sabato 13 settembre 2014

Sustainable Peace through Universal Values

Minute of the Conference

IPRA 2014, 
25th General Conference on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary,
Istanbul, August 10th - 15th ; 2014.

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Plenary Session

Johan Galtung (Professor of Peace Studies and founder of the contemporary peace-research, rector of the Transcend Peace University - TPU - author of over 150 books on peace and related issues) remembers ten great peace lovers’ and non-violent promoters’ names: Elise Boulding, Kenneth Boulding, John Burton, Adam Curle, Danilo Dolci, Otto Klineberg, Hanna Newcombe, Anatol Rapoport, Bert Röling, Carl Freidrich von Weizsäcker. All those ten have devoted a great contribution to the peace research and the peace building. All those names have in common to have lived in the 20th century and to have driven initiatives and commitments to bring people together. This is also the chance of 25th IPRA Conference: Istanbul is located among three continents and at cross-road between two different Empires, the British one and the Ottoman one. This is a symbolic issue: we are moving from the North-West corner of the world to the rest of the world and we need to improve our glance to all the “rests” of the world. Now, peace research must include theory and practice: knowledge with value and value with knowledge; practicalities just in order to be practical concrete and effective in the work for peace and in contemporary attempts to change the world.

Johan Galtung continues his address to the conference noticing sustainable peace building means cooperation for equal benefit, empathy for harmony as a major challenge to present how the parties in a conflict appear to the public opinion. If you have a deal based on those two issues, equality and empathy, then you can balance forces and counter-forces, so the relationship will be positive, constructive and effective. On the other side, conflict means incompatible goals and incompatibility in goals can create illusions, disillusions and frustrations; a trauma, as a consequence of a conflict, can also become a new source for conflicts or a new path for prolonging a war, as issued below:

Where conciliation is over trauma to overcome it and solution is over conflict to transcend it.

Luc Reychler (Professor of International Relations, University of Leuven; Director of the Centre of Peace Research and Strategic Studies - CSIS) speaks about the role of time in conflict. Matter of peace is mostly about time and building a sustainable peace is more needed now than ever. It's time to raise our voices and our actions, not only to prevent violence but also to make peace building effective. The opposite of sustainable peace is what Benjamin Netanyahu, on the occasion of military campaign Protective Edge, called “sustainable quietness”. Failing foreign policy is based on coercive diplomacy, diplomatic isolation and regime change. Such a “forced democratization” is pretty an approach for “democratic fascism”. Foreign policy is the less democratic function of the States in the West. The role of time is essential in conflict, peace building and peace processes, and you need also to be aware about the manipulation of time (the manipulation of the past, present and future of a given scenario). Creating a sense of “urgency of intervening” can be used in positive (preventing violent escalation) and in negative (preventive war): this is a meaning of time for peace.

Linda Groff (Director of the Global Options and Evolutionary Futures Consulting, California State University) intervenes about building cultures of peace, conceiving: a) negative peace as absence of war/violence; b) formal peace as the creation of balancing institutions; c) positive peace as the removal of the causes of war/violence; d) holistic peace as harmony, unity and inter-dependence. Peace of the heart is the equivalence and the harmony between human beings and all other species; peace is a dynamic, complex and multi-factor concept; and one of the main topics for positive peace is either removing causes and fighting injustice and building as well culture and initiatives for peace. Non-violence has to be used as a way to build sustainable peace and for social and political change. Non-violence seeks to keep the conflict on a human level and can be used as a temporary tool to achieve a determinate goal and to promote a progressive change in social structures and cultures.

Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Commission

In the first day Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Commission, a number of speeches and studies have been collected. Al Fuertes (George Mason University, Virginia) does precise story-telling remains a very strong tool, also for peace building, not just for “telling stories” but as a way for building peace and conflict resolution, especially in contexts of strong oral traditions. When a massive trauma destroys the texture of a community, story-telling opens spaces for sharing ideas, commonalities and views about peace and conflict and restores links inside a community to fight against the displacement. Narrative is a common thread that undergirds these types (social and cultural) of peace-building and encompasses the entire spectrum of peace-building and peace process: a) humanitarian service, b) economical and political stability, c) psychological trauma, d) education, empowerment and capacity building, e) lobbying and advocacy. In such a way, story-telling is also a form of community building and can host tools, approaches and applications to empower community.

Christopher Barbey (APRED, Coordinator of the Swiss Pool of Experts on Peace at Swiss Dept. of Foreign Affairs) has conducted a research about the “Non-violence of the States”. We need a sort of equivalence between States and people, because people are the community and peace-building is also a community-building. Peace is a human right, as stated also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Who can live in this world without peace? For this reason, peace, as human right, is also pro-active in terms of peaceful conflict management and inherent the very human nature. Human rights are empowering people and consensus brings decisions right to all, but also participation and unity. The first step for the States is non-militarization (countries without armies, like Cook Isl., Kiribati, Marshall Isl., Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Isl., Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Panama, St-Kitts and Nevis, St-Lucia, St-Vincent, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, S. Marino, Vatican, Mauritius) through legal dispositions, no war exercises and no military missions. This means one out of eight countries in the world are without armies. We also need peace narrative and lessons about non-militarization and non-violence.

Zahid Shahab (Ass. Professor at Pakistan National University of Sciences & Technology and Honorary Executive Director at South Asia Centre for Peace) speaks about PCIA forms (Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment). The four main elements/steps for PCIA are: a) conflict analysis and peace building needs, b) relevance assessment, c) risk assessment, d) peace and conflict impact monitoring. In other terms, PCIA should be: a) better prepared, b) transparent about the political agenda, c) adapt for conflict avoidance, d) clear about social intentions in local conflict contexts. PCIA requires necessities like: a) networking among different agencies involved, b) more burden for local NGO staffs, c) not changing continuously strategic objectives, d) branding and strategic approach to PCIA. Appropriate networking between different agencies for peace-building and conflict resolution is important to create connections and avoiding overlapping and redundancy.

Tina Ottman (Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan) refers about trauma and peace-building. Trauma is a free floating signifier and has a very broad taxonomy. It can be seen as a socio-political and psycho-social consequence of a violence, since tragic and painful events can have effects and consequences in the mind of a person, a people or a community. It's not the existence but the axiology of a trauma to be on the core. The polarization of a trauma-based or trauma-affected discourse is a very decisive point, while traumas become collective when they are recognized as a wound to social identity and collective identity. A cultural trauma can mark indelibly the social consciousness of a people and a community and can change the collective perceptions of the past and the future. Are individual or collective processes comparable? We need a multitasking approach.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Commission

In the second day Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Commission, Herbert Rosana (Bicol University, Department of Peace Studies, Philippines) presents a frame about “Schools of Peace” as a “Model for Education”. The School of Peace Education and Development is based in Bicol University, Philippines, as a learning institution through four phases of transformation, supporting the peace initiatives by the national government. Its conceptual frame is based on the following: a) theory of change (as community based intervention), b) realities, experiences and lessons to be achieved through principles, approaches and practice. Teachers and students are the most important part of the School and the learning process goes from people to school, from school to community and the entire environment made by school and community is towards officials and stakeholders. The four phases of the implementation of the School of Peace Education as learning institution are: 1) awareness appreciation, 2) strengthening capacities, 3) application, adaptation, implementation, 4) institutionalization and verification. Peace Education needs a total-of-school approach and is also a matter for re-orienting the curriculum because peace-education is a basic and major cross-cutting.

Jennifer Lynne (director of contactproject and visiting scholar at Amherst College, Massachusetts) intervenes about the issue of “Engaged Identity” in theory and practice. The basic human capacities are listening, patience and respect. Listening is essential for intuition and understanding. Patience is like a form of continuity in listening and understanding. Respect is also a crucial skill to recognize “the other” and to be open to variety and differences through any custom and culture in the world. As you know, all human beings are “practitioners” in listening, patience and respect. Understanding identity complexity and contemplation are a tool for conflict prevention and conflict transformation. Identity is dynamic and not static; complexity is issued by factors, events, actions, ideals, influences and any kind of social process or social agglomerate is complex. Understanding and being aware about cultures, identities and complexity is a key capacity for conflict transformation and peace building. Such a conflict transformation path is also a way of gathering people together and opening rooms for participation, commitment and awareness about the topics related to conflict and peace.

Karen Bhangoo Randhawa (University of California, Berkeley) and Ami Carpenter (University of San Diego, California) present a join paper about resilience and prevention with special regard to the cases of India and Iraq. Resilience is an emerging paradigm shifting from environmental issue to conflict management and can be seen as a metaphor of the capacities, the abilities and the strategies of people when confronted with “catastrophes” in a very broad sense. In other words, resilience is conceived as a capacity to absorb effects or to come up from the effects of a destructive event and to recover abilities. Resilience is also matter of cultural awareness, political leadership and readiness to change, but it's not directly observable and its indicators are about physical, social and procedural enablers. The study cases presented are especially related to sectarianism in Baghdad (Iraq) and rapes in Delhi (India). It's important in all those cases considering the different kinds of enablers: for instance, procedural enablers are third party intervention, limited access to weapons, formation of civil, not-armed and non-violent groups; social enablers are actors capable to believe to achieve positive results and to link and associate with the prevention and the reduction of the violence.

They also focus about some indicators and recommendations. In the field of security protection, three important issues are: a) citizen participation (voices against violence), b) institutional change (new laws and procedures), c) gendered identities (mindsets change and procedure change). The recommendations for the future can be listed as follows: 1) need for more practitioners in the field of conflict transformation and violence prevention, 2) increase funding, support and capacities of local NGOs, 3) monitor of interventions in all the different phases of the implementation, 4) back-log of cases, practices and experiences and 5) institutional, civic and social approach. What is important here is to recognize the role of grass-root actors and stakeholders, both popular and social organizations and people and citizens, civil society and NGOs, opening opportunities for change.

Nurana Rajabova (International Fellowship of Reconciliation and Technical Assistant in US Peace Corps Azerbaijan) intervenes about the case study of Nagorno-Karabakh war. It's a clear example of so-called intractable conflict, since Nagorno-Karabakh is an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan territory, so it's territorially part of Azerbaijan but it has been under Armenian control and Armenian local troops since the end of a six-year war in 1994. Both sides frequently report shootings and incursions along the cease-fire line, but the latest outbreak of fighting in August 2014 has been the worst in many years: this fighting has already claimed dozens of lives on both sides. It's required a strong grass-root activation to mediate and transform the conflict but there are many challenges: a) lack of political support, b) conflict is still unresolved and memory is still new (since the memory of the causes and the past is going to be lost in the youngest generations), c) conflict is conceived as coming from the governments, so expectations are mostly towards the institutions, d) difficulties in social activation, so the IFOR project applies a theory of “individual change” and “public attitude”. You can change prejudices by applying a process of break-down of circles of isolation, polarization and marginalization. Combining such theories and approaches, you can involve and engage people in finding a way to face a conflict solution, based on awareness, participation and commitment.

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Plenary Session

Aude Fleurant (Director of SIPRI Arms Transfers/Production Programme and Military Expenditure Programme) is one of the major experts in the monitoring of international arms transfers and expenditure. We see actually a decline in military expenditure in North America and West Europe that began in 2010 and is furthering changes in the arms industry that date back to the 1990s and the 2000s. The decline sustains a process of greater dissemination of arms production capabilities in countries without significant defence assets before. It leads states to adjust their arms export control policies to support domestic companies' efforts on international stage and makes the monitoring of some aspects of arms trade more difficult, raising issues of transparency and accountability. Further-more, in other regions less impacted by the crisis, the situation presented itself differently. Taking advantage of significant growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2000s, countries such as Brazil, India and China launched strong military equipment modernization programmes, designed to build indigenous arms production capabilities. Awards of major contracts to foreign suppliers came with demands to develop and implement local activities directly linked to the military system or platform acquired, as well as for transfers of technologies and training for engineers and workers. So, in the context of current defence market changes, it is important to look at the evolving inter-actions between arms industry and arms transfers, as these may affect issues of transparency, accountability and control of arms export and require new tools and strategies for monitoring.

Naresh Dadhich (Professor of Political Science and former Director of Centre for Gandhian Studies in University of Rajasthan, Jaipur), as one of the main Gandhian experts in the world, speaks about forms and practices of Gandhi non-violent action, through the following points and arguments:

  1. Gandhi non-violent action is a political engagement since it requires participation and preparation and because non-violent action is the most powerful to achieve social changes,
  2. Non-violent action is not just a moral one but a political action capable to contribute to change at any level, meaning a change in personal life and a change in societal structures,
  3. We need to think in terms of non-violent “actions” - in many different ways - to apply many different methods for many different social actions and to challenge injustice at any level,
  4. Social matters are increasing day by day so we need to define non-violence according to the context where it's applied and coherently with its principles (friendship, respect for all, truth),
  5. Non-violence techniques are not aggressive, but concrete, coherent and practical and can be used by everyone and everywhere, by any people and in any possible context in the world,
  6. Non-violent action is a political strategy (in terms of people's power) as a collective action and a social mobilization and it occurs to reinforce methods of protest without the violence,
  7. Non-violent actions are possible if used in a moral way, considering all humans as human beings: 65% of humanity, somewhere and somehow, have been affected by non-violent actions,
  8. Non-violent actions are not institutional and require any time a full popular involvement, since they are set up inside a political strategy of social commitment and mass participation,
  9. Non-violent actions are seen as a system of principles, methods and initiatives to produce social change, face social injustices, reinforce moral shape, change cultures and structures,
  10. Gandhi successfully used non-violence basing on the conviction that non-violence is like “the Voice of God” and invented “Satyagraha” as main action for all the people in the world.

Gandhi's Satyagraha is not passive resistance since it is both active involvement and active initiative engaging all the people and the community, like in the “Shanti Sena”. In this sense, Gandhi was a great innovator and contributed - like Thoreau and Rawls - to introduce new definition of humanity.

Stephen Zunes (Professor of International Studies at University of San Francisco and senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus Project of the Institute for Policy Studies) keeps an analysis about non-violence vs. militarism. We need to put forward credible alternatives to the war, because the war is no more necessary in the contemporary world and people all around the world have the resources to say “no” to the war. You can now see the non-violent alternatives in practice, in many different cases, all around the world, from Latin America to the Balkans, from Middle East to Asia, just if you consider the “Arab Springs”, the “Bosnia Spring” and the social movements all around the Mediterranean. As it's known, non-violence is more effective than violence and non-violent actions have much more success than any violent action. Non-violent resistance challenges political dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and military occupations, you can see examples after examples from movements for social rights and civic freedoms in the Philippines to the non-violent resistance movement in Palestine. Meanwhile, non-violent resistance has only success if it embraces adequate tactics, engaging people in lasting uprisings and keeping high the challenge against authoritarianism.

Grace Asirwathan, Deputy Director-General of OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), intervenes on the topic “disarmament and non-violence” and the question how to put disarmament, counter-dissemination and non-violence into action. She lists some key arguments as:

a. In July 2014, the Syrian program of dismantling chemical weapons was concluded: this means that has been completed the destruction of the entire consignment of 600 metric tonnes of Category 1 Chemicals from Syria. This ends a crucial stage in the complex international maritime operation to remove and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile after the agreement with Syrian authority

b. This initiative has been a huge opportunity to contribute to free the world from chemical and highly destructive weapons, also taking in consideration the WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), and also a significant chance to put in clear the importance of negotiation and diplomacy to take step forward in the weapons' dismantling direction, it has been also, in fact, a very positive example of multilateral cooperation between Syria, the Organisation and the entire International Community

c. More than 30 countries have participated into the dismantling of Syria chemical weapons and, also from this point of view, this effort represents a hope for multilateral cooperation on international level, in order to solve global issues on the base of mutual agreements. The Geneva Protocol failed to prevent the use of chemical weapons also against civilians. So, we need to reinforce agreements and cooperation in order to strengthen the lasting process to make the world free from chemical weapons.

Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Commission

In the third day Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Commission, Emily Knowles (University of Edinburgh, UK) presents a study about “stress-testing conflict resolution” in Georgia, where the out-side conflict with the Russia had an in-burst into the territorial conflict with Abkhazia and Ossetia, which declared unilaterally independence in 2008. The Russo-Georgian war was a conflict between Georgia and Russia, along with the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, run in August 2008, after some provocations from Ossetian side and a subsequent Georgian large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia. Russia officially deployed units of Russian 58th Army and airborne troops into South Ossetia, claiming that as “peace enforcement”. The war ended with the separation and the self-proclaimed independence of both countries, recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua. The presentation showcases some of the insights come out of the research and explains preliminary attempts to distil primary research into a series of best and worst case scenarios against which the current resolution process will be measured, providing a comprehensive evaluation of the key sticking points and areas of constructive engagement to inform peace academics and policy-makers alike. Advances such as the discursive rejection of a military resolution to the disputes made by Georgian government will be contrasted with a continued impasse surrounding the signature of a pact of non-aggression, providing detailed analysis of the complexities surrounding a region where not only local but also international actors often have a role to play in the evolving security and peace environment.

Gianmarco Pisa (Italian Peace Research Institute - Civil Peace Corps Network) reports about non-violent peacekeeping and “culture-oriented peace-building” in the Balkans, with regard to the study-case of Kosovo. After NATO bombing in 1999, Mitrovica, Kosovo, where the EULEX mission is on-going, is geographically divided in two parts: the Northern part, where majority of the population are Serbs, and they do not accept so-called “State of Kosovo” institutions; and the Southern part, which is also part of the institutional framework of Kosovo, where majority of the population are Albanians. Such a division, being a geographical one, portrayed by the conflict and the power, is also a division in minds, feelings, perceptions. In the Balkans, especially in Kosovo, you can find a lot of memorials of the past, related to the memory of the war, the ethnic cleansing and the genocide, but you can also perceive one thing is the “memorial” ruling to preserve, in a static way, the remembrance linked with the tragic, and a complete different thing is the living “memory”, which continues its function till the present and preserve an awareness of the past able to be translated into action. The way the power use cultural symbols to preserve the State authority through the divisions can be reverted into a re-own of those symbols as belonging to the whole community living in a given - not displaced - place. This is a major challenge for “culture-oriented peace-building” as a main source for conflict transformation and positive peace, either working in the conflict, through interposition and open spaces for dialogue and communication, and working on the causes and the meanings and bridging the gaps and the divide.

Patrick Mbugua (University of Otago, N. Zealand) introduces the topic of the “discursive approach” for peace-building and conflict resolution. Such a discursive approach is based on the following issues a) peace agreements in conflict contexts, b) peace support operations also by local civil society and c) evolutions of conflict trends in the specific conflict context, with a special focus on Africa, especially S. Sudan. Successful peace process starts from war, then goes through ceasefire, then to mediation, peace-agreement, peace-keeping and ends with peace-building process in order to establish a sustainable peace, especially in the sense of the “positive peace” (based on social texture and justice). Transition from civil war to positive peace requires a process of conflict transformation as a resolution or a resettlement of the underlying causes of the conflict itself. Dominant theory approaches are agency-structure-multi-cause approach, while the discursive approach is based on the critique of the agency-centred and structure-centred approach itself; it's inspired by post-structural, post-colonial and feminist approach and is based on a social constructivist (human-based) theoretical approach. In this sense, the “discourse” has two major dimensions: the discursive forms and the social practices. The first ones are spoken texts, written texts and forms of knowledge; the second ones are institutional, organizational and social practices, including broader cultural policies, programmes and initiatives. Through the discourse: a) actors in conflict can construct collective meanings; b) collective meanings are placed as social realities; c) discourse can help understanding peace processes. The discursive approach helps actors in conflict to form their collective identities and a shared meaning of peace.

Mehmet Ganić (International University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina) introduces terms and topics, especially based on social and economic indicators, of the post-conflict transition in Western Balkans. In former Yugoslavia, private sector created 25% of GDP and the life level, according to any social and economic indicator, was higher than all the other (apart from Soviet Union and DDR) socialist countries. Croatia reached the pre-collapse 1989 GDP level in 2005 and is nowadays pretty the only country of former Yugoslavia to have achieved such a goal, since Bosnia is now at 80% of the 1989-level and Serbia at 70% of the 1989-level. The post-collapse (meaning post-2000) economic reforms were based on the typical neo-liberal US approach and EU oriented: these reforms were based on the following key-points, foreign direct investment, massive privatization and huge foreign penetration in the bank system. Nowadays, major problems are: a) the lack of adequate economic structure, b) the technological backwardness and c) the massive unemployment; as a consequence, even if these economies are listed by international organizations as middle-income economies, they are in effect less developed economies. Non-military regime change requires to stabilize economy, to calm ethnic tensions and to establish a sustainable peace. The EU approach is devoted to stabilization and association, with the main purpose of the integration and the membership, while a good chance for the present and the future is also relying on CEFTA system. The CEFTA is the Central European Free Trade Agreement, established as a trade agreement between non-EU countries in South East Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) as officially recognized government authority in Kosovo, since the incomplete recognition and the prescriptions of UNSC R. 1244/1999), based on criteria like: a) WTO membership or commitment to respect WTO regulations, b) any European Union Association Agreement, c) Free Trade Agreements with current CEFTA member states.

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Plenary Session: The Future of Peace Research

In the conclusions of the conference, by Linda M. Johnstone (Executive Director of Siegel Institute for Leadership, Ethics and Character and ex-Director of Master of Science in Conflict Management Program at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia), Ayşe Betül Çelik (Professor of Political Science and Conflict Resolution at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey) and Karenjot Bhangoo Randhawa (Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies at University of California, Berkeley) some of the main directions for the future of peace research are outlined to move into next steps and challenges:

  1. the development of innovative methods, approaches and tools for conflict resolution and peace-building, as a comprehensive civil society strategy to positively transform conflicts and achieve effective changes in society, addressing injustices and creating cooperative networks,
  2. the focus on those sectors of civil society (positive and peace-oriented groups, democratic NGOs expressing democratic and peace-loving parts of society, academic groups, researchers, operators and practitioners) able to create ties and to support processes for sustainable peace,
  3. the ability to create social networks – recreating ties – in the civil society in order to overcome the painful consequences of the violence and to bridge the divide also to establish social links.

In the last Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Commission relations, Samantha Smith (University of W. Australia) talks about “preventing inadequacy”. Preventive diplomacy is conceived as any action aiming at preventing disputes or escalations into violent or armed conflict. There are two types of preventive diplomacy: fire-break and structural. It's effective when conflicts tend to become worse and worse and the range of political options remains wide. The lack of early action is generally connected to a lack of political will: effective actions require a broader consensus and, at least, no-one in the Security Council (P5) against and all in the Security Council (P5) in a position to achieve an agreement. The action is effective if it takes into proper consideration local actors, local needs and local concerns. Otherwise, an effective action can easily become interference, so you have to perceive bias and active meddle. It's a matter of will, legitimacy and credibility, where human factor is decisive.

At the end of the session, Kevin Clements (Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand and Director of New Zealand National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies) reflects on the “social dominance theory” to prevent violence. Social identity theory focuses on inter-personal social relations (social dominance theory put it into concrete hierarchical domestic relations) in terms of identity, memory, narratives, symbols and victimization. Relationships between internal and external affairs, issues and topics are important to better focus and understand this dynamic. It's a way to discern a grammar of social power in a certain social system. Cultural ideologies legitimizing myths are going to provide moral justification for power, hierarchy and war. Universal drivers of hierarchy are: age, gender and arbitrary systems, in the sense in many social structures and constructs the age (the power of the elder: age-based hierarchies give more power to adults than children), the gender (the power of the men: gender-based hierarchies grant more power to one gender over others) and certain systems of arbitrary create scales of values and determine the hierarchical position of the members in a certain community. Social dominance theory is based on the empirical observation that surplus-producing social systems have a group-based hierarchy structure: as said, age-based, gender-based and “arbitrary set-based,” including race, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, faith, etc. Most forms of group conflict and oppression (racism, homophobia, ethnocentrism, sexism, nationalism) can be regarded as various manifestations of the same predisposition to form group-based hierarchies. This complex structure of myth, ideology and hierarchical systems is running in all the social levels, macro, intermediate and micro, from the level of the international controversies to the one of inter-personal disputes. In a certain patriarchal, male chauvinist and capitalist society, this hierarchy can reach its highest level. You can see there some structural and cultural cause of the violence and you can also move to address the causes of the violence in order to change them and conflict transform.


This minute of the works and presentations of the 25th IPRA General Conference is not conceived to give analytical proceedings of the conference, but just to provide information about the richness of the theoretical suggestions coming out from the conference. In the same way, the summary of the presentations and the speeches is not intended as a precise transcription of those works but as an overlook and a synthesis about the topics and the arguments focused by the different speakers. It's quite easy to see how intense was the work run by the conference and how intriguing the richness of proposals and suggestions, giving a powerful and effective contribution to the future of peace studies.

Useful links:

J. Galtung

L. Reychler

K. Clements

N. Dadhich

S. Zunes

General info:


IPRA 2014:

IPRA Prog: