We spoke about the War Children, and War Grandchildren, movement in Germany and experiences with the inter-generational transmission of trauma in families of World War II survivors, Armenian genocide survivors and, more recently, survivors of the siege of Sarajevo. We explained how we would like to use truth telling and restorative justice to contribute to closure of the Armenian genocide, an issue still of great importance to the descendants in the diaspora, Armenia and Turkey. The experiences in Germany and Armenia highlight the importance of peace education to generate awareness and commitment to non-violence, as well as more specialized education for peace professionals.
Friends including Freya Klier, Lorne Shirinian and Herbert Ammon sent messages and greetings, which we incorporated in our presentation:
We had the great privilege to share the panel with former United Nations and Canadian diplomat Louis Guay and Mel Duncan of the Nonviolent Peaceforce. The Nonviolent Peaceforce provides Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP), which uses unarmed civilians to do peacekeeping. Violence is prevented through the deterrence of international witnesses, dialogue and relationships, at a fraction of the cost of armed peacekeepers. Unarmed peacekeeping supports local civil society and communities in protecting themselves and preventing further outbreaks of violence by building local infrastructures for peace and protection mechanisms. The strategy has been used by 56 organizations in 37 countries between 1990 and 2015.
Side meetings were held with the GPPAC Peace Education Working Group to plan for the further sharing of experiences and best practices within the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.
A warm thank you to the conference organizers at Ohio State for a successful event facilitating exchange around these important issues!