A Nonviolence Research Network?

IssueOctober 2010
News by Kelvin Mason

Regular readers of this page will know that the Cynefin Y Werin network is pursuing a major project to establish a Peace Institute (Academi Heddwch), working with academics and others in Wales. The Peace Institute is likely to be based on the model of the Flemish Peace Institute. Delegates from Cynefin Y Werin have visited Brussels and speakers from the institute undertook a speaking tour of Wales. The Wales project has the rhetorical support of the Welsh Assembly government but the prospects of any material support from that quarter seem extremely unlikely.

A peace institute in Wales would have its roots in civil society, maintaining that nonviolence and peace are universal values that must be nurtured. Networking with like-minded institutions world-wide, it would undertake and compile academic research into peace, nonviolence and conflict resolution, disseminating its findings as widely as possible in the public domain. A particular aim would be to work with the education sector in Wales.

Last month at the Royal Geographic Society’s international conference in London, keynote speaker Nick Megoran of the University of Newcastle echoed much of the discourse of the Wales Peace Institute project. In the political geography lecture, “War and Peace?”, Nick called for more research into nonviolence and peace, what such concepts would look like in practice and how to bring that practice about.

He noted that geopolitical research by academics concentrates on war and conflict; that this was unlikely to change things; and that, ultimately, changing things must be the point. Calling upon his audience not only to research but also to construct a culture of nonviolence, Nick made a specific proposal to set up a network of academics who would be prepared to talk in schools to counteract the influence of the military who regularly take the opportunity to make their case and to recruit.

In questions and answers following the lecture, contributors noted the relative ease with which a proactive nonviolence research and dissemination network could be set up. In the first instance, a website might simply list academics willing to speak in schools and other public institutions.

Topics: Culture
See more of: Wales