More than 230 participants participated in The Peace Foundation’s ‘Action for Peace’ conference held at AUT Auckland during the weekend of 19th-20th Sept 2015.
Dr John Hinchcliff addressing the audience at 'Action for Peace' conference
The Conference was organised to seek a comprehensive range of suggestions for actions that could make a difference in fostering a more peaceful future.
Support for the Conference came from the Rt. Hon. John Key and three former Prime Ministers: the Rt Hon. Helen Clark, Geoffrey Palmer and Jim Bolger.
175 wide ranging action proposals emerged. This meant a successful outcome.
Eleven sessions were designed for presenters to provide a context and suggestions for action. Everyone present was encouraged to submit their action proposals.
Dr John Hinchcliff, President of the Peace Foundation, stated: “Many participants expressed a sense of urgency about the dangerous situation we face. Some new high technological developments are as dangerous as nuclear weapons. The range of action proposals was impressive. These, and a list of supporters will be passed to groups already engaged in the issue, or seek to promote them within our Peace Foundation resources. We welcome new participants to help us more successfully proceed with our responsibility.”
More than 65 speakers presented their concerns and answers at the conference. They included peace activists, politicians, ecologists, Rotarians, academics, social workers, psychologists, high tech weaponry critics, workers for our youth, United Nations experts, Maori, educators and representatives from the religions. The speakers and facilitators’ ages ranged from 12 to 85.
The conference participants experienced the Australasian premiere: ‘The Man Who Saved the World’. This remarkable feature documents a true story about a Russian colonel Stanislav Petrov who, in 1983, refused to follow protocols and saved the world from a totally disastrous nuclear warfare. This movie could be the tipping point causing people to recognise the awful fragility of human survival.
Christopher Le Breton, in closing the Conference explained that: “Wars with devastating social and environmental consequences could easily be precipitated, for example, by the inability to access energy. But acting to enable everyone to obtain sufficient solar energy could solve a crisis that could cause significant destruction. We must change the paradigm to understand how we are all profoundly connected with each other and find practical ways to create a world that is at peace.”
The Peace Foundation and the conference organising committee plan to follow up with the participants and share the action proposals, both nationally and internationally, thereby exploring ways to strengthen world peace.
More information here: http://action4peaceww100.co.nz/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Action4PeaceWW100?fref=ts
Global Peace Index 2015 - How does New Zealand stack up?
30 October 2015
University of Auckland postgraduate students Kamala Busch-Marsden and Kevin Huh presented on the results of the 2015 Global Peace Index and their research into New Zealand’s performance on Wednesday 28th of October . These students have been completing a three month internship with The Peace Foundation as part of their course requirements.
Both students concluded that while New Zealand did rank well on the world stage, coming in at 4th, it had slipped over the years and also had some areas that needed improvement.
Huh commented that while the Global Peace Index was a highly regarded index, it was apparent that it was not necessarily a complete indication of a country’s performance due to its lack of inclusion of aspects such as domestic violence. The focus of Huh’s research was on racism in New Zealand society, and his conclusion was that many people particularly of Maori and Chinese communities had experienced racism in New Zealand. Huh believed that this was troubling and detrimental to New Zealand’s peacefulness domestically, especially as New Zealand is becoming increasingly multicultural. He recommended that New Zealand follow Canada’s lead and embrace bilingualism as well as adopting national days to celebrate New Zealand’s Maori culture and multiculturalism.
The focus of Busch-Marsden’s research was on the high levels of domestic violence and incarceration in New Zealand, especially of those from Maori and Pasifika communities who were disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. She noted that domestic violence and high incarceration levels for violence represented a high level of violence present in New Zealand society, despite our high ranking in the Global Peace Index.
Both students highlighted the importance of peace education in combating these problematic areas in New Zealand society. They both recommended a strengthening of ‘positive peace’ in New Zealand through a holistic approach, such as increasing peace education and strengthening institutions that worked in these areas. Peace Education programmes, such as The Peace Foundation’s Cool Schools and Leadership through Peer Mediation, teach tolerance and understanding as well as provide students non-violent ways of addressing their differences.
The presentation was followed by a lively debate and concluded with a mihi to acknowledge the interns contribution to The Peace Foundation.