||Assessing progress toward a culture of peace at the local level||A Strategy for the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace|
World Peace through the Town Hall
Peace education. Although it has not been possible to find a specific questionnaires for peace education in cities, questions can be based on the recommendations on formal, non-formal and informal education from the UNESCO report to the United Nations Secretary-General on the culture of peace (United Nations 2000).
Formal education proposals in the UNESCO report include training of education personnel at all levels in the content, learning methods and skills needed to promote peace and non-violence and revision of existing and creation of new curriculum materials, and particularly of history textbooks, to promote mutual understanding and strengthen social cohesion and to remove prejudices or stereotypes against certain groups. It also proposes that the culture of peace should be modeled in the policies and practices of the classroom, the school and other learning environments, providing opportunities for all members of the school community to participate in democratic decision-making and governance processes.
Although not mentioned as such in the UNESCO report, it is important to measure the extent to which girl children receive equal educational opportunities as boy children, as well as the comparative educational opportunities for minorities and immigrants, including opportunities for education in their own language.
Non-formal education proposals include the development of methods of peaceful conflict resolution and non-violence. This should include traditional conflict resolution approaches and methods that take into consideration the current political climate, as well as new information technologies. It is also proposed to strengthen the active role of the family and the local community in a participatory approach to determining what a culture of peace means, and how it can be promoted in the local context;
Informal education proposals address the promotion of culture of peace values by sports, dance, theatre and other athletic and artistic activities involving children and youth, the press, television, cinema, video games and the Internet, including not only films but also cartoons, comics, even news programmes available to children and youth. Media education and monitoring and maintaining collective consumer pressure on those who produce and distribute mass media by parents associations, community organization, consumer organizations and institutions are proposed in order to promote the values of a culture of peace, and freedom from the promotion of violence, intolerance, racism and sexual exploitation.
Security. At least two sets of security indicators are available on the Internet. One is a set of indicators developed at Georgetown University in the US and applied to cities in Brazil. The other set has been used for measuring public security in Boston. Here is a combined synopsis. Indicators marked with an asterisk should be measured separately for adult and juvenile offenders. For details, see Georgetown University Political Database of the Americas (2007) and Boston Indicators Project (2008).
Rate of homicides*
Inter-relationships among the various measures. In distinguishing the various programme areas, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that they are all inter-related to a general overall culture of peace. Here are some examples of this inter-relationship:
The human rights assessment of Sao Paulo includes measurements of personal violence such as homicide and assault (security) and measures of women's equality in economics, politics and physical health.
The assessment of sustainable development by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives includes measures of the involvement of women and ethnic minorities, as well as stakeholder participation and education.
The Spanish initiative of transparency (free flow of information) puts a high priority on information concerning opportunities for democratic participation, including information about municipal decisions so that voters can make informed choices.
The Council of Europe measurement of social cohesion of minorities and immigrants (understanding, tolerance and solidarity) includes measures of women's equality, access to education, including in minority languages, and access to information and democratic participation, as well as many general security and human rights issues.
Education for peace, as conceived in the UNESCO report, emphasizes freedom from the promotion of violence (security), intolerance and racism (understanding, tolerance and solidarity) and sexual exploitation (women's equality) in the various sources of informal education. It also demands that the classroom and school should be a model for culture of peace, including participation in democratic decision-making and governance.
Culture of Peace measurement at the level of the state. Consistent with our analysis of the state in this book, the attempts to measure progress toward a culture of peace at the level of the state have been disastrous. They have not been participatory, and, because of the nature of the state, it is difficult to imagine how they could be.
A first attempt was made by a Korean team in 2000 and published under the title, World Culture of Peace Index (2000). On the basis of the criteria they chose, the top countries were those of Scandinavia, while the bottom countries were those of Africa and Asia. The major powers, England, France, Germany, China, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, came out in the middle.
A subsequent article on national indicators for a culture of peace in the Journal of Peace Research by DeRivera (2004) came out with similar rankings, although fewer countries were chosen for study. But this article went further and claimed on the basis of its failure to find a single culture of peace factor, that the culture of peace might be a "flawed concept." In my opinion, it is a kind of sophistry to analyze culture of peace as the quality of existing states, negate it by means of factor analysis, and then declare that the culture of peace concept is "simplistic." As we have argued here, a culture of peace and non-violence, understood in the sense of the original UNESCO proposal as a hypothetical alternative to the culture of war and violence, does not exist at the level of the nation-state.
We should be skeptical of any national indicators that show the nations of the north as peaceful and those of the south as less peaceful. This, too, is a kind of sophistry and hypocrisy. For example, as pointed out by Member States from the South in the 1999 UNESCO debate, notes of which are available on my website at http://www.culture-of-peace.info/annexes/commissionV/summary.html , the states that cry loudest for human rights and "free" elections are at the same time the major sellers of armaments and traditional opponents of independent media in poor countries. This kind of hypocrisy was criticized by African ambassadors, Nouréini Tidjani-Serpos of Benin and Bakary Tio-Touré of Cote d'Ivoire among others, when we held meetings at UNESCO with the Member States by region in March 1998. They stated that one should not look to the South for the causes of the culture of war, and they posed three questions. From where do the weapons come? From where do the violent television programmes come? And where are the terms of trade decided that impoverish the people of the South which leads to violence?"
More recently, one sees again the hypocrisy of measuring peace by nation-state indicators, as exemplified by the new Global Peace Index (2007). How convenient that Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada come out as the most peaceful, while the countries of the South come out as less peaceful! If one needs evidence for the existence of "cultural imperialism", here it is!
End of chapter
The History of the Culture of War