In December 2015, the United Nations-mandated University for Peace will commemorate its 35th anniversary with a high-level international seminar titled “Conflict and Alternatives to Peace in the 21st Century: New Wars, New Solutions”. The University for Peace was established by the United Nations General Assembly through its resolution 35/55, adopted on 5 December 1980. The University for Peace began with the proposal made by former Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo Odio. The proposal received the support of the UN General Assembly, and today, the original vision of the University for Peace and its mission are still relevant, perhaps more than ever. The authorities that imagined and delineated the role of the University stressed that "the persistence of war in the history of mankind and the growing threats against peace in recent decades jeopardize the very existence of the human species and require peace not to be conceived as a negative concept, as the end of conflict or as a simple diplomatic compromise, but that it should be conquered and secured through the most valuable and effective resource that man possesses: education." Likewise, they reaffirmed that peace is an inalienable right achieved through education. Disarmament efforts are essential, but they will not be successful without a major effort in the field of education; this is the challenge faced by nations and humanity as a whole in the 21st century.
Taking into account this perspective on how to deal with conflicts and achieve peace, the United Nations established the University’s mission "to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace and with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to stimulate cooperation among peoples and to help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress, in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations. "
The current international context demonstrates the increase of new types of threats, all of them more complex and interrelated, in which non-state actors have a greater weight than at any time in history. This requires new skills, and the training of professionals with the highest qualifications in conflict resolution. With the aim of addressing the current situation within the international system, the general principles that govern the United Nations and which constitute the foundations of the University for Peace are still valid and more necessary than ever before. This should be highlighted given the current context of globalization and interdependence. Only through education, as a fundamental platform, can we achieve a respect for human rights, sustainable development, and ultimately, peace.
As it commemorates its 35 years of existence, the University for Peace is undergoing a process of strengthening and relaunching its core mission on the basis of contributing more decisively to the four essential pillars of the United Nations. Namely, the ongoing search for peace; the promotion and protection of human rights; adopting measures conducive to sustainable development; and achieving consensus among all actors around the urgent need to halt the serious impact of climate change.
This International Seminar, to be hosted by the United Nations-mandated University for Peace on 3 and 4 December 2015, will address the main issues on the international agenda, analysing, among other subjects:
- The international architecture of the 21st Century
- Access to justice and the international judicial system
- Strengthening governance and the Rule of Law through cooperation
- Conflict, post-conflict and South-South Cooperation
- The new face of Peacekeeping Operations
- New threats to Peace, stability and development
- Strategic studies and Intelligence for Peace
We are expecting the following achievements as a result of this high level seminar:
- A direct interaction between participants and high-level guests,
- Collaboration with national and international media outlets,
- Generation of policy recommendations as a result of each panels,
- Systematization of the presentations for future publications and dissemination,
- Publication of a book on the International Seminar, which will include papers written by the panellists. The book will be released in printed and digital format.
The working sessions will be held on the main campus of the University for Peace in El Rodeo de Mora, Costa Rica in both English and Spanish. The University will provide simultaneous translation during the event for all participants.