The Initiative Group for Peace Research, based in Tbilisi (Georgia), was founded in September 1996 by a group of university professors of philosophy, psychology, medicine, sociology, and philology. It was set up at the instigation of, amongst others, Karlheinz Koppe, formerly director of the Peace Research Information Unit Bonn and, until 30 June 1997, secretary-general of the International Peace Research Association. Encouragement was also given by the Paris-based Charles-Leopold Mayer Foundation for Human Progress.
The aim of the group is to learn more about peace research and confidence-building in other countries, to encourage personal and public reflection on the difficult situation in Georgia, and to enhance the quality of the action taken to deal with this: the scars left by the wars of secession with South Ossetia and Abkhazia run deep and could well lead to further violent clashes.
The group meets two or three times a month during the university term, under the chairmanship of Professor Tinatin Bochorishvili of the Philosophical Institute of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. European academics engaged in research in Tbilisi, and staff of non-governmental organizations working in Georgia are also invited to these meetings, to describe their experiences of confidence-building in regions affected by war, or to give talks on aspects of peace research. The meetings are open to the public and are intended to increase awareness of the necessity for non-violent conflict resolution.
Out of these meetings, there developed the idea of setting up a centre in which representatives of the various organizations involved in peacemaking activities could exchange their experiences. The creation of this kind of centre is also seen as an opportunity of establishing centralized access to other forms of world-wide communication and information. A data bank would be set up, in which the activities of all the organizations in the Caucasus region involved in peacemaking and sustainable development could be recorded and updated. The data bank would be complemented by practical communications facilities, so that it could be used as an effective means of exchanging information at the local, regional, and international level.
The idea for this kind of tool for facilitating an action-based exchange of information derives from the Foundation for Human Progress, which now has ten years of experience in setting up these kinds of data banks. A series of reports on experiences in the field of confidence-building in Georgia, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia is also to be launched. These may either derive from interviews or be provided by persons engaged in practical action. The group is also interested in exchanging experiences on a larger scale.
In addition, a library specializing in 'ethnic-national conflicts' is to be set up, with assistance from various European peace research institutes. In this way, the Initiative Group will also cover the theoretical aspects of peace research and will offer interested parties the opportunity of investigating the problems of the Caucasus region from a peace-based perspective.
Contact: Initiative Group for Peace Research, c/o Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development, PO Box 4 (158), Tbilisi 380008, Georgia, Fax (via USA): Good Will Company +1 (908) 8889698.
The Centre d'Informaci-- i Documentaci-- Internacionals a Barcelona (CIDOB) was founded in 1973 as a non-profit-making organization and was converted into a private foundation at the end of the 1970s. Its advisory board is made up of representatives of various institutions and leading figures from public life. In addition to conducting research, providing documentation, and disseminating information, the centre offers training in international relations and peace and development studies. To this end, it maintains close contacts with governmental and non-governmental bodies and also with university-based research and teaching.
In the research field, Spanish foreign policy and international co-operation are two ongoing subjects of study. In addition, there are special projects, the findings of which are published as part of studies, reports, and consultative documents. The projects address the following areas: (1) Migration: attention here is focused primarily on migratory movements within Spain and the regions bordering on it. The aim is to set up a system enabling developments and changes in migratory movements to be documented on an ongoing basis. It is also hoped to keep a systematic record of the political and social initiatives undertaken by individual European countries and by the EU itself. The project also covers legal, social, and cultural aspects of the integration of immigrants into Spain. (2) Latin America: Spain's relations with Latin America, with special reference to the processes of pacification and democratization, are the main focus of this project. (3) Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union: The CIDOB is part of the Task Force Group on the former Soviet Union run by the Institute of Security Studies of the Western European Union. The group holds regular meetings of experts from the various member states of the WEU, to assess the development and possible scenarios of the transition process. In addition, there is a research group that deals with the role of political parties and the historical record in the process of change in Central Europe and Russia. (4) The Mediterranean and the Arab World: this research field was established on the occasion of the Euromediterranean Conference that was held in 1995 in Barcelona. It deals with the following themes: conflict in the Mediterranean, agreement-based solutions for Jerusalem, association dynamics and community configuration of Muslims in Barcelona. (5) Co-operation and development: this project covers consultation on the topic of North-South relations, international development co-operation, development strategies, management and monitoring of projects and international bodies, states and non-governmental organizations.
In the educational field, CIDOB offers master's and diploma courses in international and development studies. Another aspect of the centre's information-based work is the organization of international seminars and conferences on the named core areas. Thus, in 1997 seminars were held on the themes 'European Security: Dialogues for the 21st Century' and 'Stability and Conflicts in the Mediterranean'.
A special CIDOB body is the Espacio de Comunicaci--n Intercultural (ECI: Intercultural Communication Forum), which is intended as a multidisciplinary platform for promoting and supporting the dissemination and exchange of ideas amongst the different cultures. In 1995, for example, as part of the events organized by CIDOB to mark the Euromediterranean Conference, a special programme was set up on relations between the countries occupying the two Mediterranean shores. The programme focused on the exchange of information and on activities in the research and teaching fields.
In addition to these activities, CIDOB offers on-site access to extensive information on the named core areas. It maintains a well-stocked library (Biblioteca Internacional de Barcelona: BIBA) containing more than 400 current periodicals, approximately 10,000 books and other publications, a press archive going back to 1974, numerous items of 'grey literature', and, lastly, access to the Internet. In addition, extensive research can be carried out in the CIDOB documentation centre, using the great variety of information which the centre holds on the named core areas.
Finally: CIDOB regularly publishes a range of publications which, in addition to the named core areas, also address issues of interest primarily to those concerned with Spain and its foreign policy in the broadest sense. These publications include the Anuario Internacional CIDOB, a yearbook containing commentary on Spanish foreign policy and international relations together with individual articles by international scholars on particular issues that vary from year to year. The journal Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals appears quarterly and examines international relations from the political, economic, and social perspectives.
Further information on the research and educational activities mentioned above, as well as individual CIDOB publications and articles, can be called up on the Internet, at the address given below.
Contact: Centre d'Informaci-- i Documentaci-- Internacionals a Barcelona, Elisabets, 12, E-08001 Barcelona, Tel.: +34 (3) 302 64 95, Fax: +34 (3) 302 21 18, e-mail: email@example.com