Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) impact report
Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Ireland have released their first impact report based on research into their work, "AVP Ireland Impact Report 2017" (36 pages, A4); AVP has been running workshops in prisons in Ireland (the Republic) since 1994. This report shows Irish AVP work to be important, individually and collectively, in reducing violence and assisting the possibility of personal change and assisting self esteem in prisons. AVP facilitators in prison have also been pro-active on a wider front, e.g. their role in organising weapons amnesties and peer-led health care in Wheatfield prison, and in building community across divides. AVP Ireland also organises workshops in the community though, with clearance, outsiders can attend workshops inside.
AVP has a three or four stage experiential model of training (the final one is on male awareness), each equivalent to a weekend; "up to twenty participants and facilitators sit in a circle, conversing, engaging in collaborative activities, participating in role-plays, and trying to find within themselves the skills and power to resolve potentially violent situations non-violently, and to live a more peaceful life." There is no hierarchy and all participants and facilitators are volunteers, and prisoners can become facilitators on exactly the same basis as anyone else.
A World Beyond War conference – Cloughjordan
The Global Peace Movement, World Beyond War, has organised a Peace Conference, entitled 'New Climate for Peace: A World Beyond War ' on Saturday 8th July from 10 am – 5pm in the Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Co Tipperary. Topics include a keynote address by David Swanson, World Beyond War, Barry Sweeney on War Destroys Nature, Nuclear Roulette, Nobody Asks Poor People If They Want War with Peadar King, RTE, Inside Iraq with Hashim Alhadeedy and Fortress Europe - refugees fleeing from war - a Caoimhe Butterly documentary. After lunch sessions will be From Shannon to Iraq - Irish complicity in war and human rights abuse with John Lannon, Shannonwatch; Militarisation of Europe with Roger Cole, PANA; Ireland's foreign and defence policies with John Maguire, Afri/Action from Ireland and Irish Arms/defence industry with Margaretta D'Arcy. These will then lead into practical and engaging workshops organised by World Beyond War and Shannonwatch. For more information see here. This event is free though booking is essential and lunch will be available for purchase (please indicate when booking). For Cloughjordan Ecovillage see www.thevillage.ie
Democracy is often poorly understood, defined, and practised. This is true in the UK which prides itself on being an 'early starter' in relation to democracy but in 21st century terms is actually a 'late learner', if a learner at all. And Ireland, both Republic and Northern Ireland, largely inherited British democratic traditions though Northern Ireland has particular issues and problems. A section on 'Deliberative democracy' on the Building Change Trust site is thus very welcome with material written by Robin Wilson and Paul Nolan covering various aspects of the issue. There is other material on civic activism available on the same Building Change Trust site.
War-Torn Children Exhibition in Limerick
An exhibition of textiles, photographs and posters highlighting the devastating impact of war on children, their families and communities will take place from 17th to the 28th July in the CB1 Gallery, Central Buildings, 51a O'Connell Street, Limerick. The exhibition is commissioned by Doras Luimní and curated by Roberta Bacic, and is an adaptation of a larger collection exhibited at the Linen Hall Library, Belfast this year. The aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness of the human impact of war and injustice, and to promote a culture of hospitality and welcome for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution in Limerick. It will be accompanied by a series of lunchtime events that include a workshop on how to make an arpillera doll, conducted by Roberta Bacic; a first-hand account of Iraq since the 2003 US Invasion by Hashim Alhadeedy; the launch of Tell Them Everything, a book by Galway activist and author Margaretta D'Arcy in which she recounts her time in Armagh Gaol in the 1980s, with film maker and scholar Laura Aguiar; an audio-visual presentation of music from Calais 'Jungle' by Isolda Heavey; and a presentation entitled About Syria—Its Culture and Diversity by Radwan and Osama Abouhajar. The exhibition launch takes place at 7pm on 17th July 17th. It will close with a World Music Café on Friday 28th July at 1pm. See cain.ulster.ac.uk or contact John Lannon at 087 8225087.
Corrymeela open events
Upcoming open events with Corrymeela include the following: Spirituality and Power seminars monthly on Tuesdays in the Belfast office at 83 University Street (with a break for the summer); a weekend on Violence and the Sacred at Corrymeela, Ballycastle, 3rd-5th November, with Derick Wilson and Duncan Morrow exploring the thinking of René Girard, and offering specific resources; Dialogue for Peaceful Change training with mediation and conflict analysis and tools, 5th -10th November; a series of Public Theology events starting September in partnership with TCD and QUB (various locations). Corrymeela is also looking for long term volunteers for a year from September. See www.corrymeela.org for details and contacts.
Sheehy Skeffington Conversation, Downpatrick
This session looks at the interconnections of the Arts, Creativity and Healing and takes place at the Down County Museum, Downpatrick, from 10.30 am – 3.30 pm on Friday 14th July as part of the Soma Festival. The day includes talks, creative workshops and reflections; speakers/resource people include Damien Smyth, Linda McKenna, Kate Fitzpatrick, Alison Murphy and Mary Lynch. To reserve a place e-mail Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org Cost including lunch £10. [Francis Sheehy Skeffington was from Downpatrick]
Mediation Awareness Week
This year Mediation Awareness Week will take place from Saturday 7th to Saturday 14th October. Please get in touch if you are willing to organise and promote a public event so it can be listed - this can be a discussion group, a presentation, a demonstration, free consultations, a public gathering – whatever suits best and is likely to be of general interest. It might also be an article in your local newspaper or a speaking slot on your local radio station, or something on social media. Please reply by email to email@example.com
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiated by the EU and Canada was voted on in the European Parliament on 15th February 2017 at its plenary session in Strasbourg, following on a decision by the EU Council to conclude the negotiations and authorise the deal and its provisional application last October, 2016. Large parts of the agreement will come into effect immediately under a process known as Provisional Application, many of them very controversial, and this can happen even before the Irish Parliament has had a chance to vote on the deal, once Canada has completed its ratification and notified the EU. The Investor Court System will not be provisionally applied, as parts of the investment chapter fall under the competence of EU member states and not the European Commission. However it remains part of the final deal.
Afri has said in a statement "Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs will soon vote in support of the sinister Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) deal... it allows multinational companies to sue governments over any new law or policy that might reduce their profits. If the Government ratifies CETA it will be the single biggest loss of our sovereignty since the Act of Union 1800." Afri calls on members of the public, particularly supporters of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and independents supporting the government, to contact their TDs
This January, over 80 Irish civil society groups, including unions, farmers and business owners, called on MEPs to reject the EU Canada trade deal: The EU Parliamentary Committee on Employment & Social Affairs voted before Christmas to reject CETA, citing grave concerns about jobs, worker's right and widening inequality:
In January, the EU Parliamentary Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted on a draft opinion, the outcome of which was widely criticised by environmental NGOs. The original report prepared by rapporteur Bart Staes about the CETA, had in fact recommended rejection of the CETA:
Policy and Practice on migration
Issue 24 of Policy and Practice, produced by the Centre for Global Education in Belfast, is on the theme 'Development Education Perspectives on Migration' with reflective articles that debate this highly sensitive and increasingly politicised issue. See www.developmenteducationreview.com/ and www.centreforglobaleducation.com/
War is big business and one of the projects of the War Resisters' International is producing War Profiteers News, the e-newsletter of WRI's Global Initiative on War Profiteers. You can subscribe at www.wri-irg.org as well as see current and back issues. There are many others resources on the same website including (under 'WRI Publications') the excellent second edition of the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns which is also available in a paper edition.www.wri-irg.org
Cultivate, a sustainability collective based in Cloughjordan Ecovillage, brings you fascinating and practical imaginative green ideas and events, see http://www.cultivate.ie/ and you can subscribe to their newsletter on the site. Their Convergence festival will take place this year from 16th – 31st September.
Chelsea Manning & Shannon Peace Activists film
Another short Afri film, again made by RoJ, on "Remembering; Celebrating; Solidarity: Chelsea Manning & Shannon Peace Activists" – the latter being Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy - can be found at www.youtube.com See also www.afri.ie
Church and Peace: Nonviolence, EU militarism
Church and Peace is calling churches and government leaders to make decisive choices for nonviolence and to turn away from putting trust in military-based security concepts. At its Annual General Meeting on 9th-11th June in Strasbourg, the European peace church network explored the theme "Freed from fear, empowered to nonviolence" through the lens of an ongoing call to (R)reformation 500 years after Martin Luther proposed his theses for debate in Wittenberg, Germany. The encouragement "Do not be afraid", found throughout the Bible, was the basis for a sermon by Ana Raffai, Roman Catholic theologian from Croatia and co-founder of the interreligious Believers for Peace, during the AGM's closing worship, and formed the common thread between workshops on a variety of topics including security in Europe; just policing and a logic of security versus a logic of peace; Church and Peace, the Bible and sexual identities; fear, populism, nationalism and the return of fascism; and addressing personal fears in a constructive manner.
Church and Peace also clearly called for EU funds to strengthen civilian, not military instruments
"On 7 June the Commission announced the launch of a European Defence Fund, proposed a regulation establishing a European Defence Industrial Development Programme to give financial support to the European arms industry and outlined possible future scenarios in a reflection paper on the future of European defence.
Church and Peace members were alarmed that instead of coordinating member state armament plans, and consequently saving considerable sums of money, Commission funds would be taken from the current – civilian – EU budget.
The AGM also noted that two of the three future scenarios proposed in the Commission's reflection paper build the case for moving towards a European Security and Defence Union, on the rationale that "the rising instability in Europe's neighbourhood as well as globally and new emerging security threats stemming from economic, environmental and technological drivers present important challenges for our security".
The framework for the new European Defence Fund and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme would mean that more than EUR 600 million budgeted for civilian purposes through 2020 would be diverted for military instruments and weapons."
"Church and Peace is very concerned that these proposals would not only be a major shift in the EU budget but would also change the fundamental character of the European Union itself," said Church and Peace Chairperson Antje Heider-Rottwilm.