Tag Archives | peacebuilding

Peace Writ Large

It is difficult to have faith in the potential of conflict-ridden societies to build sustainable peace. Not only do one half of peace agreements collapse quickly, but the global resources sustaining military actions far exceeds those for peacebuilding. In 2016, just over 0.5% of the $1.72 trillion spent globally on military expenditures went to finance […]

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An Introduction to Our Topic: Resistance (2)

A serious consideration of nonviolent resistance requires us to confront both practical and conceptual issues. While the practice goes back at least to the 4th century B.C.E., its history and successes remain largely unrecognized. Given our current normalization of violence, we tend to see every nonviolent movement that fails as confirmation of the inherent limitations […]

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What Makes Nonviolent Movements Explode?

With a focus on the Occupy Movement, authors and activists Mark Engler and Paul Engler, provide us with a real understanding of how nonviolent movements succeed. The key is the powerful combination of sacrifice and disruption, something that only rare groups “combine in thoughtful and creative ways.” But when they do, the movement can explode […]

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Germaine Tillion, une leçon de vie dont on peut s’inspirer

In this very important contribution, Dawson College Professor Djemaa Maazouzi introduces us to Germaine Tillion, an anthropologist and ethnologist, revered by many as the “conscience of 20th century France,” whose life and work was driven by her moral outrage over human suffering. In the 1930s, she opposed the racist ideologies spreading through Europe and the […]

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Rediscovering Nonviolence in the Vatican

All of the world’s major religions have opposed the taking of human life, but when religions gain political power, the story becomes much more ambivalent, particularly with respect to the acceptance of warfare. Early Christianity expressed a strong commitment to pacifism and opposed Christian participation in war; this shifted once Christianity became the official Church […]

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Humor but Not Humiliation

Gandhi believed that the victim’s suffering could awaken the conscience of an oppressor. This process of conversion has been called moral jiu-jitsu, whereby the unexpected refusal to respond with violence makes the perpetrator lose their moral balance. While many, including Gandhi, have recognized that this process can take time, and often happens by way of […]

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Deploying Art Against War

Joshua Levkowitz addresses the potential of art to oppose violence and trigger further community resistance, as well as to help communities heal from war. While the results have been varied, the author discusses examples of public art from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East that were presented at a recent forum organized by the United […]

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An Introduction to Gender and Peacebuilding (2)

Violence is one of the most gendered of social activities, but this goes beyond the fact that the perpetrators of violence are overwhelming male, keeping in mind that far more men are victims of other men’s violence than perpetrators themselves. Violence is also gendered in terms of how we think about violence, and specifically how […]

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The Refugee Crisis: Demilitarising Masculinities

In international politics, men are regularly viewed as security threats. All military age men killed by US drone strikes are automatically counted as combatants, unless information conclusively identifying them as civilians is available. In its decision to open its borders to 25,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees, the Canadian Government set its priorities: women, children, families and […]

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The Masculinisation of Complexity

Our understanding of the gendered nature of war has been profoundly shaped by the thought-provoking work of one eminent feminist scholar. In this next article, Marion Bowman interviews Political Scientist Cynthia Enloe; they begin with the situation that confronted the courageous women who sought to end WWI and then continue into a discussion of today’s […]

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The Thread of Anger

In this very personal story, a Dawson science student reflects on why she alone was subjected to her father’s abuse and laments on the fact that our society still hasn’t learned that we can’t solve violence with violence. ********** As a child, “anger” and “fear” has always followed me like a shadow. It isolated me […]

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A Normal Day

In this beautifully-written story, Dawson student Maryam Parvez reveals how gender-based violence touches generations, but remains surrounded by silence. ********** Darkness overwhelmed her, it seeped into her pores and grew. She was not always like this, frail, weak with a body that was just bones, and eyes that were lifeless. No, she was not supposed […]

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Transforming Masculinity

Following the 1989 massacre at the Université de Montreal, three Canadian men – Michael Kaufman, Jack Layton and Ron Sluser – decided that men needed to work together to end violence against women. In 1991, they launched the White Ribbon Campaign, which today has become a worldwide movement in over 60 countries. In this article, […]

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Getting to Peace

In this article, first posted in 2010, Cynthia Cockburn addresses the fundamental questions How can we create more peaceful world? What underlies war’s continuing widespread acceptance? She suggests that we need to “create a nonviolent movement for a nonviolent world,” and that this must be grounded in a “transformative change in gender relations.” ********** Today’s […]

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Women’s Power to Stop War: Hubris or Hope

As the world’s oldest women’s international peace organization, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, prepared for its 100th anniversary this year, Cynthia Cockburn looked back to the roots of women’s peace activism, illustrating that from its beginning women took a holistic perspective, drawing out the links between women’s rights, social justice and peace. […]

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Plotting a Woman-Shaped Peace: Syrian and Bosnian Women Confer

Wars eventually end, but the peace that is implemented may do little more than reinforce the divisions that deepened through war; the needs of ordinary people tend to be ignored as the male war leaders negotiate “peace”. In 2014, while the UN mediated Syrian peace talks, without any representation from the country’s women’s organizations, twenty […]

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Iraq’s Female Citizens: Prisoners of War

In our western media, Middle Eastern women are often depicted as passive victims needing our rescue; indeed in 2003, the defense of women’s rights was presented as a justification for the US invasion of Iraq. The occupation, however, intensified religious extremism and resulted in massive violence against women. Jennifer Allsopp’s interview with Iraqi human rights […]

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Searching for Good News in the Fight Against Rape

The Women Under Seige Project aims at raising awareness on the extent of the devastating worldwide epidemic of sexualized violence, particularly in conflict zones. Women, however, are fighting back, and in this article, Shazdeh Omari looks for some positive developments. ********** We began 2015 by looking at underreported stories of rape and sexualized violence around […]

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Healing from Within: An Interview with Layel Camargo

Dawson student Catherine Duret faces her own fears when she goes off to interview international feminist activist Layel Camargo on their work in promoting transformative justice responses to child sexual assault. As revealed below, Layel’s passion and commitment is contagious, and their call for a more compassionate and community-based approach to sexual assault, along with […]

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A Call to Remember Peace

November 11 is once again upon us – a time to reflect on the costs of war and show our respect to those who have fought on our behalf. As citizens, these are responsibilities that we should never ignore, but we invite you to go further and take some time this month to consider what […]

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Interweaving Peacebuilding and Film

International peacebuilding initiatives often fail to build the foundations needed for real and sustainable peace to emerge in post-conflict zones. Sierra Leonian human rights activist John Cukier recognized the need for a new approach in his country and joined up with Libby Hoffman, founder of a US peace organization, Catalyst for Peace, that is committed […]

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Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

Ivan Freud from Dawson’s Religion Department calls on us to think about the potential of religion to promote peace in both the socio-political sphere and within ourselves. With references to six religious perspectives, he shows us the peaceful values within the world’s religions, highlighting the necessity for collaboration among religious leaders and followers of the […]

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Reconciling Red and White Poppies

Pat Romano reflects on some of the difficult truths of war through the lens of the conflict over red and white poppies. Both symbols arose out of the devastation of WWI, the world’s first industrial war. From the start, many perceived the white poppy as offensive to the soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice; the […]

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Making Peace through Apology

Apologies can be a simple human act, but one that has the potential to transform relationships in our individual lives but also between political communities. Good apologies meet some of our most basic psychological needs; they can erase humiliations, ease our guilt, remove our desires for revenge and rebuild trust. The very fact that many […]

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Support the One Million Viewers Campaign

Editor’s note: This wonderful online campaign is now over after more than $30,000 was raised for peace initativies worldwide. The unforgettable film, Beyond Right and Wrong was viewed online by over 60,000 people and watched by up to ten million television viewers. You can still find the film online at this link. In February 2014, filmmaker […]

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