First World Peace Summit

reportfromvi-5Following the 2nd Global Summit of Ministries & Departments of Peace, delegates traveled together to Vancouver to attend the first World Peace Forum, where the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace presented a half-day program on “Creating National Departments of Peace.”

The program included an international panel of government leaders followed by a series of five related workshops. The panel was moderated by author and lecturer Marianne Williamson, chair of the Peace Alliance in the United States, and included Dr. Arthur Chesterfield- Evans, member of the legislative council of New South Wales, Australia; Fred Fakiri’i, undersecretary of the Ministry of Reconciliation, Unity, and Peace of the Solomon Islands; Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich of the United States; Timothy Al Paulus, assistant secretary for youth in the Ministry for Youth and Sports in Liberia; Franklin Quijano, of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in the Philippines; and Paul van Tongeren (the Netherlands), executive director of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict. In addition, statements were read from Senator Shokichi Kina of Japan and Senator Douglas Roche (ret.) of Canada.

clipboard-im-9Manish Thapa, Coordinator of the Nepal Peace Initiative Alliance, read the Victoria Summit Communiqué. Then the panelists spoke eloquently and passionately of their reasons for wanting a ministry or department of peace, the status in their own country of such a governmental structure, and why partnership with governments and civil society is so important in our time.

PEACE SUMMIT CANADA-2006 410Marianne Williamson made visible the interconnectedness and implicit possibilities for cooperation leading to government and civil society partnership in building an infrastructure for peace. Fred Fakiri’i commented that, “All of you want a department of peace, and we have one. Your challenge is to create it, our challenge is to sustain it. We need to work together.”

The sessions in Victoria opened with indigenous invocations, and each morning began with voices raised in harmony of song. At the end of the week, the delegates left Vancouver and returned to their homes around the world in harmony of purpose.