Tag: <span>Track II</span>

Protecting Cultural Heritage. Appeals

Protecting Cultural Heritage in Time of War.

Featured Image: World Heritage flag, Stortorget, Karlskrona. By Henrik Sendelbach, CC BY-SA 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

War and armed violence are highly destructive of the lives of persons, but also of works of art and elements of cultural heritage. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the destructive power of war in a dramatic way. Thus, this May 18, “International Museum Day”, we outline some of the ways in which UNESCO is working to protect the cultural heritage in Ukraine in time of war.

International Museum Day.

May 18 has been designated by UNESCO as the International Day of Museums to highlight the role that museums play in preserving beauty, culture, and history. Museums come in all sizes and are often related to institutions of learning and libraries. Increasingly, churches and centers of worship have taken on the character of museums as people visit them for their artistic value, even they do not share the faith of those who built them.

Knowledge and understanding of a people’s past can help current inhabitants to develop and sustain identity and to appreciate the value of their own culture and heritage. This knowledge and understanding enriches their lives. It enables them to manage contemporary problems more successfully.

Graphic identity for International Museum Day 2020. By Justine Navarro, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

It is widely believed in Ukraine that one of the chief aims of the Russian armed intervention is to eliminate all traces of a separate Ukrainian culture, to highlight a common Russian motherland. In order to do this, there is a deliberate destruction of cultural heritage and a looting of museums, churches, and libraries in areas when under Russian military control. Museums, libraries, and churches elsewhere in Ukraine have been targeted by Russian artillery attacks.

After the Second World War, UNESCO had developed international conventions on the protection of cultural and educational bodies in times of conflict. The most important of these is the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The Hague Convention has been signed by a large number of States including the USSR to which both the Russian Federation and Ukraine are bound.

UNESCO has designed a Blue Shield as a symbol of a protected site. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, has brought a number of these Blue Shields herself to Ukraine to highlight UNESCO’s vital efforts.

Audrey Azoulay, Director General, UNESCO at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London (2019).Foreign and Commonwealth Office, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Roerich Peace Pact.

The 1954 Hague Convention builds on the efforts of the Roerich Peace Pact signed on April 15, 1935 by 21 States in a Pan-American Union ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. In addition to the Latin American States of the Pan American Union, the following States also signed: Kingdom of Albania, Kingdom of Belgium, Republic of China, Republic of Czechoslovakia, Republic of Greece, Irish Free State, Empire of Japan, Republic of Lithuania, Kingdom of Persia, Republic of Poland, Republic of Portugal, Republic of Spain, Confederation of Switzerland, Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

At the signing, Henry A. Wallace, then U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and later Vice-President, said:

“At no time has such an ideal been more needed. It is high time for the idealists who make the reality of tomorrow, to rally around such a symbol of international cultural unity. It is time that we appeal to that appreciation of beauty, science, education which runs across all national boundaries to strengthen all that we hold dear in our particular governments and customs. Its acceptance signifies the approach of a time when those who truly love their own nation will appreciate in addition the unique contributions of other nations and also do reverence to that common spiritual enterprise which draws together in one fellowship all artists, scientists, educators and truly religious of whatever faith. Thus we build a world civilization which places that which is fine in humanity above that which is low, sordid and mean, that which is hateful and grabbing.”

We still have efforts to make so that what is fine in humanity is above what is hateful and grabbing. However, the road signs set out the direction clearly.

Globally-used UNESCO World Heritage logo. By UNESCO; Designer: Michel Olyff.Uploaded by Siyuwj, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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

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The Uprooted.

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Nuclear Weapons Appeals

Dark Clouds and Little Light at the Nuclear-Weapon Non-Proliferation…

Featured Image Photo by  Egor MyznikUnsplash.

After late night negotiations; the every-five-year Review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; (The NPT Review) failed to reach a consensus on a final statement this past Friday.  The terms of the Review require a consensus and not a majority-minority vote.  This is not the first time that a NPT Review has failed to reach a consensus on a final documen; but the failure is an indication of strong tensions among nuclear-weapon states – in particular over the Russian Federation armed conflict in Ukraine.

151 States participated in the Review held at the United Nations in New York; however the Review is not a U.N. conference, thus the consensus rules of procedure.  There were 160 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accredited to participate in the Review.  I had chaired the NGO representatives at the first Review in 1975 held in Geneva, and also chaired the NGOs at the 1980 Review.  We were fewer then.  However getting consensus among NGOs is nearly as difficult as among States.  The impact of NGOs depends to a large part on preparation before the Review and follows up after.

The Treaty was negotiated in Geneva during a 10-year period with frequent consultations between the negotiators and the Foreign Ministries.  Many negotiators of non-nuclear-weapon States considered the treaty as uneven or unfair, giving a superior position to the five official nuclear-weapon States: China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.A. In “compensation” there is a crucial Article VI in which the nuclear-weapon States agree:

“to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” 

NGOs have cited Article VI at each Review deploring the lack of progress toward nuclear disarmament or any other type of disarmament.

Dark clouds hung over this Review with the statements of the Russian authorities on 24 February and again on 27 April threatening that nuclear weapons might be used if its forces in Ukraine were menaced.  As a reply, the States party to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons issued a 23 June consensus statement stating that:

“any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations” and condemned “unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit and irrespective of the circumstances.”

It is certain that the shadows of nuclear weapons exist in the thinking of some governments. The State of Palestine participated in the Review but not the State of Israel.  The Republic of Korea was there but not North Korea.  There is a need to deal both with regional tensions such as those of the Middle East or the two Koreas as well as the nuclear-weapon stockpile of the U.S.A. and the Russian Federation.  There are some possibilities of “Track II” – informal diplomacy – concerning the Middle East and the Koreas.  However there is less concerning U.S. and Russian nuclear policy where NGOs have made proposals for as long as I can remember but with little visible impact.  Yet the challenge is there.  The coming together of such a large number of NGO representatives may help build a platform for NGO consensus and action.

Korean Peace

Korean Peace Memorial By John Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. 

Korean Peace Treaty Awaits: NGO Efforts Needed.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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John McDonald Book Reviews

The Shifting Grounds of Conflict and Peacebuilding: Stories and…

Featured Image: This symbolically represents an holistic approach to peacebuilding. By Consensusafp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

John W. McDonald with Noa Zanolli.

The Shifting Grounds of Conflict and Peacebuilding: Stories and Lessons.

(Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008, 341pp.)

This book is an increasingly used form of oral history collection — sometimes transformed into a book;  sometimes kept as oral archives usually in university libraries.  John McDonald, US diplomat, UN administrator, and Track II diplomacy pioneer is interviewed by Noa Zanolli;  on the different stages of his life and what lessons can be drawn;  especially for Track II-citizen diplomacy efforts. 

Track I is official government-to-government diplomacy among instructed representatives of the State. Track II is a non-official effort,  usually by a non-governmental organization (NGO), such as the Association of World Citizens,  academic institutions;  sometimes business corporations directed either to other NGOs or directly with government representatives. 

John W. McDonald

John Walter McDonald, Chief Judge, District Court of Southern Alberta in 1944. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Track II Efforts.

In this review, I will stress the lessons for Track II efforts. However, as McDonald points out, it is his experience as a Track I Foreign Service officer,  that gave him the skills for effective Track II efforts. McDonald quotes a little verse of the Quaker economist and peace worker Kenneth Boulding:

When Track One will not do,

We have to travel on Track Two.

But for results to be abiding,

The Tracks must meet upon some siding.”

McDonald had a rare career for a US Foreign Service officer in that nearly all his work was related to multilateral settings, dealing  with numerous countries at once, rather than the bi-lateral US to one foreign country at a time;  which is the usual career pattern This was followed by being Deputy Director,  the UN’s International Labour Organization in Geneva from 1974 until 1978.

The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD).

The State Department has mandatory retirement at the age of sixty-five.  Thus,  when McDonald retired from the State Department;  he had a good deal of experience;  and contacts to start in the relatively new field of Track II diplomacy. 

He founded along with Dr Louise Diamond, a psychologist;  the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) to present Track II approaches;  and to carry out some projects either individually;  or in cooperation with other NGOs involved in conflict resolution work.

We Live in a World Society, and Violence and Suffering Anywhere is of Concern to Us.

There seems to me to be four areas:  where the skills of Track I and Track II overlap. We will look first at the four common skills,  which John McDonald mentions through his experience,  and then at two specific Track II issues. Those involved in diplomacy require the same skills; but for Track II, they have to be even finer with more skilful means. 

Governments are used to dealing with governments. No one will ask the Ambassador of a country “What is it that you do?” or “Why are you interested in this issue?” — two questions which are nearly always asked of NGO representatives.

Therefore, NGO representatives have to have a ready answer justifying a universal concern.

“We live in a world society, and violence and suffering anywhere is of concern to us.” 

The reply has to be short and not very philosophical as one does not want to get involved in a discussion of ethics but to move on quickly to the issues involved.

Analysis and listening: 

As John McDonald points out repeatedly;  listening is a real skill: to hear what the other is saying;  both the words and the intensity of the emotions behind the words.  Too often, we do not really listen. We are waiting for the chance to present our own position.

We need to be able to record the essence of what we hear without taking notes or using a recorder;  but rather to write up the conversation shortly afterwards. As McDonald stresses: 

“Success in diplomacy is about people, about spending time with people and building trust relationships.”

Analysis is an ongoing process. Additional contacts, changes in the situation, the actions of other actors — all can modify the original analysis. Thus,  there needs to be ways of presenting modified insights to all those involved in the negotiations.

Communication: written and oral.

The ability to communicate clearly;  briefly and with policy options outlined at the end of a text is at the heart of all forms of diplomacy. This is particularly true of multilateral diplomacy;  where a resolution accepted by consensus is probably the only action to be taken in the short run. 

The ability to choose the right words,  and to avoid those words that prevent agreement is a crucial skill. Drafting UN resolutions is a particular skill,  as words have to have similar meaning in all the official languages. UN resolutions have to be prepared well in advance.

John McDonald gives a good picture of the 18 month sequence;  in which US State Department positions are developed for UN conferences.  Thus for NGOs, there is a need to know where governments are in their preparation cycle. Ideas presented too late in the cycle are simply ignored;  while the same idea presented earlier might be seriously considered.

As John McDonald notes: 

“The timing must be right for an initiator of new ideas, and programs to meet with success. The institution has to be ready for new ideas, even though it does not realize this at the time.  Initiators must also master the bureaucracy they have to deal with.”

Cultural sensitivity and understanding.

In a world in which an increasingly large number of countries as well as NGO representatives want to be involved in decision-making, sensitivity to cultural styles, values, sense of time and proper behaviour is crucial. As McDonald notes:

“The only thing that works is people-to-people, consensus building. Sitting down, face-to-face and talking about the problem — that’s what I keep trying to do.”

Closely linked to the ability to listen, to cultural sensitivity and to communicate clearly are other inter-personal negotiation skills.  Among the most basic is the practice of keeping in contact with people known earlier. McDonald gives examples of telephone calls to people with whom he had worked 20 years earlier who provided insights and information on issues with which he was then  dealing. The idea of “trust” — that people one knows will not deliberately mislead you — remains crucial.

Specific Track II Issues.

There are two issues with which government officials do not have to deal with as directly as do NGOs. The first is the selection of persons to be involved in negotiations and the second issue is fund-raising.

Balanced Delegations.

Normally, the State Department and the Foreign Ministries of other countries have professional diplomats to carry out negotiations. For NGOs involved in Track II;  and where often the individual participant must cover his own costs, the situation is more delicate. 

In some cases, the NGO can prepare a Tract II effort long in advance, cover the costs of participants;  and thus choose “balanced delegations”— men/women, background, interests. Often, today, Track II is related to immediate conflict situations with relatively little time to raise funds and select participants.  Thus, there needs to be a “pool” of people with experience, skills and availability to move fast when the need or the opportunity is there. 


A theme which runs through all the descriptions of the activities of the Institute of Multi-Track Diplomacy is the difficulty of fund-raising — an issue common to many NGOs.  There are a good number of requests for help from people in conflict situations and opportunities for creative action.

However, the funds are not there for follow up. As McDonald notes “If IMTD had an endowment, I could focus more intensely and continuously on our work, rather than on researching for funding. What this fund-raising headache has taught me is patience.

It’s hard to raise money for peace in the United States. I also had to persevere.” The IMTD has had the chance of having a small number of individuals;  who have been very generous, but there are also problems of being overly dependent on a small number of people.

Fund-raising is also a necessary skill but one that not all possess. There is a need for Track II efforts to develop cooperation with universities having conflict resolution courses, with other NGOs working in the field and with governments — nearly a full time job.  McDonald’s account of his efforts provides useful insights into Track II approaches — a field that is likely to grow.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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

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China-India Frontier Appeals

Can Track II Efforts Reduce China-India Frontier Tensions?

Featured Image: Nathu La Pass is Indo Chine Border and one of the three open trading border of India and China. Photograph has been taken during my visit to Nathu La Pass , Sikkim. By Indrajit Das, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

By René Wadlow.

In a June 24; 2020 message to the Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Mr. Vladimir Novov, the Association of World Citizens (AWC); expressed its active concern with the June 15;  death of Indian and Chinese military in the Galwan River Valley in Ladakh on the India-China frontier; and the possibility that the tensions will increase.

While there have been brief discussions among Indian and Chinese authorities to prevent escalation; there have been no real negotiations. Negotiation is a basic political decision-making process to facilitate compromise without loss of essential objectives.


The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said on June 25 that since early May;  the Chinese have been amassing a large contingent of troops and arms along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Also, within India;  there has been a good deal of media attention; highly critical of China; given to the events.

In addition; there have been calls for a boycott of Chinese goods; and some Chinese products have been removed from Indian shops. Both Indian and Chinese spokespersons have made references to the 1962;  war during which some 2,000 persons were killed.

The AWC believes that there is a need for prompt measures as the India-China tensions;  add to existing tensions between the USA and China; as well as boundary issues with Asian States in the South China Sea.

China-India Frontier
India China Border, Nathula, Sikkim. By Madhumita Das, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Track II.

There may be a role for “Track II” nongovernmental efforts and exchanges. Track I is official government to government diplomacy among instructed representative of States; usually diplomats from the Foreign Ministry. However; governments have a range of officials on whom to call: intelligence agencies, the military; and “friends of the President” – trusted individuals within the executive entourage.


Track II efforts are organized through nongovernmental organizations; and sometimes by academic institutions. Such efforts can entail informal; behind the scene communications that take place in the absence of formal communication channels. The term “Track II” was coined by the U. S. diplomat Joseph Montville in The Arrow and the Olive Branch: A Case for Track II Diplomacy.

Track II efforts have grown as there is increasing recognition that there is a tragic disjunction between the United Nations tension-reduction mandate;  and its ability to intervene in conflicts when called upon. As Adam Curle; experienced in Quaker mediation efforts has written: 

“In general governments achieve their results because they have power to influence events, including the ability to reward or to punish. Paradoxically, the strength of civilian peacemakers resides specifically in their lack of power. They are neither feared nor courted for what they can do. Instead, they are trusted and so may sometimes be enabled to play a part in peacemaking denied to most official diplomats.”

Those involved in Track II efforts must, nevertheless, have ready access to governmental decision-makers and Track I diplomats. As the World Citizen and Quaker economist Kenneth Boulding in a little verse writes:

“When Track One will not do,
We have to travel on Track Two
But for results to be abiding,
The Tracks must meet upon some siding”.



In the China-India frontier tensions;  both sides must be convinced that there is a considerable sentiment for peace among their own supporters. In this conflict;  which could slip into greater violence;  there is an understandable tendency to look for short term answers. Yet there is also a need for some involved in Track II efforts to have an over-all integrated perspective for both short as well as long-term transformation. Thus, there needs to be a “pool” of people with experience, skills and the ability to move fast when the need or the opportunity is there?

We are sure that there are groups in India and China which can rise to meet this challenge.

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

China-India Frontier

nathula peak,gangtok,sikkim, by Vinay.vaars, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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…

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