Nigel Young's Proposal

In October 1998 peace movement expert Nigel Young stayed in the largely
vacated former residence of the Mount Saint Vincent University president. 
He was so taken by the structure, by the quiet landscape and the Halifax
area that he talked continuously about an Atlantic Peace Research Institute.
  I send his notes now as a modest contribution by a widely travelled and
renowned scholar to our vision of a Canadian Peace Institute.

--  Larry Fisk

Proposal for an Atlantic Peace Research Institute

By Nigel Young
Director of Peace Studies, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

This proposal was formulated after a visit to Mount Saint Vincent
University's Peace and Conflict Studies program and at a colloquium on
contemporary development in the field of peace studies. (October, 1998).

At this juncture, there exists a clear need to re-conceptualize peace
research and education in the light of the rapidly evolving global situation
at the end of the millennium.

A number of older institutions related to peace issues are either not
fulfilling these new tasks, or are waning for variety of reasons.  Several
new institutions have been created, but none covers the area broadly denoted
by the term "peace culture" (UNESCO year of peace culture 2000).

A new institute would confront pre-emptive, long term strategic research on
peace-building in civil society-especially areas vulnerable to destructive
conflict.  It would focus on cultural aspects of conflict transformation:
the media, the visual arts (including film, TV. Radio and video) literature,
history and the humanities.  It would emphasize the positive role of a
historical world memory as a mode of cultural and species transformation.

1.   A venue such as the excellent- and now empty "The Meadows" (former
Presidential residence at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax) might be
a perfect site as a starting point for such an "APAX" - an Atlantic
Institute for Peace and Global Studies (AIPAGS).

2.   Its financial support should be drawn from Christian resource
constituencies (Catholics, Quakers, etc.).  Other religious communities
(Buddhist, etc.,) business and academia (research grants) should be drawn
into the collaboration from the outset.

3.   It should include as well a focus on educational tourism and peace
study abroad and also a focus on international visitors to Halifax, e.g.,
faculty and students from conflict regions such as the former USSR, Balkans,
Sri Lanka or Northern Ireland.  Links could be established with the network
of global peace Institutes.

4.  It should seek support in all of the 55 OSCE countries and Japan, as a
starting point.

5.  It should cooperate with local universities (Dalhousie, St. Mary's,
Acadia, etc.)

6.   It should see itself as complementary to, but not competitive with the
Pearson Institute, and fill the vacuum left my the demise of earlier

7.   It would need to create an endowment of around US $10-12m and to
sustain from the proceeds e.g. a 5% of capital, any surplus reinvested.

a.    fixed term (3 or 4 year) Director with transnational contacts and /or
experience and a global vision.

b..  One or two visiting Senior Research fellows (for shorter or longer
periods) at least one from outside North America.

c.   A secretary

d.  two junior research fellows (Graduate students or immediate Post-doc) on
one year contracts (renewable)

8.   It should employ part time two student research assistants to assist
with the above and the library

9.   The establishment of a small highly focused peace and global studies
library (about 5,000 volumes and 150 periodicals plus a video collection,
slides and transparencies).  Overheads and infrastructure should be
contained in the budget including rents and structural costs if necessary.).

10   It should draw from several cultures including North America, but not
exclusively so.  One scholar should be "in residence" at any one time and
might do some teaching at local universities and colleges.

11.   The working language would be English, but a critical study of global
English as a lingua franca might be on its agenda from the outset (i.e. the
peaceful and unpeaceful aspects and potential of English as a world
language) with a stress on second language learning.

Summary:   the aim of APAX would be to concentrate on the current vital
re-conceptualization of peace process, but to look at the cultural
practicalities in constructing a global peace order, and research particular
projects, so that they may be pursued and implemented in specific contexts. 
The worldwide infrastructure of peace institutions is growing rapidly in the
approach to the UN decade of peace culture.  The unique role of Canada in
amplifying, extending, and deepening this global network, building on
Canada's special and multi-cultural strengths and unique history- is


Larry J. Fisk,
Professor Emeritus, MSVU and
Esau Visiting Professor
Menno Simons College
380 Spence St.,
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9
Phone: (204) 786-9101  Fax: (204) 783-3699
Email: or

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1998.  Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
The Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace
Last update:  17 Oct 2000