April 15, 2005

RE: Nomination of Robert Stewart for John Humphrey Freedom Award 2005

Dear International Jury:

 

            Article 28, of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.” We take this to mean that, without an international commitment to peace, societies struggle to ensure freedom from oppression, marginalization, exploitation and violence (structural as well as wars and conflicts). Quite simply, without peace, there can be little respect for human rights and democracy is threatened. From the stance that peace, democracy and human rights are intricately intertwined, we are very excited to nominate Robert Stewart for the 2005 Freedom Award.

            Robert Stewart is a Canadian (lives in Alberta and works half the year in the North) who is wholly committed to peace and non-violence. He is independent of any political party or governmental affiliation and is involved in democratic development, peace and globalization. While he conducts this work in Canada , his efforts reach and influence those working at the frontline in developing countries (more recently known as Majority World nations). His general CV is at http://www.peace.ca/more.htm  and his peace CV is available at http://www.peace.ca/bobstewartpeacebio.htm .We appreciate that this nomination package is also to include supporting documents. These documents are available via hyperlinks embedded in this letter of nomination.

            Robert is the chief architect of a culture of peace in Canada . He recognized that there was a disparate movement for peace and human rights in Canada and took the initiative to fill the vacuum towards creating a sense of solidarity and collective community for a Canadian culture of peace. Using a transdisciplinary approach, his work has brought a focus to the peace movement in Canada . He created a central point from which ideas, influence and vision emanate for a culture of peace for Canada , and the world.

            His vision has resulted in several major, forward-looking vehicles for human rights and peace, with global implications. We are convinced that his leadership and commitment to peace and human rights has paved the way for other nations to build a culture of peace in their societies. Let us explain.

 

Foremost, as a vehicle for human rights and peace, is his virtual organization, the Canadian Centre for Teaching Peace (CCTP) (1997) and the powerful website that accompanies this initiative at http://www.peace.ca (1998). The site has had over one million hits since its inception, with an average of 30,000- 40,000 hits per month (and growing). It is becoming known as the most comprehensive, plain language peace and non-violent site in the world. It is used as a resource for people who wish to be more active in building a culture of peace in their world. We see this site as the anchor, the mooring for peace and human rights in Canada , and abroad. Moorings link things together, and that is the key function of this site. He anticipates that the website for CCTP should enhance cooperation between nations, cultivate goodwill and peaceful understanding among people, and promote human rights and human, social and economic development. The headquarters for this virtual organization are in Okotoks , Alberta . In November, 2000, the YMCA gave Bob their Peace Award for the contributions he is making through is website and virtual organization http://www.peace.ca/10minutesolution.htm Google.ca now ranks this site (and, by association, CCTP) as the number one site in Canada for peace, human rights and peace activism http://www.peace.ca/googleranks.htm.

 

In 2000, Robert formed the Canadian Peace Initiative (CPI). In some exciting, outside- the-box thinking, he refered to CPI as a process instead of an institution and saw it as an effort to help leaders use action, education, training, dissemination and research to handle conflicts non-violently and creatively http://www.peace.ca/CPImission.htm.To facilitate world-wide dialogue on this process, he manages an e-mail distribution list, acting as the anchor and ambassador of peace and human rights.

 

In the same year (2000), Robert launched the Canadian Peace Foundation to raise money for peace and human rights work generally, and for the CPI, particularly, http://www.peace.ca/foundation.htm. The intent is to raise funds for education for building peace, and to consider results-oriented peace building educational projects at home, and abroad. The ultimate goal is to significantly reduce the human cost of violence against children and others. The CPF is governed by a volunteer working Board of renowned peace builders. Annual audited reports will be available. The Board includes Dr. David Adams, Past Director of the UNESCO International Year for the Culture of Peace Program and, currently, the Director of the Culture of Peace News Network http://cpnn_usa.org/  Bob formed links with David when Bob participated in meetings held by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, International Year for a Culture of Peace (1999).

 

In November 2003, Robert reported that the CPI was effectively put on hold while Canadians dialogued about what education in a Culture of Peace might look like. He also facilitated a nation wide dialogue about a more holistic version of the Canadian Peace Initiative. This time of reflection led to the exciting development, in 2004, a short year later, of the Canadian Culture of Peace Program (CCOPP), the first nation-wide initiative of its kind in the world Http://www.peace.ca/canadiancultureofpeaceprogram.htm. Those of us submitting this nomination are members of the inaugural board of the CCOPP. Senator Douglas Roche is an Advisor to the CCOPP Board. All of us were present at the November 2004 meeting where Bob’s dream of a Canadian Culture of Peace Program was formalized. The core members of CCOPP met for the first time in Alberta in January, 2005. The results of this meeting are at  http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPmeetingjan2005.htm This meeting was held in conjunction with a new peace and governance program emerging at the University of Alberta . Collaborating with other initiatives is Robert’s signature. He is well known for being open, transparent, patient and committed.

 

To bring structure to the newly launched culture of peace program, Robert is facilitating the development of a CCOPP stakeholder design document, available at http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPstakeholdernetworkdesign.htm. This design document is offered to build on UN foundational principles to prepare for a CCOPP operations/marketing document that describes how the CCOPP programme is to be operated and promoted. Using a transparent process, and online technology (a new, inclusive, international CCOPP distribution list and Yahoo groups), many voices are being heard and incorporated as this living document evolves. http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/CCOPPcore/                                

Bob is now taking his message into the international arena. In February,         2005, Bob took the idea of a Culture of Peace program to a Peace Education Conference in Recife , Brazil . An excellent summary of recent developments in peace education and the culture of peace program in Canada, available for any organizations and individuals interested in advancing peace education and the Culture of Peace and Non-violence Program in their area, is available at http://www.peace.ca/EVOLVINGCANADIANMODELFORPEACE2005.ppt  in English and at http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPportuguese2005.ppt in Portuguese.

 

Other international initiatives include (a) the Paxafricana email list serve (2000) and African virtual center for teaching peace http://www.peace.ca/africa.htm and (b) the development of a virtual peace education centre in Lagos, Angola, a prototype for other virtual centers http://www.peace.ca/angola.htm.

 

                     Bob has also facilitated the creation of a Quebec Culture of Peace Program, with a Yahoo group account at  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/quebecpeaceeducation/messages/1?viscount=100 

 

Robert is also the driving force (excuse the military metaphor) behind the three Canadian Peace Education conferences, held at McMaster University in Hamilton , ON (2002-4). These are the first ever national peace education conferences in Canada . Bob is a pioneer. He is driven by his mission and works tirelessly to bring people together, using open space technology. These past two years, he has successfully created a full day for youth and peace. See the following websites for summaries of the conferences: http://www.peace.ca/conference2002summary.htm  http://www.peace.ca/conference2003summary.htm  http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2004.htm  and http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPstatement2004.htm.

 

                     From these national initiatives, Bob has been the impetus for the beginning of provincial peace education conferences that feed into the national conferences ( Alberta , BC). This leadership has laid the foundation for institutionalizing peace education at the national level. He makes a point of drawing people from all walks of life (which is why we call his work transdisciplinary). Peace and human rights are holistic in nature, meaning a holistic and global approach is needed to achieve these rights, democracy and a culture of peace.

 

Bob also made key links with the academic community for peace research in Canada by being elected to the Board of the Canadian Peace Research and Education Association (CPREA) http://www.msvu.ca/pax/CPREA/index.asp. He realizes that peace education and human rights cannot be fully advanced unless there are working partnerships between the academy and the rest of the peace movement.

 

Bob has also initiated the Canadian Peace Hall of Fame to give legitimacy for the work of others committed to peace and human rights http://www.peace.ca/peaceawards.htm. His respect for people of the North is reflected in his choice of a tangible symbol of this award. The Award is in the form of an engraved, soapstone 'Inukshuk'. For millennia, massive stone figures, built in the image of a human, have stood silhouetted on the treeless, Arctic horizons. Created by Inuit people, these Inukshuks serve as guides to point out a journey or a safe passage. The Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace believes this is a fitting Canadian symbol of the journey to safe and caring communities and world.

 

Bob is also supportive of the exciting initiative coming from BC, led by Dr. Saul Arbess, for a Canadian Department of Peace http://www.departmentofpeacecanada.com. He features this initiative at his website and invites Saul to speak at meetings sponsored by CCOPP and the Center.

                                                                                               

Another reason that we feel Bob merits this award is that he is making a concerted effort to bring the notion of leadership to the peace and human rights movement in Canada , and abroad. He fully believes that all members of the culture of peace movement have to be leaders in their own right, drawing on their own potential and inner strengths. He facilitated a leadership workshop at the November 2004 national conference http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPleadership2004.htm and provided detailed and comprehensive background reading material for those new to the ideas of leadership http://www.peace.ca/peaceleader.htm. This approach outrightly challenges the assumption that only some people can be leaders.

 

Finally, with Bob’s facilitation, a new initiative between CCOPP and David Adams (Culture of Peace News Network) involves the compilation of reports, from around the world, portraying a comprehensive picture of civil society’s mid-Decade progress towards a culture of peace http://decade_culture_of_peace.org/. This global report will be submitted to the UN Secretary General by David Adams. The global report (with a strong contribution from the CCOPP) will then figure in the plenary session of the UN General Assembly devoted to the culture of peace in Fall, 2005.   

            We truly believe that Robert’s mission for world peace, rights and democracy is a living process - it is alive! We believe that he merits the reception of this Freedom Award because he, has indeed, freed people from their stasis and mobilized them to form a global community of peace. He has done this through his virtual organization and award winning website and his entrenchment of a mindset of a culture of peace in Canada , and the world, through the formation of the real time Canadian Culture of Peace Program, the first of its kind in the world. Bob has worked for democracy and human rights by creating new institutions including: the national and provincial peace education conferences, the Canadian peace award and the Canadian Peace Foundation. He has brought youth into the core of the peace movement in Canada . They are our future.

            Bob has reached out to Africa and Brazil with his culture of peace program and Quebec as a unique culture in Canada . He is a strong voice in the UNESCO mid-decade report for a culture of peace and is providing leadership, and a space for others to lead, for a global culture of peace. He has made pivotal contributions to the cause of peace, human rights and democracy.

            His contributions are outstanding, far above like-minded others. His influence is significant and far beyond what is expected of one person. He has distinguished himself while concurrently being inclusive, respectful, courteous, and gentle. His energy for the cause is intense while being welcoming and embracing.

            He has been focussed on the mission of creating a culture of peace in Canada and abroad for over a decade. The momentum is building. He has galvanized, inspired and energized the peace and human rights movement in Canada . He is very deserving of the 2005 John Humphrey Freedom Award.

 

Respectfully, and in peace,

Sue McGregor PhD
Faculty of Education
Coordinator Peace and Conflict Studies Program
Coordinator Master’s Holistic, Reflective Peace Practitioner Cohort
Mount
Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax NS B3M 2J6
http://www.consultmcgregor.com
sue.mcgregor@msvu.ca
902-823-2625