Namaste, peacemakers. In this week’s blog, Dr Lorna Balie (M.A. in Peace & Conflict Studies) looks at CEO Craig Arendse’s notable conflict resolution and peace-building missions in honour of the International Day of Peace (World Peace Day) observed annually on 21 September. Lorna also explores practical ways to build and promote peace to break free from the shackles of a polarised world.
PROMOTING A CULTURE OF PEACE
Despite democracy, we live in an era of violence, hate, volatility and polarisation — emphasising the need for greater efforts in creating a culture of peace now more than ever.
By definition, “the Culture of Peace is a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations,” according to the U.N.’s Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (U.N. Resolutions A/RES/52/13: Culture of Peace and A/RES/53/243).
The UN-sanctioned International Day of Peace (World Peace Day) is observed every year on 21 September as a pledge to strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among nations and their peoples. The UN General Assembly declared that this day be commemorated to observe 24 hours of non-violence and ceasefire to celebrate and strengthen peace. In light of the pandemic, this year’s theme is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”, calling for worldwide solidarity in pursuit of a peaceful future for the planet.
As we honour this important day, we also want to highlight a local hero who has been building peace and transforming conflict situations for more than two decades.
When you think of peace, famous peace leaders like the Dalai Lama might be the first to spring to mind. But there are many unsung local heroes of peace-building building bridges that seek to transform society through constructive dialogue to solve differences.
One such hero is RACS’ CEO Craig Arendse, a mediation and conflict resolution specialist with more than two decades of industry experience under his belt.
A great deal of RACS’ current facilitation, mediation and conflict resolution work focuses on the local transport industry. Craig’s passion has, however, seen him traverse through various countries from as early as 1990 doing what he does best — creating environments for constructive dialogue and turning conflict into a catalyst for growth and transformation.
EXPERIENCE IS THE [FATHER] OF WISDOM
From Jamaica and America to Indonesia, Craig’s hard work and passion has opened a world of opportunities that has given him unique insights, knowledge, skills and tools to hone and practice the art of dispute resolution.
- In April 1996, the Middle East Peace Project invited Craig to present a course in Basic Mediation Skills in Lebanon, Beirut.
- In July 1997, he presented a Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation course in Yogjakarta, Indonesia, for Duta Wacana University.
- At the onset of the new millennium (2000), Craig presented a post-graduate course in Conflict Resolution at UCLA, USA School of Public Policy.
- Four years later, in March 2004, The World Bank invited Craig to facilitate a conflict resolution module at The International Conference on Local Development in Tanzania.
- A few months later, The World Bank invited him to facilitate a community conflict and mediation module at The International Conference on Local Development in Washington, D.C.
- Between January 2005-2010, JMJ Associates (London) appointed Craig as a consultant to the Africa project to facilitate high-performance safety engagements in Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, and South Africa.
Peace heroes such as Craig Arendse and many others should serve as inspiration for all of us to help build and promote peace, so we’ve rounded up some practical and actionable ways for you to do your part.
5 WAYS YOU CAN HELP BUILD AND PROMOTE PEACE
World Peace Day campaigns underscore the importance of solidarity when building a culture of peace and advancing peace principles. Whether big or small, there are ways in which every one of us can bring us closer to a more peaceful, prosperous, and equal world for all.
While there are many barriers to building and promoting peace, we have rounded up some practical ways to contribute towards achieving this ideal.
1. Foster a culture of peace through education
Education is a powerful tool that we can use to promote values of equality, fairness, attitudes, and behaviours that can strengthen ideals of peace. Education allows mindsets and attitudes to be shaped, creating an openness toward peaceful solutions to resolving conflicts.
As Nelson Mandela stated:
The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.
2. Constructive dialogue
Some key elements to achieving positive peace are dialogue and dignity. There first needs to be a willingness to engage in courageous dialogue. Thereafter, creating a safe space for open and constructive dialogue that allows people to share their emotions and vulnerabilities without fear of judgement can go a long way.
3. Transform interpersonal conflicts
Be the change. Sometimes, we merely need to reflect and look at how to transform ourselves and our interpersonal relationships. Transforming conflict within our relationships allow for more fulfilling lives and can help us discover the tools needed to do the same outside of those relationships.
4. Transform community spaces
Tap into your creative side and look at ways of building peace and justice within your community. Coming together as a community to speak out against injustices affecting you as a collective can create a sense of solidarity and trust, allowing you to preserve and protect the things that matter to all of you.
5. Support organisations that promote peace
Whether financially or through other voluntary means, there are practical actions you can take to build peace around you by supporting organisations that live and breathe peace and non-violence.
We call on all of you to employ peaceful approaches and constructive dialogue towards transforming conflict situations. Need help deciding on an intervention for a conflict situation? Try our free RACS Conflict Analysis Tool.