Culture of Peace Description and Background
By David Wick, Pathways To Peace & CPI Team Leader
February 6, 2014
A culture of peace has been a dream and hope for human beings for thousands of years, even though different words may have been used. In the last half of the 20th Century a more precise focus and language has emerged which serves as a guideline for those seeking and leading in this quest.
“…my experience and research have convinced me that the world is on the verge of the greatest change in human history: the transition from the culture of war that we have had for tens of thousands of years to a new culture, a culture of peace.” David Adams, Director, UNESCO “A culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behavior and ways of life…”*
This is about shifting mindset and behavior in all aspects of our societies as we move from force to
reason, from conflict and violence to dialogue and Peacebuilding and embrace humanity’s
interconnectedness and inner oneness. It has become well-established that the pathways to a peace
culture are through local efforts in NGOs, education, government, business, and environment that work together to better understand each other and create new possibilities. Education, and specifically peace education, is an essential ingredient.
Cities are the real societal structural level where the Culture of Peace rubber meets the road. The
individual person is always the bottom line in Peace and Peacebuilding daily choices, but it is the city that has the reach, authority, responsibility and influence to set the positive tone and direction for so many people. This can be done by beginning to use the Culture of Peace as a compass for guidance and a lens to see and understand differently. This is relatively new territory in the early stages and where we are co-creating together.
The growing Culture of Peace is actually alive and well in many cities, but is often invisible and not
identified or nourished directly. The results and benefits of embracing and living in a Culture of Peace are enormous and pervasive in health, happiness, prosperity, sustainability and a legacy for future generations!
The United Nations in a series of resolutions and programs for the 21st Century, called for a transition from the culture of war to a culture of peace. In 1999 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243). During the International Year for the Culture of Peace in the Year 2000, one percent of the world’s population (75million people) took part in the signature campaign on the Manifesto 2000.
This was followed by the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). To quote David Adams at UNESCO, “Over 3000 pages of information and 500 photos submitted by over 1000 organizations from more than 100 countries testify that the global movement for a culture of peace is advancing, although this is not yet recognized by the mass media.”
Again, as defined by the United Nations, the Culture of Peace is a set of values, attitudes, modes of
behavior 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 (UN Resolution
“The pursuit of peace is an exhilarating adventure.”**