Comprising of the 8 states of Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal, North East is India’s one of the most culturally vibrant and ethnically diverse region with over 205 ethnic tribes and about 175 linguistic groups. Each state in the region has its own history, cultural resources and socio-political strengths with a rich cultural heritage. Around 40% of the total population of the around 39 million (2001) are youth who are deeply influenced by secessionist or separatist political ideologies, social unrests, militarization, and seriously affected by counter-insurgency violence, drugs and HIV and AIDS. These youths serve as recruiting base for political mobilizations and armed groups espousing regional political aspirations.
Based on specific situation analysis of youth afflicted by violent culture the Youth department of the Catholic Diocese of Kohima launched Peace Channel project with an aim to give the youth a new vision of culture of peace and sustainable community development by facilitating an attitudinal change and new skill development in Nagaland in 2006. By far through this project around 8000 students are regularly holding peace club activities in 72 schools in Nagaland. These students are member to 170 Peace Clubs in those schools/communities. Members of Peace club regularly undergo a transformative and participatory learning process, identify local issues and act on them at their levels. Besides installing peace clubs in educational institutions and communities the project has also benefitted around 20,000 youths in the neighboring states of Arunachal, Assam and Manipur through seminars, sharing workshops, and peace band shows.
The North-East Youth Peace and Cultural Festival is a mega event conceptualized as four-day extravaganza to commemorate International Day of Peace and the Foundation Day of Peace Channel in which youth from across the North East and the Country will interact, deliberate and learn on the basic themes of peace, culture, unity and brotherhood. Further the participants will get glimpse of the culture and traditions of communities across the country through presentation of folk dances and songs. It will be also an opportunity to display and sell indigenous art and craft items through exhibition. The event will be attended by the Civil Society Leaders, educationists, social workers, religious leaders and businessmen apart from the youth and invited public The theme of the event will be ‘Come Together for Peace for a better Tomorrow’ and thrust area will be ‘Stop Violence against Children and Youth’.
The gathering of youth under the banner of peace channel will be an occasion and opportunity to share, interact and to learn for the youths from diverse background. The informational sessions will capacitate the participants on peace, conflict resolution and inter-religious harmony. The event will further enhance the knowledge of the participants on other cultures, communities and lifestyles and thereby broaden their outlook. The Peace Awards will highlight the outstanding contributions of individuals towards promoting peace – and it will be a motivating factor for the participating youth as well as the general masses.
1. Background of the organization
Peace Channel is a youth peace movement, aiming at the transformation of individuals to become peace lovers, peacemakers and peace promoters - leading people from a culture of violence to a culture of peace. Founded on 21st September 2005, the Movement focuses primarily on mobilizing the youth in educational institutions and localities to into Peace Clubs. The Peace Clubs are fundamental functional bodies of the movement that brings together young people irrespective of caste or creed to stand for peace and harmony in their immediate neighborhood. The Movement facilitates training and capacity building programmes for the members on a regular basis and keep them connected and active through a host of district and state level programmes and cultural exchanges. The movement further reaches out to the adults by way of garnering support of the local leaders, bureaucrats and teachers through Associate membership programme. Associate members are the lead as well as resource persons for the movement in addressing local issues and guiding the youth. Taking the message of Peace to the general masses, the movement has set up ‘The Peace Band’ – a concert team of musicians and performers - who travel around localities and institutions with musical concert and street play on relevant themes. Further-through the annual peace awards-the movement honours individuals who have contributed towards peace promotion and peace education in Nagaland. The Annual Youth Peace Festival and Peace rally brings together thousands of youth in sharing ideas and culture. Interfaith consultations and State Level Peace Seminars bring together fine minds from various religions and walks of life in discussion on issues relating to peace and harmony in the region.
1.1. Objectives of the Movement:
¨ To bring together people, especially the youth, under the banner of ’Peace Channel’ to work individually and collectively to promote peace and harmony in their immediate neighborhood and strive towards universal peace, justice, equality, and brotherhood.
¨ To explore strategies of building peace and bringing about development by working together on socio-economic, cultural, educational, environmental and other inclusive issues.
¨ To promote human rights and peace education in educational institutions, families and communities.
¨ To organize children, youth and parents in communities for peace and human rights development activities.
¨ To mobilize individuals from various walks of life as associate members of the movement, to assist and mobilize public support for Peace & Development.
¨ To foster partnerships with educational institutions, parents associations and people’s organization at community levels for promotion of peace and human rights education
¨ To promote inter-ethnic, inter-cultural, interfaith and inter-religious harmony.
¨ To promote and support role models of peace educators, educational institutions integrating peace and human education, peace activists, and human rights activists.
1.2. Key Initiatives of the Movement
Peace Club formation in educational institutions
Peace Club formation in localities and villages
Peace and Development Awareness programmes
Peace Channel Music Band
Leadership Training programme
Training of Media Persons on Peace Journalism
Career Guidance and Soft Skill Development Training
Regional Youth Peace Cultural Festivals
Advocacy for introducing Peace Education in schools
Research on traditional and modern conflict resolution methods in ethnic communities.
2. THE EVENT
Cultural Exchange & North Eastern Youth Cultural Peace Festival 2011
Dates : 3rd – 6th October, 2011
Create Awareness on the rich Cultural Heritage among the Youth, Promote Cultural Integration, encourage preservation of indigenous art and craft and capacitate youth on issues related to Peace & Development.
Theme : Come Together for Peace for a Better Tomorrow
Thrust Area : Stop Violence against Children and Youth
1. To promote manufacture and use of indigenous craft & utility products among the youth through exhibition of products made by the youth
2. To preserve the cultural art forms through performance of various art forms during the cultural Festival
3. To enhance integration of various tribal cultures across North East upholding the values that binds them together.
4. To capacitate the youth to propagate the messages of Peace and Harmony through informative sessions, sharing and discussion.
5. To explore the possibility of forming and /or form inter-cultural peace promotion groups to carry forward the messages to the masses.
6. To identify and promote young leaders who would stand for peace, promotion and preservation of Culture
2.2.1. Programme Components:
i. Inaugural & Valedictory Functions
ii. Art & Craft manufacture exhibition and sale stalls of various tribes and communities across North East.
iii. Exposition of folk songs and dances of the various tribes and communities through a cultural Fiesta
iv. Educational& informative sessions on Culture, Peace & Conflict Transformation with the help of experts in the field.
v. Felicitation of three outstanding individuals with Peace Channel Awards for their outstanding contributions towards peace building and Community welfare Peace Marathon & Valedictory Function