Three local conferences aim to give peace a chance
The Hamilton Spectator

If schools and universities in America had taught more about peace, is it possible that the destruction in Iraq could have been avoided?  
If the public had watched fewer films glorifying warfare and absorbed less violence on TV, would the U.S. have been as willing to put its faith in military forces that seem so unable to win peace?
            The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have forced Pandora's box open, exposing western values to critical scrutiny from many sides.  Transforming our culture from the violence of the 20th century to a more sustainable path in the future will require major retraining for world leaders.  But where can individuals go to discuss their questions?   Who can answer them responsibly?  And what does the word 'peace' really mean?
A rare opportunity to participate in a series of discussions and enquiries will soon be provided by three Peace Education Conferences to be held at McMaster University in Hamilton between November 15th and 23rd.
With world opinion so opposed to war, peace education is beginning to be taken seriously.  School boards and departments of education are recognizing there are many ways to resolve conflict and that if we do not teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence.
Although the word 'peace' (like the word 'love' or 'religion') has many different meanings, it was neatly summed up at a recent conference of children in New York who called for "an end to war, poverty, exploitation, abuse and violence."  Such a definition extends the boundaries of the word well beyond its military connections.  Clearly it denotes the absence of violence in all its forms and sharpens the U. N. concept of crimes against humanity.
November's three mini-conferences have the purpose of advancing the plans and activities for peace education in Canada and build the groundwork for avoiding "Iraq Wars" twenty years from now.   The conferences will mark the third year running that Hamilton has been chosen as the site for major peace deliberations.  In Canada generally it is a sign of growing interest that three other peace education conferences have already been held this year, in Halifax, Vancouver, and Calgary. 
At McMaster a three-day 'Leadership and Peace' workshop moderated by Dr. Larry Fisk starts Monday, November 15th at the CIBC banquet hall of the Student Union Centre.
'Youth Day' is Thursday, November 18, when well over one hundred area youth will consider 'Creating a Culture Of Peace' and building 'A World Fit For Children'.  Friday is a one-day workshop for peace educators.
The main body of the conference will take place on Saturday and Sunday, November 20-21.  This will focus on major issues like the 'Human Right to Peace' presented by the Hon. Douglas Roche; and the 'Role of the Military in Peace Support' led by Captain Steve France from National Defence.  Gandhi's inspiring presence will grace the conference through Dr. Shall Sinha who simulates the Mahatma himself.  Dr. Sue McGregor, professor of Peace Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University, will introduce transformative learning; and David Adams (past UNESCO director) will explain the current status of the U.N. Culture of Peace Program.  During the final two days he will lead a symposium on Canada's opportunities for a National Culture of Peace program.
Full details about registering for the three conferences can be obtained by visiting or by calling toll-free at 1-800-574-7126.



In another stroke of good news, my Rotary Club of Okotoks has agreed to co-sponsor the McMaster Peace Education Conferences.  This allows me to put the Rotary logo on things and will help me build support with Rotary Clubs from Hamilton and area (the question that will be asked is "Why are the Rotary Clubs of Hamilton not yet sponsoring this important peace initiative?).  Earlier today, I have sent out emails to my Rotary contacts in the Hamilton area and hope some positive networking takes place. 

In this vein, I have an article on my web site at encouraging peace organizations to call upon their local Rotary and Lions, etc. service clubs to engage them in peace education and peace building (and hopefully this will lead to raising much needed financial resources for peace education).  Your peace groups might wish to consider contacting your local Rotary Clubs and offer to come as guest speakers to talk about local peace initiatives.  To locate specific Rotary Clubs, go to the "Where Clubs Meet" section of the Rotary homepage at and type in your community.

This has made my weekend.  See you soon.

Bob Stewart


We're hoping to hold a day-long workshop on an unparalleled peace research opportunity coming to Canada. On June 26-30, 2006, hundreds of internationally renowned peace researchers will be gathering for the bi-annual conference of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) to be hosted in Calgary, Alberta. Such a gathering in Canada provides an opportunity for Canadians interested in peace research to shape the agenda and help focus concerns and issues for future peace research in at least a dozen different arenas from the arts and peace to non-violence; from disarmament and environment issues to global economy and gender, development and peace.

The Friday, November 19, 2004 peace research workshop will be an integral part of the 3rd annual National Peace Education Conference taking place at McMaster's University in Hamilton, later this month. It will take the form of open space technology or the spontaneous generation of the content, ideas and issues by participants. Judi Richardson, one of Canada's most knowledgeable exponents of such a conference process will facilitate the open space nature of the workshop while Larry Fisk, the Coordinator of the IPRA conference and past-president of the Canadian Peace Research and Education Association (CPREA) will moderate the proceedings. The working title of the workshop is "Planning for IPRA 2006: Issues and Opportunities." Workshop participants will have an opportunity to shape the style and content of the upcoming conference: its key speakers, sub-themes, plenaries, community outreach, sponsorship and promotion.

Depending on the will of the participants the workshop might also serve as an agency for the examination of the state of peace research in Canada, its range and focus, its participating individuals and agencies like (CPREA), and how we might go about strengthening the network and focus of those of us who wish to call ourselves peace researchers in Canada.

If you are interested (and please note our numbers will likely be rather small: we are a dedicated few) please contact me directly ( for details. My other co-ordinates are cited below. Otherwise feel free to contact the Conference Director Bob Stewart for costs and how this workshop fits into other events at the 3rd Annual National Peace Education Conference, pre-conference workshops on peace leadership, and the post-conference symposium on the Culture of Peace, Contact either: or and follow the home page instructions to the 3rd annual national conference.

Larry J. Fisk, PhD
Co-Ordinator, IPRA2006,
Professor Emeritus, Political, and Peace & Conflict Studies,
Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS, Canada
Past President, Canadian Peace Research & Education Assoc..
Apt. 2, 1640 - 20th Ave. NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2M 1G8
Phone/Fax: (403) 210-3184
E-mail: or