Enquiries about our Peace Education Conferences in Canada

To the many good people living outside Canada who have written enquiring about participating in our Annual Peace Education Conference in Canada:

Thank you for your messages.  It warms my heart to see so many people
and organizations around the world working to build a Culture of Peace.

You are most welcome to participate in our Peace Education Conference in
Canada and can access the agenda and registration forms by clicking on
http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2005.htm (note - the agenda is in the
process of being updated as per the Status Report below).

Having said that, unfortunately we do not have the resources to provide
financial assistance or scholarships (although we can waive the registration
fees), and we have not been successful in being able to arrange (i.e. visas)
for guests from developing countries to participate in our conferences in Canada .  A lot
of time and effort is spent to no avail.  Governments have been tightening their
requirements in recent years.  The visa process has been a difficult barrier
for us, that we are not able to deal with until we get more staff help.

So, to all those people who have asked for Invitation Letters and assistance with
the VISA application, I am very sorry to say that we can not help this year. 
Not being an expert on this, I can only
suggest that you try to come to Canada as a tourist, if that is possible.

While I mention our conference, and you are welcome to participate if you can get a VISA, I believe I have a better suggestion:

I would suggest that you host a peace education conference in your country.
You might wish to follow our Agenda from our conferences these past 3 Novembers
which was very successful in developing a Vision and Action Plan for peace
education in our country.  See http://www.peace.ca/detailedagenda.htm ,
, and http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2004.htm .

My suggestions on how to organize a Conference on Peace Education in
your country (I have used Gambia as an example only; change Gambia to your own country):

1. take our agendas at  http://www.peace.ca/detailedagenda.htm ,
and http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2005.htm
as examples and tailor them to your country's environment and needs (you could
use our agendas with minimal revision if you wish)
2. start an email listserver for Gambia peace educators as a vehicle to
promote communication, dialogue, networking and information dissemination.
You can do it for free using Yahoo Groups, and it is pretty easy to set up
(see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CPIdiscussion/ for example).  You can use
your new listserver to discuss and organize your Conference
3. develop an inventory of peace educators in Gambia , give it to me and I
can post it on our web site (or develop your own web site).  The inventory
will give you a target audience of potential participants for your
Conference.  (Try doing a search of our web site using the key word
" Gambia " to see who we have listed; or go to http://www.peace.ca/africa.htm
and click on the "Who's Who" link, community level;  also,do a search of www.google.com
using the key words " Gambia " and "peace".)  Peace educators include
teachers, professors, students, non-governmental organizations, governmental
organizations, etc. - everyone is a potential peace educator
4. pick dates that give you sufficient time to prepare and get  participants
interested in coming
5. find a sponsor to provide free space to hold the Conference.  I have
found that a local University works best for us since it provides added
credibility and a base of students and educators that will be interested to
come.  It is also good for the University because their name gets attached
to a great event (and they usually like it if you do all the work and they
get credit).  Hopefully, you would also get assistance in organizing,
promoting, getting guest speakers, etc.
6. My feeling is that even if you only get 20 to 50 committed peacebuilders
to come and develop a Vision and Action Plan for peace education in
Gambia , you will have achieved a great thing.  Large trees start out as
small seeds.
7. You can get more advise from our network as you wish.  If you are not a
member of our Paxafricana email listserver, I can add you if you wish.
Paxafricana has over 250 peace educators, mostly living in Africa , who have a
common interest in building peace in Africa .  We also have a monthly newsletter
of updates to our web site for peacebuilders from other continents.
8. If you give me a summary of your organization, I can post it on our web site.
9. If you wish, we can see if we can help by sending Guest Speakers or Peace
educators from Canada (or elsewhere) to support you.

10. I also provide some further "tips" below.

I hope you find this helpful.  I look forward to hearing how your progress.

Best wishes in your important work.

Bob Stewart

ANNUAL PEACE EDUCATION CONFERENCE IN CANADA http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2005.htm

"The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything." - Albert Einstein

WHAT FUTURE WILL YOU CREATE? - The Canadian Peace Initiative (“CPI”) is a process to simply provide the venues, support and guidance to ‘Open Space to Open Minds to Peace’.  The  CPI process is open, transparent, patient and committed, drawing people from all walks of life, freeing them from their stasis and mobilizing them.  All members of the Culture of Peace movement have to be leaders in their own right, drawing on their own potential and inner strengths, galvanizing, inspiring and energizing the peace movement.  Everyone is a peace leader and peace educator.  Every day we must take ownership of ourselves and our relationships: we can do anything we set our minds and hearts to; we do no harm, expect and demand no harm be done to us or others; no one is better than another;  we are critical thinkers, finding our own truths; education is our best investment and information our most important resource.   Building a healthy culture is about building healthy relationships – we can do that.   As we take ownership of peace others will follow – because it will be uplifting and empowering, it will be infectious, and lead to sudden, massive, cultural change.                                 (As in all things peaceful, this enlightening statement is the result of many contributors and supporters.  The CPI process has led to the Canadian Culture of Peace Program .  http://www.cultureofpeace.ca )  



I am happy to hear that you find our website, email listserver and
conferences helpful to you.  I believe that the use of
electronic communications and information dissemination (what I refer to as
"E-Peace") is the great change that is currently happening which will help,
more than anything, to make peace achievable.

I wish to express my appreciation to you and everyone else on the
peace network who is working to build a better, more peaceful
world.  Each of our little "Circles of Peace" are linked together in this
most important movement.

Our members often ask for tools and experience to help in their local
activities.  I offer the following comments:

- our Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace web site at http://www.peace.ca
and our African Centers for Peace Education and Training web site at
http://www.peace.ca/africa.htm provide a lot of informational tools that was
not available ten years ago -- so we are making progress here
- our Paxafricana email listserver provides a forum for the exchange of
experience.  I would urge members to tell others about their experiences,
and particularly what you have found that works in helping to build peace
- from my experience, you can do a lot without a lot of money or financial
resources.  I have found that information and people resources are much more
important than financial resources.  But of course it would be nice if we
had more financial resources to fuel our work -- people have to make a
decent living to be able to take care of their families.  And so we must be
more creative in raising funding.
- more and more people in Africa are gaining access to the Internet, web
site information and email.  One of my priorities is to promote what we have
called "Virtual Centers for Teaching Peace" in local peace organizations so
that students of peace of all ages can access the Internet, web site
information and email.
- I believe peace education is the single peacebuilding activity with the
most positive results, hence my personal emphasis on promoting peace
education at home and abroad.  This also explains why I urge peace people in
each country to develop a Vision and Action Plan for Peace Education in
their country.  I urge Peace Education Conferences to discuss this and
provide a sample of a letter (below) that I have provided to others to start
this process.
- I believe that the Montessori Method of general education is the best
example of peace education integrated into the daily classroom, and the best
tool for personal and community social development.  Hence my personal
emphasis on promoting Montessori schools, with a priority with ages 3 to 6.
- do not underestimate your own potential to make a significant difference
in your country.  There is a shortage of peace educators in all of our
countries.  You can fairly quickly learn more about peace education through
the above tools.  Your most important impact is to raise this same awareness
among others in your community and country, planting seeds of peace action.
This is not difficult, and it is most rewarding.