Robert Stewart is the Director of the Canadian Centres for Teaching
Peace and a Member of the Canadian Year 2000 Culture of Peace Working
Group.  The comments are those of the author and not of the Working Group. 


This is the second of a series of status reports on the Canadian Culture of Peace Program, and builds upon the first report, dated May 31, 1999, which can be found at  .  The past three months has seen the National Working Group initiate the beginning of a plan of activities to celebrate the United Nations International Year for a Culture of Peace in 2000.

September 14, 1999

The second Tuesday of every September is the United Nations International Day of Peace.  This September 14, 1999 was the official launch date by the United Nations of the International Year for a Culture of Peace, with special events taking place around the world.  The motto and logo adopted by the U.N. is "Peace is in Our Hands".  In Canada's national capital, Ottawa, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO ("CCU") and the United Nations Association of Canada issued a joint communiqué on the interest in, and importance of, the Culture of Peace Program ("COPP").  The Press Release is available on UNAC website
(  In addition, the CCU mailed out an information kit on the Culture of Peace Program.  The kit and communiqué will also be available electronically shortly at  .  The kit includes a questionnaire inviting data from organizations on their COP activities.

October/November Agenda

A two day meeting of the National Working Group is planned for late October or early November, 1999 in Ottawa.  Departments and agencies of government whose mandate impacts on a Culture of Peace will be invited to the second day to discuss their plans and activities.  Although the agenda is still being shaped, it is expected that the agenda will generally include the following issues:

1. How important the Culture of Peace Program is to Canada (introspection; SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats; concerns)

2. Key Results Areas (i.e. measurable results wanted)

     2.1 Working to Change Behaviours, Forge Values (including defining what a Culture of Peace is; 

          start defining expected Canadian values; etc.)

     2.2 Inciting Canadian Institutional Transformations (including government, peace groups, media

          groups, corporations, etc.)

     2.3 Other

3. Key Activities

     3.1 Information Management (collection, dissemination, etc.; includes Kits, Internet)

     3.2 Conferences/workshops/meetings (dialogue, decisions, etc.; add-ons to the CPCC and CCU  

          AGMs, concluding conference in winter 2000, work with those already planning ones)

     3.3 Public Relations Strategy (including government relations, corporate relations, media, etc.)

     3.4 Other

4. Resource Issues (including money, people, linkages, regional sub-committees, etc.; develop budget)

5. Action Framework (bringing organizations, people and a plan to work together - organization, tasks, timing, etc. to promote 'Partners in Peace')

6. Press Conference (to publicize Culture of Peace 2000 activities in Canada)

Future tentative plans include:

The plans and the Working Group's role will be further refined as the year proceeds.  To assist this process, an Action Framework has been circulated for discussion and is attached (Appendix).

Working Group Role Overview

PLANNING/PUBLIC RELATIONS/INFO/CONFERENCES ----> RESULTS (- the UNESCO COPP concept is results oriented, namely "building peace by working to change behaviours, forge values, and incite the institutional transformations that are indispensable for eliminating the deep roots of violence, exclusion and conflict.")

If you would like to participate in any way, or for more information, please contact:
Robert Stewart, Director
Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace
email stewartr [at]
web site
telephone (403) 461-2469
fax (309) 407-6576


This is a living document and will continue to be refined over the next 18 months as the Program evolves:

Most Importantly
1. We should make COP2000 "a turning point, not an event".  Peace is in our hands.
2. We should optimize co-ordination to ensure there are no regrets over lost opportunities.  Activities for co-ordination short-list include:

a) public relations (including government, corporate, etc.)

b) information hub (collection and dissemination)

c) conferences/workshops/meetings (dialogue and decisions)

d) results (this is not just for fun, but we will have fun too - the UNESCO COPP concept is results oriented, namely "building peace by working to change behaviours, forge values, and incite the institutional transformations that are indispensable for eliminating the deep roots of violence, exclusion and conflict.")
e) other

For Canada (Peace starts at home)
3. Our work on the Year 2000 Culture of Peace should not just be limited to the fields of competence of UNESCO, but should be transdisciplinary, holistic, inclusive, etc.  Our work is of a process nature, not to get bogged down in specific peace programs (e.g.. small arms trade, globalization, etc.)  We should be introspective - looking at Canadian behaviours, values and institutional transformations necessary.
4. We should strive to supply what is missing: "a link between those like-minded people to synergize and oppose what is distorting our system and propose to the government (and others) alternatives". 
5. We should be mindful of the pressing timeline:  to place an agreed upon Agenda (recognizing it will continue to evolve) on the table in September we need to have received and analyzed input and recommendations in July and August, which means putting out the call for input as soon as possible (to the like-minded organizations, including Civil Society and Governments).
(See also Recommendation 17 below.)
6. We need resources: particularly an administrative leader to get things done, and a number of "high profile leaders" to fight for resources (money, human resources).
7. We should participate in a Meeting of Ministries to build political will, network and resources.
8. We should lobby the Canadian Commission for UNESCO on the recommendations below.
9. We should develop an inventory of activities planned in Canada in conjunction with the Year for a Culture of Peace.
10. We should co-ordinate a Year 2000 Culture of Peace Workshop in mid October 1999 to review the Action Plan, hold technical sessions, etc.  It would be opportune to include a Youth component in
conjunction. (This should be a minimum one day, maximum three day conference.)
11. We should co-ordinate a Year 2000 Culture of Peace Conference in conjunction with the CCU AGM in March 2000. (Again with the youth, essay contests, etc..)  The Canadian Peacebuilding Co-ordinating Committee has been asked to host a session on the Culture of Peace at their AGM (usually February).  Each conference will build on the prior one.
12. We should co-ordinate a 2000-2010 Decade for A Culture of Peace Workshop/Conference in November or December 2000. (Again with the youth, awards presentations.)

For the Canadian Commission for UNESCO
13. The CCU should reconsider its purpose in light of the Culture of Peace Program.
14. The CCU should be giving priority (money and staff) to Year 2000 Culture of Peace activities.  The CCU should keep the Working Group informed on its COP plans and activities, and a budget available for Working Group activities. 
15. The CCU should get its web site up and running as soon as possible.  Hopefully, this vehicle of communications can be used by the Working Group with CCU approval.  In the meantime, the Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace web site has been offered to host the CCU kit and any other information until the CCU site is available.
16. The CCU and Working Group should consider using the PEACEBUILD email list server as a vehicle of communication.  This is already established, and the CPCC has recently amalgamated its mailing list with it.  (If you are not already on, it is recommended - let me know if you need instructions)
17. Jointly, the CCU and Working Group should use the PEACEBUILD email list server to circulate the
Call Letter described in recommendation 5 above, as soon as possible.  The Call Letter should ask "What are you (and/or your organization) doing for the Year 2000 United Nations International Year for a Culture of Peace?", and "What are your recommendations for a Year 2000 Action Plan for Canada?"  The letter should also be mailed to all like-minded organizations (Civil Society and Governments). There is a form found at  to facilitate this.
18. The CCU should continue with its plans to circulate the Kits it has developed.  Kits should be sent out in conjunction with the September 14 launch and should include the UNESCO Kits.  A mailing list should be set up in conjunction with the Working Group.

For the Culture of Peace Year 2000 Working Group
19. Our slogan should be "a turning point, not an event".
20. Our mandate should be "as Agents of Change, to establish a link between those like-minded people to synergize around Year 2000 Culture of Peace activities and oppose what is distorting our system and propose to the government (and others) alternatives".  Note that our mandate is not 'legislated', it is volunteered in the spirit of community service, to the Canadian community, accountable to the Canadian people.  We are not the CCU, and do not speak on the CCU's behalf.  The CCU is a very key Member of the Working Group.
21. Our goal should be "to optimize co-ordination for the Year 2000 Culture of Peace activities". (i.e. no regrets/lost opportunities)
22. Our goals should also consider beyond the Year 2000 to the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and establishing a National Culture of Peace Program for Canada.  As a Working Group, we should have a fair picture of what we want as an outcome as soon as possible (e.g.. education for peace, National Culture of Peace Program,etc.)
23. Until the Working Group gets financial resources, we are going to have to volunteer our time and efforts to fill in the human resource gap.  But plans should be put into action as soon as possible to access funding.  The CCU should identify what funding they can support with (e.g.. postage and mail stuffing to distribute Kits, sharing of mail and email/contact lists, travel costs of Working Group members, telephone, hall rental, public relations, etc.)
24. We should invite key Members to join the Working Group as soon as possible, and start networking.  Key Members would include many of the members from the Canada Peacebuilding Co-ordinating Committee, Department of Foreign Affairs, CIDA, Canadian Ministries of Education, National Crime Prevention Commission, Department of Justice, Healthy Cities representatives (Assoc. of Canadian Municipalities?), business representatives, etc.  Do not mind a large Working Group, since the more involved - the more 'buy-in'.  It can still be controlled satisfactorily with strong leadership.
25. Members should revisit the web site at  to the section on a National Culture of Peace Program for Canada and the organizational Framework that was put forward.  These documents anticipate many of the issues that the Working Group will encounter, and should be considered.
26. The Working Group should give consideration to 'A Common System of Canadian Values and Behaviours' (for individuals and organizations, including business and government).  This should be an agenda item for the proposed Workshops since this is what a Culture of Peace is all about (and a current problem/issue).  Manifesto 2000 provides a good starting point.

Focused Fashion

We need to carry out our activities in a business-like, highly focused fashion.  This is particularly important because we are all very busy people who have to travel a long ways to meet in-person at great costs. Further, we have a monumental responsibility and must produce results in a tight time frame.  We can not afford to waste time and money.

To address this, any teleconferences or in-person meetings (including conferences) are to be preceded by circulating an Information Package for participants review prior to the event.  In this way the time spent in the event will be focused on high level discussion and decisions (versus introductions and background).  A smaller 'executive' can meet (by teleconference whenever possible) in advance to set the Agenda and anticipate needs and desired outcomes.  The Chair will keep the events focused without pre-empting important things.