PeaceBuilding for a Culture of Peace

6.0 Research Conclusions

- The unique contribution of Peace-building for a Culture of Peace:

1. Greater international security.

2. Reduction in conflict occurrences providing benefit in all conflict resolution procedures and development strategies.

3. Main objective is durable and self-sustaining peace (with the tools of dialogue and tolerance).

4. Active non-violence as natural response to conflict.

5. Bottom-up and indigenous creations.

6. Empowerment.

7. Comprehensive.

8. Addition to existing legitimate structures.

- Peace-building for a Culture of Peace requires extensive involvement in the transformation of political structures, political representation, civil society involvement in the political processes of state, infrastructure investment, institution building to provide adequate sources to channel conflict through (both financial and representative), tolerance and understanding, education, human rights for peace, self-sustaining production and trade, methods to promote patience in the processes of transformation to

- Critical issues challenging peace-building for a Culture of Peace:

1. Doubts of the effectiveness of a cultural construct.

2. Time and financial resources.

3. Conventional state sovereignty.

4. Ideological obstacles.

5. Bottom-up and indigenous creation.

6. Economic realities.

7. Veto power.

8. Attitudes of fear.

- Insecurities regarding the potential of peace-building for a Culture of Peace to provide for stability, economic prosperity and advancements as a substitute for the finances of war and violence and most critically the ability of parties to achieve their desires or defend their pursuits as effectively with non-violence as with the quick impact violence appears to provide.

- The current reality of relations between and within communities sees violence as the means through which to forcefully attain results to a situation irregardless of long-term negative effects.

- The desire to see quick results can not be met by the long-term process of cultural change.

- Peace-building for a Culture of Peace involves a psychological transformation in the mentalities of civil society and political
representatives alike to actively choose non-violence as a tactic to deal with tensions.

- The first concern is for the economic justifications which necessitate the calculation of the cost-benefit equation to expound the maximum financial gain of peace-building for a Culture of Peace.

- The second issue which requires a more detailed analysis for viability extends to the realm of sociology and the ability to promote a particular cultural characteristic, namely non-violence, over others.

- The theoretical need for an alliance between post-conflict peace-building and a Culture of Peace in the United Nations endeavours to resolve intra-state conflict is real. The operational attainment of this alliance for durable and self-sustaining peace is however doubtful given the current mentalities regarding economic and goal-oriented gains favouring violent conflict. The necessary catalyst which would require such a massive transformation toward mentalities and behaviours of non-violence for the creation of positive peace does not appear to be on the horizon. The question of what stimulus could provoke such radical transformation is a topic of speculation, the answers to which are not currently available.  Although the process of transformation is long-term, the provocation which will ignite the desire to see programs of principles of peace-building for a
Culture of Peace will need to be brisk in order to promote the sense of urgency necessary to compel the international community to undertake peace-building for a Culture of Peace.


This has been a summary of a thesis received from Angela Ward, who is a Canadian currently residing in Amsterdam and has just graduated from the University of Amsterdam's Graduate Program in International Relations.  Her thesis research received the program's top grade (9) and is entitled "Peace-building for a Culture of Peace".  Her specialisation has been in the area of conflict resolution throughout the course of her study. 

I found her thesis to be very worthwhile for anyone considering implementing a Culture of Peace Program.  I have summarized, in a series of 6 articles, the highlights from my perspective.  You may not agree with some of the issues, but they all must be considered, debated and acted upon.  While it  is slanted toward post-conflict peace-building, the lessons are important for developing a Culture of Peace in any country, and in any community.  If you would like a copy of the detailed thesis (it is over 100 pages) it is available here.    Any comments on the summary issues would be appreciated for my own consideration.
Bob Stewart

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