Forums on Peace

Some of the key problems of our time, such as violence against the other, the persecution of minorities, discrimination, the oppression of dissidents, the situation of mistreated and abused children, the isolation of the old, are too complex to be solved by specialists in single disciplines. It is for this reason that the founding members of the international research network City for the Cultures of Peace / Cité des Cultures de la Paix have organized regularly Forums on the Cultures of Peace that brings together interdisciplinary teams of prominent scholars and scientists artists, musicians, political figures as well as other professionals from different areas of activities in order to discuss major problems of contemporary societies, try to find new solutions, and disseminate them to the broad public.

These Forums emerged from a lecture and workshop series on the Pervasiveness of Politics held at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris during the academic year 1994-1995 (links) as well as from two international interdisciplinary symposiums: Patterns of Exclusion, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1995 (link) gathered thirty-three speakers from twelve different countries to discuss the complex phenomenon of exclusion from antiquity to modern times, including its social, political, philosophical, religious, and literary dimensions; Forms and Dynamics of Exclusion, UNESCO, Paris, 1997 (link) brought together one hundred participants from Europe, North and South America, Asia, India, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and African countries in order to discuss this intricate phenomenon in contemporary societies as well as its manifold political, social, economic, religious, philosophical, scientific, and literary implications. From 1998 to 2002, additional international conferences were held in Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Boston, Ottawa, Paris, and other cities.

In 2003, Dr. Amy Colin and Dr. Ernst Seidel, President of Pro Europa: European Cultural Foundation, co-founded The European Forum on the Culture of Peace. The first Forum was devoted to analyzing the Conflict between Politics and Religion; it was organized with the support of the Pro Europa Foundation, the City for the Cultures of Peace, the City of Lucerne, and the Canton. The Forum was held under the patronage of PASCAL COUCHEPIN, at that time President of the Swiss Confederation. Among the speakers were Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, later Nobel Laureate for Peace, Dr. Walter Schwimmer, at that time Secretary General of the European Council, S. E. Mgr. Amédée Grab, President of the European Bishops Conference, Bischop Makarios de Lampsakos, Representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Forum was followed by a Cultural Award Ceremony and a concert under principal conductor Daniel Barenboim.

In the subsequent years, the title “Forum on the Cultures of Peace” was used to specify that the Forums further develop basic ideas and concepts inherent in the UNESCO Manifestos and Programmes for a Culture of Peace, exploring a diversity of cultures rather than a „culture“ of peace and emphasizing the plurality of peace. Each of these Forums on focused on a different key concern of contemporary societies and its implications. Each Forum brought together seminal figures of our time along with many other active participants from different discipline and countries in order to reflect upon and develop possible solutions to key problems and their consequences. Time and again these Forums were linked to Culture of Peace Award Ceremonies and artistic events. Each Forum was held in a different cultural capital or in a city of special political significance; most of the Forums were under the patronage of the President of the respective country. The name of the Forum is under copy right and its idea legally protected.

In 2009, the Foundation for the Culture of Peace opened its activities with a Forum, comprising a conference, an award ceremony, and a documentary exhibition: Coexistence and Exclusion in Multicultural Societies / Convivenza et Esclusione nelle Società Multiculturali, held at USI and at the Faculty of Theology in Lugano and in the ex-Municipio in Breganzona. Ambassador Carla del Ponte, Professor Peter Demetz (Yale University), Professor Patrick Imbert (University Ottawa), and Professor Michael Finkenthal (The Johns Hopkins University) were the main speakers at this event.

The future Forums will further develop previous endeavors, focusing on key concerns of contemporary societies. The results of the Forums will be published and disseminated to the broad public.

For more information about past Forums, see International Conferences and Forums.

For new Forums, see announcements on this web site.

Amy Colin
President of the City for
the Cultures of Peace