The Role of Youth in Peacebuilding: Challenges and Opportunities

Alpaslan Ozerdem

Young people are frequently ‘othered’ in discussions about conflict. This is a dangerous practice as youths can play a very positive role aiding peacebuilding in societies recovering from conflict.

The UN World Population Prospects statistics estimate that there are 1.3 billion 15-24 years olds in the world and nearly one billion live in developing countries where conflict is more likely to have taken place. Read more

ECFR: Stability of Western Balkans region depends on continuation of the dialogue

President of Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met with the European Council on Foreign Relations delegation to talk about the relationshop between Belgrade and Pristina, current situation in the region and Serbia”.

“Imposed taxes and endorsed Platform by Kosovo’s Assembly is the best proof that Pristina is not thinking about the dialogue. Instead, it is thinking about the solutions which destabalize the whole region”, Vučić pointed out. Read more

Five ways to support youth inclusion in peacebuilding

Young people who have experienced conflict firsthand have a vital role to play in peacebuilding. They have a clear vision of what peace could look like in their countries and communities, and have the drive to work towards the realisation of these goals.  However, in many cases they are seen not as positive forces for peace, but rather as threats to it. Recent research conducted by Conciliation Resources with youth from five different conflict regions identified the five key changes which need to be made to ensure young people are able to participate in creating more peaceful societies. Read more

France: Guarantee Press Freedom

17 Nonprofits Denounce Threats to Prosecute Journalists Investigating French Arms Sales

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(Paris – 13 May 2019) 17 humanitarian and human rights NGOs denounced threats to press freedom today, after three French journalists were summoned by the French intelligence services for investigating the presence of French weapons in the conflict in Yemen. Read more

1st Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival

From the 1st Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival (GMP) at Conrad Grebel University College (Waterloo, 2016), we have learned how valuable it is to meet as Mennonites/Anabaptists, to share and exchange: (1) our experiences, capacities and struggles with peacebuilding; (2) our challenges in developing peace-theologies and -ethics; (3) our peace practices, learning about various understandings of “just peace” in different contexts and cultures; and (4) peace art expressions.

As we plan for the 2nd Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference (2ndGMP) in the Netherlands, 27-30 June 2019, we seek to strengthen those emerging relations and peace networks, in collaboration with the Peace Commission of the Mennonite World Conference (MWC). Again, we strive to create spaces at this upcoming event to share and exchange, think together and inspire each other.

We invite proposals that address specific aspects of building peace with justice from the perspective of the rich and diverse Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition or which locate themselves in this tradition of a peace church. Possible topics and themes might include:
– peacebuilding initiatives;
– conflict resolution/transformation and reconciliation;
– women’s rights and gender justice;
– trauma and trauma coping (healing);
– accompaniment of vulnerable communities;
– indigenous and First Nations rights
– racism and xenophobia;
– migration, refugees and belonging;
– conscientious objection and militarism;
– restorative justice;
– active nonviolence;
– the arts and peacebuilding;
– ecumenical and interreligious dialogue;
– peace education and peace research;
– peace theology and ethics
– biblical studies on peace and peacebuilding
– domestic and sexual violence;
– historical case studies;
– identity-based conflict;
– political engagement

This list should not be seen as an exhaustive exercise, but more as a general reference to possible themes emerging within the growing network of peacebuilding from Mennonite perspective. Please note: Not exclusively the “success-stories”, but also struggles, obstacles, even failures on the way of Just Peace are welcome to be shared at 2ndGMP. The different contexts and political realities in which we try to identify expressions of our common calling as historic peace churches ask for mutual discernment and sharing of gifts.

WHAT TO SUBMIT?
This call invites submissions for the following:
1. Individual contributions within thematic panels: 15-minute presentations on topics relevant to the conference, which will be woven into thematic sessions by the organizers. Each session will consist of max. three different presentations, allowing at least half of the time of the workshop for interaction and network building.

2. Workshops: Interactive (!) sessions of 1.5 hours that emphasize networking, brainstorming, or conversation on a topic relevant to the conference. If you wish to propose a whole workshop, it is expected that the proposed workshop includes contributors/moderators from at least two different continents (proposal needs to be handed in by at least two persons).

3. Artistic contributions: Proposals for the presentation of the visual, literary, and performing arts. This may include temporary art installations, musical performances, readings, and creative collaborations. Both individual and group/ensemble proposals are welcome.

WHO CAN SUBMIT?
– Academics, artists, practitioners, church workers, students, activists, etc.

HOW TO SUBMIT?
– Please submit your proposal by email in PDF or Word to: 2GMP@ads.nl
– Your submission should include:
o A brief description of the proposal (500 words).
o For artistic, literary, and musical proposals, feel free to include relevant photographs of art work samples, writing samples, or mp3 recordings as appropriate.
o A CV of the presenter/s (max. one page)

Applications will be received starting 15 October, ending 31 December 2018. Final confirmation on the selected proposals will be available from 1 February 2019 on. 

– Funding: Some funding support may be available for presenters of proposals. Individuals whose proposals are included in the program are encouraged to seek support from their church, community, or institutional constituencies. Information about financial support will be forthcoming.
– Language: The primary language of the conference and festival will be English. Some translation/interpretation will be available.
– Logistics: The Conference and Festival will take place in the Hotel and Conference Center “Mennorode” www.mennorode.nl/en/), Elspeet, The Netherlands (approximately one hour away from Amsterdam by Car).

Information regarding travel, accommodation, and registration will be provided on the conference website.

Organizing Committee:
Andres Pacheco-Lozano (Coordinator), Fernando Enns, Vera Kok, Alex Noord, Daan Savert, Nina Schroeder, Daniel Serrano-Bernal, Henk Stenvers, Jan Willem Stenvers, Fulco van Hulst.

Advisory Group:
An advisory group is composed at this moment, representing different regions and existing networks from different parts of the world. Read more

Education for Peace

Educating for a Culture of Peace in Divided Societies: History, Dialogue, and Multiperspectivity Toward Reconciliation

July 21-28, 2019 * Nicosia, Cyprus

Application deadline: March 15, 2019

*The application deadline for IIPE 2019 has passed and we are no longer accepting applications.

General participation fee: 150€
Residents of Cyprus participation fee: 75€

The 2019 International Institute for Peace Education (IIPE) will be held in Nicosia, Cyprus at the Home for Cooperation (H4C) from July 21 to July 28, 2019. This year’s institute is organized in partnership with the IIPE Secretariat and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR). Read more

Sign languages in Europe?

“I welcome the support expressed today by the Committee of Ministers to the promotion and protection of sign languages in Europe”, stated Timo Soini, Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland on 10 May. In a reply to the Parliamentary Assembly’s Recommendation 2143 (2019) on Protecting and promoting sign languages, the Committee of Ministers underlined the importance of sign languages as natural languages of deaf persons and recognised that it would be of importance to improve the understanding of how sign languages are protected and promoted in all Council of Europe member States. Read more

International Day of Families 15 May

Although families all over the world have transformed greatly over the past decades in terms of their structure and as a result of global trends and demographic changes, the United Nations still recognizes the family as the basic unit of society. The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them.It has inspired a series of awareness-raising events, including national family days. In many countries, this day is an opportunity to highlight different areas of interest and importance to families. Read more