Academy For Peace - Costa Rica

Fourth Summit of the Global Alliance ~ Building Bridges of Peace
San José, Costa Rica ~ 13-21 September 2009

On behalf of the Costa Rican government, the Academy for Peace of Costa Rica and the Global Alliance, we are pleased to announce that Costa Rica will host the 2009 Summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace.

Founded in 2004, the Global Alliance is a worldwide community of civil society organizations, committed citizens and government officials from 35 countries, working to establish governmental structures that support a culture of peace. We invite you to join us in creating this momentous event as a turning point in the history of global peace efforts.

Costa Rica’s Model of Peace
Costa Rica has chosen to host this Summit because, like many other countries, government and civil society leaders are striving to strengthen the country’s national peace model. This model includes legislation—slated to pass in the National Legislative Assembly in 2009—to procure the establishment of a Ministry of Justice and Peace within the national government.

Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Oscar Arias, in extending his support of this national peace model, celebrates its creation as “an inspiring approach propelling our fundamental social transformation and advancing a culture of peace, distancing us from violence and motivating us to become a peaceful society based on mutual understanding, harmony and non-violence.” We look forward to sharing Costa Rica’s national peace model and learning about peace efforts in other countries at the Global Alliance Summit.

The Global Alliance Summit, including the BePeace Course
The Summit’s theme this year is Building Bridges of Peace and it will take place September 13 -21, 2009 in San José, Costa Rica. The goal of the Summit is to expand the Global Alliance network by involving highly-qualified Summit participants from at least 40 countries, who are motivated to develop peace infrastructure in their home governments. At the Summit, you will have the opportunity to take part in daily plenary sessions and learning activities to integrate the peace building skills and regional/international networking necessary to work with other civil society groups and government officials to increase your campaign’s potential for success.

The Summit program features a special day dedicated to government-civil society cooperation, with the anticipated participation of pro-peace Parliamentarians and Ministers of Education and Justice from around the world, along with representatives from Multilateral and Regional Organizations (e.g. United Nations Peace Building Commission, Organization of American States, European Union, African Union), and Ministers of established Ministries of Peace from the Ivory Coast, Solomon Islands and Nepal. Star-studded evening events include Opening and Closing Ceremonies to celebrate local Costa Rican culture and the International Day of Peace, plus a one-of-a-kind concert featuring local and international performing artists!
The Summit includes an optional 40-hour BePeace Course, taught by the Academy for Peace of Costa Rica. BePeace is an innovative peace skills practice developed by Rita Marie Johnson, founder of the Academy. BePeace is currently taught in Costa Rican public schools and in a growing number of locations throughout the world. Please see the attached BePeace Course Synopsis for further information.

To ensure the quality and integrity of the Global Alliance Summit, and given the high demand for inclusion, interested participants are invited to submit the attached application, to be reviewed and decided by the International Summit Planning Team. If you are inspired by the work of the Global Alliance and intend to support or develop your own home country campaign for a Ministry or Department for Peace, we wholeheartedly encourage you to apply to participate in the 2009 Global Alliance Summit. With this level of participation, the momentum for developing governmental peace infrastructure will grow such that Ministries and Departments for Peace aligned with Academies for Peace may be as common as Ministries of Defense with their military academies.

Building Bridges of Peace Together
In the words of President Oscar Arias:
“Peace is not a dream, it’s an arduous task. We must start by finding peaceful solutions to everyday conflicts with the people around us. Peace does not begin with the other person; it begins within each and every one of us.”
We hope you will support this unique event, in solidarity with Summit participants from governments and peace organizations around the world, as we work together to develop vital peace skills and establish peace infrastructure.

More information here.

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Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace – A Vision for the Future

The world is at a crossroads.

We have recently ended the most violent century in history and started the new millennium on a similar path. At the same time there is a new consciousness spreading in the world that we, the people, are the stewards of our precious but vulnerable planet; that the planet and its peoples are under threat from the culture of violence and war that is dominant in the world today; and that urgent action must be taken now to reveal and strengthen the countervailing culture of nonviolence and peace that to a large extent already exists.

Our culture is giving form to a strong and spreading awareness of the horror of war. In February 2003 there was an unprecedented demonstration by many millions of people worldwide against the Iraq war. As we look more deeply, we understand that war has its roots in the everyday violence that brutalises people and societies, from the direct violence in our homes, schools, communities, and the world, which causes death and injury to individuals and physical devastation to social and economic infrastructures and to the environment; to the structural violence embedded in our social, economic, and political institutions, which leaves millions marginalised and suffering in poverty; and to the cultural violence enshrined in our attitudes, customs, and even the common metaphors of our daily language.

More and more people are coming to realise that it is only by focusing our energies on tackling all forms of violence, including that to the environment, that the human race will have a viable future. In recent years groups in a number of countries have concluded that this vital work needs to be a central role of government. The USA, the United Kingdom, and Canada started initiatives to have Departments of Peace or Ministries for Peace established that would sit alongside existing government Departments.

These Departments would operate in the realm of foreign affairs as well as at home. Their work abroad would include monitoring the world scene for signs of conflict and taking pre-emptive measures as appropriate in partnership with other nations and world bodies, helping with the nonviolent resolution of conflicts that exist, and assisting with rehabilitation and reconciliation work after the cessation of conflicts. Their work at home would involve fostering a culture of peace at all levels of the community by transforming conflict in the home, the workplace, the school, and in all aspects of government. The vision is of a world in which peace, toleration, and justice prevail, within and between nations. Where all ethnic, racial, and religious differences are welcomed; in which territorial, cultural, and human rights are respected; and in which national and international structures are created to ensure that such rights prevail.

In October 2005 three organisations, the US Peace Alliance, the Canadian Federal Working Group for a Department of Peace, and the UK ministry for peace, organised the first People’s Summit for Departments of Peace in London. This was done to share information and experience within existing groups and also to begin working with those considering setting up similar initiatives in other countries. Forty people from twelve countries attended the two day Summit. These countries were Australia, Canada, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Italy, Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, Romania, the United Kingdom, Jordan, and the United States. Prominent supporters of the conference include UK John McDonnell MP, US Representative Dennis Kucinich and, from Australia, Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans MP and Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.

Corina Simon, Secretary Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace, Romania

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