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The Peace to the City Network grew out of a campaign of the same name that began in August 1997 and culminated in December 1998. The network was active until 2002; its members - churches, peace and justice organizations, faith communities and civil society movements - continue to work within the framework of the Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010).

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Peace to the City Network Meeting Report
Hanover, Germany
30 August - 3 September 2000

The Peace to the City Network met in Hanover, Germany from 31 August and 3 September 2000 to exchange news, and to plan activities and priorities for 2001. The meeting was locally hosted by the EKD in cooperation with the Bishop of Hanover, Rev. Dr. Margot Kässman, a founding member of the Peace to the City Campaign. It was planned to coincide with the Church of Hanover's launch of the Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace (2001-2010) and Expo 2000, where the Peace to the City chamber ballet was premiered with great success.

This was the second Peace to the City Network meeting since the WCC call for an ecumenical decade to overcome violence in 1998, which provided the impetus to establish a network of grassroots, faith-based peacebuilding partners and continue the work begun during the Peace to the City Campaign. Members are committed to transforming the culture of violence in their respective communities through practical means that affect change at all levels of society. The WCC facilitates the growth and development of the Network, providing a space where partners can share ideas, resources and encouragement, as well as highlighting the initiatives internationally through our website and publications, providing seed funding for new peace projects, and offering training resources to the members.

This report will provide firstly an update of the status of work in each of the Partner Cities, based upon the reports made at the Hanover meeting. Part Two of the report contains summary statements on the progress of the Peace to the City Network and the Decade to Overcome Violence. Possible strategies and options for further work within the Network are summarised in Part Three, flowing from the creative ideas generated at the Hanover meeting. Finally, this report contains the summarised recommendations made in Hanover.

1.1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 'Viva Rio'

Viva Rio is a civil society organisation, founded by local citizens of Rio in 1993, following the outcry which arose over the killing by police of 8 children outside a church. That event was followed by the deaths of 21 people in a slum north of Rio in the same year. These two tragedies catalysed the formation of Viva Rio, a grassroots response to the growing cycle of violence in the city.

Rubem Fernandes reported to the recent Hanover meeting that in July 2000, Viva Rio launched a campaign entitled "Enough, I Want Peace". This involved the construction of mural boards in major cities on which local people could attach photos of those injured by violence. The mural in Rio was extensive and received a lot of attention. Local people were also asked to dress in white on July 7 as a symbol of their desire for peace. Viva Rio has produced T-shirts with the slogan of this campaign and many others, manufactured under 'fair trade' conditions with local seamstresses who have been trained and equipped by Viva Rio.

The organisation of the 'Games of Hope', involving 120,000 children is another initiative of Viva Rio, which is aimed at promoting better police-community relationships.

Small arms control is a major issue in Latin America and a primary concern of Viva Rio. Guns are seen by the general population as an instrument of aggression and of fear, most belonging to the elite and the police. Brazil has the highest rate of gun use in homicides in the world. A T-shirt campaign has been run on the theme "Rio, Put that Gun Down". Viva Rio is lobbying against the supply of guns to civilians and is now bringing pressure on the Congress, despite political difficulties given that often members of the Congress are part of the elite who carry guns.

Viva Rio is also countering the bias against teenagers which is generally perceived in the Rio community. Access to education in Brazil is a challenge for teenagers. Half of the population between 17 and 29 have not received elementary school education. In order to address this deficit, Viva Rio is helping to organise this year's "Rock in Rio for a Better World", an annual music festival which is being given a 'socially conscious' mission. This year it is directed towards improving education for teenagers.

1.2. Colombo, Sri Lanka - "National Peace Council of Sri Lanka"

Tyrol Fernandes from the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka reported on behalf of his organisation, and also presented a message from Rev. Ebenezer Joseph, of the National Council of Churches of Sri Lanka, who was not able to join the meeting in Hanover.

The National Peace Council of Sri Lanka (NPC) is a civil society group which has its roots in the development of intereligious co-operation in Sri Lanka. It attempts to promote conflict resolution through research and advocacy, with conflict resolution training, and by providing a forum for processes of dialogue and reconciliation.

Recent campaigns have been entitled 'War Will Not Win Peace' (1996) and more recently 'Don't Wage War on My Behalf', focussing on the grassroots level, middle catalytic agents, and the political elite.

In the last six months, 5 years of consistent campaigns by the NPC have culminated in the acceptance of intervention by third party facilitators, by both sides of the conflict - seen as a landmark development.

The NPC's recent projects have involved research into how 12 different sectors of society (from disabled soldiers to trade unions, media, business leaders and politicians) feel the war has affected them. The unanimous response was 'no-one listens to us'. This insight is proving very useful in ongoing campaigns. In addition, the NPC has been carrying out research into the cost of war in Sri Lanka, socially and culturally. Following from this research, the NPC has been initiating a series of dialogues on 'post conflict issues', with the insight that it is less threatening for opponents to begin to discuss such a 'theoretical' subject (given that the war is ongoing and intense) than it is to talk about cease-fires or terms of settlement. The NPC describes this approach as 'desperate', but find that it is yielding good results, and the additional insight that it is not necessary for trust to exist between parties in order for them to converse productively. Instead, all that is needed is 'space and methodology'.

Liaison with the National Council of Churches in Sri Lanka (NCCSL) is occurring, and the NPC reports that the Church is developing a credible response to the violence in Sri Lanka. In this respect the NCCSL is commencing a programme of peace education in schools. NPC welcomes the cooperation and partnership of the NCCSL in the Peace to the City Network.

The NPC sees an emerging issue with small arms in the region, as deserters from the armed forces take their weapons with them.

1.3. Durban, South Africa - 'Peace to the City Durban' (Diakonia Council of Churches)

Peace to the City Durban was originally a consortium of 16 different NGOs active in peacebuilding in Durban. It was reported in Hanover that a recent re-structuring in which those 16 were reduced to five ( i.e. Diakonia Council of Churches, Independent Projects Trust, Mennonite Central Committee (S African Region), D'Urban Network, and the World Conference on Religion and Peace (Durban Chapter) was highly beneficial.

Rev Mike Vorster, of the Diakonia Council of Churches, is the co-ordinator of the Peace to the City efforts in Durban (PTC), and attended the Hanover meeting on behalf of the others.

Vorster's report, 'Peace to the City, Durban Report March 1999 - August 2000', provided an excellent summary of the wider PTC Durban activities and goals in this time period.

There are four priority areas of activity for the DCC: economic empowerment, democracy building, responding to AIDS, and peacebuilding work. In responding to these needs the DCC has recently organised support groups for survivors of violence, facilitating the Stress and Trauma Healing initiative. This programme has trained over 300 people in culturally appropriate methods of counselling for survivors of political and domestic violence.

The DCC also runs a programme on community policing, training the churches to facilitate community policing and to monitor police operations. This has involved significant personal risk for some participants, even resulting in the death of one local peace monitor. In addition, the PTC Durban is a participant in the 'Safer Cities' programme, which elicits co-operation between governments and NGOs in transforming urban communities into safe environments.

Challenges facing the PTC Durban include the significant issue of economic justice for the local population. In addition, there is a clear correlation between the incidence of elections and upswings in violence in the area. Observers have also noted an increase in 'gangsterism' in the city, with its associated violence.

1.4. Suva, Fiji - 'Citizens' Constitutional Forum of Fiji'

The Citizens' Constitutional Forum of Fiji (CCF) was established in 1992 as an open forum for dialogue in the approach to the 1995 review of the Fijian Constitution. It was founded on the belief that peace in Fiji would be aided or hindered by the quality and nature of its Constitution. The CCF made a contribution to the formulation of the revised Constitution of Fiji in 1997 following a coup, by publishing pamphlets and devising programmes to educate Fijians concerning multiculturalism.

At present, the CCF is attempting to respond to the civil coup of this year, and to help re-build the democratic parliamentary system of government in Fiji. Significant challenges in Fiji include the fact that the claim of 'indigenous rights' is being used to focus a campaign against multiculturalism. In addition, the rapid rate of change in Fijian society has created a vacuum which was formerly occupied by traditional tribal leadership. Those individuals who have prospered from the rapid change are moving into this space, as seen in the recent coup.

These changes have produced specific difficulties, including the growing militarisation of the population, and the fact that neither the military (who are primarily ethnic Fijians) nor the police, protect all racial groups equally and neutrally.

In this context, the CCF aims to ease the transition from traditional leadership to the firm establishment of parliamentary democracy. CCF is currently working to bring together parties from across the social and political spectrum in Fiji. In combining many different voices from Fiji, a joint committee of the CCF is attempting to function as a critical voice in response to the existing unelected administration, comprised by the Fijian Great Council of Chiefs.

The CCF is also helping to bring international human rights monitoring to Fiji, with ongoing attacks and property confiscation against ethnic Indian Fijians being reported internationally for the first time in recent months. A campaign was run locally, with the colour blue being used as a symbol for the feeling of the people towards the ongoing conflict. However, access to the local and international media remains a challenge for the CCF.

The CCF believes that the best way forward for peace and justice in Fiji is on the basis of a Constitution which preserves democracy and equality for the entire population of Fiji. The organisation is lobbying for more international pressure on Fiji to achieve this goal, including economic sanctions.

1.5. Boston, USA - 'Boston Ten Point Coalition'

The Boston Ten Point Coalition was formed in 1992 by a group of Pastors who decided to work together against urban violence in their communities after an incident in which a teenager was almost killed by a gang while attending a funeral in a church. Since that time, the homicide rate in Boston has fallen from 152 (in 1990) to 32 in 2000, with a low of 28 deaths in 1998. For a period of two and a half years there were no juvenile homicides reported in Boston. The Coalition has facilitated close collaboration between the local police departments, the court system, civil society and municipal governments.

Rev. Jeffrey Brown reported to the meeting in Hanover that the Coalition is faced with a new issue as teenagers released from prison are now engaging in violent contests with younger teenagers to re-establish supremacy over neighbourhood areas. The TPC faces the challenge of continuing its work in subsequent phases as the needs in Boston change, and must address the question of integrating the insights already gained into the programmes to reach the participants.

In addition, the Ten Point Coalition (TPC) faces the 'challenge of success'. For example, the level of publicity received by the organisation in the USA has led to requests from many other US cities for assistance. There is a need to adapt the existing programmes for application to new contexts.

At present the Ten Point Coalition is working on a project to use the media to affect the attitudes of the general public, to cause them to believe that urban violence is a soluble issue and to encourage the formation of a strong volunteer base. Financing the ongoing volunteer base is another direct challenge to the Coalition's activities.

The Peace to the City Network is of particular value to the TPC because it has allowed the co-ordinators of the programme to transcend the sense of isolation involved in their work, and to connect with other similar efforts overseas.

1.6. Bethlehem, Palestine - 'Palestinian Conflict Resolution (Wi'am) Centre'

The Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre began operation in March of 1995, and springs from one of the historical church traditions in the region. Known as "Wi'am", (which in Arabic means 'cordial relationships' or 'harmony') the Centre helps to resolve disputes within the Palestinian community by complementing the traditional Arab form of mediation, called Sulha, with Western models of conflict resolution.

George Akroush from the Wi'am Centre participated in the meeting of the Peace to the City Network in Hanover, meeting other Network Partners for the first time. His own story bears witness to the effect of the conflict on Palestinian people – he was imprisoned without trial three times, under 'administrative detention'. The Wi'am Centre seeks to improve the quality of relationships between Israelis and Palestinians by addressing injustices rather than avenging them; by dignifying persons on both sides of the conflict; and by promoting human rights and advocating for peace among all people.

The Wi'am Centre is currently running a number of programmes. The first is in mediation and conflict resolution and has led to the Centre becoming a respected intermediary in the resolution of a wide range of disputes between local Palestinians. For this task they have trained and equipped more than 100 volunteers. Secondly, the Centre is engaged in ongoing efforts to raise awareness amongst current and potential leaders that the need for peace in the region is great, and that the generation of warmakers is passing.

The Centre also has an 'anti-incitement' programme in conjunction with Catholic Relief Services, and is actively involved in seeking solutions for the final status talks between Israel and Palestine. It is involved with efforts in peace education, focussing on capacity building within Palestinian organisations in the field of human resources management, and is working to build knowledge of women's rights and their role in their communities.

Currently, Christians in Palestinian society represent only 1.8%, whereas in 1967 the percentage was 12%, and in 1942, 36%.

1.7. Beit Sahour, Palestine - 'Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement'

This civil society organisation was established in 1987 with the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada (uprising), which involved large-scale civil disobedience and 'controlled violence' on the part of Palestinian protestors. Ghassan Andoni reported to the meeting in Hanover for the first time, and told of how the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement (PCR) was started by a group of people active in the intifada, who believed that they could 'fight in the morning and talk about peace in the afternoon'. In this way, the PCR was 'involved in all of the efforts to get rid of the Israeli occupation'.

The PCR has convened discussion groups crossing the conflict lines, which has raised particular challenges as a result of the violence between the communities. For example, when a member of one discussion group was seriously injured in an attack by a Palestinian, Andoni was faced with the difficulty of crossing the border between the two groups at war with each other, and visiting a man in hospital who had been injured by Andoni's 'own flesh and blood'.

Beit Sahour is a small town about five minutes from Bethlehem, but with a distinct cultural identity. Andoni spoke of the competition for demographic dominance in Israel and Palestine between Israelis and Palestinians. PCR is standing against the expansion of Israeli settlements and land confiscation by the Israeli Government. He reported that the major question for PCR is how to move to civil disobedience.

The PCR wishes for the churches in Israel and Palestine to be more active with regard to the conflict and more focussed on the need to establish peace.

1.8 Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 'Centre for a Culture of Peace and Non Violence'

Cvijeta Novakovic joined the Network Partners for the first time in Hanover, reporting on the activities of the civil society organisation called the Centre for a Culture of Peace and Non Violence (CCPN).

Unlike many other cities in Bosnia, Tuzla was not divided or destroyed during the recent war. However, there is a pressing need for peacebuilding at the grass roots level with ordinary people. There are only a few other civil society organisations engaged in the same kind of work as the CCPN.

The CCPN is working in schools, with youth and with refugees. The work of CCPN occurs on three levels: locally, regionally in the former Yugoslavia, and internationally, through the facilitation of the WCC Peace to the City Network. Thanks to the support of the WCC, CCPN has received the possibility of operating their own office premises, to be staffed completely by volunteers.

Recent projects have included the continuation of previous peacebuilding workshops with youth, which were initiated before the war in Bosnia. In December of 1998, the CCPN commenced a project to explore the past of Bosnia and plan for a peaceful future. This project has led to the formation of stronger links between existing organisations, and the development of new organisational structures.

1.9. Freetown, Sierra Leone - 'National Council of Churches in Sierra Leone'

Florella Hazeley, from the Advocacy desk of the National Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (NCCSL), attended a Peace to the City Network meeting for the first time in Hanover. She discussed her work in education, specifically about the problems of small arms and child soldiers.

Hazeley reported that Liberia has held the 'bread basket' of Sierra Leone, containing the diamond mines, and cocoa and coffee plantations, since the Liberian incursion into Eastern and South-Eastern Sierra Leone in 1991. In 1991, Sierra Leone experienced a coup, and in 1996 the military was persuaded to hand power to a democratically elected government. At this point, the Church in Sierra Leone participated in monitoring the elections, and also decided it must continue to support and monitor the democratic process, leading to the creation of the advocacy desk at the NCCSL. Since that date, Sierra Leone has experienced more political turbulence, and in 1998, an ECOMOG force led by Nigeria again defeated the ruling military junta, and reinstated a democratically elected government. The same pattern occurred again in 1999, again requiring ECOMOG intervention.

In this context, the NCCSL has been carrying out education programmes, in the belief that the war in the country has been due largely to ignorance. Sierra Leone has an illiteracy rate of 90%.

Recently, the NCCSL started workshops to train churches on policy issues, equipping churches to identify human rights abuses and to know how to apply the nation's constitution. The NCCSL has been launching campaigns for a moratorium on small arms, working amongst small communities.

Following the January 1999 attack on Freetown by rebels and a response by ECOMOG, the NCCSL began concerted efforts to build peace, seeking a mandate to intervene from traditional elders and the parliament and Head of State, and carrying out mediation work.

Continuing work by the NCCSL is focussed on campaigns against the use of child soldiers and against the importation of toy weapons. In addition, the NCCSL has formed a working group on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and is convening a workshop on the conflict in Sierra Leone. Lobbying of policy makers continues, and the NCCSL is also working to integrate members of the police force better into the community and to reduce the number of soldiers involved in policing work. Finally, the NCCSL is working to build democracy in the region and to introduce notions of advocacy to the theological colleges in the country.

1.10. Braunschweig, Germany - 'Peace to the City Braunschweig'

Peace to the City Braunschweig is co-ordinated by Rev Klaus Burckhardt, of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD). Braunschweig is the first German city to join the Network. Rev Burckhardt joined the other Peace to the City Partners in Hanover and reported on a number of peacebuilding projects in the district of Braunschweig.

Of particular note is a project to promote non-violence in schools, which draws upon Burckhardt's experiences in South Africa under apartheid, and has been adapted from the setting in Durban to be applied to schools in Germany. The programme is an interactive training method which demonstrates to students the experience of living in a society divided on the basis of race and colour. 15,000 school students have undergone this training, with pleasing results which show the benefit of drawing parallels between Germany and the apartheid situation formerly in South Africa.

The integration of immigrants into the wider German culture is a particular challenge which the Braunschweig programme attempts to address. Rev Burckhardt noted that some young Germans may choose to focus their anger and disenchantment with German society on the weaker members of the community, the disadvantaged, the immigrants, and the homeless. The Peace to the City programmes in Braunschweig are attempting to address the social and economic roots of these problems.

Rev Burckhardt presented a useful summary report to the partners present in Hanover, outlining the main need and challenges facing Braunschweig, the value of the Peace to the City Network in this context, and current active programmes.

1.11. Partners who were unable to join the meeting in Hanover were:

Mexico City - Mexico 'Movimento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad'
Belfast - Northern Ireland 'Mediation Network'
Kingston - Jamaica 'S Corner Clinic'

2. WCC STATEMENTS: Peace to the City, and the DOV
2.1 WCC Peace to the City Report - Salpy Eskidjian, Programme Executive, Peacebuilding and Disarmament Programme

Salpy Eskidjian presented a report to the Network partners assembled in Hanover concerning the current status of the Peace to the City Network and its possible future directions.

The Network was described as a mechanism for providing partners with space, training and resources for their peacebuilding work. Peace to the City will operate under the framework of the DOV and hopes to be an active contributor.

The Seven Point Peace Plan of the Peace to the City Network outlines seven elements where the peacebuilding initiatives of the partners are focussed. They will be the basis for campaigns, resource materials and networking. This will also be the framework for the growth of the network, which provides the criteria for joining. The Seven Points are:

1. Overcoming religious, civil, ethnic or political divisions and building practices that develop an individual and collective sense of security

2. Promoting dialogue, tolerance and developing non-violent alternatives to prevent conflict

3. Initiating peace education and conflict resolution programmes in your schools, seminaries or community, including mediation and negotiation techniques

4. Advocating for strict controls on the production, sale, transfer and use of small arms

5. Campaigning for the abolition of nuclear weapons

6. Stopping the use of child soldiers

7. Supporting the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Peace to the City relies on a multi-layered communications strategy to link partners, offer resources and highlight initiatives internationally. The internet is a major element of the Network, linking each partner with the WCC and with the wider public. This tool provides greater exposure for Network partners, and enables information on the Network to be updated rapidly. The Peace to the City videos - which tell the story of the seven initial members of the Peace to the City campaign - books and leaflets all contribute to the Network's development. A short form of the Peace to the City video will be released shortly and provided to Peace to the City Network members to facilitate their communication and publicity activities. The aim is to have Peace to the City materials translated into the languages of our partners.

Beyond linking peacebuilding partners, the Peace to the City Network intends to provide training opportunities through workshops and inter-regional exchanges, opportunities for collaborative learning. A training event is scheduled for November in Boston to focus on the issue of urban violence and human security. This event should serve as a model for other future events, which could possibly focus on other manifestations of violent conflict such as ethnic or political violence.

The questions facing the network are: how to jointly focus their actions, how to integrate new partners into the network, and how to link and make a clear and positive contribution to the DOV.

2.2 WCC Decade to Overcome Violence Report - Deenabandhu Manchala,
Peace Concerns, Justice, Peace and Creation

Deenabandhu Manchala presented a report to the Hanover meeting concerning the goals and function of the DOV.

It was pointed out that the DOV will receive its content simply through the involvement of the churches. It is not a programme of the WCC, but an organising principle, a self-directing idea, around which action can be co-ordinated. Secondly, it was noted that the DOV is a WCC-wide initiative and is not restricted to one section of the WCC such as the Justice, Peace and Creation or International Relations teams. The DOV will be the flagship of the WCC for the next 10 years.

The accent in the DOV is on efforts to overcome violence, drawing inspiration from the Peace to the City Campaign. It will focus on the root causes of violence, and will also place emphasis on the role of churches in responding to situations of violence in their communities.

The DOV presents an opportunity for the churches to work together in closer unity and with the wider civil society. Study groups within the WCC's Cluster on Issues and Themes will take five approaches to the problem of violence. Firstly an examination of ethnic and national identity and the unity of the church, secondly, racism and violence, thirdly, violence through the processes of globalisation, fourthly, insights from 'Southern' theologians, and finally, the development of peace education materials.

Deenabandhu noted that the DOV is comprised of several stages, with 2001-2004 serving to highlight existing activities, followed by a synthesis in 2004 which will culminate in a report to set priorities for the remaining five years until 2010.


3.1 Review Of Strategic Activities

A review of current partner activities revealed a strong programmatic focus on the first three of the seven foci of action, the 'Seven Point Peace Plan', underpinning the Peace to the City network:

  • Peace and conflict resolution education
  • Overcoming social divisions
  • Promoting dialogue

The predominant focus of activity was on the first of these three points. In addition, three of the ten partners present at the meeting in Hanover had ongoing programmes in the area of small arms reduction, one was working towards stopping the use of child soldiers, and two were involved in campaigns regarding landmines. None of the partners stated that they had a programme focussing on the abolition of nuclear weapons. Some partners referred to the importance of processes of globalisation in understanding violence.

It was observed that there is a need to link symptoms with their causes. For example, it is necessary to link the conflict in Sierra Leone with the war over diamonds, and to link poverty caused by economic policies with emerging conflict. In creating these links and working in response, partners should use a focus on one of the seven points of the Peace to the City network framework as a 'point of entry'.

The question was also raised as to how the Peace to the City network was distinctive as a faith based network, and how this could be accentuated as a strength of the Peace to the City network.

3.2 Conflict Issues To Be Addressed Internationally

It was suggested that the Network needs to avoid simply creating publicity hype, and to concentrate instead on achieving real concrete goals, focussed on the Seven Point Peace Plan, and not simply the Network for its own sake.

Conferences could be convened on a specific point by concerned partner cities, with WCC support. One of the seven points could be identified for attention for each of the years 2001, 2002, 2003, while existing efforts could continue in motion. These conferences could make use of opportunities for training by convening workshops for partner organisations.

In addition, the meeting in Hanover identified the following concerns and interests in relation to various partners' work:

  • Youth work, especially school programmes and peer mediation
  • Police-Community Relations
  • Local traditions of peace building
  • Interfaith / intercultural engagement in peacebuilding
  • Globalisation
  • Links between commerce and conflict (e.g. the West African diamond trade)

3.3 Local Needs

The following needs existing at a local level were identified. Partners agreed to follow up pressing needs:

  • Publication of Peace to the City written and video materials in local languages
  • Speakers for conferences
  • Access to local news media
  • Staffing needs, and the need for interchange of staff between partners, and to Geneva
  • Access to Peace to the City written materials and a Peace to the City kit to use for publicity and as a lobbying tool
  • Theological materials
  • WCC endorsement for events and fundraising attempts, preferably endorsement in person

3.4 Needs By Region

Peace to the City Network partners identified the following needs existing in their regional spheres of operation:

- How to co-ordinate regional partnerships within the Peace to the City network? (Including those linkages which already exist).

- In West Africa: communication, promotion and information sharing needs; how to work towards harmonisation of different legal regimes (e.g. relating to small arms)

- In Asia: How best to confront identity-based conflicts (e.g. Chittagong, Mindanao); how to identify common conflict and peace trends across different cultures in Asia.

- In South East Europe: How best to engage in post conflict peacebuilding.

- In Western Europe and South Africa: How to confront the cultural influences of racism and the Aryan ideology; the challenge of creating safe school environments; how to address the social tensions caused by immigration.

- In Brazil, North America and the Middle East: How to address Police-community relationships and halt police violence.

- In the Middle East: How to create and foster ongoing dialogue.

It was suggested that a rich inter-regional exchange could be developed with several measures:

- Partners exchanging interns between their staff on a short-term basis. Long-term intern exchanges could also be seconded to the WCC in Geneva to help administer the Peace to the City network.

- A list of available speakers within the network could be compiled and kept up to date, including the speakers' areas of expertise.

- An attempt to link the efforts in Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka was felt to be a possibly beneficial collaboration.

- Partners could co-ordinate to identify which partner agencies they worked with in common and use this beneficially.

3.5 Communication/ Networking

- Participation of Network Partners in the DOV events and launches. It was seen as crucial that Peace to the City have a visible and significant contribution at those events.

- A music CD collecting the local songs of peace from each region in the Peace to the City network could be produced and used throughout the Decade to Overcome Violence.

- The Network should function as a platform for collaboration, through the maintenance and expansion of the web based resources for communication, publicity and information.

- The structure of the Peace to the City website could be grouped around the Seven Point Peace Plan and regions, not just structured by individual cities.

- A chat room with moderator could be facilitated through the web site from time to time. It was also suggested that the website could serve as a forum for the exchange of Bible studies based on peacebuilding which partners could use in their churches. There should be a continuing flow of information from the partners to each other and to the WCC, to be accomplished via the internet site.

- Although the exchange of stories by network partners involved a lot of administrative effort on the part of partners and the WCC, it was also noted that those stories were of benefit to the partners in exchanging ideas and identifying techniques which helped to shift patterns of violence.

- The model of the Echoes magazine should be used for development of a Peace to the City publication. This magazine has a wide circulation, reaching people who are not connected to the internet. The magazine could refer back to the website.

- There is a need for different forms of communication for different contexts. It was noted that the DOV newsletter could have a page devoted to initiatives by Peace to the City partners, which would increase knowledge of their activities and allow for an exchange of information.

- There was a concern with how to promote the Peace to the City in Africa. Towards what purpose was the Peace to the City leaflet and publicity produced, and how could it be used?

- Potential funding partners could be invited to Peace to the City conferences. This would create valuable opportunities to meet funding partners face to face, with the visible support of the WCC.

- It was noted that much work needs to be done towards attracting youth towards peace building projects, and to educate young people in peace building.

3.6 Resources

It was suggested that each partner could consider "seconding" one of their staff to the WCC Peacebuilding and Disarmament Programme each year, which would increase the links between partner cities and the WCC administration, and meet the need for staffing support in Geneva. Costs would have to be covered by the WCC. Similarly, partners could consider creating exchanges of personnel between themselves, and increase the level of mutual collaboration through this means.

A steering committee of the existing partners could possibly act on behalf of the Peace to the City network as it expands, to assist in decision making.

The question was raised as to how resources would be allocated between major and minor campaigns of the Peace to the City Network.

3.7 Priorities for 2001

1. The expansion of the network to include new partners.

2. Linking to the DPV processes in the regions.

3. The following priorities for action were agreed upon:

  • Partners to update their web pages as soon as possible
  • New web pages to be created in some cases (Freetown, Suva, Boston, Colombo)
  • November 13-17, 2000 - Training Workshop for the Peace to the City Network regarding Urban Violence - Boston USA
  • Mailing of Peace to the City materials in multiple languages
  • National and regional DOV launches

4.0 Next Meeting

The Network partners suggested that the fall of 2001 network meeting take place in Bethlehem in conjunction with a training session on ethnic violence and exposure visit.

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