Peace Centers

The Vijay Mehta Peace Centre
A Holistic Vision of Peace: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Introduction

It is not often that a book and its author’s ideas take life of its own. There are examples in history when that has happened like King James Bible, Bhagwat Gita by Veda- Vyasa, The Analects by Confucius, Communist Manifesto  by Karl Marks and George Orwell’s 1984 which have influenced and shaped the society. Fortunately for me, after publishing my latest book, How Not To Go To War: Establishing Departments for Peace and Peace Centres Worldwide, some individuals and organisations have taken the mantle to take forward the concept of Peace Centres to the next level of creating one. This opens a window of opportunity for building a war free, non-violent and peaceful world.

Why we need Peace Centres

London hosts 8 war museums but not one Peace Museum or Peace Centre. Over the last decade in United Kingdom, over 3,000 libraries, community centres and youth clubs have been closed. Hence the reason for disenchantment in society, which is one of the major reasons including unemployment which has led youth to knife crime, burglary, shooting and general purposelessness   increasing rate of violence and tensions in the society.

To address the ills of the society, Peace Centre will work on reduction and abolition of wars, weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical and), military spending, global arms trade, arms race, militarism, terrorism, bio terrorism, pandemics, diseases, viruses, trade wars, tech wars, cyber wars, artificial intelligence wars , geo political tensions and dangers from Nationalism , Populism and increasing rich-poor divide. As a society, threats and challenges we face today are global and we need to work together as a society, putting away our differences to create a better and more secure future for everyone.

To fill the gap, as a civil society we need to establish Peace Centres in all major cities giving training in advocacy, leadership coaching dialogue including art of listening and peace education. Peace Centres will actively engage with the public for solving critical peace and social justice issues. These centres will work towards averting violence, hate and divisions in our society and build a world of peace, joy, harmony and happiness.

Vision

The vision of Peace Centre is to end cycles of violence, wars and through non-violence work towards achieving peace, justice and harmony.

The goal of the Peace Centre is to be the most impactful and dynamic bringing peace-making and peace building centre stage in global diplomacy making it mainstream agenda.

The remit of the Peace Centre is culture change via promotion of peace, non-violence for the reduction of wars, violence, arms trade, militarism , inequality, culture of hate and exclusion, racism and xenophobia by adopting non-violent techniques to transform a warmongering society to a just and peaceful one, increasing understanding, tolerance, solidarity and peace.

Peace Centres will strengthen the social fabric of society by reducing the scope of criminal and civil violence by providing safe environment for youth and civil society to congregate and socialise, thus avoiding horrendous rates of street violence and murders that has plagued cities like London, Chicago, New York, Glasgow and many others. Its overall goal will be inculcating Culture of Peace towards a non-violent, egalitarian, humane and peaceful world.

Purpose

The purpose is to create a war free, non-violent and peaceful world. It will foster and build peace by prevention of wars, violence, militarism,, military spending, arms trade and reduction of geo political tensions and rivalries. It will work to improve community relations , harmony , global co-operation and consensus for peaceful diplomatic solutions to internal and international conflicts

Policy

Peace Centre’s policy is to build a global culture of peace, empathy, solidarity, cooperation, coexistence, reconciliation and altruism tackling global threats and challenges non-violently through dialogue, diplomacy, negotiation, mediation, arbitration and adjudication impacting our world.

Strategy

The strategy is to prepare global citizens for creating a just, humane and peaceful world. The strategy is to open Peace Centres in all major cities and franchises throughout the world, first one in London, second in Los Angeles. To provide training for peace education, peace leadership, promoting human rights, social justice and holistic mental health care etc.

Peace Centre Strategy is to highlight the destructive role of the US Military Industrial, Surveillance, Media, Academic, Complex (MISMAC) in conducting continuous warfare squandering trillions of US dollars inflicting untold suffering to most vulnerable people in Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world. The lust for power and profit of elites is the root cause of all the injustices and evils in our society.  Through Peace Centre Programmes – conferences, literature, music, art, films, storytelling and integrated public information we will offer alternative ways to resolve conflicts.

Peace Centre will be a vibrant meeting place for pro peace activism and education. The aim of the Peace Centres is to inspire and implement Culture of Peace and non-violent alternatives to end hate, divisions, tensions and conflicts at local, national and international level.

Methodology

The methodology is to effectively use the strength of soft power which is mightier than the military power.

  • From a position of strength and not weakness use the power of love, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and tolerance to transform the world
  • To use the power of pen, written, spoken word, an idea, a beautiful dream to influence change in a more impactful way than any standing armies.
  • To stand up for truth in writings, meetings, conferences, seminars to advance the progress of peace and justice
  • Use the power of civil society to organise non-violent resistance and protest against all injustices and ills of society.
  • To work with educational, artistic and civil society organisation for building a peaceful world

These are some of the methods to be adopted by peace programme.

Programme

The programme of Peace Education will focus on three key areas:

-It will work for culture change by promotion of peace ,non-violence and peace education.

– It will cam for building a world without wars, weapons, armies and militarism

-It will work for cultivating holistic peace and social betterment programmes through innovative peace projects and social justice enterprises

Peace Centre’s project will be a place of learning to train people in Culture of Peace and Peace Education for the reduction and prevention of wars and military spending. Since modern wars have become prohibitively dangerous and source of human suffering, hence there is an urgent need for peace education.

It will campaign and advocate applying non-military solutions – by de-legitimising war as a way of solving disputes. It will advocate and campaign for a change in global military spending of trillions of dollars to be shifted to peacebuilding, conflict resolution, job creation and health care. By applying a tiny fraction of military spending we can end world hunger, provide clean water and eradicate various viruses and diseases globally.

The unprecedented scale of the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic gives rise to many questions about how our society is organised and how our future society should be rebuilt. We can build a better society not by wasting public money on wars and military expenditure but how much we will spend on human needs, to eradicate dehumanising poverty, mitigation of environmental disaster and avoiding a collapse of the economy and create a way of life that is equitable and sustainable.

–        Peace Centres will have a holistic approach to peace and social betterment programmes, which will promote Human Rights, and work on holistic mental health care and drug rehabilitation improving economic and social life of people.

–        It will be a place of peace education and learning centre run by practitioners in nonviolent communication promoting Culture of Peace, prevention of war and military spending.

–        Peace centre will produce resources and programmes suitable for schools, universities, teachers, leaders, policy makers, individuals, charities, community groups and businesses. Through training, it will raise awareness, educate and equip civil society, policy makers, media to have the skills and knowledge to become peace builders.

–        It will be a multi-faith cultural centre that promotes harmonious relations between diverse communities addressing hate, divisions and misunderstanding in the society.

–        It will work as an incubator for innovative peace projects and social enterprises opening new opportunities for making peace a profitable industry opening new opportunities to move into new areas by expanding data and online peace platform with the use of digital and artificial intelligence. This will generate new revenue streams. It will include programme and ideas for peace leadership, shared values, ethical business plans, reduction of violence and fostering harmony in society.

–        The Peace Centre will have an museum style display of the history of peace and war. It will be a reminder of the past deadly conflicts (World War I, World War II etc.) and the atrocities inflicted on cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki devastated by the atom bomb. It will also display works of the peace luminaries like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Dalai Lama and others. It will, through technology, spread peace literacy, mobility, education, science and history with the active participation of everyone.

  • Peace Centre will have a dedicated Press and Media Centre which will produce newsletters, films, TV, radio programmes and provide training for peace journalism. It will also conduct interviews with peace, human rights and social justice activists.
  • It will be committed in spreading and promoting messages of the Peace Centre vision, strategy, programme, events and workshops. It will broadcast online programmes, events, conferences and other activities which people from all over the world can tune to.
  • Peace Centre will have Human Rights, Mental Health and Drug Rehabilitation Centre. Human Rights programme will promote Youth for Human Rights, United for Human Rights, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). It will work closely with Association for Better Living and Education International (ABLE).
  • Peace Centre will have a dedicated programme to engage and inspire  youth of today to become leaders to work for a world of peace and justice.
  • Peace Centre will have a Peace themed restaurant with interactive displays of peace and public spaces for networking.
  • It will have an auditorium which will host events, talks, lectures, conferences, concerts and film shows.

– Peace Centre will have a book store to promote and disseminate Vijay Mehta’s work for peace including promoting his latest book How Not To Go To War, which advocates opening of Peace Centres to deliver and implement the programme of Peace Centres, for preventing centuries of warfare and building peace, security, unity and prosperity.

The book store will also stock books from noted authors and peace luminaries on peace, peace education, security, human rights, environment, inequality and development and much more including peace memorabilia.

Conclusion

In 2015, Pope Francis remarked before joint session of the United States Congress, “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society.” Sadly, we know the answer. Sales of weapons and profit that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood is the reason. In the face of culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and culture of militarism.

The establishment of Peace Centres – holistic vision of peace will work for creating and promoting a global culture of peace, disarmament and sustainable development.

Vijay Mehta’s Bio and Disparity Film

Vijay Mehta is a renowned author and global activist for peace, development and Human Rights. He is the Chair of Uniting for Peace (unitingforpeace.com) and a Founding Trustee of Fortune Forum charity (fortuneforum.org) which was founded by his daughter Renu Mehta. It hosted summits in which speakers included Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Michael Douglas, Ruby Wax, Dame Vivienne Westwood  and Annie Lennox which attracted a worldwide audience of 1.3 billion people.

Vijay Mehta’s books include The Fortune Forum Code: For a Sustainable Future (2006), Arms No More (2005) and The United Nations and its Future in the 21st Century (2005). His most recent notable books are The Economics of Killing, Pluto Press (2012), Peace Beyond Borders, New Internationalist (2016) and How Not To Go To War, New Internationalist (2019).

The Sunday Times has described Vijay Mehta as a “longstanding activist for peace, development, human rights and the environment, who along with his daughter Renu Mehta has set a precedent for striving to change the world”

(The Sunday Times, February 01, 2009).

In 2014, Vijay Mehta’s bio “The Audacity of Dreams” appeared in the book form “Karma Kurry” published by Jaico Publishing House, India with a foreword to the book by Nelson Mandela.

“Vijay Mehta proposes in his book How Not To Go To War that in countries and communities, in governments, private institutions and media, Peace Departments and Peace Centres be established to report on and promote peace.”

– Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate 1996 and Former President of Timor-Liste

“Thank you for all you do Vijay – both the organisation Uniting For Peace and yourself are inspiration and give us all hope that both yourself and the organisation can bring a world without a war. Indeed it is possible, even in our own time.” – Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate 1976

In 2017, Vijay Mehta’s article, ‘Reforming the UN for the 21st Century’ was included in the anthology ‘Approaches to Peace’ edited by Prof. David P. Barash published by Oxford University Press, New York. The anthology feature classic and contemporary selection of work on peace which included Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Francis, Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky among others.

For a larger version of Vijay Mehta’s biography which appeared in the book Karma Kurry, click here

DISPARITY FILM – Produced and Directed by Fortune Forum Charity’s founder Renu Mehta, daughter of Vijay Mehta

 In an Age of great advancements, in the shadow of grand prosperity, why haven’t we conquered the blight of our civilization, where almost half of the world’s people battle dire poverty? With inequality spiralling out of control, DISPARITY pulls back the curtain on the opaque world of overseas aid to accomplish an unprecedented face-off with the Foreign Aid industry. Activist Renu Mehta presents riveting analysis from an all-star cast of aid experts and insiders, 9 Nobel Laureates, philanthropists and cultural figures. Their captivating insights unravel the complexities and changing face of aid. Together with her colleague Nobel Laureate Economist Sir James Mirrlees, they reveal breakthrough solutions in moving the needle on poverty to inspire the global movement for real aid.

Almost a billion people don’t know where their next meal is coming from, against a backdrop of plenty. How can we change their destinies? How much do we really know about the Aid industry that we fund through our taxpayers’ money? DISPARITY is the first film ever to examine the outrageous collusion of Aid power structures and the vested interests of major Donor Nations. Aid is often given for military and strategic reasons whether to support contractors in the donor country or tied to its own political or trade interests, at the cost of prolonging merciless poverty. With only 11.6% of global aid budgets delivered through charitable organisations, where does the rest of the aid money go? With so much human suffering, stigma and instability attached to poverty- the stakes could not be higher.

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Sir Ben Kingsley, DISPARITY was made on location in England, Scotland, United States, Peru, Switzerland, India, The Netherlands, Jamaica, Belgium and Germany. Award winning photographers infuse a rich tapestry of captivating cinematography from all seven continents whereby the facets of poverty are poignantly laid bare conveying the deep anguish of our human counterparts. DISPARITY challenges ordinary citizens to confront the fundamental connection between their silent consent of Foreign aid expenditure by their non-participation in holding Governments to account, and ultimately to challenge the very definition of what it means to be human by standing up for justice.

Meet the Influencers who are featured in the film:-

Prof. Abhijit Banerjee, Nobel Laureate for Economics, Prof. Noam Chomsky, Prof. of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT, Sir Paul Collier, The University of Oxford, Amir Dossal, Former UNOP Director, Global Partnerships Forum Chair, Dr. Ian Goldin, Prof. of Globalisation and Development, Oxford University, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Tech Billionaire & Philanthropist, Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate, Kerry Kennedy, President, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Activists, Sir Ben Kingsley, Oscar winning Actor (Narration), F.W. de Klerk, Nobel Peace Laureate, Philippe Leruth, Former President, International Federation of Journalists, Vijay Mehta, Renowned Author & Peace Activist, Sir James Mirrlees, Nobel Laureate for Economics, Jan Pronk, Former Minister for Development, The Netherlands, Prof. Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof. Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate for Economics, Salil Shetty, Former Amnesty International, Secretary General, Prof. Peter Singer, Moral philosopher, Princeton University, Dame Stephanie Shirley, UK Founding Ambassador for Philanthropy, Clare Short, Former UK Secretary of State for International Development, George Soros, Investor & Philanthropist, Hernando de Soto, Economist, Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Dr. Danny Sriskandarajah, CIVICUS, Former Secretary General, Prof. Lord Stern, London School of Economics, Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate for Economics, Ted Turner, Media Mogul & Philanthropist, Ruby Wax, Comedian & Mental Health Campaigner, Dame Vivienne Westwood, Fashion Designer & Activist, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate.

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