Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
November 1, 2000
The Right honourable Chrétien,
RE: COMMEMORATION OF PIERRE TRUDEAU
Project Ploughshares Calgary would like to suggest the creation of a Canadian Peace Centre to salute the contribution of citizens such as the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, to peace in the national and international arenas.
Such a Museum/Centre would honour Mr Trudeau's belief in the centrality and value of peace in history particularly in the areas of diplomacy and the non-military pursuit of peace. There is a strong interest in the peaceful resolution of conflict in Canada, a national characteristic which has been fostered by Liberal Governments for many years. With 40 wars taking place in the world this year, and with the evidence and potential for conflict in our own country, it is clear that a central place for promoting peace would benefit not only Canada, but the world.
Project Ploughshares envisages a Peace Museum/Centre taking its place alongside other Canadian museums such as the Museum of Civilization, as a record of the past and a place where visions of the future are encouraged and explored. In fact, it would provide something which is missing in most places of learning in Canada: examples of roadmaps for how to reach the goal of peace. It would teach, challenge and inspire. Just as military museums honour the courage of our military forces, a peace museum would honour the courage of peacekeepers and peacemakers. Where military museums aim at honouring past war action and preventing war by showing its tragedy, peace museums aim at honouring past peace action and preventing war by telling how peace can be achieved. The emphasis of a peace museum would be on the myriad ways of preventing war and on the practical ways of resolving conflict nonviolently.
A Peace Museum/Centre might not only house exhibits, but could be a place where leading edge research is conducted and brought forward to the public for discussion. It can be the place where linkages between the Peace Studies programs in Canada and the world, researchers and the general public can be set up and coordinated.
On a more 'popular' level, the Peace Museum/Centre should be designed to appeal to school children and young adults, the general public and tourists. Such a Museum/Centre would provide an uplifting and original educational attraction to celebrate the role Canada has played and could play in the quest for peace.
Our hope would be that, as a tribute to Mr Trudeau, the public would be lead to becoming more committed to preventing violent solutions to problems and they would become more knowledgeable of and interested in the choices available when domestic and foreign conflicts arise.
We enclose some ideas for exhibits or beginning points for exploration in regard to the Peace Museum/Centre. We believe that there is a serious lack of knowledge in the Canadian public about many of these issues.
A Peace Museum/Centre dedicated to Trudeau's passion for peace would be the ultimate tribute for him, for Canadians and for the world.
Possible elements of a Peace Museum/Centre
3. Public education and discussion
4. Resource development
5. Linkages: a Virtual Library
6. Performing arts space
A. Suggestions for topics
* display print, audio and film material about peace heroes such as Nobel Peace prize winners and leaders such as Lester B. Pearson, Mohatma Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi
* show examples of Canadian initiatives to build peace such as Lester B. Pearson's work on peacekeeping, Pierre Trudeau's 1978 initiative and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy's "Ottawa Process" used to build diplomatic and political support for the Ottawa Treaty to Ban Landmines
* have displays about the 172 incidents where the UN has resolved conflicts, and displays on other successful UN peacekeeping efforts, and the role of Canadian troops
* illustrate peacebuilding measures such as Elections Canada assisting with elections and the RCMP training police forces
* illustrate some of the 185 techniques of nonviolence to better understand the methods through which modern societies have overthrown military dictatorships and established democratic practices.
* demonstrate current examples of the use of non-violent means for dispute settlement
* illustrate many other kinds of campaigns which have been based on principles of non-violence
* highlight cultural groups with little or no tradition of violence and war-making
* illustrate the contribution of women to building democracies and more just societies.
* display and demonstrate cooperative games for both children and adults
* show theories concerning the causes of aggression, violence and war
* explore how to transform deep-rooted cultural patterns that impede peace and development and may cause genocide.
* explore successful work in reconciliation
* show progress in satisfying the basic needs of many people in the world and progress in the implementation of the Bill of Human Rights
* display or stage simulations of World Court proceedings, the United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council
* include mention of small regional efforts for peace, such as the development of zones of peace
* demonstrate nonviolent approaches to security, to explore various ways in which societies can protect their citizens against violence from the inside and the outside by peaceful means, with a view to the abolition of war
* show the current ratios of nuclear weapon states to 'nuclear umbrella' states to Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
* highlight arms control and disarmament agreements which restrain warfare, including prohibitions on weapons of mass destruction.
* examine the media's tendency to report violence rather than positive prevention and problem solving
B. Existent Exhibits (the first three would presumably show the 'raison d'etre' for the museum and would be eclipsed by the positive nature of the rest of the museum)
1) The Canvas of War: Masterpieces from the Canadian War Museum showing Feb. 11, 2000 to January 7, 2001 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The description of the collection is as follows:
"The 72 works of art in this exhibition - including some members of the group of Seven - record, illuminate and commemorate Canada's major contribution to the First and Second World Wars". They also make clear the horrors of war.
2) The Small Arms Exhibit shown at UNICEF headquarters in New York in 1999.
3) The travelling exhibit of Hiroshima photos available from that City.
4) The Mennonite interactive exhibit named "Peace Factory", now housed in the United States.
C. Space for visiting exhibitions
* examine principles surrounding the spiritual, ethical, psychological, cultural, economic, political and military questions of our day in relation to peace and conflict. (eg. diplomacy, alternate security, technology in the service of peace, diversity, nonviolence as a strategy for social change, peacekeeping )
* examine peace-building mechanisms in the military, political and social arenas. (eg. confidence building measures, legal and judicial enforcement of international conventions and tourism.)
* explore the influence of the arts on the development of a deep culture of peace
Note: The Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, England, has one of the largest staffs in the world: over 20 full time staff members, and over 50 doctoral researchers. In spite of this, there remain vast areas yet to be studied.
3. Public Education and Discussion
* provide public lectures on peace and conflict topics
* provide training in the many methods that are being developed for solving tensions peacefully.
* host Round Table discussions on current issues involving questions of peace and war in order to improve public awareness and increase and improve dialogue between academics, Parliamentarians, government officials and the general public.
4. Resource Development
* provide resources for teachers and school tours
* design and launch peace education programs for children, adolescents, young adults, adults
5. Virtual Library in Peace and Conflict Studies
We recommend that the Museum/Centre house a staff person whose responsibility it would be to create and maintain a publicly accessible database on the internet. This database would provide annotated bibliographies, documents and articles, links to organizations, academic programs and individuals concerned with peace and conflict studies, and mediated discussion groups on the peace and conflict.
6. Performing Arts Space - a small theatre
* performances and presentations on relevant themes
* rehearsal space for actors involved in empowerment work that involves dialogue and drama
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