The foregoing material might be likened to the hardware of an Alternative Global Security System. It dealt with the actual hardware of war and the institutions that support it and institutional reforms necessary to manage conflict without large-scale interstate or civil violence. The following material is the necessary software to run it. It addresses what Thomas Merton called the “climate of thought” that allows politicians and everyone else to prepare for and carry out massive violence.
Put in the simplest possible terms, a peace culture is a culture that promotes peaceable diversity. Such a culture includes lifeways, patterns of belief, values, behavior, and accompanying institutional arrangements that promote mutual caring and well-being as well as an equality that includes appreciation of difference, stewardship, and equitable sharing of the resources. . . . It offers mutual security for humankind in all its diversity through a profound sense of species identity as well as kinship with the living earth. There is no need for violence.
Elise Boulding (Founding figure of Peace and Conflict Studies)
A culture of peace is contrasted with a warrior culture, also known as a dominator society, where warrior gods instruct the people to create hierarchies of rank so that men dominate other men, men dominate women, there is constant competition and frequent physical violence and nature is seen as something to be conquered. In a warrior culture, safety is only for those individuals or nations that are at the top, if they can stay there. No society is completely one or the other, but in today’s world the tilt is toward the warrior societies, making necessary the growth of a culture of peace if humanity is to survive. Societies that socialize their children for aggressive behavior make wars more likely, and in a vicious circle, wars socialize people for aggression.
Every relationship of domination, of exploitation, of oppression is by definition violent, whether or not the violence is expressed by drastic means. In such a relationship, dominator and dominated alike are reduced to things – the former dehumanized by an excess of power, the latter by a lack of it. And things cannot love.
Paulo Freire (Educator)
A culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behaviour and ways of life based on:
(a) Respect for life, ending of violence and promotion and practice of nonviolence through education, dialogue and cooperation;
(b) Full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law;
(c) Full respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;
(d) Commitment to peaceful settlement of conflicts;
(e) Efforts to meet the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations;
(f) Respect for and promotion of the right to development;
(g) Respect for and promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men;
(h) Respect for and promotion of the right of everyone to freedom of expression, opinion and information;
(i) Adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, cultural diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among nations; fostered by an enabling
The General Assembly identified eight action areas:
2. Promoting sustainable economic and social development.
3. Promoting respect for all human rights.
4. Ensuring equality between women and men.
5. Fostering democratic participation.
6. Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity.
7. Supporting participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge.
8. Promoting international peace and security.
The Global Movement for the Culture of Peace is a partnership of groups from civil society that have banded together to promote a culture of peace. Part of the work is to tell a new story.
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How has this led you to think differently about alternatives to war?
What would you add, or change, or question about this?
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See other posts related to “Creating a Culture of Peace”:
* “Telling a New Story”
* “The Unprecedented Peace Revolution of Modern Times”
* “Debunking Old Myths about War”
* “Planetary Citizenship: One People, One Planet, One Peace”
* “Spreading and Funding Peace Education and Peace Research”
* “Cultivating Peace Journalism”
* “Encouraging the Work of Peaceful Religious Initiatives”
1. The valuable ideals of the United Nations and its Culture of Peace initiative need to be acknowledged despite the UN’s organizational imperfection outlined earlier. (return to main article)