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Chiefs of OAS Peace Missions Meeting

Washington, DC
September 21, 2010

Some of the Organization’s leading experts on conflict resolution and peace building will gather at a major conference in the Hall of the Americas on September 21, 2010 to commemorate International Peace Day and mark the 20th Anniversary of the International Support and Verification Commission (CIAV-Nicaragua).

This conference, organized within the framework of the Inter-American Peace Forum, will feature current and former Chiefs of OAS Peace Missions who will provide key insights and reflect on the main challenges and results of the missions they headed.

The keynote address will be made by OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, who was recently reelected for another five-year term as head of the Organization. Ambassador Albert Ramdin, the OAS Assistant Secretary General will deliver the closing remarks.

This event provides a unique opportunity to examine the role of the OAS in conflict resolution in the Americas, as well as to better understand the current and potential threats to hemispheric peace and identify opportunities and challenges for future OAS Peace Missions.

The CIAV/OEA, the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OEA), the Mission of Good Offices between Colombia and Ecuador (MIB/OEA), the Peace Fund Mission for Belize and Guatemala and the recent diplomatic mission to Honduras are some of the OAS peace initiatives that will be discussed.

Program

Peace and Water Conference

International Peace and Water ConferenceWater is the fuel of life. Yet, as it becomes scarcer and its quality deteriorates, due to heightened demand, pollution and the effects of climate change, competition over this vital resource is also increasing, leading many academics, politicians, practitioners and media to claim that future wars will be over water. The defiant nature of water, freely crossing political boundaries, raises this conflict potential and seems to back such claims. However, a more optimistic school of thought is gaining ground, asserting that history has proven water to be a greater pathway to peace than conflict between riparian nations.

In the framework of its Integrated Water Resource Management program and the Peace Fund, the OAS will hold a conference on Water and Peace in the Americas to debate the risks of conflict in shared waters - a critical question in a region that houses over 70 major transboundary river basins and to find ways of turning them into opportunities for dialogue, cooperation and trust, so that water becomes not a trigger of war but a catalyst for regional peace.

Corporate Social Responsibility for a Culture of Peace

Buenos Aires, Argentina
October 27-28, 2010

Though apparently distinct and apart, Business and Peace share nonetheless critical linkages that must not be overlooked.

It is undeniable that the vast majority of businesses require a peaceful and stable environment in order to prosper and that conflict poses extremely high risks to their operations and reputation. On the other hand, and as empirical evidence has demonstrated, businesses can also play a decisive role in promoting and strengthening peace. The cornerstone of this virtuous cycle between enterprise and peace is Corporate Social Responsibility.

By pursuing ethical business practices, rooted on the principles of transparency and sound governance, environmental sustainability, social cohesion and respect for the human rights, companies can indeed be catalysts of peace. More than an investment incentive, corporate engagement in peacebuilding is a moral imperative.

Recognizing the potential of the private sector to foster understanding, tolerance and peace, and the need for a more profound debate on the current status of CSR in the interamerican context, the Peace Fund of the Organization of American States in collaboration with the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the OAS and FOPAZ, will hold a seminar on “CSR for a Culture of Peace” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This forum will convene prominent business leaders, senior government officials as well as civil society representatives to debate the role of CSR in promoting a culture of peace, examine the latest advances in this area and share successful experiences and best practices.

Through an ambitious two-day program which addresses the various dimensions of CSR, from Gender to Sustainable Development to Youth Engagement, the OAS Peace Fund and FOPAZ intend to raise awareness on and enhance the CSR policies and initiatives in the Western Hemisphere and to decisively root business in the inter-american peace agenda.

Indigenous People and Peace-Building Experiences

The purpose of this seminar was to discuss and learn about unique conflict resolution and peace-building methods that are used by different indigenous peoples. In order to take advantage of the knowledge, practices, and experiences of the indigenous communities in this field, the Peace Fund put together a comprehensive program where indigenous leaders gathered to share information and experiences on the different approaches and methodologies that are used by different groups as they confront challenges related to social exclusion, discrimination and injustice. This forum was open to participation by civil society representatives, government officials, academics, and the media in order to enrich the dialogue on the issue of peace-building from an indigenous perspective.
La Paz, Bolivia
August 13-14, 2009

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Democratization of Knowledge to Create a Culture of Peace

The seminar “Democratization of Knowledge to Create a Culture of Peace” was held in Montevideo, Uruguay on April 29 and 30, 2009 in the framework of the Inter-American Peace Forum. The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the main challenges and opportunities of connectivity and social inclusion in developing countries, and to learn from the experiences of the highly successful CEIBAL project (one laptop per child, Uruguay). Uruguay was the first country in the Hemisphere to take on the challenge of the one laptop per child initiative, through the CEIBAL project. In the words of Uruguayan President Tabaré Vásquez “The strategic objective is that all children have equal opportunities with respect to technological skills and knowledge.” The one laptop per child initiative goes beyond providing a computer to each child; it is a commitment to the future, an essential tool to reduce the digital gap, a policy of social inclusion and equity. During the opening ceremony, Minister Fernandez labeled the initiative a “Peace Revolution” because of its impact on building strong and democratic societies. The forum featured local and international experts and included presentations by the Minister of Education and Culture, María Simón; the President of LATU, Miguel Brechner; the OAS Representative in Uruguay, Ambassador John Biehl del Río, among many other renowned panelists and invited guests. Groups of children from different schools throughout the country also participated in the seminar and demonstrated how this tool has empowered them for a better future.
Montevideo, Uruguay
April 29-30, 2009
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