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Seven years after the General Assembly of the United Nations proposed a bottom-up mobilization working to promote peace in the world, it happened in the city of Geneva, as the Honorary President of the JWF Mr. Fethullah Gülen, said. Building peace means building peace-loving human beings, the conference stressed. Further emphasis was put on teaching diversity as a means to raise peace constituencies.
As far as the theoretical framework of peace, Professor Johann Galtung’s idea of negative and positive peace is adopted as essential for understanding what peace is and is not. Negative peace refers to the absence of violence and the absence of the fear of violence. Positive peace is the institutions that create peaceful behavior.
To attain positive peace five tools are suggested as modus operandi at a universal level: interfaith dialogue, justice and forgiveness, education (especially to foster intercultural understanding), forming negative and positive peace institutions and peace speech to replace the hate speech that is prevalent especially in social media.
An independent media is also listed as a condition sine qua non for social peace and harmony as inaccurate and falsified information can become a weapon in the hands of a corrupt government. This further highlights the need for a sensitive global community regarding protection of journalists and freedom of expression.
The Geneva Peace Conference addressed concrete examples in addition to a theoretical debate. The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement from Sri Lanka and the University of Peace in Costa Rica were cited as some of the best practices. Furthermore, the vital role played by religious leaders in Sierra Leone,
Philippines and Indonesia were noted as powerful examples of religion as a key contributor in resolving conflicts.
The Geneva Peace Conference thus gave a strong sign to believe in peace efforts, are they small or big, in a world, which was seen in several contributions in a risk to do not enough in this field. The conference expresses its genuine commitment to stand against all forms of extremism and calls upon all stakeholders for joint efforts to advance the peace agenda.
Published on Journalists and Writers Foundation, 25 October 2014, Saturday