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June 1999 - Issue No. #35 (p.18)

The Hague Appeal for Peace Conference:

A Report on the May 1999 International Peace Congress in the Hague, Holland

by Kip Cates (Tottori University)

The Hague Appeal for Peace congress was held May 11-15, 1999 in the Hague, Holland. This brought together hundreds of organizations and thousands of people to discuss how to create a culture of peace in the 21st century. It comprised four strands: (1) International humanitarian & human rights law, (2) Prevention and resolution of violent conflict, (3) Disarmament, including nuclear abolition, (4) Root causes of war - a culture of peace.

Conference Impressions

The Hague Appeal for Peace conference was attended by 8000 people from around the world, including peace education specialists, hundreds of NGOs active in peace and human rights, Nobel Peace prize winners (Rigoberta Menchu, Desmond Tutu, Jodie Williams, Jose Ramos Horta), the UN Secretary General (Kofi Annan), the directors of UNESCO and UNICEF, the head of Amnesty International, 1 queen (Queen Noor of Jordan), 3 prime ministers (Bangladesh, Ireland, Holland) and, from Japan, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, former Okinawa governor Ohta, Takako Doi, Hiroshima A-bomb victims and many others.<

The opening and closing ceremonies featured a video message from Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, messages from young people from Bosnia, Kosovo and Yugoslavia calling for peace in Europe, a 15-year old Cambodian girl who had her leg blown away by a landmine, a peace message from UNICEF ambassador and actor Peter Ustinov, and peace songs performed by US folk singer Judy Collins.

In addition to foreign ministers, NGO activists and UN staff, there were Thai buddhists promoting peace through meditation, British Quakers, Korean comfort women, Colombian "children for peace", Peace Brigade teams back from Chechnya and Danish human rights workers. "Enemy-to-enemy" peace initiatives included Indian and Pakistani youth discussing peace in South Asia, a school in the Middle East which brings together Israeli and Palestinian children, and a joint session by Irish protestants and catholics. NGOs represented included the World Federalists Association, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and hundreds of others. Language teachers wishing more information about the conference should contact:

The Hague Appeal for Peace
c/o World Federalist Movement,
777 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA

Global Campaign for Peace Education

A culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems, have the skills to resolve conflict constructively; know and live by international standards of human rights, gender and racial equality; appreciate cultural diversity; and respect the integrity of the Earth. Such learning cannot be achieved without intentional, sustained systematic education for peace.>

The urgency and necessity of such education was acknowledged by the member states of UNESCO in its 1974 Recommendation Concerning Education for International Understanding, Cooperation and Peace and reaffirmed in UNESCO's Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy in 1995. Yet, few educational institutions have undertaken such action. It is time to call upon ministries of education, educational institutions and policy makers to fulfill these commitments.

A campaign to facilitate the introduction of peace and human rights education into all educational institutions was called for by the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference in May 1999. An initiative of individual educators and education NGOs committed to peace, it is conducted through a global network of education associations, and regional, national and local task forces of citizens and educators who will lobby and inform ministries of education and teacher education institutions about the UNESCO Framework and the many methods and materials that now exist to practice peace education in all learning environments. The goal of the campaign is to assure that all education systems throughout the world will educate for a culture of peace.

A brochure explaining the Hague Appeal's Statement on Peace Education drafted at its November 1998 preparatory conference in Geneva is available to interested language teachers. To obtain a copy, send a stamped, self-addressed B5 envelope to Kip Cates.


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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
E-mail: Work Tel/Fax: 0857-31-5650