Lecture delivered by Carlsron Initiative for Peace and Human Rights to students of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Coker-Aguda Campus, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria on 25th July, 2015.

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our organization, Carlsron Initiative for peace and human rights (CIPEHR) is a Non-governmental and Non-profit making organization that is dedicated to the service of humanity. Our primary objective is to promote peace and human rights among other things and our mission statement is to promote general peace and fundamen­tal human rights worldwide, while our vision is to attain a ‘PERFECT’ world where general peace and human dignity reign SUPREME.

Our world has witnessed series of war; prominent among them were Mongol conquests of 13th century with estimate of 70 million deaths; the Taiping Rebellion in China 1850 – 1864, against led by Hong Xiuquan, who announced that he had received visions in which he learned that he was the younger brother of Jesus. At least 20 million people died, mainly civilians; the World War 1 of 1914-18 engulfed over 17 million souls; World War 2 of 1939-1945 went with about 180 million people. It will be shocking to note that this estimate almost equal the present population of Nigeria. These are some of the deadliest military conflicts in history. Of course we should not forget our own civil war of 1967-70 with 1 million deaths. We must ensure that the catastrophes of this magnitude never happened again. We must prevent such occurrence! But how do we prevent this is what forms the basis of our seminar today. It is on this note that I am welcoming you to this important lecture titled “Community peace: A prerequisite for international peace and development”.

Let us begin by looking at the meaning of peace, community, international peace and development.

To some, peace means the absent of war. It goes on to say peace is the absent of dispute and conflict, but there is no way there would be no conflict in the world characterized with interdependency of purpose. Bearing this in mind, we can conclude that peace is the management of dispute and conflict in a way that it would not result to violence. I must quickly point it out that the difference between dispute and conflict is while the former is a short-term disagreement the later is the long-term disagreement. Dispute can be managed not to graduate to conflict.

Generally speaking a community may be referred to as a group of people living in the same geographical environment or having a particular characteristic in common. Community is more than this! Communities include place of work, place of worship, place of relaxation, Internet, state of origin, schools, colleges, universities, village, towns, cities, associations, groups and even within family setting. Communities involve everywhere where people interact with one another. Peace should be spread to these nook and cranny.

International peace and development refers to management of international dispute and conflict in a way that it would not degenerate into war and as a result ensure international development.

Apparently, the modern international peace began with the end of 30 years and 80 years war respectively with the signing of peace treaty of Westphalia in 1648 now located in modern Germany. The 30 year war war was between the Holy Roman Empire and France and its allies. The 80 year war was between Spain and Dutch. This peace treaty of Westphalia gave birth to modern international system that recognized the sovereignty of states. The second attempt at international peace was at the treaty of Utrecht of 1713 now in modern Netherland which ended the French ambition of hegemony and preserved the balance of power in Europe. This gave more recognition to the sovereignty of modern state system. The third attempt was that of congress of Vienna of 1814/15 which ended Napoleonic wars. The fourth major attempt was the treaty of Versailles of 1919 which established League of Nations. The last major attempt was in 1945, in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization  which drew up the United Nations Charter and established the present UN.

All these attempts at peace are great landscapes in attaining international order but a great deal of man’s souls had been lost in this course as states always went to war at the slightest provocation. Though the situation had been remarkably stable in the contemporary international system, but whenever it does happen, man always bears the heaviest brunt. It is as a result of states’ imperfection and inability to totally pursue peace that this organization initiates its plan for peace at community level. If every community lives in peace, the whole world will leave in peace. Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean says a German writer and statesman –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

MAKING PEACE IN OUR WORLD

We can make peace in the world if we foster peace in our community, since it is the communities that make up state, and states make up country, countries make up continent and continents make up the world. As mentioned earlier, community is not limited to area of geographical residence but areas of interaction and relationship with other people. For the purpose of clarity I will make frequent reference to geographical community but the indices used also apply to other type communities in reference.

 

HOW DO WE MAKE AND PROMOTE PEACE IN OUR COMMUNITY?

We can make peace in our community if we realize that world peace starts with community peace and community peace starts with peaceful relations among members of the community. And who are these members of the community. It is you and I, hence form the bulk of our discussion.

1.One of the ways which such can be achieved is manners of approach and tolerance. 

Think about the main problem(s) in your community. Is it the annoying household down the street, or the cigarette smoke coming from the next-door smokers? Problems are part of our everyday lives, but these don’t have to be:

  • Smokers. Yes, the smoke smells awful, and is full of carcinogens which cause cancer, which can kill you. Whenever someone near your home comes out to smoke, just close the window. Carcinogens don’t need to be a part of your life. If you ignore it by closing the window, nobody is doing harm to anybody (except the smokers, who are harming themselves).
  • Noisy next-door neighbors. Noise is quite annoying when it isn’t coming from your household, but next-door neighbors can be noisy sometimes. If they make an excess amount of noise at night, just calmly walk over to their house and politely ask them to try to keep the noise level to a minimum. This should make your noisy next-door neighbors your friends instead of your enemies.
  • Domestic violence near or in your household. Not only is domestic violence illegal, but it can influence bad (or illegal) behavior in children if it is exposed to them. Domestic violence is the use of weapons or hands to potentially hurt someone. If it happens in your house, call the police immediately. Domestic violence isn’t to be taken lightly, by anybody. Ever.

2. Make signs. Make them say things like, “Peaceful area. No violence” or “Caution: Lots of peace in this community”. “Love your neighbor as yourself” Anything that goes against violence will do. Put them in places where people will see them. This will help with the peace level in your community.

  • Bright colors will be noticed more because they are unusual. Remember bright colors, but not too bright, or it will be more of eyesore than a peace-making device.

3. Have community development association: Community needs several developmental projects as well as fixing certain pressing issues. It is through this forum these are fixed. It could even be regarded fourth tier level of governance as it involves the election of officials that oversee to the welfare and development of the community. The services include community sanitation, hall, security etc

4. Have community parties/anniversaries. Parties also help people associate and communicate with one another. Whatever the location, people will come! If you have it at a clubhouse, you may have to pay a hefty rental payment before you can have a party there, and you might have to clean up after it, too. It is best to just have it at your house.

5. Have community social club

6. Have community sport activities

7. Preach peace in your religious community

8. Organize community peace competition in form of essay, quiz, questions and answers etc

9. Smiles. When you smile, it brightens up everybody’s day, including yours. If you don’t smile, you’re not trying to make peace. As Mother Teresa has said, peace begins with a smile

Tips

  • Try to be friends (not foes) with your neighbors. If they do something that makes it difficult for peace to be in the community, talk it out with them. Talking with people is better than assuming the worst about them. Remember: Think it out, talk it out, work it out.
  • Old foes can easily turn into friends, when you bury the hatchet with them.

This session is interactive and there is no limit to the point that can usher in peace initiative. As an exercise, participants are encouraged to put forth points that they think can enhance community peace.

Difference between dispute and conflict

Dispute is short-term disagreement while Conflict is long-term disagreement. Since dispute is of short–term, it can quickly be resolved than conflict. Nonetheless there are various ways with which conflict can be resolved.

Methods of Conflict Resolution

The primary processes for dispute resolution may utilize formal or informal methods for conflict resolution. Formal and informal methods include:

Negotiation: involves direct contact between the parties or their representatives; requires a willingness to communicate, and usually willingness to compromise.

Mediation: a negotiation facilitated by a neutral third-party who assists the parties in moving to resolution. The neutral has no control over the outcome but controls and directs the processes.

Arbitration: involves a third-party’s intervention, most often with the power to make a binding decision.

Adjudication: our state financed and administered court system of formalized rules and appealable decisions made by a judge or jury.

Avoidance: a legitimate approach to settlement – consciously chosen strategy of deliberately walking away from conflict as a strategy for its management.

Coercion: force; self-help; a unilateral action by one of the parties designed to effect resolution.

Having put forward the peace promotion in geographical community, this lecture has been carefully designed to go further for the purpose of its audience, who are mostly teachers, to briefly examine ways to promote peace in the classroom as this is another community designed for teaching the young ones the habit of peace.

It is often observed that while teachers are setting up classroom for the new school year, they only plan lessons for language, math, history, and geography. But one thing they sometimes forget to plan for is peace education.

Promoting peace was a large part of Dr. Montessori’s career – one of her most famous quotes is “Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education.” She thought it was extremely important in her day; today it may be more important than ever.

10 Ways to Promote Peace in Your Classroom

Here are 10 ways to include peace in your curriculum:

1. Start by defining the word “peace” with your students. You can ask children what they think it means; their answers will probably be very enlightening. They are often surprised to realize that peace can be found many places. It doesn’t just refer to “world peace”. They can have a hand in creating a peaceful environment wherever they are.

Peace may look a little different to everyone. To me, it doesn’t mean the absence of conflict. That would be an idealized world in which none of us live. Rather, it’s learning how to deal with conflict in a way that doesn’t put the rights, wants, or needs of one person over the other. It’s learning conflict resolution skills that stress respect for the individual and the group.

2. Declare your classroom a “peace zone”. Do not tolerate any kind of bullying. Lay down ground rules at the beginning of the year that are posted for everyone to see. Have all the children agree to the ground rules (even signing the list of rules) and hold them accountable.

3. Teach conflict resolution skills. One way (that children enjoy very much) is through role-playing. Choose a time when everyone is together and there are no unresolved conflicts. Role-play different situations that you notice amongst the children. Talk about peaceful ways to resolve the conflict. You can define and discuss compromise, taking turns, and listening skills.

One conflict resolution technique that children love is to have one object in the classroom or home that is always used when children are resolving conflict. Children face each other (or sit in a circle) and whoever is holding the object gets to talk. No one can interrupt, and once the object is passed on, the next person gets to talk exclusively. I have seen this work wonders in tension-filled situations.

4. If you have an annual event, like a poetry recitation, a musical, or other performance, choose “Peace” as the theme every so often. Challenge the children to find stories, poems, and songs about peace. They may also want to draw or paint pictures of “peace” and what it means to them. Again, much insight can be gained by looking into their responses.

5. Peace education can vary by age; older children will naturally be able to get into the history of peace and conflict by studying different countries and cultures. They can participate at a higher level by researching and writing about peace and peace education.

6. Have children participate in the care of their environment, showing respect for the materials, pets, plants, and other children.

7. When studying geography, history and other cultures, emphasizes respect for the diversity of traditions and customs found around the world.

8. Consider having your school named an international peace site. The World Citizen organization heads up that project, and they have information about peace education as well.

9. Be a good example. Don’t argue with parents, your spouse, or other teachers in front of the children. Speak respectfully about other people. Don’t gossip. Show kindness. It can be easy to forget that children are watching your every move, and learn more from what you do than what you say.

10. Establish special holidays and rituals for your school or home. These can include joyful celebrations as well as sad occasions (like the loss of a pet). Everyone can share in the planning, decorating, and celebrating.

Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, so that the whole world could be clean.-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has said. This also goes for peace. If every community embraces and promotes peace, the whole world will be at peace and consequently there would be overall development; there would be improvement in quality of lives as well as longevity. Let us join hand to work in peace so that we make this world a better place to live in. Thank you all.

The following are parts of what we do:

  • Dispute and conflict resolutions
  • Participating in local and international seminars
  • Peacebuilding through employment creation and volunteer opportunities
  • Community peace and human rights education

Please visit our website for more information.

Membership is open to anyone who is interested in helping the organization to achieve its aims and objectives and willing to abide by its rules and regulations. If you want to become a member please visit and fill in your information to our webpage.

Thank you for your attendance.

Wole Babajide

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