by encouraging co-operation, facilitating information exchange, and stimulating the exchange of lessons learned and best practices in the network.

New Zealand

New Zealand – Operation Peace Through Unity (OPTU)

Accredited NGO in association with the UN Department of Public Information

The 1999 United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243) makes it emphatically clear that “a key role in the promotion of a culture of peace belongs to parents, teachers, politicians, journalists, religious bodies and groups, intellectuals, those engaged in scientific, philosophical and creative and artistic activities, health and humanitarian workers, social workers, managers at various levels as well as to non-governmental organizations”.

It also urges that the United Nations, it’s Member States, and ‘We, the Peoples of the United Nations’ work together towards this end.

The Declaration has energized and inspired the increasingly powerful groups in the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Nigeria, Costa Rica and many other countries belonging to the Global Peace Alliance, who are lobbying their governments for the establishing of ministries or departments of peace.

Among achievements can be mentioned the bill, which is presently before the US House of Representatives, hoping (with public pressure) to make it into law; the Solomon Islands that already has a Minister for Peace; and Nepal which has just established a Ministry for Peace and Reconstruction.

Although our goal is ultimately the same as these other campaigns, the New Zealand proposal has chosen a slightly different approach:

We would like to think that such a ministry would signify the beginning of a new type of governance, i.e. a full, open and dynamically interactive working relationship and partnership between peoples and government, the result of which would be a type of democracy that will leave no one out, and for which we are all mutually responsible;

Moreover, we suggest that this ministry be called a Ministry for a Culture of Peace. Although a longer name, it will keep reminding us that for peace to have any meaning it will need to become a strong and vibrant culture, demonstrated in the way we all live and relate to each other.

In May 2006 Peace through Unity (OPTU) tabled a paper for a panel discussion on this subject, organized by the UNANZ Wellington branch, which contained some background information on the ministry for peace initiative, and also a 5-point proposal for a NZ Ministry for a Culture of Peace. The text of these points is based on the UN Declaration and Plan of Action on a Culture of Peace.

We hope that these five points will serve as a basic structure, a skeleton so to speak, on which – through comprehensive community consultation and contribution – the whole body of this new organism can begin to be shaped. There is increasing agreement worldwide that it is the peoples of the world, who will need to breathe life and real meaning into the concept of democracy – becoming its heart and soul.

A small committee is emerging, currently consisting of OPTU, UNANZ branch members, teachers and Youth representatives, who are in the process of arranging consultations within schools and community groups in the Wanganui region and beyond. We warmly invite you and your group to participate in this consultation process and hope you will consider using the 5-point proposal as a basis for your thoughts, comments and suggestions as to how you think such an effective and comprehensive working relationship could come about. The outcome: a mutually agreed proposal for a NZ Ministry for a Culture of Peace to be presented to the Government of New Zealand.

OPTU’s five-point Proposal

The primary aim of a New Zealand Ministry for a Culture of Peace would be to act as an instrument for the building of a culture of peace in accordance with the guidelines of the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, through:

  1. Identifying root-causes of conflict, disharmony and hostility within and between peoples, cultures and nations;
  2. Actively promoting the employment of conflict-resolution, mediation, negotiation and other peacebuilding/peacemaking skills, and encouraging that these skills become common practice;
  3. Acting as a focal point for comprehensive, consistent and constructive cooperation and consultation between government (and its various departments) and interest groups within the various parts of society (education, health, environment, industry, unions, science, arts, culture, laws, media, police, military, volunteers, local government etc.) ensuring that the legislative process of formulating any specific law takes into account the effect it may have on the community in its entirety;
  4. Forming working partnerships with international institutions and co-workers for the building of a culture of peace worldwide;
  5. Keeping the government and the general public aware of the UN resolutions which our Government has committed itself and us all to implement.

Some relevant quotes:

“The secret of success in all group action lies in complete unity of purpose and intention, plus diversity of expression and method” (DK)

“We are in the midst of a fundamental shift that will impact new governance. It recognizes the rise of the ‘third sector’ – civil society – and that it has a certain economic value” To make the most of this breakthrough opportunity civil society will need to meet three challenges, which are: Consciousness – Conscientiousness – Competence. (Lester Salamon, Director, Centre for Civil Society Studies, John Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies)

  • A democratic system is not enough. We need to learn to live with each other, “horizontal democracy is as important as vertical democracy” (B.H. Levy, French philosopher)

Democracy: “government of the people, by the people, for the people” (Abraham Lincoln)

We hope very much that you will consider participating in this process of consultation on the possibility of establishing a future Ministry for a Culture of Peace, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this proposal with you at your convenience.

Gita Brooke

Uganda

Ministry for Peace Uganda Working Alliance; Project of Uganda Peace Foundation Initiative

“Peace in our Hands”
Support the calls for the establishment of Department of Peace/Ministry for Peace in Uganda

The conflict in Uganda borrows substantially from the colonial past in causes, nature and consequences. It is therefore no surprise that the current conflict, particularly in northern Uganda has its roots in the unfolding events before, during and in the trouble times of Ugandan Independence of 1962.

The analysis of the root causes of the conflict and general content of conflict and violent in Uganda clearly illustrate that Uganda is a country deeply wounded by injustice, fear, war, prejudice, hatred, violent conflicts, intolerance, and deliberate falsification of its history by successive regimes and is continuing to face the same in the years to come and generation after generations. The political campaigns is yet another clear indicator for further instances of violent conflict, instability and all other forms of aggressions and the Peace dialogue currently on a litmus test.

Leaving alone the existence of internal conflicts, Uganda is/has been involved in armed conflict and war with her neighbouring countries like; The Republic of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Sudan, and at the same time neighbored such countries with internal warring factions within the great lakes region without inserting much influence to institute peace, dailogue and harmonised co-existence.

In order to address issues of violence, prejiuce, injustices and facilitate peace talks, and subsequently institute a value and culture of peace, non-violence and tolerance; establishment and existence of a functionally sole institution-department /Ministry for Peace within the Government structure is a necesscity and a vital measure to foster a better understanding of a culture of peace and non-violence among the population, a culture where nonviolence is an organising principle of society, and promote democracy and sustainable development through active processes of reconciliation and dialogue at all level and across all regions in Uganda and it neighbours.

There is a rapidly growing international movement to establish Departments for Peace or Ministries of Peace in countries around the world with the goal of supporting the emergence of a culture of peace in those countries. This global movement is premised on the understanding that all of our systems of foreign policy, education, politics, economics, business, health, and social welfare are interdependent and therefore can and must cooperate and coordinate with one another in seeking, teaching, and living in peace. These campaigns are motivated by both a recognition of the alarming levels of violence in the world and an awareness that humanity actually knows how to curtail or even eliminate it – if we would choose to do so. The Global Allaince for departments/Ministries for Peace is the umbrella global body launched in United Kindom, London (Oct 2005) to strengthen and grow the international movement for a culture of peace and for government departments of peace and ministries for peace by: Building a global network of, and a sense of community among, country-level campaigns; Developing coordinated strategies for strengthening and financing country-level campaigns and for encouraging the establishment of campaigns in other countries.

Already Active campaigns are currently exist in the following countries;

  • UK under UK department of peace campaign;
  • USA;
  • Canada;
  • Japan, Australia; Nepal and India, Costa Rica
  • And groups in other countries are exploring launching similar campaigns.

The Ministry for Peace Uganda Working Alliance was concieved in September 2005 prior to the first peoples summit for the department of peace in October London, and it’s a special project of the Uganda Peace Foundation Initiative; as a national Organisation which will be advocating for the establishment of a department of peace/Ministry for peace within the government structure. This emerging advocacy working group will also form part of the Global Alliance for Departments/Ministries for peace,worldwide movement.

A lot of preliminary progress towards designing and mapping strategies for the camapiagn has been drawn. Already several powerful individuals both in and outside governments have been approached, intsance; Hon. Henry Okello Oryem MP and Minister of State for International Affairs, Including other Parliamentarians as well as a growing number of peace building organizations in and outside the country have all positively responded to call for the rationale for a such a Ministry and we hope to continue with establishing such close collaborations.

Objectives:

  • To be a member of a Global Alliance for Departments /Ministries for Peace that advocate for a Ministry/departent of peace with the minister for Peace as a senior member in the cabinet within the government, in Uganda and throughout the world.
  • To foster a better understanding of a culture of peace and non-violence among the population.
  • To nurture a deeper appreciation among people of the urgent need for peace, and to promote a culture of peace, democracy and development through the active processes of reconciliation and dialogue.
  • To provide resources for training in peace-building and conflict transformation to People everywhere.
  • To research, articulate and help bring about non-violent solutions to conflicts at all levels.
  • To direct government policy towards non-violent resolution of conflict and to seek peace by peaceful means in all conflict areas;
  • To promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights and the security of persons and their communities, consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other related UN treaties, conventions and the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace(1999);
  • To promote disarmament and strengthen non-military means of peacemaking and peacebuilding;
  • To develop new approaches to non-violent intervention, and utilize constructive dialogue, mediation and the peaceful resolution of conflict at home and abroad;
  • To address matters of concern both domestic and international in scope
  • To encourage the development of peace initiatives from local communities, faith groups, NGOs and the formation of civilian nonviolent peace forces;
  • To facilitate the development of peace and reconciliation summits to promote non-violent communication and mutually-beneficial solutions;
  • To act as a resource for the creation and the gathering of best practices documents, lessons learned, and peace impact assessments;

Basic functions of the department of peace will:

  • to foster a culture of peace through education
  • to promote sustainable economic and social development
  • to promote respect for all human rights
  • to ensure equality between women and men
  • to foster democratic participation
  • to advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity
  • to support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge
  • to promote international peace and security

Our strategy for achieving a Department of Peace/Ministry for Peace:

National Strategy:

  1. work with the Ruling Governemnt and other political parties, parliamentarians, Ministers and other influential persons, to bring forward a motion/bill in the Ugandan Parliament to proclaim a new Minister for Peace within the government structure.
  2. Directly approach , lobby and coordinate with the office of the President of Uganda.
  3. Develop a movement by forming Advocacy groups across Uganda, generating publicity, and building a grounds well of support that becomes irresistible to politicians.
  4. Closely develop networks and collaborations, and form joint partnerships with the various Organisations working on peace building and Conflict resolutions as well as the media houses.
  5. Build a web-based campaigns and, an on-line interactive forum, letter writings, a newsletters publication, flyers and on-line petition.

International Strategy:

  1. Work with the other nations to build an international coalition to further our mutual goal.
  2. Be part of the International initiatives such as; the Global Alliance for Departments/Ministries for peace and Other peace working groups around the world, to get inspired ,share experiences, technical expertise and resources.
  3. Work closely with other multilateral organisations and agencies engaged in peace building and conflict resolution ensuring promotion of sustainable peace and development.
  4. Participate in the annual Global Alliance for departments/Ministries of peace summits, to share expriences and challenges and learn aditional concrete skills and strategies, building collaborative networks.

Networks and collaborations with Parliamentarians, Political groups, Civil society organizations and Individuals with enormous expertise and interests in Peace building and Conflict resolution activities are currently being established, to partner in the campaign and to form a national coalition and international framework for this initiative through which we shall together dialogue and advocate for the establishment of a ministry for Peace in Uganda. This is to be followed by drafting of the first proposal/manifesto for the Ministry for peace in Uganda.

You may ask and subject yourselves to the following questions, bearing in mind the unforgettable history of violent conflicts of Uganda.

  1. Does Uganda as one of the developing countries in Africa really needs a department and ministry for peace?,
  2. Is the current political situation suitable for the establishment and existence of department of peace?,
  3. How can the independence for ministry of peace be significantly justified without it being compromised politically?
  4. How can it be empowered, structured, administered or should it be a replacement of an existing Ministry…? Etc.

This is a long term commitment whose objectives are set henceforth; it is not a one year ‘process neither is it an individuals’ struggles, but a progressive process and commitments for all of us. Wonderful experiences can, however be borrowed from other groups notably in the UK, US, and Canada, who have their legislative bills to call for ministry and department of Peace presented in the house of representative/Parliament. But note that your support and active engagement can bring this into reality. The peace process starts from where you stand. You have made a contribution to all peace initiatives when you resolve any conflict non-violently and creatively. It can be personal, within family, community, governmental or international; each arena helps us build the Culture of Peace.

We cannot expect our leaders, be they political, community, religious or the media to give us policy and program which we, the people cannot ourselves understand and practice. We cannot depend on others, as helpful as they may be, to take responsibility for us. To take action learn the Conflict Resolution skills yourself and then go on to teach them to others.

We are excited by the prospect of the Ministry for Peace for Uganda and hope that our enthusiasm is contagious. We honour all the efforts of the peace movements and activitis through times and solicit the support of those long-established in the movement. We are energized by the knowledge of the ability of social movements to galvanize the people and believe that indeed, if the people lead the leaders will follow. “One alone can not build peace, together we shall achieve a great deal” and have in our hands a culture of peace with a concept that inspires the work of individuals, groups, organizations and institutions around the world.

“Peace in our Hands”

Peter P. Lukwiya
Founder, Ministry for Peace Uganda Working Alliance
Executive Director, Uganda Peace Foundation Initiative

Contact: Uganda Peace Foundation Initiative Plot 65-75, Pager Crescent P O Box 123, Kitgum Uganda.

United Kingdom

Campaigning for a Ministry for Peace in the United Kingdom

The goal of a ministry for peace is to put peace into power and power into peace. Labour MP John McDonnell and I (Diana Basterfield) were the joint co-founders of the project in July 2003. We were both opposed to the UK going to war in Iraq. I marched with the millions in London in the UK’s biggest ever demonstration in February 2003 and I am sure John did too, under the Labour Against the War banner, a pressure group within the Labour Party which he helped to set up.

Since then, together with the group of volunteers steering ministry for peace (mfp), we have been working hard to make a persuasive case for a government Ministry for Peace. We accept that initially this could be a Minister within, say, the Cabinet Office with a remit to champion a peace and non-violence agenda. To inform and influence MP’s and the public we have held monthly meetings in the Houses of Parliament – to discuss the Iraq war and wars of terrorism, how to create a culture of peace, non-violent communication, human rights, peace education in schools and conflict resolution.

In March 2004 we held a conference entitled Peace Builder or Warmonger Britain’s role in the 21st century. We ran a stall at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2004 and John spoke to a vast crowd from the main stage. At our fringe meeting at the 2004 Labour Party Conference in Brighton, former Labour MP and Government Minister Tony Benn spoke in support of our campaign. Another key supporter is the Dalai Lama.

For a Ministry to be effective mfp considers that it must employ the considerable body of expertise and experience already developed on conflict transformation and peace building by organisations such as Transcend, whose originator – Johan Galtung – wrote the UN manual on the subject. Transcend argues that to work for peace is to work against violence and mfp finds its analysis of three types of violence comprehensive and very compelling. According to Transcend, direct violence equates to direct physical, verbal or violence; structural violence is the slow, grinding violence of political, social and economic structures that repress, harm or kill; and cultural violence describes those aspects of a culture that normalise violence religions and ideologies that condone direct violence, for example, or national stories that extol the use of extreme violence to “resolve” conflicts. An effective Ministry would need to tackle all these three forms of violence together.

To encourage debate on useful methodologies that could be employed to do this we have organised seven intensive training courses in London led by the brilliant Kai Brand-Jacobsen from Transcend.

On the parliamentary front, John put forward a Ten Minute Rule Bill In October 2003 calling for a Ministry for Peace, which had cross-party support. It was not opposed but fell due to lack of parliamentary time. Other parliamentary moves are planned. Within the Labour Party, the Labour Representation Committee included the call for a Ministry for Peace in its policy document for the 2005 General Election. The Scottish Socialist Party and Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nationalist Party) also called for a Ministry for Peace in their General Election manifestos. There has also been support in the Green Party for the concept.

In June 2006 the second Summit was held, this time in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Attendance this time was 60 delegates from 18 countries.

Ministry for peace will continue to make the case for using peace strategies rather than violence to tackle violent conflict. Recognising that a strong, independent civil society body will also be needed to stand alongside a future Minister/Ministry for Peace, our work in 2006 included reaching out to UK NGO’s to build that structure together.

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues.

This is ministry for peace’s latest initiative, which came after many months of quiet effort. We have secured enough support in Parliament to set up an official All-Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues. The purpose of the APPG, as formally stated in the Parliamentary Register, is ‘To encourage dialogue, on the basis of expert information and opinion from across the political spectrum, on issues relating to conflict; especially on the practical means to prevent, transform and resolve violent conflict.’

Establishing this group, which is a major step forward for ministry for peace, has generated a lot of interest across government and amongst those who work in the field of conflict management. The APPG will provide a forum where Parliamentarians, government officials, NGOs, academics and others can come together on a regular basis to share ideas and thoughts about the challenges of non-violent approaches to managing violent conflict. Members of the following political parties have registered as members:

  • Labour Party 10
  • Conservative Party 6
  • Liberal Democrat Party 3
  • Plaid Cymru 1

2007 promises to be an exciting year in British politics with a new Prime Minister. We hope to build valuable links with the new PM and his team. Our Co-Founder, John McDonnell, has declared that he will stand for Leader of the Labour Party (this automatically becomes the Prime Minister) once Tony Blair signals that he is standing down. He will first need the support of 44 other Members of Parliament to enable him to go forward in the election process. If he were to be successful and win the subsequent election – the voters will come from the Labour Party, Trade Union and affiliated society members and Members of Parliament, this would give a rapid boost to the campaign for a Ministry for Peace.