||Index||By David Adams
There are 23 sections to this article, listed with links on the right side of this and every other page. They may be read in any order. Also, there are 20 fundamental references for a culture of peace, listed with links on the left side of each page.
Although the culture of peace may be said to be only 13 years old, having begun as a programme at UNESCO in 1992, it has already undergone a number of major transformations, as described in the section on historical perspective.
Before developing the culture of peace, it was necessary to determine if peace is possible, or is war an intrinsic part of human nature. Scientists were convened from around the world to come up with a definitive statement, the Seville Statement on Violence, written in 1986, adopted by scientific organizations over the next few years, and adopted by UNESCO in 1989.
The initial culture of peace programme adopted by UNESCO in 1992 was intended to develop national culture of peace programmes. The programmes were successful insofar as they were implemented, but it soon became evident that the major powers of Europe, the United States and their allies did not want such programmes to survive and flourish.
By taking up the culture of peace and elaborating a series of resolutions, especially those in 1998-1999, the UN General Assembly has provided a universal and enduring definition for the culture of peace. The most important resolution is the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, adopted by the General Assembly in 1999 as the basis for the International Year and Decade for a culture of peace. It called for a global movement for the culture of peace.
The definition of a culture of peace hinges on the 8 areas in the Programme of Action adopted by the General Assembly. Although they are all parts of a coherent, inter-related whole, each of them deserves to be considered separately:
1. Peace Education
An early high point for the culture of peace was in 2000 which was declared the International Year for the Culture of Peace and which was celebrated by a campaign for the Manifesto 2000 resulting in 75 million signatures.
The International Year was followed by the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). This remains the major official recognition by the United Nations of the Gandhian methodology of nonviolence, which is an essential component of theory and practice of the culture of peace. In 2005, at the midpoint of the Decade, a Civil Society Report indicates that progress is being made toward a culture of peace throughout the world.
The main actors in the Global Movement for a culture of peace, as defined by the UN Declaration and Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace, include individuals in all walks of life, the United Nations and its Member States, and civil society organizations. Each has a contribution to make, and each has its contradictions. Although there have been numerous attempts to provide news about the Global Movement, none are comprehensive, which is typical of social movements. Although the mass media has the potential to provide news of the Movement and to raise the consciousness of people about the potential for a culture of peace and non-violence, unfortunately it has not yet lived up to this potential. Other initiatives such as the Culture of Peace News Network have been developed to help push its agenda.
The strategy and tactics of the Global Movement continue to evolve. Hopefully, the Movement will remain true to its principles in non-violence and the 8 programme areas for a culture of peace recognized by the United Nations.
In addition to the issues raised above, several other issues have not yet received enough attention. As described here, they include: the internal culture of war; local violence caused by national culture of war; and nuclear terrorism.
A full documentation of the culture of peace at UNESCO and the United Nations from 1992-2001, approximately 500 documents and 5,000 pages, along with an annotated bibliography, is available for the use of scholars at the library of Wesleyan University, in Middletown, CT, USA.