One year to go! International Conference: SMALL Actions BIG Movements

International Conference of WRI co-hosted by Ceasefire Campaign, Cape Town, South Africa, 4 - 8 July 2014

On Friday, 4 July 2014, in Cape Town City Hall, the international conference 'SMALL Actions - BIG Movements' will begin. Health-permitting, Archbishop Desmond Tutu will open the conference in an event open to the general public.

Co-organised with our affiliate Ceasefire Campaign, the other supporting organisations in South Africa are: Embrace Dignity, working against the exploitation of prostitution and sex-trafficking, and the Action Support Centre, based in Soweto which is the African regional hub of a global network of organisations and individuals committed to transforming conflict.

Other key African partners are: Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), a member of WRI with a strong commitment to nonviolence; the Organisation for Nonviolence and Development (ONAD) of South Sudan, with years of work on nonviolence training for peacebuilding in Sudan and South Sudan; and Eritrean diaspora groups based in South Africa, many of whose members are in exile to avoid military service and are working for nonviolent resistance to the Eritrea regime.

Thematically, there is a special reason for holding a conference on the continuum of nonviolence in Africa. For historical and social reasons, much of the work on nonviolence in Africa focuses on the more 'local' parts of the continuum: on street violence, domestic violence, small arms. This neatly complements the greater focus by peace movements outside Africa, and especially in the Global North, on the more 'global' parts of the continuum, such as resistance to war and international military alliances. It is precisely the connection between these different levels and forms of resistance that the conference seeks to bring to light. This connection will be fruitful and valuable for all.

The broad outline of an agenda is now in place, including cooperation with a body applying for affiliation to WRI - the Women's Peacemakers Program - which plans to organise an international consultation on Gender and Militarism linked to our conference.

The success of a WRI conference always depends on the quality of participation - interaction is more important than being impressed or entertained listening to speeches. This conference will depend particularly on the efforts of people in the WRI network and beyond to contribute to the activities.

Some key points about the conference, and what you can do to make it as successful as possible:

  • WRI has never held a big conference in Africa before, and for many would-be participants simply raising the money to attend is a big task. If you are in this situation, let us know what you are doing.
  • Your group might well be cooperating with groups in Africa that are not known to the conference organisers. Please tell WRI about them, and help us to find ways to allow them to attend
  • Sharing ideas and experience is the core of this event. This is easier if you are there in person, of course, but we will be inviting other forms of input such as video clips about your activities, messages, documents, and so on. We also plan to open forms of communication for those who cannot attend in person - including video relays of parts of the event, and interviews with some participants.

For WRI, this conference is an ambitious project that we hope will make a difference both to those who attend and for the development of war resistance and nonviolent action more broadly.

Registration for the conference will open in September. Please get in touch with us at info@wri-irg.org, if you are interested in participating and collaborating in this important event.

DRAFT PROGRAMME

04 July
19.00 Opening session

  • Welcome by Cape Town Major Patricia de Lille and Ceasefire Campaign speaker
  • Speakers: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jenni Williams (WOZA, Zimbabwe), Sahar Vardi (New Profile, Israel)
  • Music
  • Towards a participatory conference: Introductory exercises between participants
  • Presentation of quilt exhibition: Roberta Bacic

05 July
09.30 Plenary session: The Continuum of Violence

  • Here is the news
  • Introduction to the reflectors
  • Plenary speaker

10.30 Theme Groups
12.45 – 14.30 LUNCH
14.30 – 16.30 Workshops
16.45 – 18.00 Workshops
19.00 Evening Programme

06 July
09.30 Plenary session: The Continuum of Nonviolence – beyond regime change

  • Here is the news
  • Reflectors
  • Plenary speaker

10.30 Theme Groups
12.45 – 14.30 LUNCH
14.30 – 16.30 Workshops
16.45 – 18.00 Workshops
19.00 Evening Programme

07 July
09.30 Plenary session: Nonviolence defence of livelihood and corporate militarism

  • Here is the news
  • Reflectors
  • Plenary speaker

10.30 Theme Groups
12.45 – 14.30 LUNCH
14.30 – 16.30 Workshops
16.30 – 18.00 Workshops
19.00 Evening Programme

08 July
09.30 Plenary session: Education/Peacebuilding

  • Here is the news
  • Reflectors
  • Plenary speaker

10.30 Closing of Theme Groups
12.45 – 14.30 LUNCH
14.30 Closing Session

  • Theme groups market report back
  • Reflectors closing remarks
  • Ceasefire Campaign Speaker
  • Chairperson of WRI: Howard Clark
  • Closing activity

Theme Groups

  • Military alliances and military interventions
  • Daily violence (domestic violence, hate crimes, urban insecurity, etc...)
  • Campaigning against war profiteering
  • Countering the militarisation of youth
  • Dealing with the past
  • Nonviolent community struggles
  • Civil resistance and 'people power' movements: beyond regime change
  • Peacebuilding
  • Economic crises and militarism
  • Formal and non-formal education and nonviolence
  • International Nonviolent Civilian Intervention
  • Nonviolence Training

The thematic event - open to everyone - is sandwiched between the WRI Assemblies (open to WRI supporters).

For more information: http://wri-irg.org/southafrica2014