Panel Sessions Presentations 

Abstracts 

Panel Session A: Culture of Peace 

Partnership, A Step to Peace and Progress

PRESENTER :  Dr. Mihaela Dimitrescu, Vice President, Romanian Association for European Integration and Democracy (RAEID)

International strategists and policy makers aim to change and better the future and fortune of citizens worldwide. Since 1990, many changes have been made in our political, economic and social life. As a result, legislative modifications have started all over the world representing an important step towards the formation of partnerships.

Partnerships are relationships working together to improve the structure, local strategies, responsibilities, and programs in our society. Indeed, we need to work as a real team with our government in order to accelerate the progress in our countries. The creation of a team involves the building of a sense of community around the shared vision, helping the individuals to understand their specific roles, learning to support each other in those roles, being result or success oriented, and resolving problems with healthy, conflict resolution strategies.

WANGO, in the sense of dialogue, is the voice of NGOs worldwide for the benefit of all people. Sharing our experiences, and being together as a family represent two of the main goals for the future of NGOs and the model for partnership. Positive organizational and team cultures need to be developed with the new vision of the organization being oriented to the people of our nations, and oriented to the dialogue of peace and progress.

 Education in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation--Bridge of Peace

PRESENTER:  Elisabeth Riedl, Vice President, Osterreichische Frauenfoderation Fur Weitfrieden (WFWP-Austria)

The theme for the United Nations 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is "From Words to Deeds." The Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP) believes that its contribution to the work of the UN is to carry the words of reconciliation into the realm of actual deed. The Bridge of Peace is one of the central projects of WFWP that actually achieves this simple but difficult process.

The Bridge of Peace ceremony is a new effective social technique to facilitate healing of the wounds of abuse, misunderstanding, intolerance, prejudice and war. It is a meaningful ceremony that leads to the first steps in breaking the cycle of perpetual victimization. The inner circle of fears and hatred can be broken during this ceremony.

There are four essential components to the Bridge of Peace ceremony. The first is responsibility in which we can break the chains of victimization by realizing that our resentments and anger are emotions that poison and debilitate us. The second is respect in that by recognizing and respecting the rights of others, no matter who they are, we are able to open our minds to the possibility of a solution. Without respect, the only answer is to negate others and continue the cycle of conflict. Third is repentance that is a personal cease-fire. When genuine repentance is offered, forgiveness is usually the overwhelming response. Forgiveness further empowers victims to move beyond the influence of their perpetrators. The fourth component is commitment. As participants embrace one another, a new partnership ensues. Be they be representatives of past regimes and conflicting cultures, races and classes, or friends and family, this simple public action seals personal commitments to one another and thus to the tasks of development and resolution ahead.

The WFWP uses the Bridge of Peace to tend to some of the most obvious needs of reconciliation such as the healing of wounds between people of warring nations, different races, classes and cultures, including human relationships within marriage and family. It also attends to many other areas of concern such as illiteracy, education, women's empowerment, emergency relief, support and administration. 

Sri Lanka and Religious Youth Service Activities

PRESENTER:  Don Ravindra Galhena, International Staff, Religious Youth Service, United States (RYS-USA)

Religious Youth Service (RYS) has a commitment to world peace that is on the leading edge of interfaith dialogue, cross-cultural harmony and cooperation. The program is dedicated to the ideal of humanitarian service as a spiritual practice. Since its founding in 1985, RYS has welcomed over 5,000 volunteers of many faiths, primarily young people of the age 17-30, to serve communities around the globe.  More than 150 projects in over 40 countries and territories have been completed.

The aim of this presentation is to elaborate the accomplishments and practical work carried out by RYS in Sri Lanka since 1992 to facilitate the healing and reconciliation process began during the war period, and its continuation thereafter with the signing of the ceasefire agreement between the government and the Liberation of Tamil Tiger Eelam (LITE).

Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Development of World Culture

PRESENTER:  Dr. Fuad Mammedov, President, Simurg Association of Azerbaijan Culture

The world is confronted with many social, political, economical, and ecological problems that call for widespread healing. With the increased role and capability of non-governmental organizations in the rehabilitation of the suffering world, it is necessary for us, within the framework of WANGO, to develop and implement a plan for the research, examination, education and enlightenment of the NGOs.

In relation to this, it is essential to 1) determine the position of the NGO in this task, analyzing its function, achievements, mechanism of development, and goals in the social-culture progress and development of modern society; 2) raise the legal status of NGOs and improve the coordination and partnership of NGOs with government, businesses and between each other on the national and international levels; 3) evaluate the technologies and mechanisms to raise the effectiveness of NGO workmanship and administration activity; and 4) organize a systematical training and retraining for the leaders and representatives of NGOs.

Increasing goodness in society is possible by upholding the value of human beings and creating a universal system of education based on both spiritual and temporal values.  The objectives of such an international policy should be 1) general and secondary education that contributes to the growth of the intellectual, ethical, manufacturing, consuming, and administrating aspects of society; 2) enlightenment of the history of cultures and civilizations of the world; 3) formation of a high ethical culture; 4) production of the universal system of cultural values; 5) formation of a principle-centered culture; and 6) partnership and solidarity based on the principles of world culture and the culture of democracy and civic society.

People to People Estonia Homestay Program

PRESENTER:  Ruta Pels, President, People to People Estonia

There are many different ways for people to discover a new country. Some prefer to travel by plane and stay in expensive hotels while others prefer to travel by train or bus and see the country from the window. Still other people are more adventurous and like to stay with local people in their homes, visiting, eating and speaking with the local people, getting to understand their happiness and their problems.

People to People Homestay Program is ideal for the latter type of person. The People to People Estonia Homestay Program started in 1993 at the beginning of Estonian independence. Most of the people in the former Soviet Union countries had never traveled abroad. Many of them could not even travel within their own country.  Estonia was open to the West, however few had the possibility to travel due to the cost.  But, the Estonian people were happy to invite foreign guests into their homes. 

Initially, the homestay program was an opportunity for the children to meet Western people. But the whole family actually benefited. Such visits motivated both the youth and adults to learn a foreign language, mostly English, French and German, and become more aware of different cultures. Guests and hosts become more tolerant and accepting of other people, religions and cultures through the program.

NGOs Building a European Citizenship

PRESENTER:  Gabriela Sotirca, Vice President, Euro-Atlantic Partnership for Sustainable Development

Being a European citizen goes far beyond the economic, political or social dimensions of this concept. Being a European citizen also incorporates the sharing of a common culture.

But then what is the culture that can be shared inside of a political construct that is bringing together a multitude of cultures and languages? What actually can unite all the people and how can an example be made for the entire world?  It might be the manner in which the people of Europe understand, accept and support this multicultural dimension of Europe and the manner in which they identify themselves with it.

The European Union gives its support to this concept accordingly to the booklet printed by the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, More Unity and More Diversity, and accordingly the Youth Program, one of its most important programs.

The European citizenship can demonstrate that diversity can produce unity and peace. European youth NGOs, and our NGO, can and already are actively involved in shaping the future look of Europe through guiding the youth to realize that the multicultural dimension doesn’t have to produce fear. Rather, it can result in interest and acceptance. Intercultural communication can be open to diversity and difference, free from stereotypes and discrimination.

Panel Session B: Human Dignity 

Europe Against Drugs (EURAD)

PRESENTER:  Grainne Kenny, International President, Europe Against Drugs (EURAD)

Europe Against Drugs (EURAD) is a voluntary organization comprised of individuals from the various strands of life who share the same concerns with our growing drug epidemic in Europe. As an organization, we support the Conventions and efforts of the United Nations concerning narcotics and illegal drugs. In accordance with this, EURAD collaborated in presenting 1.3 million signatures against drug legalization to the UN in Vienna.

In the 1980s, drug abuse was rising at an alarming rate. By the 1990s, there were an estimated 20 million drug abusers in Europe alone, and the numbers were steadily increasing. Drug related suicides were rising at an alarming rate among teenagers, and drug related accidents and absenteeism from was also rising. Most notably at that time was the little or lack of support for families affected by this epidemic. Many of our founding members were parents of addicts.

EURAD strives to disseminate accurate and up-to-date scientific information on drugs to parents, teachers, politicians and other policy makers in addition to giving support to families afflicted by drug addiction and promoting good practice in treatment aimed to help the addict become drug free. This is a basic human right.  Parents have to be recognized as the first line of defense that a child has with legal sanctions being the last.

We see that the elements in fighting this disease are legal sanctions coupled with prevention, early intervention, and if required, drug free treatment. EURAD is committed to opposing all efforts by well-financed lobbyists aimed at legalizing drugs.  We recognize that drugs are illegal because they are dangerous, not that they are dangerous because they are illegal.

Non-Government Organizations: Importance and Role 

PRESENTER:  Dr. Kashnath Pandita, Secretary General, Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum

In contemporary times, democracy as a form of political system has changed its contours. Theoretically accredited democrats have, in practice, turned into ruthless totalitarians, and the generals in olive green have staked their claim as ardent democrats, after bundling out democratically elected governments. It has become easier for potentates to mislead the people.

Therefore, if we want to see that democracy as a political system is not abused and democratic institutions are not profaned, we shall have to focus all of our attention on the masses of people with whom ultimate power rests. In other words, it means that we must bring education and awareness to the people concerning what their rights and duties are. We need to alert the people against the imposters and pretenders.

The question is who is to educate the people and bring them awareness? The emergence of a third force is logical and rational. This third force equidistant from the political parties and the ruling lot has a very significant role to play. In technical language this third force is called the NGOs. Its locus standi speaks of its importance and relevance. It becomes a bridge between the ruling and the ruled.

As things appear at present, political systems, administrative dispensation, quality of governance, access to the redress of grievances and violations of human rights, the universalizing of economic gains and overall movement towards higher quality of life, especially in the developing countries worldwide, are areas that need immediate attention. These become the primary concern of genuine NGOs. All of these issues lead to the vital and important role of NGOs in the new order of human society. 

HIV Prevention Project for Vocational School Students and Army Recruits in Estonia

PRESENTER:  Dr. Ljudmilla Priimagi, Chairman of the Board, Estonian Association Anti-AIDS

Estonia has one of the most rapidly evolving HIV epidemics in Europe, with limited resources available to respond to it. Although vigorous effort is being made, the country needs significant and immediate external investment to assist with its fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria decided to finance a four-year program to halt the progressive spread of HIV/AIDS by 2007. This goal will be reached by focusing on seven objectives within three main areas, which are prevention work with young people; treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS; and targeted intervention for high-risk communities such as injecting drug users, commercial sex workers, prisoners and men who have sex with men.

One of the projects being targeted to the young people is a HIV prevention education among vocational school students and army recruits in Estonia provided by the Estonian Association Anti-AIDS. During the project, from January 2004 to September 2005, 150 four-hour training sessions are planned for a total of 2,250 young people. The training will be done with methods of active learning, adapted by the Association, based on publications of WHO, UNESCO and other international organizations. 

Facilitators analyze each training session, studying feedback questionnaires completed by the participants. The youths were asked to evaluate the training as to whether it was interesting and informative on the scale of one to five. A computer program processed the evaluations after each training. During the first half of 2004, 74 trainings were completed with 1,338 participants. Seventy-three percent to one hundred percent of participants rated the trainings as being interesting and informative.

All participants are also asked to complete a pre-training questionnaire. The National Institute for Health Development will ask a percentage of the participants to complete the same questionnaire two to three months after the training to determine the long-term effect of the training program.

Education Can Kindle An Attitudinal Change Regarding Women's Rights in India

PRESENTER:  Dr. Jyotsna Chatterji, Director, Joint Women’s Programme, William Carey Study and Research Center

In the last few years, the issue of women's rights has attracted the attention of women's organizations, social scientists, and development organizations worldwide, especially in the developing countries. All over the world, women are burdened with cumulative inequalities as a result of religious, socio-cultural and economic factors, which have been historically accepted and taken for granted as if it is naturally meant to be.

In India, this inequality is heightened due to the conditions of poverty, castes, sex, segregation and the traditional value system supported by religion. The Indian society consists of many communities, professing diverse faiths and religious traditions. This is of paramount importance in understanding the relative status of women and men and it's shaping of their attitudes. 

Religion has provided the ideological and moral basis for the status and role of women in society and the home. People's notion about their role and their social restrictions are rooted in religious conceptions regarding women. Each religious practice has its own myths and legends, which emphasize the position of women. All religions, in their essence, believe that God created the human person, male and female, as equals. It is the interpretation of the scriptures that has lead to discriminatory practices and texts that have promoted the formation of unjust attitudes and behavior.

The constitution of India has provided the Indian community with a separate set of laws mandating equality for all citizens despite caste, creed, religion, and sex differences. Human rights groups have begun to use these laws to fight against the discriminatory attitudes persisting in the Indian society. 

Several studies have shown the positive role played by education in changing attitudes. The attitudes of people can change through education and lead to a gender-just secular society despite the religious and social differences and the patriarchal tradition in our society.

Proposed Resolution to Healing the Hurting World  

PRESENTER:  Evans Lombe, Project Coordinator, African Agency of Humanitarian Aid (AAHA)

Acknowledging that mankind needs to restore a just life, the Global Human Reorientation Education Program (GHREP) is proposed to highlight the process of a just life that upholds the true worth and dignity of humankind. With the Global Human Reorientation Education Program, societal vices and abuses such as poverty, terrorism, HIV/AIDS, nepotism, and tribalism that has lead to ethnic cleansing, shall be eradicated.

If the societies of the world realize this approach and invest effort, we shall begin to see the renewal of the true worth and dignity of each human being. With this program, the world shall begin to treat the actual root causes defined as the problem, which give birth to the vices or symptoms that have caused the world to continually suffer.

Four institutions, NGOs (WANGO), government (United Nations), religion (churches) and family (parents), should work together and address the world crisis that is rapidly spreading. These four institutions form what is called the Global Nucleus.

Treating only the symptoms and not the actual problems results in fighting a losing battle. We have to change our method of solving the world’s problems in order to better our global society. With the recourse of the human mind, the triple global vices, i.e. poverty, HIV/AIDS, and terrorism, can be eradicated.    

The Importance of Emotional Literacy for Building a Peace Culture

PRESENTER :  Hilde Rapp, Director, Ministry of Peace

A central thread throughout this paper is that emotional intelligence is a prerequisite for building a peace culture in which the management of conflict through non-violent means is the norm and violent conflict becomes the exception. This involves giving equal importance to meaning making through intuitive understanding and cultural narratives on the one hand and to the rational systemic anaylsis of biological evolution and the structural organization of societies on the other. Cultural narratives draw on mythos and imagination ans rational anayses draw on logos and argumentation. Political movements are in danger of misusing mythos to justify realpolitik solutions on the one hand and of misusing rational argumentation to justify emotionally laden value judgements on the other.

Emotional intelligence therefore requires that we first distinguish between and then endeavor to integrate four ways of knowing: subjective knowing through personal experience; collective knowledge generation through shared inquiry and interpretation; objective study of biological determinants of individual development and functioning; and objective research and theory building regarding the ecological context and the wider determinants of our social, economic and political organization.

The Role of NGOs is Essential in the Development of a Dialogue Culture

PRESENTER:   Haji Hafiz Osmanov, Azerbaijan Intellect Development / ”Simurg” ACA

In the beginning of the XXI century, year 2001 was declared the year of dialogue among civilization by the United Nations. The main aim in attaining dialogue was to invite all people to a great collaboration for sake of peace, happiness, and humanity. It is pity that this dialogue did not result as expected, and mankind faced the next global problem called terrorism.  Is it possible for dialogue to take place without a dialogue culture?

There are challenges to solve the global problems and create mutual dependence between civilizations. Such global problems include the prevention of the danger of nuclear war, world ecological problems, aid for developing countries and under-developed countries, demographic problems, starvation and poverty, providing raw materials and energy, cooperative use of the oceans, defense of human rights and so on. Solution of such problems requires the joining of all human forces. On the other hand, competition in the markets, development of infrastructure of education, information, biotechnology, telecommunication, among others, will be the central efforts in the XXI century. Today, human society’s wish for a unique moral-cultural unity and equality is manifesting.

The world peace and dialogue culture should be developed through the third sector.  Among the working bodies of the UN, UNESCO has a bright role in this field. Because of its multi-purposes in the fields of education, culture, science and communication, the effort of the organization and its work with the third sector has greater importance.

Panel Session: Children and Youth

 

Premature Baby Foundation of the Republic of China

PRESENTER:   Huel-Jen Lai, Executive Director, Premature Baby Foundation of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

There are more then 230,000 births in Taiwan every year and one in every ten births is premature. Premature birth is unavoidable as long as babies are being born. Children who are born prematurely often have great physical difficulties and can cause great challenges for the families as well. Unfortunately, few of us know how to prevent premature births.

With the recent advancements in medicine, a premature baby now has a better chance for survival. There is a greater capability of decreasing the miseries of premature birth, as long as there is hope and respect for life. With this belief, Premature Baby Foundation was established.

The functions of the Foundation are 1) to provide appropriate medical care and regular upgrade of the quality of medical care for premature babies; 2) to encourage and educate the public in the manner of caring for premature babies; and 3) to endeavor to prevent premature birth through education. In the future, Premature Baby Foundation of the Republic of China plans to promote pre-term delivery prevention, improve the quality of medical care and reduce the long-term deficit of the babies, enhance nursing service for home care, promote social education, and promote international cooperation. 

Introducing the Use of Computers to the Youth in Mauritius

PRESENTER:  Kailash Busgopaul, Director, Internet Child Safety Foundation

Mauritius is emerging into the Information and Communications Technology field and is positioning itself as such in the southeastern region of Africa. In alignment with this, the government of Mauritius is providing incentives to its citizens to purchase computers for their homes. Public places, such as schools and libraries, are also being equipped with computers that give easy access to the public. Numerous strategies are being devised to encourage the population to become ICT literate.

As a result, more people now have access to a computer, with the majority of them being young people. While they do have access to computers in their schools, the youth can also get access in cyber cafes. However, maximum use of this new technology is the optimum preparation for the future growth and development of the society. It is now essential that the young people become ICT literate to have the full benefit of the technology available to them.

In spite of all the incentives to introduce the country's young people to use of the computer, great effort is still needed to reach the marginalized youth with the new technology. Internet Child Safety Foundation (ICSF) has embarked on an awareness campaign in which marginalized youth people are given hands-on-education in the use of a computer. The program is created so that ICSF volunteers travel to the remote regions of Mauritius with computers. Ten volunteers serve in the campaign to bring both educational information and hands-on-education in the use of a computer to the young people of Mauritius.

The Collective Heart of the New Zealand NGO

PRESENTER:  Mogi Nayagar, Convener, International and Interreligious Federation for World Peace, New Zealand (IIWFP-New Zealand)

In terms of social change, educators are on the front line. In the 21st Century, we will be accountable for many of the decisions that will be made, as well as have the power to change the very fabric of society for the better. Moreover, the decisions that are made have multiplying impacts on all other aspects of the community.

In order to gain the credibility of the community and government, we must first demonstrate the potential of socially conscious education. This can be done in the following ways. We must become more involved in the community, and shift our focus from the development of programs to the development of our professionals. In reality, “we must stand in awe of the child’s potential.” We must become more involved in both civic society and have an awareness of politics, communicating the potential that we have to change the nation. “Politics without principles, education without character, science without humanity, commerce without morality, are not only useless, but positively dangerous.” (Sathya Sai: Burrows 93:128)

We must also practice bottom line accounting, shifting our attention to issues that affect the community. During the process of designing our programs, we must take more care to look at the whole system rather than just try to optimize individual components.

Finally, and most importantly, we must have a vision. I challenge every educator to think about why they work as an educator in the first place. If it is to help society by solving problems, I urge you to start now. Communicate this to others, to your colleagues, parents and the entire community. Look at the impact that you can have. It is only by doing this that the education profession will thrive in the 21st century. 

Combating Youth Unemployment Through a Mentorship Program for Young Entrepreneurs in Mauritius

PRESENTER:  Mahendranath Busgopaul, Secretary-General, Halley Movement, Mauritius

Young people, who are not academically strong, are having great difficulty to secure a job in Mauritius.  Official data shows that in the coming years this situation may become alarming because of future loss of jobs in the textile industry.

The mentorship program is a new exciting business program to support the youth to gain understanding and experience in a skill or job. Young entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to learn from experienced and established business owners, and technical and managerial personnel from the private sector enterprises that understand the process to start up and run a business.

Young entrepreneurs will receive advice from mentors in their communities. Mentors will provide practical and hands-on-experience to help the young entrepreneurs achieve their own success. 

The presentation will elaborate on how the mentor program works, the actual training program for the mentors, mentor roles, mentor reports, mentor recognition and future development of the program. 

Play Soccer Make Peace!

PRESENTER:  Mr. Robin Graham, Project Director, Play Soccer Make Peace!

Play Soccer Make Peace! (PSMP!) is a sports initiative of WANGO.  The goal of PSMP! is to create models of peace in which competing youth soccer teams demonstrate qualities of skill, unity, and friendship. It achieves this by working with WANGO representatives in each of 44 selected countries to identify and strengthen youth soccer teams and associations which promote talent, competence, ethical behavior and sportsmanship, both on and off the field. These youth teams are usually in local soccer associations, and are already aiming for high standards of skill and character.

The typical PSMP! project identifies eight community or NGO-based youth soccer teams. The chosen teams compete against one another in a tournament.  Prizes are given to all the teams in the tournament. By sharing the PSMP! principles and codes, the young players can connect to the PSMP! community worldwide.  All the players are encouraged to multiply the underlying PSMP! values in their communities, and in social projects sponsored by their soccer clubs.

PSMP! is funded by the Sun Moon Soccer Foundation that organized the Peace Cup held in Seoul in 2003.  Soccer is a universal sport, and it is played everywhere throughout the world, be it in the streets, on dirt fields, or in brightly lit stadiums. Soccer brings people together. It generates much excitement, and can teach physical fitness, mind-body coordination, teamwork, cooperation, character development and integrity. It is uniquely suited as a link between the work of NGOs and a culture of world peace.   

The “Love Makes Whole” International Relief Program

PRESENTER:  King Ying (Rebecca) Wang, Executive Director, Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation

One of the missions of the Noordhoff Foundation is to provide international cleft care in the developing countries. With program, a concept is adopted that local medical practitioners are trained together with the cleft care provided.

A five-step program for the international relief activities was carried out. (1) Subject Assessment. This stage consists of familiarization with the political, economic, medical, and technological conditions, the attitude of the government in the host country, and the approaches of cooperative hospitals and the support of key individuals. (2) Facilitation of Local Sources. Employment of local resources often includes assistance from local Taiwanese business people as well as international non-profit agency resources. (3) Outstanding Service Quality. Service that is free of charge nonetheless must not be free from quality. Consequently, quality control is essential, beginning with seasoned professional staff members to ensure patients' rights to proper care and the fine reputation of the volunteers and their home country. (4) Local Seed Medical Technician Training. Seed personnel training in Taiwan aims not only to enhance the know-how of trainees, but also instill in them empathy towards patients as if treating their own family. (5) Follow-up Supervision. Following completion of training, assisting seed trainees to maximize their assets is essential.

Since 1998, the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation and the craniofacial team from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan have provided treatment to approximately 700 cleft patients on 19 missions in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Myanmar, and China, and have given training to 35 local seed practitioners.

International relief action is an exercise in global fellowship. Mutual relationship among countries can establish a virtuous circle so that developing countries will achieve up-to-date cleft care.