Museums for Peace meet in Belfast
The International Network of Museums for Peace is holding its 9th International Conference in Belfast from 10th-13th April with upwards of 150 delegates expected to attend. The conference also marks the 25th anniversary of INMP, a global network of peace museums, peace gardens and other peace related sites, centres and institutions that share the aim to cultivate a global culture of peace. The conference theme, "Cities as Living Museums for Peace", will highlight Belfast's social and political transformation from a divided, troubled city to a one which models peace consciousness through postconflict healing and reconciliation.
The 9th International Conference of Museums for Peace is co-hosted by Visit Belfast and Ulster University. The Conference will include keynote addresses, symposia, workshops, paper and panel presentations, and a poster exhibition, as well as optional visits. In addition to the conference theme, current issues and themes related to museums for peace will be discussed. These topics will include new developments in museum studies (museology), and the changing roles of museums for peace in the global age. For example, what is the role of museums for peace in education; in post-conflict healing and reconciliation processes; in the nuclear disarmament movement; in clarifying contested memories and multiple historical interpretations; and in raising awareness about socially-sanctioned, structural violence?
As well as other local input from INCORE, Healing Through Remembering, Queen's University, Mairead Maguire etc, part of the programme includes a) a tour of the Conflict Textiles and INNATE exhibition on War-Torn Children at the Linen Hall Library, Belfast (this continues to be open to the public until 15th April), and b) guided tours of the 'first draft' of INNATE's peace trail for Belfast city centre and Ormeau area – INNATE hopes to use the latter as a template for developing peace trails in local areas, in Belfast and elsewhere.
Spread your wings with VSI
Voluntary Service International is the Irish branch of Service Civil International, a worldwide peace movement that started in 1920. Since then VSI has undertaken a wide variety of voluntary and community work throughout Ireland and has sent volunteers to many projects in countries all over the world. VSI is seeking volunteers to join in over 500 international volunteer projects in Ireland and in over 60 countries worldwide. Many of the projects focus on peace and solidarity. More details can be found at www.vsi.ie For a complete list of all projects please visit the SCI database.
Projects in Europe include Finland, June - Food Not Bombs, a social activism project working against violence and poverty in Helsinki; Germany, July - Learn about the history of Nazi Germany in one of Germany's oldest former concentration camps, and promote peace and social justice through a number of projects; Austria, July - Join Wikipedia for Peace and volunteer in Tyrol this summer by conducting research and writing articles from a more gender inclusive perspective; Spain, October - Be a part of the amazing annual Fair of Solidarity Economy Festival in Catalunya. VSI also has opportunities for longer term volunteers – see website for details. VSI, 30 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, ph 01 8551011, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating alternative food futures
On the 13th April NUI Maynooth, Afri and Food Sovereignty Ireland will hold a Food Sovereignty Event in Maynooth University – "Creating Alternative Food Futures: Food Sovereignty in Ireland and Beyond". It will run from 10am – 3.30pm. Whether by adopting food sovereignty or some other framework, at issue is finding ways for urban and rural dwellers, peasants, landless people, small-scale farmers, and coastal communities to work on mechanisms that can nourish and empower food producers and consumers like never before. The task to is identify and raise the profile of projects and practices that might build a sustainable, democratic, and just food system. During this one-day event held at Maynooth University, attendees are invited to contribute and share their experiences about creating alternative food futures. 'Creating Alternative Food Futures' will have three themes: resist, transform, and build.
FOE: Government in denial over climate change
Responding to the publication on 15th March of the Government's long-awaited draft National Mitigation Plan to cut climate-changing emissions, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan said: "This plan shows Enda Kenny's Government is in denial over climate change. They don't deny the science but they deny what it means. They deny the urgency to act. They puzzle over the exact cost of any given action and give no thought at all to cost of inaction. Or to the impacts climate change is already having in Ireland and around the world... How can I tell Enda and his ministers are in denial? Because this 'action plan' contains no new actions, no new measures to actually reduce pollution. The first consultation on this plan was in 2012. And five years later they launch another consultation on options because they don't want to take any decisions.
"Contrast the lack of concrete commitments in this plan to the National Recovery Plan in 2010 or the Action Plan for Jobs, or the plan for agricultural expansion. At the UN climate summit in Paris in December 2015 Enda Kenny told the assembled world leaders that 'Ireland is determined to play its part'. [This] plan exposes Enda's pledge in Paris as empty platitudes. The plan shows a determination to dither and delay not a determination to act." See www.foe.ie The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition background briefing on Ireland's climate policy and 5 tests for the National Mitigation Plan is here.
Ciaron O'Reilly hacked by British police
It has been confirmed by London lawyers that Irish Australian solidarity activist and organiser Ciaron O'Reilly of the Catholic Worker and Ploughshares movements is one of ten people named by an anonymous whistleblower as having their email accounts illegally hacked by a secretive Scotland Yard unit working with Indian police and hackers. Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones stated "There is more than enough to justify a full-scale criminal investigation into the activities of these police officers and referral to a public inquiry. I have urged the Independent Police Complaints Commission to act quickly to secure further evidence and to find out how many people were victims of this nasty practice." See Guardian article
Front Line Defenders: Human Rights Award finalists
Crimean Tatar and human rights lawyer Emil Kurbedinov has been named as one of five finalists for the 2017 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. The annual Award recognises human rights defenders who – at great personal risk – have made exceptional contributions to protecting and promoting the rights of their communities. In Dublin, on 30th March, jury members selected human rights defenders from Ukraine, Nicaragua, Vietnam, South Africa and Kuwait after receiving 142 nominations from 56 countries. The 2017 finalists and their families have faced attacks, defamation campaigns, legal harassment, death threats, prison sentences, and intimidation. Front Line Defenders works to promote the visibility and protection of the five finalists, who are critical to the human rights movements in their countries and communities. The recipient of the 2017 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk will be announced at a ceremony at Dublin's City Hall on Friday 26th May. www.frontlinedefenders.org
US warship visits Cobh
A US warship, the USS Donald Cook arrived in Cobh harbour on Tuesday 21st March. It is likely that it was refuelled while in Cobh. The USS Donald Cook is a destroyer, equipped with highly sophisticated weapons including Tomahawk cruise missiles, and different Standard missile variants, among others. On 20th March 2003, USS Donald Cook launched the first Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs), in the early morning hours, in support of the US war on Iraq. These Tomahawk missiles can be fitted with nuclear weapons but, as it will not have been inspected by Irish security forces, no one will know if nuclear weapons were on board. In the words of Shannonwatch "This visit is a breach of Irish neutrality because the US is at war in several countries in the Middle East, and destroyers such as the USS Donald Cook have been used in the past to literally destroy people and property by launching Tomahawk Cruise missiles at cities such as Baghdad."www.shannonwatch.org
AVP: Workshops ongoing
The Alternatives to Violence Project in Ireland continues with a hectic workshop schedule. This includes 7th-9th April, Basic workshop in Castlerea prison; 7th-9th April, Basic workshop in Wheatfield prison; 5th-7th May, Second level workshop in Wheatfield prison; 12th-14th May, Basic workshop in Limerick Prison TBC; 9th-11th June, Second level workshop in Limerick Prison TBC; also a basic workshop in the community for transition year students. AVP is a training programme enabling participants to deal with potentially violent situations in new and creative ways. Workshops are non-residential, run by trained facilitators and experiential (not based on lectures). See avpireland.ie
New Gen Sec for Church and Peace
Lydia Funck has been appointed to serve as new General Secretary of Church and Peace, beginning 1st April 2017. A member of Bad Königshofen Mennonite Church, Lydia Funck was awarded a Masters of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies in March of this year from Philipps-Universität Marburg. Church and Peace is the European ecumenical peace church network of communities, training centres, peace organisations and peace service agencies. It participates in the ecumenical dialogue of the conciliar process for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation and is a catalyst for common initiatives and projects. This year's Annual General Meeting (AGM) is at Strasbourg on 9th - 11th June. There is a Britain and Ireland Regional Day of reflection and discussion looking at what makes us secure, and what makes us insecure, and how the churches can play a prophetic role in building true security in the region today, taking place on 29th October in Birmingham; more details on website. www.church-and-peace.org
Tom Savage death
We regret to record the death of Tom Savage, communications and media worker and personality, who had involvement with supporting the Northern Ireland peace process and worked for Peacepoint in the 1970s.
Cloughjordan Ecovillage (Co Tipperary) was envisioned as a destination for learning-by-doing and action research into sustainability, resilience, community living and rural regeneration. 100 adults and 35 children are now living in the ecovillage with over 15 businesses, co-operatives and learning providers. There are opportunities to live there, or simply to visit. See www.thevillage.ie for details including all the events and courses planned for 2017.
Cultivate: Grow Observatory – soil rather than s'oil
Cultivate is the Irish partner in the Grow Observatory, a European-wide project supporting the emergence of a movement of citizens sharing knowledge and data on soil. People of all ages and backgrounds are being invited to take part in a massive online learning course and to help with the monitoring of our soils across Europe through coordinated experiments and using environmental sensors. These 'citizen scientists' will help with forecasting and preparing for climate events, such as heat waves and floods, by validating the detection of soil moisture from satellites as well as taking practical steps to preserve the soil for future generations. Cultivate is broadcasting a call to action for all allotment & small farm holders, and anyone involved in a community or school garden to get involved by going to www.growobservatory.org
What countering terrorism funding costs gender equality
Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic and the Women Peacemakers Program (WP) have issued a major (88 page) report on "Tightening the Purse Strings: What Countering Terrorism Financing Costs Gender Equality and Security"; this analyzes how countering terrorism financing rules impact on women's rights organizing, women's rights organizations, and gender equality. "As a direct and indirect result of these rules, women's rights organizations have lost critical access to resources, as well as the ability to fully use banking facilities, all of which circumscribe how, where, and in some cases, even if, women's rights organizations can undertake their core work on mobilizing human rights, gender equality, and advancing the women, peace, and security agenda." The full report is available here.
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