CCOPP Stakeholder Network Design
Create an Identity
Develop a Primary Stakeholder Organization
Develop a Community of Communities
Create a Stakeholder Web
Organization and Network Design Principles
Community of Peace / Community of Violence
Governance and Administration
Top Down / Bottom Up
Ownership of Ideas
Ownership of Assets
What is Peace?
Network Design and CCOPP Goals
When the United Nations drafted the UN Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace[i], it set in motion an initiative with strategic goals. First, it sought to help non-governmental organizations and individuals to understand that there is a culture of peace and a culture of violence. Second, by raising awareness about the nature of these two cultures, and by describing how they are different, the UN hoped to facilitate the “starving [of] the culture of war of the nutrients it needs”. The UN programme provides a conceptual framework. It does not detail how a culture of peace might be developed.
The Canadian Culture of Peace Program (CCOPP) is developing
a program to implement the United Nations initiative in
Peace is not only a concept or a goal, it is a process. As a cultural program, CCOPP necessarily engages communities and institutions in a way that promotes peace. Engagement in peace initiatives requires a balance between institutions and communities in order to give the CCOPP legitimacy and currency. This balance should be reflected in CCOPP activities and in its design.
This design document is offered to build on the foundational principles that the UN determined and to prepare for a CCOPP operations / marketing document that describes how the CCOPP programme is to be operated and promoted. The CCOPP is starting with a national mandate and modest means; the culture of violence is established and pervasive. Much of this document may seem beyond the range of CCOPP ability at present, but without a document that contemplates a greater vision, expectations stay small and opportunities are missed. The CCOPP can hold no less a mission than to change the culture of violence into a culture of peace.
This document attempts to answer several key questions necessary for building a culture of peace. Why is an organization peaceful or violent? How should peace organizations organize themselves? How should peace organizations relate to each other? What kind of expertise should the CCOPP develop? In the following operations / marketing document the following questions will be asked. What opportunities should the CCOPP pursue? How will the CCOPP grow? How will the CCOPP measure its success?
The steps used to develop this design will be:
From “Values, Attitudes and Behaviors: Culture of War to Culture of Peace”, there are eight foundational principles on which to build a culture of peace. They are listed in Table 1.
CULTURE OF WAR AND VIOLENCE
MANIFESTO 2000 / CPNN Peacekeys
Belief in power that is based
Education for a Culture of
Developing attitudes and
skills for living together (content of share with others)
Having an enemy
Tolerance, solidarity and
Rediscover solidarity and
Listen to understand
Participate in democracy
Secrecy and propaganda
Free flow of information
Listen to understand
Exploitation of people
Respect all life
Exploitation of nature
Share with others, Preserve
Equality of women
Work for women's equality
In order to translate these principles into a suitable design, more principles must be added:
The CCOPP intends to promote a culture of peace throughout
The CCOPP also intends to cooperate with international
organizations that promote a culture of peace.
Therefore the design of the network must be adaptable to work with other
types of organizations with other mandates outside of
If the CCOPP is flexible enough to support local interests, it must also hold a coherent national identity so local interests can hold a larger perspective. If the CCOPP is successful, the phrase, “the Canadian vision of peace is” will be accepted as the CCOPP perspective. Understanding the Canadian perspective and how it is reached, will be of primary importance at the marketing stage of CCOPP development.
If the CCOPP is to explain the value of organizations that promote a culture of peace, it must be an exemplar of the values that it promotes[ii]. As a primary stakeholder organization, CCOPP must be self-aware. In addition to being an organization that promotes a culture of peace, it must know how and why it promotes a culture of peace.
This requires that CCOPP must have a memory and knowledge of itself that is understood by it members, and is explainable to other organizations and individuals. It must act from principles and it must constantly test these principles for their validity and usefulness.
Peace education is applied theory. Therefore CCOPP peace education must follow two simultaneous streams in its delivery of peace education. The relationship between CCOPP and universities enables a rigor that is needed to discern the values and methods of peace from the chaos of daily life. At the same time, peace education must be relevant and current to be effective. Delivering peace education in communities through a practicum approach keeps peace education connected to real problems. This dual approach ensures that both knowledge and method are balanced in the delivery of peace education.
Authority means something entirely different in a culture of violence and in a culture of peace. When CCOPP is fully actualized, it will speak with confidence on peace issues because these issues will be tried and tested. At the same time, CCOPP must hold a welcoming interest in new knowledge and methods. The engagement with others in the investigation of peace is, in itself, a process of peace.
There are already resources available that translate the original UN concepts, like the free flow of information, into strategic and tactical knowledge[iii]. To be an exemplar for the culture of peace, the CCOPP will need to translate this knowledge into ideas and actions that transform communities. The translation of knowledge into experience will be one of the main currencies that the CCOPP accrues as it grows. CCOPP ‘authority’ is what is recognized by CCOPP members as the value of the knowledge and experience that has accrued.
There is substantial evidence that for a community to be dynamically responsive, it must be diverse.[iv] This sets a requirement for CCOPP that it must understand how a community is the same and different at the same time. This kind of knowledge is valuable for all organizations that try to balance coherence and currency. CCOPP will need to manage its relationships with other organizations and it will need to monitor and measure these relationships.
If the delivery of the methods of peace is bound to local interests and if these interests are necessarily diverse, then local groups will form into organizations that are distinct. The resulting task for CCOPP will be to unite distinct groups. This implies that the core body of CCOPP must do different work than locally connected bodies. As a result, locally connected bodies are not only different in content from each other because of local interests, the CCOPP core body will be a different type of organization from locally connected bodies.
This difference of type may create a polarization between the levels of activity unless specific steps are taken to counteract the tendency. A community of communities creates a special set of opportunities and problems that will be addressed in the network section of this document.
Many organizations of differing types and sizes are already working to study peace and to adopt peaceful methods. Each of these organizations has a mandate that is independent of CCOPP. Regardless of the activity or success of these independent groups, there is a role for CCOPP to play in facilitating a community approach to peace.
Independent organizations may want to do more in support of peace activities but are constrained by budget or human resource requirements. They may want an independent review of the peace activities that they are currently incorporating. They may want to review other approaches to peace activities. They may be looking for a deeper understanding of systemic problems that prevent peaceful conduct.
Regardless of the motivation, CCOPP can play a role as community support for organizations seeking to develop a culture of peace. In offering this support, CCOPP can act as a knowledge base or a referral service to specific expertise in peace education.
Many peace specialists have come to recognize that a way to become preeminent in some area of peace is to do something that is not currently being done. When CCOPP acts as an exemplar of peace, its creative resources will recognize opportunities that need development. Developing a means to bring creative opportunities to fruition is a way for CCOPP to act as a leader in the culture of peace. These new opportunities will need planning and prioritization.
A network exists through communication. Fortunately new tools have become available that permit extensive distributed communication at a low cost. Additionally, new methods of meeting naturally facilitate peaceful engagement. When communications technologies and meeting methods are brought together, a potent means for developing a culture of peace is made available. As mentioned earlier (see footnotes 1 and 2), these technologies can be married to organizational and communications sciences so the CCOPP will not only be able to grow a culture of peace, but it will know why it is growing.
Meetings and communications not only permit the dissemination of knowledge, they permit the engagement of interested parties. The process of peace can be intimate and personal as well as informative. It can also be transformative. As much as an organization can be understood, it can be enjoyed.
A culture of peace supports artistic, social, and recreational means to peaceful ends. These means may not directly fall within the scope of a stakeholder network design, but they will fall within the scope a culture of peace.
At present, CCOPP is active in self-discovery and in governance. As it matures, CCOPP will need to develop and retain expertise in peace leadership. This will not be done through organizing documents or communications tools, but through able, dedicated people. The CCOPP program will develop high levels of expertise in specific areas. Knowing the location and degree of expertise that is developed, whether inside CCOPP or in related organizations, will be crucial for maintaining CCOPP preeminence as a learning organization.
If the CCOPP is a distributed organization, then the information that the CCOPP uses will also be distributed. Managing this information will require particular expertise, especially if some of the information is proprietary.
A culture of peace fosters inclusion and transparency. If the CCOPP has relationships with organizations that depend on the private use of information, then agreements must be completed to properly respect privacy while respecting the public nature of the CCOPP. Knowledge of the legal aspect of the public domain will be necessary to guide CCOPP.
CCOPP information may include news, educational information, or administrative information. Each of these streams will require specialized management. Some of this management may be “contracted out” to specialized groups that share CCOPP goals.
Peace activities may be as local as a meeting at a coffee shop or as global as a UN initiative. Tracking these activities in a way that invites participation will not only develop interest in CCOPP, it will require that CCOPP stays current with community interests.
Peace activities that are locally motivated and administered will test the extent that CCOPP can form relationships. It is therefore useful to track the nature of these relationships because they will form the building blocks for more involved relationships. CCOPP can form an identity that has appeal to local groups, but it will be necessary to identify on which basis local activities can be supported by CCOPP. Ultimately, the CCOPP must decide upon the membership of its organization, and in how the network is used. The size and type of representation within the network will determine the coherency and credibility of the national identity. Including a list of organizations that are recognized by CCOPPCore is the most effective way to legitimize membership and ensure that member organizations have signed on to the principles that support a culture of peace.
The following summary outlines the determinants of a stakeholder organization and a stakeholder network. The discussion that follows the summary offers a justification for the statements outlined in the summary.
The first step in creating a culture of peace is to determine how we make decisions, where we derive our motivation, and under what authority do we act. If we know that authoritarian governance and domination do not work then we must look elsewhere to find a source of authority that does work. Our role is to listen to understand and to develop tolerance, so we must listen to the whole community for our source of ideas.
Unfortunately, this whole community includes three groups: people who promote a culture of violence, people who promote a culture of peace, and people who do not know the difference between the two. At the same time we are open to all voices, we must test the message from these voices and decide whether or not it promotes a culture of peace.
Who will test the messages from the community? Our first task is to create a representative body that reflects the diversity of the community. This body represents the stakeholders in the community.
The Hockey Strike
To those Canadians who love hockey, this is a time of frustration. Part of the frustration is to watch wealthy players and wealthier owners argue about how to divide the money that fans spend watching “their game”. Players believe that they should be free to attract the maximum income without restriction while the owners want to bind player income to overall income. What both sides do not acknowledge is that there are other groups with a stake in the agreement that should rightly be represented in the negotiations.
In addition to players and owners there are stadium attendants, hockey equipment sellers, trainers, commentators, tourism operators, journalists, junior hockey teams, governments who collect taxes, and fans and businesses affected by the strike. How does it make sense that only two groups will decide the outcome of the negotiation and the rest of the groups will be left to attract what is left?
A culture of violence relies on division and exclusion (having an enemy). To counteract this culture requires two things: a seat at the table to investigate the issues, and real power to make decisions based on the informed consent that arises from the investigation. Only then will self-interested parties account for all of the actual interests that bear on a decision and only then will stakeholders be responsible for the decisions that are made. Because a representative body made up of stakeholders would have final authority to make decisions on behalf of its community, I will call it the governing body. Because a representative body relies on the trust of the stakeholder community, it could be called a board of trustees.
A culture of peace requires groups to develop attitudes and skills for living together. If the governing body is to promote a culture of peace, it must be the example of these attitudes and skills. It must therefore be cooperative and consultative to investigate what these attitudes and skills are, and how to use them. This requires a free flow of information. It must also be transparent to promote inclusion and responsibility. If a governing body is to respect the different perspectives of the stakeholders and it is required to reach decisions in order to govern, then decision-making must be done through consensus. This means that the goal of stakeholders is to own the decision rather than to be ruled by it.
Consensus can mean:
general or widespread agreement among all the members of a group, or
a concept of society in which the absence of conflict is seen as the
equilibrium state of society.[v]
Generally, it is
better to build unanimous consensus to ensure the highest possible level of good
will. Unfortunately unanimity (100% agreement) invites blockage and
destroys good will. Good will, in itself, is commonly recognized, but it
is difficult to quantify. Definition 1 appeals to unanimity, definition 2
appeals to the development of good will. The best method to maximize
goodwill is to specify a percentage of agreement that requires effort but does
not permit blockage.
If consensus making should not require unanimous approval (to prevent intentional blockage), it should also require more than the tyranny of the majority over the minority. In constitutional documents, which are necessarily cooperative, it is common to expect a 75 percent majority for decisions to be formalized. This would be a reasonable guideline for governing bodies in a culture of peace to achieve. This places a higher burden for discussion and understanding within the governing body, a critical component of the exercise of peace governance.
One concern that is common to cooperative groups is, “How does anything get done?” Getting things done requires a different body than governance; it requires administration. Administration can be as hierarchical as is required to achieve the goals that are set, but the goals are set by governance. Peace organizations understand that there is a balance to be struck between the power to direct that activities be done and the responsibility to ensure that power is not abused.
It is normal that there is a concentration of power at the top of the administrative pyramid. The rebalancing of this power requires two steps. The first step is that administration reports to and takes direction from the governing body. The second step is for the governing body to take an active interest in all aspects of administration.
Example: The Enron Debacle
Before its collapse, Enron was
the largest trader in energy futures in the world and it was
This example demonstrates that administration must be completely transparent about its operations because administration does not have the expertise or interest to ensure that its actions represent all stakeholders’ interests. If organizational privacy is required, it can be determined when all of the stakeholders understand its requirement. This sets the appropriate standard for secrecy.
It will be natural for administrators to argue that they can’t get anything done if they are constantly reporting to a group of governing stakeholders. In fairness to the Californians that relied on Enron, until businesses operate with sufficient ethical standards for this degree of oversight to be unnecessary, organization administrators need to report in detail about everything that affects the community interest.
It is not necessary that governance be involved in all details of administration, only that governance has this right. Governance and administration may agree on an appropriate level of reporting, but it is a governance decision to make. As long as a culture of violence penetrates the administration of business, the onus must be on governance and administration to prove that information ought not to be transparent to the public.
One way to ensure that communities, governing bodies, and administrators actually understand their duties to each other is to regularly circulate membership between the three groups. Governance requires great wisdom but less effort. Administration requires initiative and effort and a willingness to take direction from governance. Being in the community requires no organizational effort but those in the community are in the best position to understand the effects of governance and administration. If membership in the three groups is not circulated, a polarization occurs where governors lose sight of the effect of their decisions and administrators become bureaucratic in their thinking.
Good governors, by
their nature, are good leaders. This
blessing may also be a curse. Good
leaders may have to defer their instinct to lead in order to support a
collective interest. Governors that
do not have leadership responsibilities do not have this problem and are in a
position to guide a governor who has a conflicting interest in leadership.
A balance of leaders and non-leaders on the governing body reminds
governors that their ultimate responsibility is to represent people who are not
at the table. The people who are
most likely to forget this are leaders, by activity or by habit.
Governors have a
primary responsibility to represent their stakeholder community.
A governor may also be asked to lead an ongoing mission or a specialized
requires “wearing a hat” as a representative and as a leader.
Anyone wearing more than one hat faces potential conflicts of interest.
It is the duty of a governor who wears more than one hat to declare the
interest that he or she is speaking from, and it is up to governance to decide
how best to deal with these conflicts.
Governance and administration must also recognize the scope of the community that they represent.
Example: Gay Marriage
There is currently much argument about whether gay marriages should be permitted. As much as the argument is active, it is based on confusion. The confusion can be resolved easily if the two main agitators (“the church” and the “government”) declared their communities of interest. Government could say, “we are the sole deciders, through legislation, for the community that is bound to the national constitution. The constitution requires legislation to respect equal rights so we are bound to provide the same services to all couples. Many people consider marriage to be a sacrament. This concept is outside of our domain of interest.”
Churches could say, “our members look to us to offer sacraments to them. We are the sole deciders, within our membership, of what the relevance and use of these sacraments might be. Given that there are many different churches who hold differing beliefs about the nature of marriage, we have nothing to offer the general population about beliefs in marriage.”
The fact that neither government
nor the church holds these perspectives is because of their desire to speak for
others (the church) or to speak about issues that do not concern them (the
government). A community of peace
recognizes the scope of its authority and promotes its wishes for others to make
their own decisions. A community
that promotes a culture of peace recognizes itself as a community within a
larger community. A culture of peace
recognizes the distinction between “I
think we should” and “ I think you should”.
If the legitimacy of administration and governance is solely derived from the interests of the community, then there is nothing to tie communities together other than the similarity of their experience. If a culture of peace is a community of communities then communication between communities is essential in maintaining a larger identity. It may be that small communities may unite by agreement to perform common tasks. The governance and administration of the combined community would derive its legitimacy from the local communities, just as the local governance and administration do.
From ecoscience we know that the greater the degree of diversity there is, the greater the degree of health of the ecosystem that occurs. From this concept, local communities should become as different as their own health and the health of the community of communities permits. This means that governance and administration should be placed as locally as possible. Local governance fosters experimentation which leads to innovation and development. When local communities experiment and communicate transparently with each other, the entire ecosystem becomes as adaptive as possible to new circumstances.
Wal-Mart and the New Light Bulb
Suppose that a local community decided to promote the use of energy efficient light bulbs to reduce its energy consumption. The community could facilitate the use of these light bulbs by making them artificially cheaper than regular bulbs. The average price of light bulbs could be held the same so there was no net burden to the sellers of light bulbs. In a “bottom up” system, the local governors would discuss the idea with the local hardware store owner and present the idea. The governors could ask the owner to restructure his pricing model for light bulbs and could offer incentives for him to do so.
If a similar local governing body approached a Wal-Mart
store to have the same discussion, the solution becomes much more difficult to
realize. Wal-Mart pricing is
established centrally using a massive, central inventory management / profit
maximization system. Even if the
local Wal-Mart manager were to forward the pricing change request to Head
Office, in Bentonville
Two problems are highlighted through this example. First, there is a structural difficulty in creating change because problems are referred to remote authorities who do not understand local conditions. Second, there is no incentive for remote authorities to make local changes because to do so would create an environment that would make central administration more difficult.
Top down decision structures create uniform local communities which are environmentally weak. Notice that the local governors might have asked the Wal-Mart manager to ban miniskirts, or some other initiative. Local governance does not ensure greater wisdom, only greater accountability to the local community. If local governance makes a poor decision, its effects are known sooner and the decision can be more easily corrected. Correcting mistakes easily improves the ability of communities to respond to changing conditions. Local communities that can easily correct mistakes are more willing to try new approaches to problem solving.
If local communities are more adaptable and it is easier for governance to represent the interests of local stakeholders, then it is fair to ask why large, centrally authoritarian organizations hold such a de facto advantage over the local alternative. The example of Wal-Mart is also instructive in this regard. Consumers may hold a sense of community interest, but their desire for “low low prices” drives local merchants out in most cases. There are several reasons why this is so.
First, there is a matter of accounting. Because the relationship between business and government does not permit independent, objective accounting, it is difficult to assess the amount that large corporations are subsidized by government. The subsidies that are received by business are not openly accounted for by business in their pricing policies. This means that the actual cost of products is higher than what is presented by the business as the sale price, and the extra costs are paid by customers indirectly through their taxes.
Second, it is part of the nature of business to externalize its costs. That is, businesses convince other stakeholders to bear part of their cost of doing business. An example is the cost of packaging. Packaging improves the ability of business to sell its products but once the packaging is used, it becomes a cost of disposal to the customer. The customer does not make an informed choice about packaging; this transfer of cost is done without stakeholder involvement.
Third, there is a clear economic advantage to the economies of scale. Products that are mass produced are cheaper per unit than low volume products. Currently, though, these costs are masked by exchange rates between countries, trade agreements that set duties, costs of health and safety that are different between countries, and the cost of the free flow of capital. The argument for the economy of scale is tempered by cross border issues, and cross border issues are beyond the control of local stakeholders.
Finally, and most importantly, regardless of the explanations that big business and government gives for the economic value of centralized control, businesses do not charge prices according to what a product costs, they charge what the customer is willing to pay. Therefore business arguments about the benefit of cost minimization are really about their own profit maximization, since these savings are not passed on to the customer, This also leads business to limit competition in order to maintain prices that are actually higher than what free competition would permit. This is ironic given that business uses competition as part of their justification to perpetuate the culture of violence.
It may seem strange to insert a conversation about
economics into a design document for organizations that promote peace.
The reason for this is simple. An
economist can measure the average price difference between the local hardware
store and the Wal-Mart as a way of determining the artificial advantage that
large, centralized corporations hold over their local alternatives.
This gap is real and it drives consumers from one store to the other.
The CCOPP is building a stakeholder organization and a stakeholder
network in order to create a culture of peace in
If a culture of violence is based on division and exclusion and a culture of peace accepts each other’s differences, what is the force that binds people together? The idea of a social force has been well investigated since the time of Durkheim[vi] and Weber[vii] and Freud[viii]. In a culture of violence, fear drives people to a place of common protection[ix]. In a culture of peace, identity[x] allows us to recognize our common interests while we accept each other’s differences. Solidarity[xi] is the act of standing together, but positively through purpose rather than negatively through fear. Elevating purpose and exposing fear will be important motivating influences in the design of the stakeholder network.
Identifying the positive value of peace is only the seed for this motivation. Ultimately, each individual translates this motivation into purposes that are significant to them personally. Motivation is local. It will be the task of the marketing document to translate a motivation for peace into motivations that translate into specific commitments.
Peaceful Means’, “Transcend Bulletin”
Disagreement Dispute Campaign
Litigation Fight or War
Influence can occur through both peaceful and violent means. If peace is a process, then it will be up to individuals and organizations to choose peaceful methods when influencing others. Persuasion, as a method of peace, is on a continuum between discussion and violent conflict. Table 2 shows that persuasion is not as conducive to a culture of peace as is discussion. It is tempting for advocates of peace to use more forceful methods, like persuasion, because they believe that peace is an imperative. Table 2 shows that, if means are as important as ends in the pursuit of peace, then knowing how to use influence is as important as organizational or network design in building a culture of peace.
‘Profit’[xii], including dividends, executive compensation, unfunded liability, and stock options have become highly charged issues in the pursuit of peace. Yet there may be no clearer way to understand the division between the culture of violence and the culture of peace than through these issues. Understanding profit, and its relationship to a healthy organization, may be a way to return governance and administration to the community that they were meant to serve.
All forms of profit can remove resources from an organization. Therefore, all profits can weaken an organization. At the same time, profits compensate ownership and profits compensate employees. Who holds sufficient objectivity to balance these interests? As mentioned earlier, the culture of violence divides and excludes while the culture of peace unites and includes. This recognition leads to two solutions for the correct assignment of profit.
Within an organization, all stakeholders have legitimate rights and governors and administrators have a duty to recognize those rights. If all stakeholders decide, through consensus, how profits are to be dispersed, then the responsibility for the health of the organization is at least owned by the community that it serves.
Governors can also be leaders who may not wait to see what their community of interest actually wants. Organizations can act in community and can become diverse, in their desire to serve local interests. Then organizations can experiment to see what level of profit promotes the greatest health of the organization. The independence and transparency required to assure that these experiments are valid, sets a high bar for ethical conduct. This high bar only ensures that governors and administrators act in the public interest.
The degree that profit is a dirty word is the degree that profit is misused. Understanding profit and its value in community exchange can restore health to organizations, to communities, and to profits.
A major challenge for organizations who seek to make fundamental changes in a culture is to embrace the desire for change without letting it translate into chaotic actions within the organizations. Many organizations begin with positive intentions but become “highjacked” by members who do not accept the patience or effort required to exact the change. A peace organization has a special opportunity to master this challenge because peace is not only a goal, it is a process.
Moderation can mean tepid or it can mean a process of making something less extreme. Peace can exist externally as justice or internally as virtue. If a peace organization is one that uses peaceful processes, then it creates the ability to resolve differences peacefully. Peace in this context does not mean taming; it means offering all perspectives a seat at the table and translating external judgments about justice into internal transformative processes.
The attitudes and actions of an agent of peace are mirrored internally and externally. A stakeholder organization, in representing all stakeholders of a community of interest, develops expertise in employing these processes and in recognizing their results.
Members of peace organizations develop their own internal peace processes by trusting these results. This trust does not mean submission to the collective interest, it means respecting the value of the collective interest.
One way that cultures of violence exclude and divide is through the ownership of ideas. While there is legitimate value in holding a proprietary interest in information, cultures of peace intentionally draw benefit from the public ownership of ideas. If a diverse culture of communities experiments with methods of successful exchange, that benefit will reach its maximum expression if it is shared throughout the culture. A culture of peace, therefore, has a clear understanding of the public domain and how it is to be used.
CCOPP will use a variety of tools to create a culture of peace. Communication tools, meeting tools, and publicity tools all play a role in CCOPP development, and developing expertise in the use of these tools will be essential for optimizing CCOPP growth.
Notice the following statement from the Conversation Café web site.
“At Conversation Cafés, we
will learn together how to create a culture of conversation—which is a culture
of intelligence, peace, and political awareness. We are the media. We are the
talk shows. We are
It is apparent that communication tools of this type are highly compatible with our objectives. Integrating these tools into the CCOPP program takes advantage of the synergy and energy that already exists within the peace community
A CCOPP web site will act as a central, virtual home for CCOPP knowledge. Securing a web site should be done early. Choosing a host that supports CCOPP principles will develop a cooperative relationship that will add to our experience.
It may be that a web site, yahoo groups, conversation cafes, blogs, and open space technology are the right tools to use for CCOPP. At present, CCOPP only has anecdotal information to support their use. For CCOPP to establish a marketing program based on communication tools, an evaluation of their functions and uses is advisable.
I recently attended a birthday party to honour a bright young mathematician. As part of the celebration, he assembled fifteen of his friends at a local grocery store. One of the tasks that we were asked to perform was to pool our resources (five dollars each) to buy as many flowers as we could. After a short ride to our downtown via public transportation, we dispersed, to hand out flowers to unsuspecting souls.
My first recipient was a woman in her eighties who carried habitual sadness and fatigue in her gait. I tried to time the gift so as to put her at ease and to create a small surprise. The way she raised her shoulders and offered her thanks suggested that I was able to offer my gift in a way that didn’t trigger a fear of strangers.
My second recipient was a short Asian woman in her forties. I caught her as she was opening the door to leave a department store. Her faced beamed so brightly and her “God bless you” was so heartfelt that it caught me off guard. I took a moment to center myself before I could smile in a calm, confident way, and return her blessing, and walk away.
Building a stakeholder network to facilitate a culture of peace is much like offering flowers. We can plan what store to go to, who to invite, and where and when and to whom to offer them. Regardless of the planning, peace is the offering and the acceptance of a gift and it is different every time.
Some other perspectives on peace are:
Michael Walzer, the author of Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations might say, “Peace is the transformation of armed struggle into political struggle”.[xiii]
The Dalai Lama has said, “A person’s general goodness is in direct
correlation to the force, or quality, of the kind thoughts he or she
The Dalai Lama has said, “A person’s general goodness is in direct correlation to the force, or quality, of the kind thoughts he or she generates.”[xiv]
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes, “We can all readily agree that we need to
build social systems that are just and complex – even transcendent.”[xv]
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes, “We can all readily agree that we need to build social systems that are just and complex – even transcendent.”[xv]
Merlin Donald, author of A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness, might say that peace is an enculturated concept.[xvi]
St. Theresa of
If peace can be interpreted so broadly and in so many contexts, how do we use peace to set goals for the CCOPP?
One approach that partly develops the discussion is to use an ethical perspective. To begin, an ethicist might ask, “Is peace a state of affairs or a state of being?” The Dalai Lama’s perspective above suggests that kind thoughts are the product of a state of being. Michael Walzer’s perspective describes a transformation from one state of affairs to another. Can we say then that peace is both a state of affairs and a state of being?
A problem that arises in describing states of affairs is to describe them in a way that ensures agreement. The virtue ethicist, Philippa Foot, describes the problem[xviii]. If you were to say that peace is a good state of affairs, she might reply, “We should begin by asking why we are so sure that we understand expressions such as ‘a good state of affairs’ or a ‘good outcome’”. Words are enculturated, as Merlin suggests above, and they are interpreted individually. The word ‘good’ is so thin in meaning as to be meaningless. Peace may be a state of affairs and a state of being, but there is no basis to universalize states of affairs. Peace, as a process that facilitates states of being, is the only course in which to proceed without faltering into endless debate.
If you put ten people in a room you will likely have seven different perspectives on peace. There are five different leaders above who come from different disciplines and they all have different perspectives on peace and apply different contexts for peace. In an earlier section of this paper, we discussed the value of consensus. How do we move forward on a design that facilitates a culture of peace when it is unlikely that we can reach consensus on what peace is?
One answer to this question comes from a surprising source. A network is a collection of interacting elements and “A collection of interacting elements often has properties that depend in no crucial way on the nature of the elements themselves”[xix]. This concept is important because it suggests that a network design can achieve goals that do not depend on the consensual agreement of individuals. Peace is not only a process, it is an individual process. A stakeholder network that facilitates a process of peace does not require agreement on an aggregate goal for peace. This concept might seem counterintuitive to many, but it allows the CCOPP to become an agent in service of peace rather than an authority over the name of peace. It also means that we can focus on organizational and network designs that facilitate the pursuit of peace, rather than concerning ourselves with specific definitions for peace.
Another important concept that will affect our service to peace is the nature of chaos. In Four Hasidic Masters and Their Struggle Against Melancholy, Elie Wiesel wrote,
It is, instead, a recognition that the only hope we have for stopping a second Holocaust lies in the building of a genuine spiritual union among peoples, a union strong enough to withstand that dark attraction to chaos which so often kept humanity in the shadow of its own violence.[xx]
If I were a holocaust survivor, I would be thankful if I achieved the clarity and compassion that Elie Wiesel has achieved. I agree completely with his assessment of spiritual union. I do not agree that the enemy is chaos. In the last twenty years, the study of chaos has grown from the insights of a few to a major scientific theory[xxi]. Chaos is now understood to be a pervasive property of nature. With all respect to Elie Wiesel, blaming chaos for the Holocaust is like blaming gravity if you fall down. Chaos is an innate feature of social structures and it is an innate feature of the ecology of networks. Earlier, we recognized the challenge of using influence correctly when it can lead to both a culture of peace and a culture of violence. We are faced with the same challenge in the use of chaos.
Network theory may obviate the need to form a consensus about a definition for peace and it may be possible to embrace chaos when designing networks. The next step is to use these and other principles of network design, and to use network tools, to consider ways to meet CCOPP goals.
Most of the participants that
attended the January 2005, CCOPP meetings held in
Meetings about CCOPP issues are palpable in their energy. It is up to the design of the CCOPP stakeholder network, including the use of communication tools, to cultivate the spread of energy in predictable ways. Yahoo groups are useful in that it is easy to determine the activity and energy within the group. If all CCOPP communication tools had similar means of evaluation, and if their use can be linked to ensure the spread of energy, then the design of the network can give important information about what works in advancing a culture of peace
Starting at the most local level, it is possible to recognize a “unit of cooperative involvement”. For contrast, consider the following example. A dollar forty-nine day sale is an event with definable features. It has comparative advantage (by price), managed opportunity (the event) and social competition (buy before they run out). The social competition can lead to a form of chaos that is observable.
A meeting that fosters the building of community has similar and dissimilar features. It has comparative advantage (peace is better than violence), managed opportunity (let’s meet at the local coffee shop) and social cooperation (let’s accept each other’s differences and build something). When the dollar forty-nine day sale is successful, people buy more than they planned to for chaotic reasons, when a community meeting is successful, people give more than they planned to for chaotic reasons. The amount that is given and the good will that is generated are part of the unity of cooperative involvement.
In both cases, the unexpected result leads to new opportunities. Technically, successful cooperation leads to two outcomes. First, the emergence of an identity that is aware of the value of the effort that was expended. Second, a bifurcation (splitting) into more groups occurs as the desire to increase the opportunity and the desire to remain coherent reconciles itself. In building a culture of peace, there is an opportunity to take the energy and apply it to a larger public good. Organizations and networks can be designed exactly for this purpose.
It is possible when studying Mahatma Ghandi, to focus on
the importance of his understanding of human dignity, when considering his
effect on the Indian population. It
is also possible to consider the comparative advantage of human dignity, and
understand how this particular comparative advantage acted as an infectious
agent in the body of the
Ecological networks have properties that respond to social energy. First, networks cluster elements (people) into manageable groups that form coherent identities. Second cluster have elements that have weak links to other similar groups. The ratio of clustered elements and weak connections forms naturally and can be predicted according to the mathematics of social networks[xxii]. The combination of clusters and weak links collectively form a supernetwork than can respond dynamically and rapidly to new opportunities
Parameters are chaotic if their premise is, in and of itself, “more is better”. The chaotic parameters that can measure the success of local interaction at this stage are: the number of local organizations, the number of meetings, the number of people attending meetings, the ideas generated in the meetings, and the number of ideas that were implemented.
There are a number of communications tools that can be used separately and collectively to unite local and national efforts in a stakeholder network. The properties of these tools are listed so that an understanding of how they can work in concert will develop.
CCOPP Web Site is a front door to the CCOPP identity and community. It must be easy to understand and simple to use. A website will act both as a repository for CCOPP information and as a referral service to member and related organizations.
Weblogs are essentially a newsletter, but also much more. In the section above on community of peace / community of violence, we said that we have to listen to all voices and then decide which voices represent a culture of peace. A weblog invites all voices in a way that develops consensus or division naturally. The marriage of local identities and national open discussions adds energy to the interest in peace. However, a weblog is not sufficient. The chaos that can come from an open discussion can lead to harmful division if it is not channeled into constructive effort.
Conversation Cafes are an effective vehicle for developing local interest. They are not only a way to develop ideas and to learn the process of peace, they are a reality check on the theories of peace that are part of this design. Local people who meet to investigate peace issues are busy and tired and distracted by every other cultural impulse. If the culture of peace is to be successful, it must win the competition for interest at the local level.
Open space technology is a way to explore more complex issues and ideas than can be managed in a casual setting like a conversation café. Open space is particularly able to develop consensus and to encourage the ownership of ideas. Open space is also scalable, to a degree, to deal with larger than local groups.
Yahoo Groups are useful as a transition between meeting tools like conversation cafes and open space, and information-based tools like weblogs and websites. Yahoo groups can facilitate bounded discussions that require focused results, they can poll to investigate the measure of support, they can house stages of agreement, like discussion papers and position papers, and they can organize the attendance and participation in meetings.
Looking from the bottom up, local interest develops into a culture of peace in stages. The stages are: ideas, discussions, positions, initiatives, and identity. Each stage is recognizable on a local or a national level. Each stage represents progress toward a culture of peace. Let me return for a moment to the birthday party.
In addition to handing out flowers, there were two other tasks to complete. The first task involved splitting into teams, pooling more money (ten dollars each), visiting a grocery store, and competing to see which team could buy the most and the best food. Achieving success for this task required bargain hunting, coupon clipping, and bulk price comparison. When the teams completed the purchase, a picture was taken of the teams and the food was deposited in the food bank bin at the grocery store. The last task involved going to a local drop-in centre to prepare and serve food for the people who relied on the service.
In my opinion, these are three good ideas. It is easy to think of others. For example, hold a conversation café in your local community to develop a list of vendors who can be trusted. If the community is more local, develop a list of garden tools that can be commonly borrowed. If the community is more expansive, develop ways to reduce the cost of housing. Assembling a list of ideas is the first step toward developing a culture and it generates its own interest. Moving these ideas to discussion and positions and initiatives and identity requires commitment and skill. Ideas, and their maturation, holds one type of benefit. Activating a community to act on good ideas offers a parallel benefit. Ideas and activity are both required to build a culture of peace.
From a top-down perspective, what if the CCOPP had one hundred high quality ideas, and these ideas were in various stages of development across the country? The recording of ideas and their stages of development is part of the diagnostic activity of the CCOPP. The chaotic parameters that measure the degree of connection in the network include: the number of web hits per page, the number of links to related websites, the number of discussion papers uploaded and downloaded, the number of position papers uploaded and downloaded, the number of polls initiated and the number of respondents to each poll, the number of emails sent per yahoo group, the number of weblog entries made, and the number of open space meetings held. Identity is the most difficult to measure of the stages. Identity will be discussed in greater depth in the marketing document.
In parallel with the launch of the marketing plan, an operations plan must be executed to guide the administration of the network. This plan will include the following items:
Developing relationships with local groups
Developing international relationships
Writing a leadership handbook
Moderation of ideas and groups
Maintenance of communications tools
Liaising with related groups
Translating activity levels and analysis into a strategic plan that can be used by governance.
Measures of success
Number of local groups
Use of tools by local groups
Aggregate national activity
The following steps are required to take CCOPP from a design discussion to a working program
The processes of peace are not only the subject of this paper, they inform its development and its delivery. An invitation to participate in the preparation was offered to all CCOPP members and five members accepted the invitation. Both their differences in perspective and their commonality of purpose were essential in its completion.
Tex Albert, a Secular Franciscan, elevated the conversation
to ensure that our highest aspirations are recognized and available.
Judith Litke, a process specialist, understands organizational
methodology in a way that anchors the discussion in practicality and value.
Bob Stewart, perhaps the foremost peace educator in
As this paper is circulated, other voices will be heard. These voices are welcome. To use the phrase “work in progress” may imply “not complete”, but how can one complete something that is dynamic? As the CCOPP evolves, this paper and others will form a body of knowledge that supports a culture. The knowledge and the culture will always interact as CCOPP grows.
[ii] Stewart, Robert. “Canadian Culture of Peace Program (‘CCOPP’) Organizational Network / Stakeholder Web”. http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPorganization2004.htm . Jan 9, 2005
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[ix] This is compatible with Freud’s understanding of the role of the church. Freud, p. 21
[x] Durkheim focused his investigation about identity through the use of totems. Durkheim, p. 88
[xi] Weber investigated solidarity in depth through his concepts of rationalization and breakthrough. Weber, p. xv
[xii] see “Organizational and Design Principles 9”.
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[xix] Buchanan, p. 158
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[xxii] Buchanan, p. 89-105.