World Peace through the Town Hall
2) The role of the individual in culture of war and culture of peace A Strategy for the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace

World Peace through the Town Hall


1) The difference between "peace" and "culture of peace" and a brief history of the culture of war

2) The role of the individual in culture of war and culture of peace

3) Why the state cannot create a culture of peace

4) The important role of civil society in creating a culture of peace

--Peace and disarmament movements

--Ecology movement

--Movements for human rights

--Democracy movements

--Women's movement

--International understanding, tolerance and solidarity

--Movements for free flow of information

--The strengths and weaknesses of civil society

5) The basic and essential role of local government in culture of peace

--Sustainable development

--Human rights

--Democratic participation

--Women's equality


--Transparency and the free flow of information

--Education for a culture of peace

--Security and public safety

--Some ongoing initiatives

6) Assessing progress toward a culture of peace at the local level

--Culture of peace measurement at the level of the state

7) Going global: networking of city culture of peace commissions

8) The future transition of the United Nations from control by states to popular control through local governmental representatives

9) What would a culture of peace be like?


I believe that history is in our hands, the hands of individuals like you and me. "Peace is in our hands" is the slogan that we adopted for the International Year for the Culture of Peace (the Year 2000). As said by the great anthropologist Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Therefore, it is fitting that we begin our analysis with the role of the individual.

In fact, there really should be no border between psychology and anthropology or between the individual and culture as they are completely intertwined and inter-related. Culture is composed of individuals and it changes as individual consciousness changes. At the same time, the human being is the "cultural animal", and can only be understood in the context of his or her culture.

My study, Psychology for Peace Activists (Adams 1987), investigates the stages of consciousness development of peace activists, which usually passes through six stages, in more or less the same order. The data in the book show that these stages may occur at any point in life, from childhood to old age, which means that it is never too early or too late to develop consciousness, and that every person has the potential:

1) values
2) anger against injustice
3) action
4) affiliation
5) personal integration
6) and, in the case of the greatest peace activists, world-historic consciousness.

The initial stage, the stage of values, is the most basic, and hence, one can argue, the most important. It was this level that we put our greatest emphasis in the International Year for the Culture of Peace, circulating the Manifesto 2000 to be signed by individuals to work for a culture of peace in their everyday lives. The Manifesto was a translation of the eight programme areas of the culture of peace into six sets of values for everyday life.

The Manifesto 2000

Because the year 2000 must be a new beginning, an opportunity to transform - all together - the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence.

Because the culture of peace can underpin sustainable development, environmental protection and the well-being of each person.

Because I am aware of my share of responsibility for the future of humanity, in particular to the children of today and tomorrow.

I pledge in my daily life, in my family, my work, my community, my country and my region, to:

Respect all life: Respect the life and dignity of each human being without discrimination or prejudice;

Reject violence: Practice active non-violence, rejecting violence in all its forms: physical, sexual, psychological, economical and social, in particular towards the most deprived and vulnerable such as children and adolescents;

Share with others: Share my time and material resources in a spirit of generosity to put an end to exclusion, injustice and political and economic oppression;

Listen to understand: Defend freedom of expression and cultural diversity, giving preference always to dialogue and listening without engaging in fanaticism, defamation and the rejection of others;

Preserve the planet: Promote consumer behaviour that is responsible and development practices that respect all forms of life and preserve the balance of nature on the planet;

Rediscover solidarity: Contribute to the development of my community, with the full participation of women and respect for democratic principles, in order to create together new forms of solidarity.

The Manifesto 2000 was signed by 75 million people for the International Year for the Culture of Peace. This was accomplished through the education and mobilization of the vast network associated with UNESCO: the National Commissions in every country; the UNESCO field offices in many countries; the field offices of other United Nations organizations and agencies; universities; cities and towns, and the civil society organizations affiliated with UNESCO and the UN. They, in turn, educated and mobilized their constituencies.

If we could have continued the campaign beyond the Year 2000, we could have achieved a great step forward towards a culture of peace. But it wasn't to be. Under pressure from Europe and the US and their allies, the campaign was ended and the culture of peace initiatives were deprived of funding and staff.

Continued on next page

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The History of the Culture of War

What is culture and how does it evolve

Warfare in prehistory and its usefulness

The culture of war in prehistory

Data from prehistory before the Neolithic

Enemy images: culture or biology

War and the culture of war at the dawn of history

--Ancient Mesopotamia

--Ancient Egypt

--Ancient China

--Ancient Greece and Rome

--Ancient Crete

--Ancient Indus civilizations

--Ancient Hebrew civilization

--Ancient Central American civilization

Warfare and the origin of the State

Religion and the origin of the State

A summary of the culture of war at the dawn of history

The internal culture of war: a taboo topic

The evolution of the culture of war over the past 5,000 years: its increasing monopolization by the state

--1.Armies and armaments

--2.External conquest and exploitation: Colonialism and Neocolonialism

--3.The internal culture of war and economies based on exploitation of workers and the environment

--4.Prisons and penal systems

--5.The military-industrial complex

--6.The drugs-for-arms trade

--7.Authoritarian control

--8.Control of information

--9.Identification of an "enemy"

--10.Education for the culture of war

--11.Male domination

--12.Religion and the culture of war

--13.The arts and the culture of war



Summary of the history of the culture of war