Last week’s communiqué from the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Lübeck included a statement on climate change and security. In welcoming a report, A New Climate for Peace, to which my organisation International Alert contributed, the communiqué moves the issue forward and declares it to be worthy of high level political attention. Unfortunately, what is to be done is not so clear. Continue reading
Each year, 21 September is the International day of Peace, declared as such by the UN. Each day, the Day gets better known. Last year on this blog I recorded a message. This year there’s a much better message to be had. It comes from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, celebrating the power of words, of simply talking peace. Please use this link to hear him:
And keep talking peace! Today and every day.
Scanning forward across the conflict horizon reveals looming risks after two decades of growing peace. Connecting people and connecting issues, drawing on what we have learned over the past 20 years or so of peacebuilding, can renew the growth of peace. Continue reading
The situation in Mali is quietly dropping out of the headlines. But last week Ban Ki-moon called for 11,000 peacekeeping troops, possibly backed by combat forces so it’s a good time to be thinking about what the peacebuilding needs are in Mali. The French intervention seems to have been driven by a very short-term view (or perhaps just by the hope for a quick result), based on seeing the problem in terms of terrorism and therefore concentrating on hard security measures. This seems to be backed by a superficial analysis of Mali’s political economy focusing on the north rather than on the whole country and how power is organised, and on the Tuaregs rather than all the different ethnic groups. International Alert has published a briefing paper that goes into the background and explores what is needed for peacebuilding. I have drawn on it for a shorter piece in the Huffington Post.
On Tuesday 9th, International Alert in Rwanda launched our report, Healing Fractured Lives, and the accompanying film (see my previous post) based on the photography of Carol Allen Storey. Discssuing the vivid personal accounts in the report and the film brought out some insights about how peacebuilding can work in even the most extreme circumstances. Continue reading
I am making an all too quick visit to Rwanda, primarily for International Alert‘s launch of the report and film, Fractured Lives. This project combines trauma counselling, dialogue and microfinancing in Rwandan villages as the country continues, often painfully, to grow out of the shadow of the mass killing and horrors of 1994 continues. The work has been brilliantly captured for Alert by award-winning photographer, Carol Allen Storey. The results are on show both in this slide show
Apart from the intrinsic interest of the subjects and the quality of the photographs, one of the most striking things about the film and exhibition is the way the photographs have cracked the problem of getting visual images for the process of building peace. War has always been photogenic – now we see how peacebuilding can be too.
The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars was kind enough to interview me about the work of International Alert recently when I was visiting Washington. I think they edited the material very effectively to produce a quite effective summary account of some of the work and issues of peacebuilding.