From May 13-15, over 2500 peacemakers, educators and community organizers from Newark (New Jersey), the United States and from around the world met at the Newark Performing Arts Center to share, strategise and promote practical approaches to developing peace, conflict resolution, justice, disarmament and development through education and action.
Hosted by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the Tibet House, the Newark Peace Education Summit emphasized the links between personal peace, conflict resolution in the community and global peace, justice and disarmament.
International Peace Bureau played a featuring role in the Summit plenaries, press conferences, workshops and events alongside other Nobel Peace laureates (the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi and Jodi Williams), and other inspiring peace advocates including Somaly Mam (Cambodian anti-sexual slavery campaigner), Ishmael Beah (Sierra Leone former child soldier), Leymah Roberta Gbowee (leader of the Liberian women’s movement to end the civil war), Elizabeth Kucinich (campaigner for human rights, human health and animal-protection), Deepak Chopra (best-selling author on mind-body health, spirituality, and peace), Goldie Hawn (actress and children’s health advocate) and many others.
IPB representatives Alyn Ware and Jonathan Granoff gave the opening and closing presentations of the Peace in the World plenary, and organised popular workshops on Disarmament for Development (featuring Costa Rica Ambassador Ana Teresa Dengo, Religions for Peace Arms Down Campaign Coordinator Allison Pytlak and Peace Boat USA Director Narae Lee) and Peace Education from Kindergarten to the United Nations (presented with Universal Models for Peace and featuring youth-mediator Jonnie Black, a former school bully from New Zealand (via skype).
IPB focused the Summit on the Nobel Peace Laureates’ Three Key Questions to all Elected Policy-makers to Fulfill Our Duty to the Next Generation, which were circulated on the web and blog and outlined at the plenary session:
- What are your plans to address crushing poverty?
- What are your plans to protect the environment?
- What are your plans to eliminate nuclear weapons?
Jonathan Granoff also promoted the concept of universal human values that operate from personal to global arenas and transcend religions, nationalities, ethnicities and ideologies. He concluded the plenary session by saying “No mother should have to decide which one of their children will die, because there is not enough food or water to save them. And yet, there are mothers every day who make that difficult choice while we spend billions each year on retaining or nuclear weapons, or pursuing them. This is unworthy of civilization.”
A key theme from the Summit is that peace at all levels has become even more possible in the 21st century through the development and use of successful conflict resolution mechanisms at all levels and the development of global systems of communication, information sharing, accountability and law. However, there were strong sentiments that gender and youth inclusion is vital to achieve equality and success in conflict resolution and peace-building. There were also strong sentiments that respect for rights need to extend to those of the planet and its non-human life forms to ensure sustainability and genuine peace.
Newark Summit blog on core peace values: www.newarkpeace.org/blog/reflections-peace