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Robert Stewart

Robert Stewart

Bob is a Chartered Accountant and Certified Management Consultant by profession.  He has held many senior management positions in business and government over the past 36 years. His passion for peace was ignited by his involvement in the Rotary International convention that took place in Calgary in 1996.  The message that he heard was "peace is the most worthwhile cause, and you should do something".  Since that time, Bob has founded the Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace and leads the Canadian Culture of Peace Program.  His peace website at www.peace.ca <http://www.peace.ca/>   has been ranked number 1 by Google with over 50,000 visitors per month, and he has been referred to as "the foremost peace educator in Canada". In 2000, Bob was the recipient of the YMCA Peace Award at the annual presentation in Calgary.

Bob recognized, as do others, that the Culture of Peace Program is on the threshold of making a major impact pacifically, nationally and internationally, but is currently lacking direction and capacity. He has devoted himself to using his professional skills as a (general) manager and information manager to help advance this 'direction and capacity' by founding the Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace, the Canadian Culture of Peace Program, annual national and provincial peace education conferences, and Peace Cafés.

He has 3 children, a key influence on Bob's decision to 'make a difference with his life' during the International Decade for Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World.

Website URL: E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

I am currently in Yellowknife preparing for a lot of meetings on the new Yellowknife Centre for Holistic Development – the doors are now open for service.  The response has been overwhelming, I am happy to say.

Background information is copied below.  Web page links are: http://www.peace.ca/yellowknife.htm and its link to http://www.peace.ca/process.htm (the latter gives some background on our experience which I bring to this project).

I am hosting meetings this week as follows:

YELLOWKNIFE CENTRE FOR HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT – info and discussion meetings on the proposed new Centre will be held Tuesday Nov 2 7pm, Wednesday Nov 3 10am, 2pm and 7pm at the new “Peace Building” (old MacKay Building), 2nd Floor, 4910 – 50th Street.  I will also be available throughout the days Thursday Nov

For more info: www.peace.ca/yellowknife.htm , Bob Stewart stewartr AT peace.ca 873-5595.

I am also available Thursday Nov 4 and Friday Nov 5 for meetings on the 1st Floor of the Peace Building.  If you are in the neighbourhood, please drop in.  Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested.

One of the key tasks of the Canadian Culture of Peace Program ("CCOPP") is to draft a protocol to guide our conversations, relationships and how we approach diverse stakeholder groups.  It is simply how we relate to each other while trying to build a Culture of Peace, and safeguard (secure; or at least improve) all of our relationships.

First, it is important to acknowledge that we expect that everyone who participates in CCOPP will pledge to live by the Culture of Peace principles declared in Manifesto 2000, in Appendix 1 below.

We (all) probably need a preamble to everything we say and do to try to diffuse our conversations (to minimize potential conflict).  Peace is of such ultimate importance that we have to take whatever safeguards we can not to jeopardize our most important work, and not to take things personally.  Whatever we do, we will have to ask participants to bear with us … and join us in a mutual learning conversation.  We must acknowledge imperfection in ourselves and others, and that we must continuously learn.

We do not wish to offend and will also have to try to be mindful of “hot buttons” and speak in different languages to different audiences.  Some of us must get past old “we vs. they” images.  But as much as we will try, some people may be offended by what we say and they may divorce themselves from our conversation (I would suggest to our mutual detriment, and we hope to avoid this).

Such a preamble may get tiresome (and may sound a bit overly cautious), but unfortunately there is a tendency to take some offence at a word, an action, a person, etc., and we know that we must always remind ourselves to rethink what we really want to achieve (in this relationship and life).

Until we develop our own “protocol” or strategy for approaching others, it is recommended for our own ‘internal security’ as a Culture of Peace community that we use the tools and methods contained in the following important texts - Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most; Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High; Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations and Bad Behavior; and The Practice of Peace, summarized in Appendix 2 below.  We recommend that anyone participating in the Culture of Peace Program read these books.

Possibly we can develop a short list of  “Principles for CCOPP Conversations”.  Considering the recommendations from the books in Appendix 2 below which explain and expand on these Principles, I came up with the following suggestions:

  1. Safety – guard the space against direct or indirectly violent behaviour (eg. Lack of respect, rejection, insult, etc.; there are no stupid questions or answers; we are all continuously learning; recognize that we live in an imperfect world and we are all trying to do our best to build a better one, for the sake of future generations; stop and think first, to select your words with care, compassion and empathy)
  2. Consequences – honest conversations are foiled if participants fear negative consequences; participants should mean no harm, have no fear, and have a clear understanding of the ‘rules’; trust must be built and earned; go to mutual purpose
  3. Acceptance – of the others as people, and respect for them and their opinions (dispel enemy images; listen to understand why they have the opinions they do)
  4. Mutual purpose – what is the outcome that we wish to achieve together? (invitation to a mutual learning conversation; answer ‘what is in it for us’; particularly being mindful of the overall Culture of Peace purpose/values; we aim for synergy and transformation)
  5. Patience - one of the essential characteristics of a Culture of Peace is 'patience'. Impatience almost always leads to a culture of violence, whereas a continued practice of patience is guaranteed to develop a Culture of Peace.
  6. Difference – we are not required to achieve consensus (it is OK to agree to disagree; we can learn from our differences, in fact we do not learn if we always agree)
  7. Empowerment – help the others to be courageous and find their voices so that we better understand their perspectives; we want them to honestly tell us what is bothering them, what their story is, what they wish to achieve, how we can help them and how they can help us
  8. Action – what are we going to do to continue to build a better relationship
  9. Responsibility – people are responsible for their own experiences (the success for any participant of any conversation depends to the greatest extent on the participant’s attitude; don’t blame others; don’t try to control others – you really can’t)

A Yahoo Group has been created to use as our communication tool at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CCOPPprotocol.  Anyone is invited to join if they wish to participate.  Members of CCOPPprotocol can send emails to the whole group of using This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Here is the Group Description:

“A Canadian Culture of Peace Program working group to participate in the drafting of a CCOPP protocol and strategy for approaching diverse groups, building relationships and having difficult conversations.”

So, I would suggest that we move the discussion to CCOPPprotocol, the working group dialogue and draft something, to be returned to CCOPPcore in due course for consideration of the larger group.

Frankly, we know it will take some years of continuous learning for us to master crucial conversations – like peace, it is hard work!  In the meantime, we appreciate your patience.  (If you have suggestions for the "Protocol Document", please let us know at info[at]peace.ca and join the discussion on the Yahoo Group.) 

Respectfully submitted,

Bob Stewart

Please see the two appendices: Manifesto 2000 and Discussions

Aware of it or not; like it or not; want it or not; we are all Peace and Violence Leaders, and Peace and Violence Educators.  Which and how effective is shown by our actions.  Our personal goal is continuous improvement.

In addition to our personal development, we have a community development goal:

  • To significantly reduce the incidents of violence in our community, and
  • To significantly increase the peace and well being at home, in our community and beyond.

We believe in the critical importance of creating a safe space or spaces in our communities to learn and talk about peace.  Here is how you can consider proceeding:

  1. Familiarize yourself with our web site at http://www.peacecafe.ca
  2. Specifically review http://www.peacecafe.ca/protocols and make a commitment to adhere to the Manifesto 2000 for the right to use the trademark Peace Café term
  3. Do an environmental scan:
    - Identify community issues
    - Inventory proponents (organizations and individuals) of peace, in all its various forms
    - Analyze your community strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT Analysis) related to peace and violence
    - Talk to people about this (i.e. an informal survey)
  4. Develop a preliminary vision for your Community Centre (eg. to be generalists; specialize in some particular area of interest; set goals; suggest offerings; rough budget; etc.)
  5. Join our Global Peace Café Yahoo Group.  A Yahoo Group has been created to use as our communication tool at http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/peacecafe.  Anyone is invited to join if they wish to participate.  Members can send emails to the whole group of using   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  This will provide a relatively new roster of people who have been working on Peace Cafés/Community Centres available for consulation.
  6. Join our Canadian Peace Education Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CPIdiscussion, consisting of over 200 peace educators.  This will provide a roster of peace educators available for consultation.
  7. Set up your own Community Centre/Peace Café Yahoo Group (our “office without walls”) for communication, information dissemination, networking, dialogue.  You can start a new Group from http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/peacecafe/.
  8. Extend an initial invitation to those interested in an Information Session and discussion.
  9. Extend an invitation to join the local Steering Committee to best potential candidates.
  10. Hold a Strategic Planning Workshop:
    - Refine Vision and goals
    - Develop Operating Plan (modus operandi)
    - Draft timelines, budget
    - Assign responsibilities
    - Initiate fundraising
    - Develop financial reporting
    - Develop “Focus Reporting”
  11. Hold a Technical Workshop on “Macropeace: The Big Peace Picture” (we can help)
  12. Develop a local web site for your “virtual community centre”, to start documenting your information.  You are welcome to use a part of our web site at www.peacecafe.ca/”yourcommunity”
  13. Gather existing books, videos and information resources in your community
  14. See our recommended library for peace cafés at http://www.peace.ca/peacecafeinventory.htm and start gathering more
  15. Start holding Peace Café evenings/gatherings in existing locales.  You can use suggestions from http://www.conversationcafe.net for example.
  16. Find permanent space (renting or donated would be more affordable, at least initially)
  17. Start offering speakers and workshops.  Suggested subjects:
    - Things readily available in the community
    - Things readily available in the region
    - Social intelligence and relationship building (ref. http://www.peace.ca/socialintelligence.htm )
    - Improving communications (ref. http://www.peace.ca/difficultconversations.pdf , http://www.peace.ca/crucialconversations.pdf , http://www.peace.ca/crucial_confrontations.htm )
    - Conflict transformation
    - Emotional intelligence (ref. http://www.danielgoleman.info/blog )
    - Spiritual intelligence
    - Family relationship building
    - Organizational relationship building and servant leadership (eg. for work, schools, etc.)
    - Open Space Conferencing on community issues and relationship building (ref. http://www.peace.ca/openspace.htm)
    - Training for trainers/transition teams
  18. Outreach/extension (newspapers, radio, TV, visits to schools and others, etc.

Resource people:

 

Bob Stewart, Director of Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace, stewartr at peace.ca (403) 461-2469

 

Rob Porter, Director of Hamilton Centre for Teaching Peace/Peace Café (905) 523-0111 or email  info at peacecafe.ca.

 

It is expected that participants of the Canadian Culture of Peace Program would join the over 70,000,000 other signatories world-wide and pledge to follow the six key points of Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence (http://www3.unesco.org/manifesto2000/uk/uk_6points.htm).

This includes, of course, all Peace Cafés.

Because the year 2000 must be a new beginning, an opportunity to transform - all together - the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence.

Because this transformation demands the participation of each and every one of us, and must offer young people and future generations the values that can inspire them to shape a world based on justice, solidarity, liberty, dignity, harmony and prosperity for all.

Because the culture of peace can underpin sustainable development, environmental protection and the well-being of each person.

Because I am aware of my share of responsibility for the future of humanity, in particular to the children of today and tomorrow.

I pledge in my daily life, in my family, my work, my community, my country and my region, to:

  • Respect the life and dignity of each human being without discrimination or prejudice;
  • Practise active non-violence, rejecting violence in all its forms: physical, sexual, psychological, economical and social, in particular towards the most deprived and vulnerable such as children and adolescents;
  • Share my time and material resources in a spirit of generosity to put an end to exclusion, injustice and political and economic oppression;
  • Defend freedom of expression and cultural diversity, giving preference always to dialogue and listening without engaging in fanaticism, defamation and the rejection of others;
  • Promote consumer behavior that is responsible and development practices that respect all forms of life and preserve the balance of nature on the planet;
  • Contribute to the development of my community, with the full participation of women and respect for democratic principles, in order to create together new forms of solidarity.
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