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UNESCO Culture of Peace Programme

Although Somalia has long since ceased to be a focus of media interest, the war between rival clan-leaders in that country continues. Because the majority of the Somali population is keen to see an end to the war, UNESCO. working with the European Union, has decided to give them its backing by launching another national `Culture of Peace' programme specifically for Somalia.

The `Culture of Peace' programme was developed by UNESCO in 1994 on the basis of the `Agenda for Peace'. Its main objective is to promote the transformation of violent into non-violent forms of conflict resolution.

This transformation is to take place primarily through the provision of support to groups that are of significance to peace in countries where there is conflict. The joint action and support of local non-governmental organizations is of prime importance in this connection.

In preparation for the introduction of this programme in Somalia, a number of conferences have been held, to work out the practical details. The latest of these took place in Addis Abiba in June this year. The programme is to be implemented via a Somali umbrella organization, the Somali Peace Line (SPL), which will co-ordinate the various Somali peace groups. Another aspect of the SPL's task is to identify and check out projects that are of relevance to peace in the areas of communication and peace education. This includes projects within the framework of formal and informal education, training programmes of all kinds, and the setting-up of radio, cultural, and sports programmes. The major target-groups are the militias, unemployed young people, women, traditional/religious leaders, artists, journalists, and intellectuals. Anyone interested in further information can write to Thania Paffenholz at the following address.

Contact: Thania Paffenholz, European Commission-Somalia Unit, Union Insurance House, Ragati Rd, PO Box 30475, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel.: +254 (2) 712830/713250/713251, Fax: +254 (2) 710997, e-mail: Thania@arcc.or.ke.

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