After speaking at the John Bright Day held in the city a couple of years ago, Dr Peter van den Dungen, co-ordinator of the International Network of Peace Museums, suggested that a city centre peace trail leaflet be produced.
At the launch he welcomed this addition to the growing number of cities bringing back into contemporary memory important individuals, organisations, and events from the past related to local and wider peace-making.
These include London, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Cambridge, Atlanta and – in autumn this year – Berlin, Budapest, Paris, The Hague, Torino and Vienna.
Dr van den Dungen regards such trails as an enjoyable, instructive and very practical way of engaging in peace history and peace tourism, as well as stimulating peace work today. They make visible another history, not recorded in the history books. The incidents of the first world war are repeatedly recorded in detail, but there is little or no reference to campaigning and negotiation for a non-violent solution, to avoid the carnage of warfare.
Despite this, in February a Communication by the EU set out a common EU approach to the post-2015 development framework – listing peace and security as one of its five priorities. UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon also reaffirmed that “transforming violent conflicts and fragility into peace, justice and shared prosperity” must be central to post-2015 plans.
He also donated $5 million to construct a permanent headquarters in Washington for the Organization of American States, whose objectives include the strengthening of peace and security and the peaceful settlement of disputes among members.
Our contemporary, Ted Turner, pledged of up to $1 billion in 1997 to set up the United Nations Foundation, which supports the goals and objectives of the United Nations. Its fourth core priority is promoting peace and security.
However, if only the equivalent of 1% of money spent on weapons could be directed to promoting peace – or even a tenth of that – individual philanthropy would not be needed.
Note that on the 2nd & 3rd September, there will be an international symposium to celebrate the centenary of the Peace Palace in The Hague, the gift of Andrew Carnegie, organised by the INMP in cooperation with the Peace Palace/Carnegie Foundation: “Celebrating Peace Philanthropy and Furthering Peace Education – In the Footsteps of Andrew Carnegie”. See INMP’s website for more information about the Peace Philanthropy Symposium Programme.