History of The Peace Foundation Part 6

In 2012, the Foundation continued to grow its programmes and services. In the local scene, it promoted peace education beyond schools with its Peace Cities Programme. In 8-9 June 2012, Auckland was publicly launched as a City for Peace with the aim of promoting nuclear free zones and a culture of peace based on social, economic and environmental justice, tolerance and non violence.  It was also instrumental for Auckland Mayor Len Brown joining Mayors for Peace in early 2012. In November 2012, A Peace City Toolkit: Practical guide for local boards and communities on being a City for Peace was drafted by the Foundation in partnership with Auckland Council and will be finalised and distributed to local boards and libraries by September 2013.  The contents of which include themes on peace through education, peace in the family, peace and the environment, and peace heritage and the arts, among others. To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Nuclear-free New Zealand in June 2012, the Foundation held a poster making contest for secondary students which gathered 20 high quality posters exhibited at Aotea Square and at Peace Space, Museum of Verncular, Auckland. In the October 2012, an interactive online game on conflict resolution and mediation (www.pandaisland.co.nz) was developed by Otago Polytechnic IT students for the Foundation. This has been well received by primary and secondary students in NZ, and will be promoted widely in 2013. In the international scene, the Foundation representatives Natasha Barnes, Jonnie Black and Alyn Ware kicked off the "Youth Rising for Peace Telesummit" in 12 February 2012 with a 45-minute dialogue on peer mediation and nuclear abolition. The Telesummit was a 24-hour celebration of youth voices for peace. It started in New Zealand and wing its way around the world with every new country each hour, with listeners able to tune in by phone or internet. This telesummit was organised by the Shift Network based in USA. The Cool Schools Peer Mediation Programme was presented in the Peace Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland organised by the Icelandic Boy and Girl Scout Association in September 2012.  Since then, the Icelandic Scout Association has expressed interest in having the programme training and resources translated in their language. This is an honor to the Foundation as Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world (2012 and 2013 Global Peace Index) and yet is looking for more effective ways of building peace from New Zealand (2012 2nd most peaceful country).

In 2013, ProPeaceWork (which stands for Positive Relationship Options for Peace at Work) was developed to provide skills on effective communication and conflict resolution in the workplace.  The programme teaches employment skills especially for young people and for those who want to re-enter the workforce. The pilot workshops were offered to refugee and migrant communities who are finding challenges with building positive and productive working relationships. After the pilot workshops, the programme will be promoted to more community organisations working with youth, refugees and migrants, and also to the corporate sector. In 12 June 2013, the Foundation had the privilege of having a private audience with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. The occasion helped us build our profile through the international exposure it gave us with His Holiness signing the Auckland Peace City delcaration. On its 13th year now, Schools' Peace Week has been offered to all primary and secondary schools in New Zealand as one of the Foundation's biggest campaigns and contribution to the UN Decade for Peace and Non-Violence for Children. It is a national week designed especially to help schools promote peace education. Students create their own activities/projects to understand and manage peace in their own lives and from a greater perspective learn how peace is fostered both nationally and internationally. This year's theme is Action4Peace: Making a difference in our communities. Another robust component of the peace education initiatives of the Foundation is its active volunteer and internship programmes. The volunteer programme takes on students and new migrants who would want to contribute to peace education and harness their knowledge and skills on general peace and conflict resolution. The internship programme involves local and international students studying conflict resolution, criminology, peace studies, international relations and other related fields for a cooperative education and work placement with the Foundation. It had international interns coming from South Korea, Iceland, Netherlands, Germany, France, Russia and USA. In August 2013, The Peace Foundation was awarded the NZ Diversity Award for its contribution to the NZ Diversity Action Programme of Human Rights Commission. Social media has played an important role in the promotion of peace and the Foundation has used email campaigns and Facebook to promote its programmes and services (www.facebook.com/PeaceFoundationNZ, /CoolSchoolsNZ, and /AklPeaceCity).  Also in 2013, Caroline Ongleo was awarded the AUT Best Supervisor Award for successfully handling the most number of interns from AUT.  

The Peace Foundation has also built its local, national and international linkages with peace organisations and continues to establish new and strengthen current strategic partnerships to heighten its profile and leverage support. In 2014, it held its organisational assessment and capability planning that identified a new structure with Wakahirahira Groups (council members) advising three pillars of management - Peace Education, General Management, and Peace Development.