Tag: <span>Armed Conflicts</span>

Uprooted Appeals

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders are considered refugees, and are relatively protected by the refugee conventions signed by most states. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and its 1967 protocol give the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees an international legal basis to ensure the protection of refugees.

Banner of UN High Commissioner for Refugees – Geneva – Switzerland. By Adam Jones, Ph.D., CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

However, those who are displaced within a country, as is the case currently for many in the Gaza Strip and in Ukraine, are not protected by the international refugee conventions.

Thus, displacement within a State poses a challenge to develop international norms, and ways to address the consequences of displacement, and the possibility to reintegrate their homes, though in the case of Gaza many of the homes have been destroyed.

Warsaw Central Station during Ukrainian refugee crisis in March 2022. By Kamil Czaiński, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

A need to provide protection and assistance to the uprooted.

Armed conflicts within States often reflect a crisis of identity within the State. This can occur when a State becomes monopolized by a dominant group to the exclusion or marginalization of other groups. There is a need to provide protection and assistance to the uprooted.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been able to act in some cases as has been true also for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which is mandated to protect civilians in war zones. The obligation to assist populations in immediate danger of starvation is largely recognized, and the UN World Food Program has been able to act. In some cases, nongovernmental humanitarian agencies have been able to be active.

However, each situation requires new negotiations and results differ.

United Nations World Food Programme Logo. By United Nations World Food Program, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The strategies to address mass displacement need to be broad and comprehensive.

Thus, what is essential is that there be predictable responses in situations of internal displacement and that attention be paid not only to material assistance but also to the human rights of those displaced. To be effective, strategies to address mass displacement need to be broad and comprehensive.

There is a need for political initiatives that seek to resolve the conflicts as the consequences often involve neighboring countries. Efforts must engage local groups, national institutions, and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) to prevent situations that lead to persons being uprooted. As the representatives of NGOs, we have an opportunity to discuss with other NGOs the most appropriate next steps for action.

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

Featured Image: Picture by Rosy / Bad Homburg / Germany en Pixabay
Peace Planners Appeals

 Peace Planners: Awake!.

Featured Image: Photo by  Eddie Kopp,  Unsplash.

The recent NATO Summit in Vilnius is an indication that the war planning community is busy at work in the spirit of Von Clausewitz that war is a continuation of politics by other means.  Thus there is a need for the peace planning community to be awake and be equally busy.  The challenges which humanity faces today: armed violence, persistent poverty, mass migration, and the consequences of climate change, require strong collective action at the local, the national, and the world level.

Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831). By Karl Wilhelm Wach, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.   

For peace planners, we need to analyse current armed conflicts and the strong tensions which may lead to violence.  Sometimes these tensions start as small localized events, such as tensions between military forces on the India-China frontier, but such tensions contain the seeds for later armed violence.  The recent trip of the 100 year old Henry Kissinger across the Pacific to discuss with the Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu is an indication that tensions in the Indo-Pacific area are being taken seriously.

Chinese Minister of National Defence, General Li Shangfu in Singapore at the Shangri La Dialogue on Sunday, 4th June 2023. By Photographer: Danial Hakim, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

NGOs bring their early warning capacities and problem-solving.

    For peace planners, there is a need to stregthen measures for early intervention.  Too often intervention by the United Nations or other intergovernmental agencies such as the African Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe occurs only once the conflict has become a serious dispute involving violence.

    For those of us who are outside of governmental institutions, there is a need to strengthen the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGO) for peace planning.  NGOs on bring their early warning capacities and problem-solving knowleadge to the United Nations and regional intergovernmental organizations.  Among NGOs, exchanges of information, the creation of regional or thematic working groups, and co-ordinated information campaigns are vital needs. 

Henry Kissinger at the 2009 premiere of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Photographer’s blog post about event and photograph. By David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Adlai Stevenson.

As soon as well-researched material is available, the issue is to get the information to the right people, at the right time, and in the right wording.  Timeliness and clarity of message are crucial.  Many governmental decision-makers receive thick reports, jargon-laden faxes, and briefing notes.

    The challenge for us who plan for a more peaceful world is to help develop processes for dialogue.  As Adlai Stevenson said at the U.N.

“We do not hold the vision of a world without conflict.  We do hold the vision of a world without war – and this inevitably requires an alternative system for dealing with conflict.”

Adlai Stevenson, Democratic candidate for president. Note: Contrast slightly increased from original image (see below) (1956). [1], Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.   

René Wadlow, President, The Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12
Russia-Ukraine War Appeals

Alternatives to War: Renewal and Impact.

Featured Image: Ukrainian T-72AV with a white cross during the 2022 Ukrainian Kharkiv counteroffensive. By Mil.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

One year into the Russia-Ukraine War, one has a “been there, done that” feeling.  To settle arguments by war is not a new idea.  There can be modifications in time.  The armed conflicts in Syria have been going on for 12 years.  There can be modifications in the number of players. It is said that there are 120 armed groups in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  However, the nature of war remains the same: to kill as many as possible so that one side wins the argument.

The Russia-Ukraine War has led to increasing the methods of war-making in many countries such as the U.S.A., Germany and France.  There have been increases in military spending, in the possibility of making munitions, and in military strategy.  It is most likely that other countries will follow suit.

Syria: The Start of a Long Night of Sorrow.

Able to establish a ceasefire.

Along with the practice of war, there has been a long tradition of seeking alternatives to war as a way of settling disagreements.  Thus, today, related to the Russia-Ukraine War, we have the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  However these two governmental organizations have not been able to establish a ceasefire, much less to open negotiations.  As in other armed conflicts, there have been proposals to organize negotiations made by one country, most recently by China.

There had been earlier France-Germany efforts as well as proposals by individual leaders of countries such as Turkey, Israel, and Mexico.  Such proposals are useful in creating an atmosphere that might lead to negotiations, but none have been acted on for the moment.

United Nations

Picture: MONUSCO Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, Weak but Necessary.

Red Cross Conventions.

There is also a tradition from the early 1900s of non-governmental proposals of alternatives to war.  The first put into practice were the Red Cross Conventions.  If war cannot be avoided, its consequences can be made less deadly by protecting civilians, by helping wounded soldiers, by improving the conditions of prisoners of war.  There have been many violations of international humanitarian law in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but no state has questioned the validity of the Red Cross Conventions.

There have also been calls for peace on the part of religious organizations such as the pleas of Pope Francis, echoing Christian ethics and efforts of Vatican diplomacy in the settlement of other armed conflicts.  Other religious leaders have made similar pleas, but no other religious movement has the diplomatic infrastructure of the Vatican.

Pope Francis

Picture: 2014 Pastoral Visit of Pope Francis to Korea Closing Mass for Asian Youth Day. By Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (Photographer name), CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The peace movement.

In many countries, there are non-governmental organizations devoted to peace and working for alternatives to war – generally called “the peace movement.”  There have been in the past some impressive mobilizations, such as those in many countries on the eve of the U.S. attack on Iraq in 2003 or in New York at the time of the U.N. General Assembly devoted to disarmament.

While peace groups have been concerned with the Russia-Ukraine war, there has not been a unified policy as to the conditions necessary for ending the war.  Some have proposed a new European-wide security system with an end to NATO and a strengthened OSCE.  However, the influence of peace organizations on governmental policy-making is negligible.

Democratic Republic of Congo

 Image: Movement militiamen M23 and Type 85 heavy machine gun. By Al Jazeera English, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Increasing Tensions and Danger of Violence.

“The Global South” and “Future Studies”.

There is alongside the peace movement but separate in function, the peace research institutions, often linked to universities. Transcend Media Service-TMS is a reflection of this peace research.  There are a number of academic peace research institutions, often with their own publications.   There have been in the past efforts to link together institutions and individuals working on peace research, development research on what is now called “the Global South” and “Future Studies”.  I have not seen these associations’ policy proposals on the Russia-Ukraine War, but I have probably missed many things.

Many have pointed to the Russia-Ukraine War as a turning point–the first war in Europe since the Second World War (if one sets aside the conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia).  Such a turning point requires an examination of our activities, their strengths and weaknesses.  For those of us working on alternatives to war, it is imperative that we renew our efforts and find ways to increase our impact. Present governments cannot be trusted to deal with conflicts nonviolently or build peace by peaceful means. These became Civil Society’s tasks. Like war, peace is too important to be left to the generals.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12

International Humanitarian Law Appeals

Stronger Respect for International Humanitarian Law Needed: NGO Action…

Featured Image: Foto de Pavel Danilyuk: https://www.pexels.com/es-es/foto/estatuilla-burocracia-ley-firma-8112193/

The carnage in the Ukraine conflict and the continued actions by ethnic militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo has highlighted the fact that the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are not bedside reading for many people, even those engaged in war.  There are too many warlords whose only claim to the charisma of leadership is the ruthlessness with which they wield the gun.

Geneva Convention.

Since the adoption of the first Geneva Convention in 1864, international humanitarian law has evolved in stages resulting from the evolution of methods of warfare and the changing nature of armed conflicts.  Since the adoption of the four Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims in 1949, the nature of armed conflicts has changed considerably, especially by the increased number of armed conflicts within a State.  It is currently estimated that there are 120 ethnic militias active in the eastern area of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  There are many cases  in the country  of cruel and degrading treatment of persons, enforced disappearances and arbitrary executions.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Image: Movement militiamen M23 and Type 85 heavy machine gun. By Al Jazeera English, CC BY-SA 2.0 &lt;https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Increasing Tensions and Danger of Violence.

Men were killed and women divided among the victors.

I had participated in an International Committee of the Red Cross study group during the Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970). The aim of the study group was to see if there were traditional African values and practices which could be relied upon for better treatment of war prisoners and civilians.  There were no such practices. Traditionally, men were killed and women divided among the victors.  The only exceptions were conflicts within a clan. In chronic conflicts, there were techniques of symbolic or material restitution and ceremonies of reconciliation. Thus our study group had recommended the need for clear universal standards which can be applied in all cultures and in all types of conflicts.

Soldiers have a tendency to shoot first and read later.

Nevertheless, there have always been problems of the application of international humanitarian law.  Soldiers have a tendency to shoot first and read later.  Many people do not know that international humanitarian law exists and that they are bound by its norms.  Thus, there is a need for greater dissemination  of information through education and training to create a climate conducive to the observation of internationally recognized norms.  Such educational and training activities can be usefully undertaken by non-governmental organizations – an urgent need.

International Humanitarian Law

 Image: Ukrainian diaspora in Brussels protests the Russian invasion, Processed with VSCO with acg preset. By Bartosz Brzezinski from Chicago, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Upholding International Humanitarian Law in Times of Armed Conflict: A World Citizen Appeal.

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12

Transformation of Education Appeals

Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education.

Featured Image: Image by Ian Ingalula from Pixabay.

The United Nations is preparing a Transforming Education Summit; to be held in New York on 19 September;  during the General Assembly. A preliminary Summit is being held at UNESCO in Paris 28-30 June.  This is an opportunity for peacebuilding efforts to provide information and suggestions; especially for a major theme of the Summit; “Learning and Skills for Life, Work, and Sustainable Development.” As the preparatory text for the Summit states:

“Transforming education means empowering learners with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be resilient, adaptable and prepared for the uncertain future while contributing to human and planetary well-being and sustainable development.”   

However; the uncertain future holds out some clear challenges: armed conflicts, human rights violations, persistent poverty, mass migrations, and the consequences of climate change.

The goal of a world community living in peace; where human relations are based on nonviolent relationships is central to the transformation of education.  We work to develop an atmosphere of cooperation and solidarity; where discussions of all points of view are possible.  We must, however, be realistic in what such a summit on the transformation of education can bring in terms of long-range change.

I had participated in the UNESCO-led World Congress on Disarmament Education in Paris; June 1980.  Today; there are no visible disarmament negotiations.  There is a growth in military spending; despite many calls saying that the money would be better used for development and welfare.  There is in many parts of the world a growth of militarization–a process whereby military values; ideology and patterns of behaviour achieve a dominant influence over political, economic and foreign affairs.

Nevertheless; there is a value in presenting the goals and techniques of peacebuilding in the Transforming Education Summit; especially that UNESCO already has an Education for Global Citizenship program; which includes elements of education for human rights and the culture of peace efforts.

Education for Global Citizenship aims to develop a sense of belonging to a common humanity and being able to contribute to global peace, sustainable development and the creation of a harmonious world society.  As the Preamble to UNESCO’s Constitution states: 

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

In light of the armed conflicts in many parts of the world; there is a need to focus on specific ways to ensure education for children in areas of armed conflict and in post-conflict situations; including effective measures to deal with the traumas caused by the armed conflict. Post-conflict education must help to develop new attitudes and values; especially toward those who were considered enemies during the armed conflict.

There is much that peacebuilding concepts and techniques can contribute to Transformation of Education. We need to see how best to provide ideas into this Summit process.

René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12

Donetsk and Luhansk Appeals

Vital Autonomy for the People’s Republic of Donetsk and…

Featured Image: Return of released citizens to the territory controlled by Ukraine, December 29, 2019. By President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

There are many dimensions to the current tensions on the Ukraine-Donbas-Russia frontiers, both geopolitical and domestic considerations.  There are long historic and strategic aspects to the current crisis.  Security crises are deeply influenced both by a sense of history and by current perceptions.  There have been bilateral discussions between U.S. and Russian authorities, between Russian and French leaders, between Russian and Chinese  leaders, between the Ukrainian leader and a number of others and multilateral discussions within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), within NATO, at the U.N. Security Council, and within the European Union.  For the moment, there has been no de-escalation of tensions nor a lowering  of troop levels.

Currently, there is only one permanent structure for multilateral negotiations on the Ukraine tensions – the “Normandy Format” which brings together the representatives of Ukraine and Russia, France and Germany primarily to negotiate on the status of the separatist People’s Republics.

Ukraine

The famous Independence Square in Kiev on a sunny day. Photo by Euan Cameron on Unsplash.

You might be interested in reading: Ukraine-Donbas-Russia: Can the Normandy Format Be Reactivated?.

Special Status.

The Minsk II Agreement of 12 February 2015 agreed that the areas covered by the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics would not be separated from Ukraine but would be given a “Special Status” set out in a new Ukrainian Constitution.  However, beyond some rather vague discussion on decentralization, the nature of the Special Status has not been agreed upon, and no Ukrainian government administrative measures have been put into place.

In the period since 2015, the socio-economic situation in the two People’s Republics has gotten worse.  Many people have left either for Ukraine or Russia.  There are constant violations of the ceasefire agreements which are monitored by observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  Thus it its 15 December 2021 report the OSCE monitors noted that between 10-12 December, there were 444 ceasefire violations in the Donetsk region and 104 in the Luhansk region. However, the freedom of movement of the OSCE observers is restricted.  The number of violations, usually exchanges of small arms fire, is probably higher.

The Association of World Citizens.

Solving the Donbas aspect of the conflict on the basis of  a real and vital autonomy and trans-frontier cooperation should be a top priority for action. The Association of World Citizens has always stressed the importance of developing appropriate forms of government as a crucial aspect of the resolution of armed conflicts.  The Association has particularly highlighted the possiblities of con-federalism and the need for trans-frontier cooperation. The Association was involved at the start of the Abkhazia-Georgia conflict in August 1992 and the  first efforts at negotiations carried out in Geneva with representatives from Abkhazia who were in Geneva and officials from the United Nations and the  International Committee of the Red Cross.  Thus we know how a cycle of action-reaction can deepen a conflict and how difficult it is to re-establish structures of government once separation has been established.

The need to  progress on the structure of Ukraine stands out sharply at this time when there are real possibilities of escalatory risks.  There is a need for confidence-building measures reaching out to different layers of society in a cumulative process.  Advances on the Special Status would be an important step in the de-escalation of tensions.   As long as the two People’s Republics are kept weak, they will be dependent on support from Russia.  It is when they are economically and socially strong that they can have useful trans-frontier relations both with Russia and the rest of Ukraine. Discussions on the Special Status must be carried out by those living in Ukraine. 

However, government representatives as well as non-governmental organizations in Russia, Germany, and France can also contribute actively.  The new German Foreign Minister, the ecologist Annalena Baerbach, coming from a federalist-structured State with many local initiatives possible, may bring new visions to these discussions which are increasingly under way.

Annalena Baerbock

The new German Foreign Minister, the ecologist Annalena Baerbock.  By Stefan Kaminski (photography), Annalena Baerbock (full rights of use), CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12

Quincy Wright Rapprochement of Cultures.

Quincy Wright: A World Citizen’s Approach to International Relations

Featured Image: Quincy Wright, Professor of International Law at the University of Chicago, from the 1940 MacMurray College Yearbook, where he was one of the speakers on “The Essential Elements of a Durable Peace” at the MacMurray Institute. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Contemporary movements that stressed the need for world citizenship started on the eve of World War II when the spirit of aggressive nationalism was at its height in the policies of Germany, Italy and Japan.  There was a need to develop balance by stressing the unity of humanity and the interdependence of the world.  These concepts of world citizenship were articulated by a leading professor of international law, Quincy Wright (1890-1970) of the University of Chicago who felt that States must shape their domestic laws and foreign policies in such a way as to be compatible with the tenets of international law.

A Study of War

Quincy Wright spent most of his teaching life at the University of Chicago.  He was active in debates among international relations specialists on the place of law – and thus of universal norms – in the conduct of States.  In 1942 he published his massive  A Study of War  which combined a philosophical-legal approach with a more statistical-quantitative one.  He was very concerned with the quality of university teaching on war and peace.  His 1955 The Study of International Relations remains an outstanding multi-disciplinary approach to the study of world politics. (1)

World Citizens Association

         He served as a bridge between professors of international relations and the growing ranks of peace researchers and the world citizens movement.  Quincy Wright was a leader of a first World Citizens Association founded in 1939 serving as its Secretary with Anita McCormick Blaine as Chairman. (2)

         Unfortunately, the strength of the nationalist tide was too great, and a balance by stressing world unity could not be created in time. The Second World War broke out in Europe shortly after the creation of the World Citizens Association. Japanese nationalism had already brought violence to China, but too few people reacted. Japanese nationalism continued in an unbalanced way, leading to the attack on the US base at Pearl Harbor, which  provoked U.S. entry into the war.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A small boat rescues a seaman from the 31,800 ton USS West Virginia burning in the foreground. Smoke rolling out amidships shows where the most extensive damage occurred. Note the two men in the superstructure. The USS Tennessee is inboard (7 December 1941). By Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the modern world, the security and prosperity of all individuals and all groups are closely bound together.  The preservation of civilization depends upon the ability of national states and diverse peoples to live together happily and successfully in this rapidly shrinking world.  Since all individuals today suffer or benefit by conditions the World over, every man has interests and responsibilities as a world citizen.”

Second World War and The Cold War.

         Even though the Allies won the Second World War, the start of the Cold War presented many of the same issues as had been present in 1939.  In his 1949 address as President of the American Political Science Association, Wright posted a dark picture.

While inventions in the fields of communications and transport and interdependence in commerce and security make for one world, the actual sentiments of people have been moving toward more exclusive loyalty to their nations,  more insistence that their governments exercise totalitarian control over law, defense, economy, and even opinion.  Materially the world community steadily becomes more integrated, but morally each nation gains in solidarity and the split in the world community becomes wider.  Under these conditions, people await with a blind fatalism the approach of war.  Disaster seems as inevitable as in a Greek tragedy.”

Montage of Cold War pictures. By 麩, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

What have world citizens to propose?

   Wright sets out three steps which remain the framework for world citizen action today.  As a first step, world citizens must provide a process of systematic observation: what new political conflicts are likely to develop?  What methods are likely to be used? What goals are likely to be striven for?  In short, what is the nature of current tensions, struggles and conflicts?

System of world law

         The second essential step is to provide proposals for negotiated resolutions to these struggles and conflicts within the framework of a system of world law.

  What arrangements will assure that world politics operates with reasonable respect for human personality, for civilization, for justice, for welfare – all values which most men will recognize?  How do we work so that the political struggles going on in the world will utilize only methods consistent with human dignity and human progress?  World citizens are willing to take one step at a time anticipating that if one step in the right direction is taken, it will be easier to win sufficient consent for the next steps.”

Education for World Citizenship

         Thus today, the Association of World Citizens which builds on the earlier efforts of the World Citizens Association has made proposals for mediation, conciliation, and confidence-building measures for armed conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma) and the Ukraine-Russia conflicts.

Education for Global Citizenship.

The third step which Wright proposed was longer term but essential: education for world citizenship.  If men must be world citizens as well as national citizens, what picture of the world can command some of their loyalties however diverse their cultures, economies and government? 

The primary function of education – developing in the individual attitudes appropriate to the values of the society in which he is to live – and, in progressive societies of adapting those values to changing conditions – all citizens need to feel themselves citizens of the world.”

         Thus, through education, a widespread sentiment of world citizenship must be developed.  Thus,  the Association of World Citizens works in cooperation with UNESCO’s major program “Education for Global Citizenship.”

         Today,
the Association of World Citizens is proud to build on the steps outlined by
Quincy Wright.  We face the challenges of
our time as he faced the challenges of his time.

 Notes:

1) See Quincy Wright. The Study of International
Relations
(New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1955)

    See also
Quincy Wright. The World Community (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1949)

2) For biographies of Anita Blaine, see! Gilbert A.
Harrison. A Timeless Affair. The Life of Anita McCormick Blaine (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1979) and

Jacqueline Castledine. Cold War Progressives.
Women’s Interracial Organizing for Peace and Freedom
(Urbana: University of
Illinois Press, 2012)

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12

1 2 21

nuclear weapon Appeals

Steps Toward Security in the Middle East.

Featured Image: Photo by Ilja Nedilko on Unsplash.

“The struggle against the nuclear weapon cult and threats it poses to international peace, security and development, like all struggles against belief systems which have outlived their times, is going to be long and arduous”   

K. Subrahmanyal. Nuclear Proliferation and Internationsal Securtiy.

 
    The U.N. Conference on the Establishlent of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction took place at the U.N. in New York, 29 November to 3 December 2021.
The Conference is open-ended – that is open to those States that wish to attend – with a mandate provided by General Assembly Resolution A/73/546 to continue meeting annually:
 

“until the confernce concludes the elaboration of a legally binding treaty establishing a Middle East Zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”

The first session was held 18-22 November 2019.

K. Subrahmanyam
 K. Subrahmanyam (2010). By MarcEduard, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
The process will not be easy in an area where armed conflicts exist and are undermining stablity. There are very real concerns concerning nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Regional conflicts could unleash a nuclear war through escalation of a conventional war, miscalculation or delibeate pre-emptive attack. This is the second time that the conference is held.  The 22 countries of the Arab League and Iran participated as did the U.K. and Russia.  Israel and the U.S.A. did not.  While the difficulties are real, the Conference provides opportunities for governments of the region to share perspectives, consider proposals and look at the institutional requirements to establish such a zone.
 
    While non-governmental organization representatives cannot participate as such in the Conference, a nuclear-weapon free zone is of vital interest to those organizations working on arms control, disarmament, and regional conflict resolution.
 
The Arab League
Emblem of the League of Arab States (2008). By Jeff Dahl, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
   
The idea of a Middle East nuclear-free zone was first put forth by a non-governmental organization, the Israeli Committee of the Denuclearization of the Middle East in April 1962.  Non-governmental organizations, often working closely with the United Nations disarmament secretariat, have played a role in the creation of regional nuclear-weapon free zones starting with the Treaty of the Tlatelolco for Latin America, after the dangers highlighted by the Cuban Missile Crisis.
 
As the “father” of the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco the Mexican Ambassador Alfonso Garcia Robles explained the concept of nuclear-weapon free zones as a step toward global disarmament:
 

“We should attempt to achieve a gradual broadening of the zones of the world from which  nuclear weapons are prohibited to a point where the territories of Powers which possess these terrible tools of mass destruction will become something like contaminated islets subjected to quarantine.”

Alfonso Garcia Robles
Alfonso Garcia Robles (1981). By Marcel Antonisse, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
    Non-governmental organizations have proposed that the following States be included in the Middle East process: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, the Palistinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen.  In looking at the list of potential members, we see that a nuclear-weapon free zone is not the only issue on the political agenda.  We also see that the possibilities of action for non-governmental organizations to work on security issues is not the same in each country.  There is deep mistrust and rivalries among many of these States.
 
    Thus, it is probably necessary for non-governmental organizations outside of the area to organize what are called Track II initiatives – a non-official way to discuss regional security issues and to provide policy advice to governments.  A first step is to identify opportunities,  areas of mutual interest, and then to make recommendations where progress can be made and where governmental diplomatic efforts could be made.  Civil society organizations can also reach out to youth in the Middle East who are interested in creating positive changes with in the region.
 
    A first opportunity to present proposals to government representatives will be the Review Conference on the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT Review) to be held at the U.N. in New York during this January 2022. Nuclear-weapon free zones as well as the needed confidence-building measures have provided an important focus of earlier NPT Reviews. 
 
The Association of World Citizens has stressed the importance of Nuclear-weapon Free Zones at earlier NPT Reviews and will do so again for the January 2022 Review.
 
 
  Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12

Education of World Citizenships.

A Day of Deeper Peace.

Featured Image: Photo by Artem Podrez in Pexels.

21 September is the U.N. sponsored International Day of Peace chosen to mark the annual start of the U.N. General Assembly.  The General Assembly touches upon all the armed conflicts and tension areas. It can highlight the peace missions of the U.N. peacekeeper troops at work in different parts of the world.  Often, there are informal talks behind the scenes among the representatives of States in conflict. 

However, there is little or no avenue for talks with non-State armed groups such as ISIS.  Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have no direct standing with the General Assembly.  Consultative status is granted by the Economic and Social Council.  However, NGO representatives are active in the hallways and coffee bars during the General Assembly, and government representatives become aware of their suggestions.

Louise Diamond.

However, a deeper approach to peace building is necessary, and the Day of Peace is a moment when these deeper approaches can be expressed. Thus, the Association of World Citizens has stressed the peacebuilding approach of Louise Diamond.

Louise Diamond, a co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, DC, works in areas of inter-ethnic conflict to empower peacebuilders.

Our power to empower is perhaps the most important role we can play in the 21st century. The more individuals who feel empowered to work in their own systems for peace and conflict transformation, the closer the world comes to that critical mass that will allow for a massive leap of consciousness, allowing new processes for peace that were previously unimaginable to become normative and easy.” She stresses that the Spirit of Peace is a living process, encoded in our hearts, embodied in our words, expressed through our thoughts and empowered through our choices. Peace “is the everyday practical matter of how we can live together harmoniously, dealing creatively and effectively with the inevitable differences, hurts and fears that arise in human relationships… On a larger scale, peace is a political goal of nations and peoples; on a smaller scale, inner peace is a personal goal for those of us who are trying to live more consciously within this frenzied world.” (1)

The world can seem   frenzied  as:

a new cycle is beginning, one that stems from the recognition of the fact that we are one. Favoring a relational, intuitional, opportunity-oriented way of thinking and a community, inter-connective, partnership approach to social relations, this new way of being is built on our emerging understanding of universal truths: matter is energy with meaning and motion. Life is not static; it is flow. We are not broken, we are whole. If we oppress others, we oppress ourselves…Even as the old systems disintegrate and fade away; pioneers among us are creating new ways of living and working together that honor the truth of our oneness. I happen to believe that peacebuilding is at the forefront of this wave, and that its pioneers are and will be among the greatest champions of a new era.”

 

Louise Diamond’s views will be familiar to those who deal with individual therapy .As she writes:

I found that whether I was working with individuals, couples, families or organizations, the work was inevitably about the issues of power and healing. In short, people were struggling to find peace and balance within themselves and to live and work harmoniously with each other.”

Her road map for action is based on four principles based on faith and common sense but that are also the lessons learned from experiences – her own and that of other peacebuilders whose views she shares.

These lessons have to do with our basic unity and wholeness, our interdependence, the power of love for reconciliation, and our ability through conscious thought and action, to shape the world we live in.”

Hers is n inquiry into the practical implications of these spiritual lessons.

Day of Peace

 

How do we heal ancient wounds and restore justice?. How do we ensure healthy communities?

Peace can be envisaged as having three basic aspects – the water, ice, steam analogy. The most fundamental aspect – the water stage – we could call “metaphysical” and has to do with peace as order, harmony, and unity. Then there is the “serenity” aspect, often an inner peace, which is expressed as calm, tranquillity, equanimity. This calm, however, is also a source of energy, a will to action. “For me, peace is literally a powerhouse of strength. I experience peace as a specific vibration of a dynamic state of being, which, like a song, radiates from my heart and soul.” The third aspect is that of “relationship – agreement, accord, rapport. The Spirit of Peace reminds us that these three aspects are really one.

Peace as harmony, order, tranquillity is very close to the Taoist image of the Tao. As in Taoism, there are many avenues to tap into this flow of peace: music, poetry, dance, communing with nature, making love, deep relaxation, prayer and meditation.

When we tap into that energy, we have access to vision, intuition, creativity, synergy, and the power of miracles – resources of mind, body, and spirit far beyond our day-to-day awareness. When we rest there, we are at home; we have found peace. The Spirit of Peace arises from this place. Our work, when confronted with our small-minded sense of separation, our lack of harmony, our experience of conflict, is to center home. (By ‘centering home’, I mean touching the Source within myself.)” 

By touching the Source, we awaken to what we need to carry us to new levels of thought and action.

Louise Diamond deals with the shifts in vision and attitudes necessary for the Spirit of Peace to fill our lives. There are, of course, other aspects of building a peaceful society. There are often needs to build new political and economic institutions and to formulate new policies. Yet attitude change, at a deep level, is essential. Many, I believe, will find Louise Diamond’s book both very clear and profound.

Note:

(1) Louise Diamond. The Courage for Peace (Berkley, CA: Conart Press, 2000).

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

1 2 21