4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner

Preparatory International Meeting of European Peace Teams and Non-Violent Conflict Resolution Initiatives Cologne, lst to 2nd of July, 1997

Minutes of discussions

We meet in the Franciscan St.Pantaleon's monastery, in front of the 1000-years-old romanic basilica - an oasis of calm in the mids of downtown Cologne.


Vincent Artison, Comité de Coordination pour le Service Civil (C.C.S.C.), 16, rue Jean Giono, F-91000 Evry, France, Tel. (+)33-1-64978346, Fax -60782861
Karl Derksen (2nd of July), Stichting Burger Vredes Teams Nederland, Begoniastr. 24, NL-7544 ET Enschede, Netherlands (after 1/1/98: Obrechtstr. 45, NL-3572 EC Utrecht, Netherlands), Tel./Fax (+)31-53-4763227
Tilman Evers, Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V., Schwengebergstr. 3, D-34132 Kassel, Germany, Tel./Fax (+)49-56 1 ~406312
Carsten Herzberg, Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V., Kaiser-Friedrich-Str. 134 Zi. 313, D-14469 Potsdam, Tel./Fax (+)49-331-503593
Ansgar Kaup, Peace Brigades International (PBI), Krabachtalstr. 22, D-53783 Wassach, Germany, Tel. (+)49-2243-83606, Fax -871455
Daniel Lapon, C.C.S.C., 16, rue Jean Giono, F-91000 Evry, France, Tel. (+)33-1-64978346, Fax -60782861
Mettha de Nachtegaal, Stichting Burger Vredes Teams Nederland (see: Kari Derksen)
Beate Roggenbuck (2nd of July), Helsinki Citizens' Assembly (HCA), Augustastr. 41. D-53173 Bonn, Germany, Tel. (+)49-228-361830, Fax -365106
Jan Slop (2nd of July), Stichting Burger Vredes Teams Nederland (see: Karl Derksen)
Juergen St6rk, PBI, Sagistr. 14, CH-6344 Melerskappel, Switzerland, Tel. (+)41-41-7901535
Evelina Taunyte, from Lithuania, at present in Germany, Im Krausfeld 16, D-531 11 Bonn, Tel./Fax (+)49228-650017
Helga Tempel, Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V., F6hrenstleg 8, D-22926 Ahrensburg, Germany, Tel./Fax (+)49-4102-53337

Tuesday, 1st of July 1997, evening

Helga Tempel welcomes the participants. She traces the origins of the meeting and outlines its possible goals: There is nothing definite to be achieved, let alone to be decided. This is a first informal meeting, mainly for the purpose of getting to know each other. On the other hand international networking is not a minor matter within the perspectives of peace teams: Most peace projects imply an encounter of persons from different nations and cultures; in many cases a pluri-national composition of peace teams would be desirable. One goal of the meeting could therefore be to initiate a more systematic form of networking and mutual information. - She proposes an agenda of the meeting along three main points:

bullet1. Getting to know each other (Tuesday evening)
bullet2. Points of coincidence - points of difference - chances of co-operation (Wednesday morning)
bullet3. Next steps (Wednesday afternoon)

1. Getting to know each other

Mettha de Nachtegaal presents the Foundation of Civilian Peace Teams, Netherlands:
The organisation has 25 peace groups as its members. Its aims are: To

bulletbuild international contacts, think about different approaches to civil peace services, compare them
bulletcompose international, multicultural peace teams
bulletshare teachers and trainers and curricula for the formation of civilian peace volunteers.

They started with a conference collecting ideas. At present there is a working group of trainers who collected materials and basic documents on the issue from Germany and Sweden. The intention is to compose a I year postgraduate curriculum (mainly based on the German curriculum from the Forum). They got help from a private university institute in Utrecht which will hopefully produce a brochure for presentation and fund-raising activities this year.
Financing: They asked the peace movements for contributions, with meagre results. There is no money and a lot of volunteer work. The development minister in Netherlands is quite close to their ideas, so there's hope for governmental support. He funded an international conference on civil conflict resolution in Amsterdam, February 1997.

Daniel Lapon and Vincent Artison present the Committee for the co-ordination of civil services (CCSC), France:
The organisation is composed of some 30 organisations. It has one paid staff person, all other work is done by volunteers. Financing is half public, half private: It gets money from the German-French Youth Co-operation for activities (e.g. organising seminares). It's locality belongs to the state. It receives contributions from the member organisations.
The CCSC was the organisation of the objectors to military service. There is a big change with the end of general conscription in France. Now the idea is to propose a peace voluntariat for young men and women with some life experience. The CCSC mostly attracts men, for the former task of the organisation was the co-ordination of the state controlled civil service. It is difficult to interest women groups for the purpose.
CCSC co-operates with other organisations on the national an international level. On international level for example they work together with Civil Service International and Pax Christi.
The committee is at present conceptualising its transformation into a centre of voluntary peace organisations. It is therefore looking for models and possible co-operation with other European countries. It could possibly remodel its locality in order to be able to offer trainings there. They could start with interventions in schools and low income housing quarters, for example.

Ansgar Kaup, Peace Brigades International, Germany (PBI-D):
Since PBI need not to be presented to the participants, he centred on stating the position of PBI towards the initiative for an civil peace service.

Some concerns expressed within PBI are:

bulletit is most important to remain independent from the state (who pays, commands).
bulletPeace work must be voluntary and not an alternative to military service.
bulletPeace work can only be done on request.

Juergen Stoerk, PBI-CH, and delegate of "Gruppe Schweiz ohne Armee" (Group Switzerland without Army, GSoA):
Whereas the majority of the PBI members are women, the majority of GSoA are men, GSoA has 30.000 members and is the Swiss peace organisation. In 1989, GSoA brought to a popular vote the abolition of the Swiss army. The 36.7% of "Yes" votes amounted to a political earthquake. Since then there has been an additional referendum against the purchase of F-18 fighter jets (over 40% votes against). GSoA also engaged in other issues, for example in a campaign for mass-objection or In a solidarity campaign for ex-Yugoslavia.
At present, GSoA is preparing two formally independent, yet interconnected popular initiatives.. One reiterates the abolition of the Swiss army, the second proposes the creation of a civil peace service. The formulation of the initiatives is in process and to be decided by the general assembly in November. Probably they will be launched in spring 98.
For this campaign there will be a weekend seminar on civil peace services on September 20./21, with international guests (applications welcome). A one week training on non-violent conflict resolution is planned in between Christmas and New Year (again participants from abroad are welcome!).
GSoA is proposing international networking on civilian peace service and is offering to put up a homepage on civic interventions with links to all organisation that are willing to join (please send back questionnaire).

Tilman Evers presents the Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V. (ZFD), Germany:
The idea of a Civil Peace Service was launched by Theo Ebert in 1994 as an alternative to military service. This was an important impulse to the discussion, even if many of the original ideas have been surpassed by now. Nowadays there is no longer a connection to military service. Peace service is seen as a semi-professional commitment of men and women of at least 23 years of age.
There are about 50 different organisations in Germany organising peace projects in Germany and abroad, namely in Ex-Yugoslavia. The ZFD does not intend to replace the work of these groups, but rather to foster it. The ZFD wants to build on the experiences of these groups and go a step further in professionalisation. Experience showed that the efforts of these groups are not sufficient, they are too small and rely too much on idealism. The ZFD wants to find ways to institutionalise the training as well as the peace-project management. it does not intend so set up projects by itself.
The ZFD put together a pilot 4 months training course which is presently under way with 15 participants (with an average age of 32) and two trainers. Ale pilot course was funded by the Government of the Land of Northrhine-Westfalia with 400'000 DM. The first month is for language courses, the following three months for training in conflict-management. Participants only pay the costs for their normal subsistence. Two thirds already have a concrete ensuing project. Next year there will probably be further courses on this line.
Actually the ZFD its getting a lot of public support. A public demand for the instauration of a civil peace service was signed by 150 reknown personalities. The ZFD was awarded the Gustav Heinemann Buergerpreis, an award for outstanding civilian engagement. Now they are trying to transform this public support into new activities. Conditions caught improve with a possible change of government in 1998.
In a middle range perspective it envisages the transformation of the association into a foundation which could facilitate access to public funding. Nevertheless it intends to remain a pluralistic civilian organisation with conceptual and operational independence from the state.
Paralleling the efforts of the ZFD, the Protestant Churches published a proposition of Expert Peace Services that Is almost identical to the concept of Forum, differing mainly in its links to the church. In spite of an unanimous vote of the highest Protestant synod, there is no money to set it up.

Reports from other countries, presented through letters

After this first round of presentations, Helga Tempel sums up reports from other countries that could not send personal representatives to this meeting, yet wrote letters describing their respective situation:

Italy: In Italy many articles are published on the subject of peace service, yet no organisation is working concretely on the issue, and there are no specific projects except in former Yugoslavia. There are over 50'000 Italians objecting to military service per year. Formerly they were regarded as outcasts, now there is a lot more understanding within the population. There are efforts to reforms the conscription laws allowing for peace missions as an alternative to military service, even abroad (e.g. Bosnia). Italian taxpayers are allowed to divert the proportion of their taxes corresponding to military expenditure to peace work.
This new thinking is also entering schools and universities, for example the international seminar on civilian peace services taking place in Pesaro. The university of Rovereto hosts such a seminar every two years.

Denmark: The Danish Centre for Conflict Resolution in Copenhagen (founded In 1994) includes the following activities: training, workshops, lectures, study circles, development groups, supervising, study tours and publishing. They published a training manual and organise mediation workshops.

Sweden: Within the Christian Council of Sweden there are 23 members (churches?). They co-operate within a programm called Ecumenical Witness for Peace, leaning strongly on the Red Cross. They created a Peace Team Forum which offers training in conflict management, even with military personal. Training is 8 weeks basics and 4 weeks specific preparation for project work. They demand a peace service conscription and intend to compose a pool of trained persons ready to leave on short notice, as stand-by capacity for civilian conflict intervention. The aim is to have international and multiethnical Peace Teams. One such course is being prepared together with the Life and Peace Institute of Uppsala for a project in Eastern Croatia.
They published a book: Empowerment for Peace Services. A Curriculum for Education and Training in Non-Violence, Prevention, Non-Violent Conflict Transformation and Peace Building. (To be had for £ 5 or $7.5 at: Christian Council of Sweden. Unit for Justice, Peace and Creation, Box 1764, 111 87 Stockholm, Tel +46 8 453 68 00 fax: +46 8 453 68 29.)

Britain: Conciliation Resources (CR) is an international service for conflict prevention and resolution with projects on peace accords (Liberian peace process is already done, forthcoming issues will deal with Mozambique, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Bosnia and cease fires). The organisation serves as international resource for local organisations pursuing peace or conflict prevention initiatives. CR is a member of the Co-ordinating Committee for Conflict Resolution Training in Europe (CCCRTE) and the UK Conflict and Development Network (CODEP).

(Transcript Tuesday evening: Juergen Stoerk)

Wednesday, 2nd of July 1997, morning: 2. Points of coincidence - points of difference - chances of co-operation

2.1 As a visualisation of similarities and differences as presented during the previous evening, Helga Tempel proposes a matrix of possible fields of activities, which is filled in as follows:

Training O X - X X X - X X
Spreading the idea X X X X X X X - -
Broadening the base O X X X X X - - -
Support of existing projects - - (X) (X) X - X - -
Own projects - - (X) X - X - - -
Demand for government funding - O O (X) X X X - -
Publications, Newsletters, etc. - O X X (X) - X X -

X = realized ; (X) = about to be realized ; O = planned

Tilman Evers welcomes the participants that arrived on Wednesday morning and proposes a second round of mutual informations, emphasising similarities and differences, overlapping and critical points.

2.2 Beate Roggenbuck, representing HCA-Germany, recalls the first international Conference on civil peace teams held at Frankfurt/Oder, Germany, on 24th to 26th of March 1995, organised by the German Chapter of the HCA in co-operation with Stiftung Mitarbeit, Bonn. She presents the documentation of this event, published in German and English, noting that the article on the German ZFD is conceptually outdated. Since 1995, the issue has not done much progress within HCA.
HCA started as an international organisation and is at present an international network, including various Middle and East European countries. The national chapters differ widely from each other, each considering pressing problems in its own country. Fund raising is a pressing need that absorbs much of the energies. Existing structures are at stake.

2.3 Juergen Stoerk points to some differences and similarities with regard to PBI:

bulletPBI are not fully international as they only exist in western countries. There is a small Asian group.
bulletPBI are even not fully European as in Eastern Europe no groups exist.
bulletNational groups of PBI are working independently from each other but pursue the same issue.
bulletTrainings are organised on national and European level.
bulletAn European co-operation office is to be put up.

2.4 Evelina Taunyte from Lithuania reflects upon the situation in Lithuania. There is a NGO-Office nominally representing a lot of different organisations; nevertheless, one cannot always deduce from their name what they are actually doing. In post-communist countries there is a general discussion about everything. She is not sure if there exists a possibility to choose between military and civil service. It would be useful to establish contacts to existing groups and inform them about discussions in western Europe. Evelina will verify the addresses she already has from Lithuania and then pass the actualised addresses over to Forum ZFD.

2.5 Karl Derksen gives a short impression from the ecumenical conference of European churches at Graz he just comes from. There were 700 delegates of all European Churches and about 10.000 participants from the grass root movement. There was a peace house and at the stand of the peace groups there were about 200 people. The final resolution contains a commitment to non-violent forms of conflict resolution and calls explicitly for the formation of peace services.

2.6 Juergen Stoerk elaborates further on the twin initiatives of GSoA in Switzerland. They are entitled "Security instead of Defence - For a Switzerland without Army" and "Solidarity Creates Security. For a Voluntary Civil peace Service", respectively. The whole process of collecting the initial 100.000 signatures, parliamentary debates, counter-proposals and the final public vote will take five to seven years. During all this time, the proposition of a civil peace service will be high on the political agenda. It is impossible to predict wether the campaign will have a chance to win, depending largely on the concrete internal and international political situation at the moment of voting.
One problem is how to use public funding without having state influence in the conceptual work. The solution proposed is an independent pluralistic commission acting as intermediary between the state and the peace service, representing different social sectors. The possible size of the civil peace service is open, depending on the demand of existing projects and on the number of volunteers.

2.7 In view of differing concepts of "volunteers", the discussion passes to a flashlight round of definitions and doubts:

bulletnot paid
bulletnot forced to do the work
bulletbenevolent motivation
bulletonly paid for room (and costs? and insurance?)
bulletshould not have to pay insurance, taxes, etc. for the work he/she does
bulletMust a person who have a family earn enough money to support their family? Is this still voluntary, as it resembles more a paid profession?
bulletIs the civil peace service part of a professional biography?
bulletIs there a discrepancy between the motivation of paid and not paid people?
bulletWhat ethical code of conduct should a volunteer agree to?

The Robert-Bosch-Foundation published the German version of an English survey on volunteering in Europe. It points to structural differences according to cultural and political backgrounds. (English original: Katharine Gaskin, Justin Davis Smith: A new civic Europe? A study of the extend and role of volunteering, London: Volunteer Centre UK, 1995. German version: ISBN 3-7841-0896-2).

2.8 Mettha de Nachtegaal poses the question of a ritual oath as part of the formation as peace activist, paralleling the oath of medical personal and promising for example never to carry a weapon during service. This could be a helpful guideline in critical situation for the activists themselves as well as for outsiders that are possibly armed. Such an oath could be formulated on an European basis.

2.9 How is training linked to ensuing projects? Helga Tempel points to two tendencies in European countries: One, to offer training without a previous perspective of concrete projects; this creates a pooI of persons apt for various projects, that will influence society as a whole. And second, to conceptualise projects first and then search and train volunteers for this specific purpose; this is a more specific and concrete approach. The preference of different organisations depends on traditions, preferences and general context.
The GSoA envisages a combination of both concepts: People should get a basic formation when they opt for the civil peace service. Then they should be offered the possibility to specialise for concrete project work.

2.10 The morning session is finalised by putting up a three point agenda for the afternoon and listing some sub-items under the three headings:

1. Enlarging the List of peace initiatives

Before creating a new network, we should get into contact with existing networks. Every organisation has international contacts. These should be intensified, densified, amplified. From which organisation can I get help for what?

(Europ.) supranational organisations


(Europ.) network organisations

bulletWRJ War Resisters International
bulletIFOR International Federation for Reconciliation
bulletPax Christi
bulletIPB International Peace Bureau, Geneva
bulletWILPF Woman's International League for Peace and Freedom
bulletWCC World Council of Churches, Geneva
bulletCCCRTE Co-ordinating Committee for Conflict Resolution Training in Europe
bulletEBCO European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors
bulletUnited (against racism and nationalism)

2. Next meeting / events

3. European funding

bulletOur work does not fit into EU funding rules.
bulletWe could profit from the European infrastructure (translation etc.)
bulletIt would be necessary to have a person explicitly working on that area.
bulletWe need a person at Brussels, face-to-face politics are more important than ever.

(Transcript Wednesday morning: Ansgar Kaup)

3. Next steps

3.1 Enlarging the list of peace initiatives; mutual information
We convene to send additional addresses to the Forum ZFD address: Postfach 2304, D-32380 Minden, Germany, Tel. (+)49-571-20492, Fax -20471, preferably until the end of August. Carsten Herzberg will be working in the ZFD office from 15th of August to 15th of September. The Forum offers its services as provisional networker. The list will be continuously updated and circulated with the Invitation to the next meeting.

Peace initiatives should mall their annual reports according to this list. - A future desideratum could be a mutual information on ongoing projects.

3.2 Next events
The Forum envisaged an international conference of European peace team initiatives for 1998, but this appears as premature and should be postponed to 1999 (taking account of possible overlapping with an 1999 IPB Conference in Den Hag).

We convene a next preparatory meeting in Cologne for May 15 to 16, 1998
envisaging an enlarged participation and a more stringent agenda along the following points:

  1. Mutual presentation and further networking
  2. EU Lobbying
  3. European Civil Peace Service Conference in 1999.

Until then, we should inform each other on national events with international participation, for example the GSoA Seminar in Switzerland, September 20/21, 1997.

3.3 European funding
Helga Tempel informs on recent talks in Brussels that point to the necessity of permanent lobbying. Mettha de Nachtegaal proposes a joint European representation of civil peace initiatives.
There exists a Peace House in Brussels, lodging some 10 to 15 peace organisations. As far as we know, there is no common concept of EU representation. Karl Derksen will gather further information on occasion of a visit to Brussels.
PBI Belgium have their offices at 35 rue van Elewijck, B- 1 050 Bruxelles, (+)32-2-6485220, -6400774.
The Forum will contact Frank Schwalba-Hoth, GREEN ex-MEP and grass-root activist, asking for ways of possible funding of a part-time lobbyist.
The project of an European Peace Corps offers some links, yet differs in concept (official EU responsibility, more hierarchical and diplomatic, younger volunteers).

3.4 Exchange in Training
Adding a last point to our agenda, we reflect on possible exchange of information, experience and staff in training.
There exist various post-graduate courses at university level in Europe as well as in USA that could be circulated; in some cases, scholarships can be obtained.
Non-German (but German speaking) candidates can apply for the next model training course of 1998 in Northrhine-Westfalia.
Together with the German association of Protestant and ecumenical peace initiatives AGDF, the Forum ZFD is preparing a "state of the art" conference on professionalized training at Burg Bodenstein (near Goettingen, south of Hannover), March 4th to 6th, 1998. Some (German speaking) foreign participants are welcome.
Among other propositions in a letter to the Forum, Eric Sapin from the CCSC has asked for a possible exchange of trainers. A French speaking trainer has yet to be found. - Carsten Herzberg will answer the letter during his stage at the Forum office in September.

3.5 Other items for future consideration
Support by VIPs
Exchange of practicants
Exchange of ex volunteers presenting project experiences to peace teams as well as to a general public
Personal contacts
European Sponsoring
European Charter of Non-Violent Conflict Transformation (following the idea of an oath or a code of conduct)
E-Mail/Homepage (offered by GSoA)
Documentation of information on organisations active in the field of civil conflict intervention.

4. Feedback

bulletThe meeting was useful - mutual knowledge has increased.
bulletNetworking is necessary.
bulletInternational co-operation and mutual beaming is part of the concept.
bulletThis is a first step in the direction of a long-term task.
bulletIt was inspiring that various generation from under 25 to over 60 years were present.
bulletThanks to the Forum for taking the initiative of organising this meeting.

(Transcript of Wednesday afternoon, overall editing of minutes: Tilman Evers)



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