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UN: Culture of Peace

Culture of Peace – Humanity’s Essential Faith

Posted December 23, 2014

chowdhuryBy Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury

As the world was coming out of the debilitating grip of the Cold War, its peace-loving people got truly energized to take steps to shun war and conflict forever and secure peace in a sustainable way for all. Soon after assuming my responsibility as Bangladesh’s Ambassador to the United Nations, I got deeply engaged in these deliberations so that the much promised “peace dividend” has a real impact in making peace take a permanent place in the hearts of men and women and in the policies of the nations of the world.

My faith in the values of non-violence, tolerance and democracy guided me to realize that we need to generate the mindset that is a prerequisite for the transition from force to reason, from conflict and violence to dialogue and peace. We should not isolate peace as something separate or distant. We should know how to relate to one another without being aggressive, without being violent, without being disrespectful, without neglect, without prejudice. It is important to realize that the absence of peace takes away the opportunities that we need to better ourselves, to prepare ourselves, to empower ourselves to face – individually and collectively – the challenges of our lives, the violence in our societies, and, of course, war, conflict and dispute among nations.

That belief was augmented by the far-sighted assertion in 1989 in the Preamble of Yamoussoukro declaration on peace in the mind of men that “Peace is more than the end of armed conflict …. Peace is a mode of behaviour.” The flourishing of the culture of peace will transcend all boundaries and differences – both inner and outer. It is the most universal thing that one can internalize.

That inspired me to write in July 1997 to the then Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan proposing inclusion of a separate self-standing item for the General Assembly on the “culture of peace” for deliberations in its Plenary sessions. After some initial difficulties, the agenda was included and the UN resolution on the International Year for the Culture of Peace was adopted the same year. Next year, inspired by the Nobel Peace Laureates, the UN declared the period 2001 to 2010 as the International Decade for Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. Subsequently in 1999, the UN agreed unanimously to adopt the Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace outlining actions by all.

The culture of peace should be the foundation of the new global society. In today’s world, more so, it should be seen as the essence of a new humanity, a new global civilization based on inner oneness and outer diversity.

It is, therefore, absolutely essential that human security in a broader sense should receive priority attention of the international community. “Peace does not mean just to stop wars, but also to stop oppression, injustice and neglect.

In this context, let me also express my concern that continuing and ever-expanding militarism and militarization are impoverishing and maiming both the Earth and humanity. Our planet and its people are being overwhelmed by this expansion and feeling a sense of helplessness to stall this juggernaut.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asserted at the inaugural High Level Forum of the United Nations on The Culture of Peace in 2012 thatA key ingredient in building culture of peace is education…. Through education, we teach children not to hate. Through education, we raise leaders who act with wisdom and compassion. Through education, we establish a true, lasting culture of peace.” All educational institutions need to offer opportunities that prepare the students not only to live fulfilling lives but also to be responsible and productive citizens of the world. Indeed, this should be more appropriately called “education for global citizenship.”

The young of today deserve a radically different education –“one that does not glorify war but educates for peace, non-violence and international cooperation.” They need the skills and knowledge to create and nurture peace for their individual selves as well as for the world they belong to.

To achieve that objective, we must build a grand alliance for the culture of peace amongst all, particularly with the proactive involvement and participation of women and the young people. Recognition of the Human Right to Peace is at the core of such efforts. This is the first priority as we look ahead.

Let us remember that the work for peace is a continuous process. Each of us can make a difference in that process.

Ambassador Chowdhury’s legacy and leadership in advancing the best interest of the global community are boldly imprinted in his pioneering initiatives at the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 for adoption of the landmark Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace. He served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York from 1996 to 2001 and as the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, responsible for the most vulnerable countries of the world from 2002 to 2007. 


Videos by Prince Ea: translation & commentary

Do you believe that we will ever have an outer revolution…a sustainable shift into oneness, without an inner revolution?

The question is how do we have an inner (world changing) r(e)volution that extends outward into all of society?

How do we fix Ferguson is the question? We fix Ferguson in the same way we fix Afghanistan, Gaza, Palestine, Chicago and that is to stop. We have to stop and be open to the possibility that we have been brainwashed within every single level of our lives, brainwashed with conditioned thoughts(beliefs), thoughts we have been killed over, died over, gotten angry over, sad and depressed over. We are so loyal to these thoughts, but we have to question them because they were created by the culture that we were born in. This culture taught us that race was real. It taught us that war and violence creates peace. It taught us that love is weakness and we believed it. We ate it up. Open any history book and you will notice a trend in generation after generation, the same story, over and over again. We have tried everything from politics to protests to rallies to riots. None of it works. These things create short term results, not lasting solutions.

Voicing ourselves through protests and demonstrations has made progress…the key messages are killed and died for as a means of progress. Look at how long it has taken and at what cost…and we still as a collective hold these separated thoughts/beliefs. Although we indeed honor those who have lead the way with social injustice progress, it is our responsibility to expand consciously, just as we would hope all those who come after us will continue the evolutionary process at the highest conscious level. After all this time we are still killing each other. How do we move into something new, that can offer a united humanity, from a different level of consciousness?

Just because our parents or grandparents believed something does not mean we have to continue that cycle. This is our time, our town right now. Millions have come before us and millions will come after us. We have a real chance right now to make a real difference or we can die doing the same thing of what we have been doing and expecting different results.

To me it is…what have we not done?

Everybody is worried about change this and change that…what is on the outside. We have forgotten a lot that which is looking outside, which is changing ourselves.

Inner transformation will lead to outer ransformation. Let us revolutionize Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change we want to see in the world.” The first and perhaps the most direct way of doing this is asking ourselves…How do we contribute to the very behavior of mass culture separation in which we seek to change?

Who are you is the question? Who are you at the deepest sense?

I am not talking about your race, ethnicity, heritage, religion, ancestry. I am not even talking about your experience or your memories. I am talking about who are you in the deepest sense.

Because there will never be external peace if there is not internal peace.

Once you (we) figure that out I promise you the entire world will transform, will change and as more and more people find themselves

(Living their true identity and expanding this resonant field of Being Peace) MANKIND has the opportunity to transform into KINDMAN.

Does this sound like the next evolutionary movement and perhaps the ONLY means for creating peace on earth…the Beloved Community…we need to Be it  and Live it…and support each other in the transformational process of  Growing the Soul.

Jesus once said, “forgive them for they know not what they do.” Think about that, they know not what they do because they know not who they are.

A lot of people will not understand the words that I am saying. They just won’t hear it. Some people will find this to be negative. But for the few of you who are watching this I urge you to try and find out who you are…who you are inside your body. What have you got to loose?

Watch for Translation & Commentary

This is the next video by Prince Ea to be discussed.

Imagine Living In Peace

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one


John Lennon was asking us to imagine a place where things that divide people (religion, possessions, etc) did not exist. He felt that it would be a much better place. This song is a strong political message that is sugarcoated in a beautiful melody. He realized that the softer approach would bring the song to a wider audience, who hopefully would listen to his message. In short, the messages of this song are that we should keep on optimistic to the peace and create the world as a better place to live.


Some words of the “Imagine” have original symbols. What does John actually want to convey to us? The first one is “heaven and hell” symbolize “the hereafter world”. When he persuades us, the listeners, to imagine that all the people are only living for today, so that there is no the hereafter world for living. The second one is “country” symbolizes “a border”. Border lines of countries has limited people to share, help, and get along each other. In some cases, it has also become a reason of a war. “Possessions” which symbolizes ‘wealth’ and ‘religion’ symbolize ‘exclusivism’ are other obstacles that keep the people apart is their inability to keep everyone equal, and with this inability comes a long line of problems between the haves and the have-nots. However, if we are somehow able to cut our possessions and our greed, we could create a universal sense of brotherhood in humankind. With this obstacle out of the way, we are able to share the world as equal.


John tries to create a provocative atmosphere to listeners. He invites us to do in his thought provoking song, imagine. From this word, the human imagination can create some of the most horrible atrocities, but it has also conjured up some of the most beautiful hopes and dreams. Lennon asks us to imagine the world as a better place and we can actually make that comes true.

Time and Place Setting

This very meaningful song was brought about during one of the most turbulent times in our history, the Vietnam Conflict (around 1954-1975). The United States was fighting a war that wasn’t its own, and consequently it was leaving hundreds of thousands of dead innocents in its wake. John Lennon wanted very much for peace to be found abroad and also hear at home, so gave us a set of logical steps to fix the world. Each verse of this song is actually one of those logical steps.


  1. This song relies some elegant sentences. Each of the three verses begins “Imagine” and answers with empathetic comment. And each verse is more challenging than the one before. So, we have:
    • Imagine there’s no Heaven – It’s easy if you try
    • Imagine there’s no countries- It isn’t hard to do
    • Imagine there’s no possessions – I wonder if you can
  2. Thus, there can be nothing greater than Heaven. But, John saw that it is easy if you try to imagine it away. So, if the countries is much lesser that Heaven, yet much harder to get rid of, though, to an open mind, not so hard to do. Finally, possession – as petty as we can get, but John realized that most of us could not imagine a world with no possessions – I wonder if you can. This shows his excellent writing.
  3. This crescendo of challenges that forms the opening of each verse is answered by a similar set of three imaginings to close each verse. This time we have:
    • Imagine all the people…
      Living for today
      Sharing all the world
      Living life in peace
  4. These are also fascinating:
    • In context, living for today is not an apology for Hedonism. It is not ‘living for the moment’ in a selfish way. It is in fact very much as echo of the Sermon on the Mount.
    • Then, sharing all the world is not about dividing out the spoils. It is simply as opening of borders, a geographical sharing, the consequence of imagining no countries.
    • And in verse 3, living life in peace, at first sight this could read like a mistake. Shouldn’t this have followed the ‘no countries’ opening? But no John realizes that most wars are only ostensibly about religion or territory; they are actually about possessions –gold, oil, money and the likes.

    This song stands up on every level.

  5. Now the chorus – You nay say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one here, merely to acknowledge that the listeners might not yet have considered these things, but others have. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one –only ‘I hope’, no unrealistic expectation, no instruction.
  6. The chorus is then the most important and powerful part of the song. The chorus is a message to all people who do not think that Lennon’s goals is possible. The most interesting part of this song is that Lennon plainly says that he is not the only person who has taken this message to heart. He is going to just hope that you will come to the message of yourself and make the world a better place. This approach is particularly powerful because it is practicing what the rest of the song preaches: peace and understanding.
  7. This song is, was, and always will be refreshing for at least one reason; its voice of optimism and hope for mankind. The world should be filled with ‘people’, not Blacks, Whites Whites, Russians, Italians, Christians, Jews, not even Moslems or Buddhists; just people. This song is an example of what can be as people, and what can actually accomplish if we try. It seems that this song is close to communism. Lennon said this song is “virtually the Communist manifesto”. That’s usually the last we see of the quote, but Lennon added “even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement”. (www.hubpages.com/hub/the-best-10-protest-songs)


This song is about a great expectation of someone toward peacefulness in the world. The last stanza of the song develops the theme further;

“I hope someday you’ll join us – And the world will live as one”

Analyzed by M. Samsuli and Mohammad As’ad on SparkleTeaching

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