Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
Inside this Issue

THE HUMAN RIGHTS STAGE 

The Sydney Peace Prize 

RESEARCH: Mentoring the Unemployed. 

SEMINARS: Towards Peace in Northern Ireland;

Aboriginal Night Patrols; Kosovo Teach-In

TEACHING: Media Peace Studies for 2000 

PUBLICATIONS 

ON THE PEACE TRAIL:  In Alaska, Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, and Spain.

MORE TO INSPIRE YOU:  Peace Media as an aid to reconciliation

 

Dates for your diary

Peace Walk, Sunday 17th October from Coogee to Bondi is planned. Not only will the walk support the work of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, but it also promotes the Pacific Peace Track, which runs along the length of Australia’s east coast. Amnesty International, and other human rights groups hope to be part of this awareness raising day.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be coming to Sydney in November to receive the ‘Sydney Peace Prize’, an annual prize, which last year was awarded to Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and its initiative of lending minute amounts to the very poor.

A public lecture will be given by the Archbishop on Friday 26th November at 2pm at the Seymour Centre.

(For further details on the prize see below)

 

There’s a paper in the CPACS gallery marked ‘Peace Plan for Kosovo’. It’s only three pages long but too much to fit in the PeaceWrites columns. Here is the gist of what it says:

THE HUMAN RIGHTS STAGE

Peace Plan for Kosovo

The ‘greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II’ has been caused by political leaders’ preoccupation with the philosophy and language of strategic relations and by the ill founded belief that security depends on military strength. Conversely, the crisis in Kosovo can be explained by illiteracy about non-violence of the politicians, diplomats and the academics who offer strategic advice for different countries and regions. A lesson to be learned is that peace is for everyone – from displaced Albanians to threatened Serbs. That means pursuing dialogue between all the parties. As well as developing the philosophy, language and skills of non-violence, the indispensable ingredient at the core of peace negotiation is trust.

Claims about non-violence in Kosovo are easy to write but not so easy to practice for peoples who have been on the receiving end of ethnic cleansing or indiscriminate bombing and when desire for revenge may linger for generations. Peace over Kosovo will have to rest on the revival of the United Nations role. The settlement in the Balkans will be a matter for global governance, not of regional management by NATO. Even the ambitiousness of a peace plan and a heightened role for the UN cannot ignore two fundamentals: (i) That a sustainable peace has to be built from the grass roots through conversations conducted face to face in families, group to group in villages, and through representative meeting in communities. Those are the contexts in which non-violence is learned and cultivated.

(ii) Key social and economic policy issues have to be part of any peace plan. These ‘issues’ include protection of property, confidence in a carefully selected and well-trained police force, guarantees about the security of food, and access to homes, work and education.

Addressing those policy issues will take decades. Wars can be fought in a short time. Building a peace takes much longer, is more complex and almost certainly more expensive than dropping bombs. If we are all more fascinated by healing qualities of non-violence instead of being reared on the win-at-all-costs view of power politics, wars might never be fought in the first place. At the hub of non-violence is a view of peace with justice. To get there requires continuous dialogue to achieve trust. Aung San Suu Kyi has said that the alternative to dialogue is utter devastation. At the time of saying that, she could not have known about Kosovo.

Stuart Rees writes:

Japan in May: Lectures and Awards

In the first week of May I had the opportunity to fly to Japan to meet members of Sokka Gakkai International (SGI), the lay Buddhist organization committed to value based education for peace. Meetings took place in beautiful settings in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Travelling to distant cities on the bullet train at over 200kms was like peace in the making, watching towns and countryside flash by effortlessly. But if you had to find the most inspiring context for peace negotiations, you would choose a Japanese garden. (Ideas for a peace garden in the CPACS’s courtyard must materialise!)

In tandem with Professor Majid Tehranian, Director of the Toda Institute for Global Governance and Human Security, my main task in Japan was to give public lectures on issues such as the prospects for peace in Kosovo (as outlined on the previous page). Majid and I also had meetings with the President of SGI, Daisaku Ideda, a key campaigner for global peace and human security. His books: A New Humanism and Conversations about Peace, with Johann Galtung and Arnold Toynbee, are significant contributions to the literature on non-violence.

A visit to Japan would seldom be complete without a few formal events. In a colourful ceremony at Kansei High School between Osaka and Kyoto, two thousand high school children gave us lunch, various speeches of welcome, an inimitable tea ceremony – I’d love to introduce that custom to CPACS – and a brass band performance. The warmth of those children suggested that bullying in schools, violence in the home, let alone war between nations, is now inconceivable.

In a formal occasion at the International Cultural Centre in Tokyo my own work was recognized in the SGI Peace and Culture Award for ‘efforts to achieve the highest ideals of humanitarianism’. At the same ceremony, The University of Sydney awarded Daisaku Ikeda a Certificate of International Recognition for his tireless efforts to achieve world peace. At that event an invitation was issued to President Ikeda to come to Sydney in 2000. We’ll share the responsibility for his visit with our friends in SGI out at Homebush.

I left Japan faced again with the irony that a country which has been on the receiving end of two atomic bombs has a deep commitment to fostering an understanding of non violence and the means of attaining world peace. My SGI hosts in Japan have built a movement to honour that commitment. Their support of CPACS is highly valued.

 

The Sydney Peace Prize

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has agreed to accept the Sydney Peace Prize at an award ceremony on Friday 26th November 1999 at the University of Sydney. We are honoured and excited by the visit of one of this century’s most notable peace-makers. Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the former Archbishop of Capetown, President of All Africa’s Conference of Churches, the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and between 1995-1998, Head of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The Sydney Peace Foundation identifies the relevance of the Archbishop’s work to Australia’s commitment to achieve reconciliation with its own indigenous people. The outcome of the TRC is that it has placed human rights on centre stage, a radical change especially noticeable in the South African (see the profile on Peace Media page 4).

Other Sydney Peace Foundation (SPF) news:

The Foundation was passed through the University Senate on 3rd May, and Antonia Stephenson has been employed to set up a SPF database.

What is the SPF? It brings together people from different walks of life, in particular representatives from the media, business and the law, public service, community organisations, and academic communities. This partnership is intended to enhance public awareness of the Sydney Peace Prize and its recognition of unique individuals that have brought about enduring peace with justice. In addition the SPF is keen to sponsor peace initiatives particularly the work of our Centre which, through teaching and research, promotes human rights.

 

RESEARCH

The following is a report by Michael Jacques on his research project " Mentoring the Unemployed":

The Mentoring Project (lets call it mentoring for social change) has been commissioned by the Conflict Resolution

Network to examine ways in which mentoring programs can assist the unemployed. The project has been initiated by the concern that the unemployed bear the brunt of

economic and social dislocation. Further, many of the labour market policies have been found to be overly reliant on market forces which tend to overlook the inherent disadvantage of groups within society, namely those groups which lack support networks that would provide skills to find and maintain employment.

To overcome this disadvantage, an ancient practice of mentoring between the experienced and the inexperience has been developed that combines the process of role modelling, guiding, teaching, counselling and even coaching.

Today mentoring has been adopted by working professionals, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Inner City Mentoring Program run by Tony Vinson (a visiting fellow at CPACS). It links disadvantaged young people with mentors who encourage, support and inspire them throughout the difficult process of gaining employment. Mentoring has resulted in better work outcomes, satisfaction and pay. A recent documentary on mentoring was screened on the ABC (18 May 1999), profiling the experiences of five bankers each mentoring a young adult from a disadvantaged background.

My job is to examine the effectiveness of current mentoring approaches and devise an instruction manual for community organisations and workplaces to foster mentoring relationships. The project will be researched, trialled and launched later this year.

 

SEMINARS

*Kosovo Teach-in, 11th June 11.00 am – 2.30pm, see under ‘Diary Dates’ page 1.

*Support & Evaluation of Aboriginal Night Patrols Project.

An interagency seminar was held in late April at CPACS to discuss initial research findings from the four regional NSW communities involved in this project. Participants included Aboriginal community leaders and elders, University teachers and students, and representatives from government and non-government organisations. An article based on the issues arising from this discussion will be published in the Indigenous Law Bulletin later this year.

*A evening seminar on 13th April was held on the peace process in Northern Ireland. To an audience at CPACS poster gallery visiting academic Dr David Bloomfield argued that the peace process was a slow one. Eked out "inch by grudging inch", factions in Northern Ireland had to be persuaded to move from a willingness to die for their cause, to an acceptance to live with what they’ve got. In spite of this, Bloomfield confirmed that much progress has been made towards peace starting with the Brooke Initiative in 1989. For a more detailed account see the University of Sydney News, 29 Apr 1999:5. Inspired by the seminar, Lynda-ann Blanchard wrote the following poem to sum up the Peace Process in Northern Ireland:

RECIPE FOR PEACE

David Bloomfield’s Northern Ireland

 

There is no love lost
making peace in a land
Where great human cost
is an historical stand

With the oven pre-heated
pragmatic chefs are on hand
Their ingredients seated
on the table as planned

The loyalists are one strand
wanting peace with provision
The Unionists another clan
combatting power and derision

Add Clinton, Mo Mowlem
and 100 citizen bands
All building just condition
seeking democratic command

First, the pan must be oiled
agreements to governance are grand
But the solution becomes spoiled
if arms and weapons aren’t canned

With distrust and fear stirred in the pot
a spirit of negotiation unlikely to expand
It’s the letter of the law that hits the spot
to simmer in the mixture of a fragile peace plan

A pinch of respect is needed, to taste
the dialogue of difference, cooled by an impartial fan
For the warning is clear: the fudge must stick and in haste
to make peace coexist for Irish woman and man.

Lynda-ann Blanchard, 1999

 

TEACHING

Media Peace Studies for 2000, funded by the Conflict Resolution Network. More details will be forthcoming in the next issue of PeaceWrites, or contact CPACS for details.

PUBLICATIONS

Muhammad Yunus’s 1998 Seymour Theatre lecture: ‘Peace is Freedom from Poverty’ is soon to be available as a CPACS occasional paper, $10 or $8 for  members (P&P included). It tells the story of how his ideal of micro credit grew from being thought by mainstream bankers as an unworkable proposal fraught with financial liability, to a highly respected and credible system that has changed the lives of millions of the world’s poorest citizens.

 

ON THE PEACE TRAIL
What CPACS members are up to …

Lynda-ann Blanchard, CPACS Research Officer is in the North West Territories of Canada where she was invited by the Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute to carry out a comparative study on the role of women within the context of Gwich’in self-determination. The recent land grant to the Gwich’in people has provided the opportunity for the Institute to negotiate self-government provisions in the areas of the areas of culture, language, education and training, health, justice, social services, housing, and economic development. In the land of the never-setting summer sun, we hope Lydna-ann is managing to get some sleep!

 

Alexandra Menegakis with the United Nations, in Geneva and the US.  She writes:

Last year I was able to participate in two UN Commissions that were part of the array of mechanisms and decision-making processes developed by the UN to address human rights abuses and formulate human rights law, namely the Commission of Human Rights and a  sub-committee of the first, the ‘Commission for the prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities’. 1998 was the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, so there was a lot of activity at the UN. My most significant and unique experiences came from hearing people like Elie Wiesel, May Robinson and Amb. Jacob Selebi speak on the topic of human rights. I met defenders human rights from all parts of the world. They gave me a glimpse into their world, their pain and frustrations, their courage and determination. In the corridors of the UN I heard a very simple but accurate statement:

‘Human rights abuses occur because they can.’

It’s our responsibility to ensure that the political, social and cultural climate is turned around to ensure the protection of human rights is a priority.

Carolyn Hayes, PhD student, is off to Almunecar, Granada, Spain in September to attend the Healthy Life Conference: People, Perceptions and Politics, a joint conference of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health and the International Network for the History of Public Health. She will present her paper: “Deep Sleep Therapy in Australia: Medicine to Die For” based on her experience as a nurse and social scientist. The Chelmsford Hospital in Sydney used Deep Sleep Therapy to treat patients during the 1960s and 1970s. At least 48 deaths and countless serious cases of permanent brain damage resulted. Carolyn is studying the social mechanisms underpinning the climate of suppression of dissent by the hospital hierarchy that allowed the treatment to continue without serious challenge for 16 years.

Mary Lane from the University’s Social Work Department (and a founding member of CPACS) is off to South Africa to attend the International Symposium on Social Development at Cape Town University. She will spend time with Laurie Nathan, Executive Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution at Cape Town University (see Peace Media, this page) and with James Taylor, Director of the Community Development Resource Association, a NGO in Cape Town. The theme of her visit is the prevention of  violence and the fostering of  reconciliation in a climate of transformation.

Stella Cornelius, founder of the Conflict Resolution Network, and member of the Sydney Peace Foundation, is to be congratulated on her honorary PhD awarded by Macquarie University in May in recognition of her outstanding contributions to conflict resolution.

On the Peace Trail, literally, members of CPACS joined a band of happy hikers who walked from Collaroy Seawater Baths along the coast to Manly on Mothers Day. Another walk to advocate peace is planned for Sunday 17th October 1999 so make an effort to come. See page 1, ‘Diary Dates’, for details. For those keen to buy a ‘Peace Walk’ T-Shirt please contact Andrew Greig on 02 9388 9493 - he is selling the remaining few for $16. Our walking troupe looked a happy sight strolling the Steyne at Manly. In our blue and white shirts emblazoned with “Peace Walk for Peace” we felt we epitomized these sentiments as we reached our destination.

 

MORE TO INSPIRE YOU:
Broadcasting Peace-Building on the Front Line
 

“Freedom of the press, pluralism and independence of the media, development of community newspapers and radio station are crucial to the re-establishment of social bonds and to the reconciliation process.”
(UNESCO ‘Communication for Peace’ web site page June ‘98)

 With the premise that independent media is a fundamental tool in the reconciliation process, a growing number of organisations and inspired individuals are working to bring this about, as outlined below:

 UNESCO SOS Media is an assistance programme to independent media in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and Burundi.

International Centre for Humanitarian Reporting/Radio Partnerships have started a programme called ‘Strengthening Lifeline Media in Regions of Conflict’ to counter:

“The inevitable manipulation of the media in war situations leads to greater polarisation and fuels mistrust between populations in conflict.”
(Conflict Prevention Newsletter, April 1999, p16. Netherlands: P O Box 14069, 3508 SC Utrecht. http://www.euconflict.org)

Countries receiving ‘Lifeline Media’ include: Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Liberia, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and South Africa.

In the run-up to the recent South African elections, the Red Cross launched a national training initiative to help South African community radio stations address issues of violence. The Red Cross liaises closely with community-based organisations with extensive experience in handling issues of violence. In Cape Town it is the Centre for Conflict Resolution, where Mary Lane will visit, and in Gauteng, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

 

“Stories on community radio can be particularly inspiring, especially when they celebrate victories (however small) in the struggle against violence.”
Fiona Lloyd is a freelance radio producer and trainer based in Johannesburg – See Track Two, December 1998:37.

Washington-based Search for Common Ground is a veteran in the field of media peace initiatives and supports peace radio in Liberia.

Peace journalists Jake Lynch and Annabel McGoldrick run peace journalism courses near London, details on their web site: indraadnan@poiesis.org. Jake and Annabel helped with the CPACS media module. Annabel has just finished making a programme for BBC TV with Harold Pinter called ‘Against the War’ and Jake is the author of The Peace Journalism Option 1 & 2, and What are Journalist For? recently published by Conflict & Peace Forums in the UK. Jake is currently reporting from Nato headquarters in Brussels, trying to interpret the warmongering spin from the perspective of Peace Journalism.

Did you know CPACS has:

… its own library, a rich reference source which is currently being categorized by CPACS member Peg Craddock. CPACS is extremely grateful to Peg for her time and expertise.

… its own web site:  http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/cpacs to keep you up to date with publications, seminars, teaching programmes etc. Email: cpacs@social.usyd.edu.au

… its own posters for peace gallery. All are welcome to visit our Centre and enjoy its posters, which offer a range of colourful, historic, and at times heart-rendering portrayals.

 

 

Last Word:

“I have always felt that the responsibility of any society is to ensure the human dignity of every single member. If we had always taken this responsibility seriously we would have peace. If we had taken this responsibility seriously we would have a poverty-free world.”
(Muhammad Yunus at the Peace Prize Dinner                   27th November, 1998, Great Hall, University of Sydney)

Comments and contributions welcomed. Contact Editor and Publications Officer Jane Fulton on 9351 7686,                    or fax 9660 0862 or tel/fax 9960 4712 or email CPACS (address above). 

Disclaimer—the views in the publication are solely those of the contributors.