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Tuesday, 29 June 2010 22:42

How to Start a Peace Café

Written by  Robert Stewart

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
  2. Specifically review 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  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, 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
  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”yourcommunity”
  13. Gather existing books, videos and information resources in your community
  14. See our recommended library for peace cafés at and start gathering more
  15. Start holding Peace Café evenings/gatherings in existing locales.  You can use suggestions from 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. )
    - Improving communications (ref. , , )
    - Conflict transformation
    - Emotional intelligence (ref. )
    - 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.
    - 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 (403) 461-2469


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


Last modified on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 22:59
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 <>   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.

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