The Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace (GAMIP) held its 6th summit in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 16-20 with 167 participants representing 55 countries.
The Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace is a worldwide community of civil society campaigns, organizations, committed citizens, and elected and appointed government officials from over 40 countries. The mission of GAMIP is to collaborate with and support governments and civil society around the world working to establish national ministries and departments of peace, and also to support efforts to develop local, regional, and national peace councils, peace academies, and other effective infrastructures for peace.
Each summit has been represented by several members from organizations in the United States. This year, The Peace Alliance, the National Peace Academy, and the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding collaborated and offered a joint presentation entitled, “The U.S. Story: Integrated Peacebuilding – local to global.”
Our shared oral presentation began, “our USA story is about three distinct integrated, intertwined organizations collaborating with each other locally and globally to co-create a culture of peace.” The story shared was of the history of peace in the United States, from one of the first peace infrastructures – the 12th century Iroquois Confederacy’s “Great Law of Peace” – to the founding of The Peace Alliance in 2004, the creation of the NationalPeaceAcademy in 2009, and the launching of the RiverPhoenixCenter for Peacebuilding in 2011. We made clear that the peacebuilding work of these organizations in the U.S. is an example of both building and modeling peace infrastructure.
The 2013 summit was designed as a space to dialogue about infrastructures for peace and as an infrastructure for peace itself. GAMIP describes a peace infrastructure as:
Traditional approaches to peacebuilding have tended to concentrate on one-off activities without a coordinated, systemic approach. Peacebuilding requires multi-level and long-term investments targeted at building capacities and structures that can help prevent, transform and address the roots of violent conflict. Peace processes – dialogue, reconciliation, mediation, peace education, restorative justice, etc. – require an institutionalized framework that provides continuity, social support and opportunities for the involvement of all stakeholders. Infrastructures for peace are an emergent and effective framework focusing on the sustainability of peace by developing capacities for coordinated responses to conflict.
The 2013 summit experimented with new methods for dialogue and collaboration. Some of the unique aspects of this summit included: a local coordinating team made up of just youth; funding that was largely crowdsourced and crowdfunded, allowing for anyone to participate; and the addition of restorative practices as a method for resolving conflicts that occurred during the summit.
This unique summit provided the space to increase awareness and understanding about infrastructures for peace and their essential role in sustainable strategies of peace promotion, providing practical tools for the development of infrastructures for peace, giving visibility to current infrastructures for peace, as well as peace infrastructure campaigns and projects around the world, and strengthening the engagement of the international community working on infrastructures for peace.
Many exciting outcomes emerged from the GAMIP summit. Highlights include:
- A proposal to establish a United Nations Resolution calling on the UN to support infrastructures for peace in governments and countries around the world was finalized, and petition signatures are now being collected;
- The Asia Pacific Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace was formally established, joining the African Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace as regional bodies affiliated with GAMIP to support the creation of and strengthen existing infrastructures for peace throughout their regions;
- Presentations and workshops were given by civil society organizations and government representatives sharing their work on a number of infrastructures for peace at all levels; from local peace committees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Ghana, peace organizations in Sierra Leone, and peace communities in Colombia, to city peace commissions, national peace academies and Ministries for Peace with national mandates, such as those in Costa Rica, Nepal, and Papua New Guinea, all represented at the Summit;
- Representatives from the United Nations Development Program and Summit sponsor the City of Geneva expressed their support for infrastructures for peace in contributing to building a global culture of peace;
- Summit attendees expressed ways in which they will create and support infrastructures for peace in their work around the world, including restorative systems of justice and conflict transformation, nonviolent communication, sustainable cities’ networks and practices for peace in military and security forces;
- GAMIP Strategic Objectives have been formalized to include Academic, Communication and Practitioner Committees to grow networking capacity, strengthen organizational development and support civil society and government campaigns working for infrastructures for peace around the world.
This summit was successful at a global and local level. Our USA team was inspired by the direct learnings and connections at the summit and was also encouraged to more fully collaborate with other peacebuilders in the U.S. As we shared in our presentation:
“Just as transportation infrastructure would seem incomplete if it did not include methods by bus, car, and bike – U.S. peace infrastructures continue to expand with all their necessary ingredients: education, research, grassroots organizing and action, political leverage, policy advocacy, and outreach. And just as the transportation infrastructure would be less practical if all of the various pieces did not connect (if for instance you could not get to the bus station using a car or bike), U.S. peace infrastructures are less valuable if they are not connected to and supporting each other.
“Therefore, The Peace Alliance, the National Peace Academy, and the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding work closely together – like connective tissue – each functioning individually yet working in cooperation with one another – supporting the development of new organizations, enhancing the value of each, and modeling how to build peace in the United States and around the world, local to global.”
Click here to view videos from the summit!