The International Forum for Peace, Security & Prosperity (IFPSP), a federally registered “Not for Profit” corporation in Canada, was founded in 2019 with the mission to learn from our past, to educate and inform future generations of the history of peace in the world, and to bring a heightened level of reasoning to the discussion of what achieves, in this digital age, lasting peace, security and prosperity.
The IFPSP supports and promotes positive peace, the UNs Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13, 14, 15 relating to climate change and 16 relating to institutions of justice and the Eight Pillar of Positive Peace developed by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP).
Only through a diligent defence of the eight pillars of positive peace, can societal prosperity be achievable and sustainable. By exploring core values of individual liberty, democracy, rule of law, and universal human rights through the leans of the eight pillars of Positive Peace, organizers wish is to inspire the next generation of young leaders with a renewed understanding of the importance of the institutions that stand in their defence.
The IFPSP and its forum, conferences and other educational activities aims to:
- reconnect our youth with the values and institutions that have made our societies peaceful, secure, and prosperous;
- reacquaint our youth with the global price of peace around the world in terms of humanitarian consequences and its effect on climate change, migration and human rights.
- explore what is needed to ensure youth have access to those conditions that allow them to have hope about their future such as freedom from violence of any form, access to education and economic opportunities, health care and social protection and safe and affordable civic spaces (on and off-line) and a meaningful voice in their communities and at all levels of government;
- provide youth with an understanding of the lessons learned from the armed conflict and peacebuilding done in the past as well as what peacebuilding is happening in the world today;
- explore the role that men and women peace officers and those of the profession of arms have played and continue to play in laying the foundations of peace and its protection and with that knowledge;
- support the development of skills needed among youth for peacebuilding and advocacy such as conflict resolution, critical thinking and problem solving;
- teach youth how inclusive partnerships with other organizations can be pathways to the organization of their own peace and security agenda at all levels of community and government engagement.
Why Is The Forum Needed
The globalization and intertwining of our economies, mass migration, war, and poverty, rising nationalism, instant revisionism, and radicalism, coupled with gale-force winds of a global pandemic and proliferating social information platforms (many with little or no regulated standards), combine to create an international complexity and interconnectedness never seen. In this context democracies are in decline.
Opinions and perceptions in this complex environment are often formed by sound bites, rather than through reasoned, evidence-based human analysis. Youth – the instant communications technology native generation – are particularly susceptible to “fast food” type of information or promotion and exposure to “misinformation”.
The effects of mass migration, resulting from conflicts and unfavorable situations, strain existing systems to respond adequately and with compassion. The response to critical humanitarian needs and economic necessity has fueled the growth of immigration in liberal western democracies for years, now. New citizens from cultures with no democratic institutions require enormous efforts to support their integration and adaptation to democratic values and systems.
In this reality, fundamental questions should be considered.
- Does the average citizen understand the foundations of a peaceful and prosperous democracy?
- Do most citizens globally, recognize the systems and institutions that ensure fairness and equality for their citizens through the application of the rule of law, both within and between nations?
- How does a peaceful society protect all of members from injustice from within and threats of aggression from other external actors?
- How do citizens make their society secure while respecting rights for freedom and liberty?
Engaging Children, Youth And Next Generation Leaders
It is estimated that children and youth in the western world process more than six times more media than their grandparents. However, not all the media consumed enables our children and youth to develop a positive view of themselves or the society that they live in. Sustaining an inclusive democracy requires:
- an understanding of what makes the freedom and liberty they enjoy possible and;
- their belief in the value and fairness of the opportunities where all people enjoy and benefit from in the future.
The IFPSP curriculum for early grades from grades 4 to 6, proposes to explore the concept of “Positive Peace” and the foundational principles and primary values upon which prosperous societies are built. The values of respect rooted in inclusiveness and tolerance, fairness, integrity, and forgiveness are as essential to the school ground as the wider global situation and plant the seeds for a free, open and inclusive society free from oppression. The IFPSP proposes that for middle grades, students are introduced to the UNs SDGs and their direct impact on Positive Peace. Senior students will explore the IEP’s Eight Pillars of Positive Peace and tools for informational resilience, critical thinking and conflict resolution that deepen understanding of the need for our democratic institutions to sustain peace. The curriculum will offer a framework for understanding:
- The importance of fairness and inclusion in our justice system, free of systemic bias or racism;
- The critical nature of our personal and societal response to climate change;
- The importance of our civil service and the institutions that maintain our safety and security;
- Why it is important to commemorate those who fought to preserve freedom and our democratic way of life.
The annual hybrid forum brings together high school students, university students, and officer cadets of military colleges, supported by academics and military and public safety professionals, and peacebuilders and officers, along with members of the public, policymakers, and business and community leaders, to explore the interlocking dynamics of peaceful, secure, and prosperous societies, how these take hold, who makes them happen, and what conditions and actions allow them to persist and strengthen over time, even in the face of aggression and threats. At a deeper level, participants are encouraged to examine the contributing factors to societal violence and intra and inter state conflict resulting from the marginalization of youth and women, the disengagement with political order, societal inequities in the access to resources and the impact of climate change.
Using an international essay and video contest to engage students from Grades 10 to 12, offers them a chance to participate directly in building peace. Through Forum activities high school students have the chance to interact with peers from around the world including university students and officer-cadets of military colleges for the purpose of examining the roles played, and the limitations faced by members of the profession of arms in laying the foundations upon which a peaceful, secure, and prosperous democracy can thrive.
In May and September of 2021 and again in January of 2022, the contest was promoted to 11,000 Canadian high schools and to more than a dozen EU member states through a partnership with the European Union Military Secondary Schools Forum (EUMSSF). In addition, partnerships with the Global Peace Institute (GPI) and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) provide opportunities for collaboration and broader student participation.
Sicily was selected as the in-person location of the forum as it offers a unique historical context. Sicily was the first experience with a coordinated Allied Military Government designed to begin the rebuilding by the western liberal democracies of a peaceful Italian state during the summer of 1943. The Forum’s annual location alternates among the towns that are situated along the route of the 1st Canadian Division, in their advance across Sicily, as a symbolic commemoration of the sacrifices of all those who fought and died for the values of peace and liberty.
The Forum Structure
Hosted annually on a virtual platform, the IFPSP is accessible to students, colleges, and citizens online from around the world. On April 7th and 8th of 2022, over 2,500 participants joined the hybrid forum. The IFPSP welcomed 75 high schools from 36 countries, and 23 Military Colleges 19 of whom attended the Forum in-person in Agira, Sicily.
In 2023, the Forum will be hosted in Piazza Armerina, Sicily on online. A full day curriculum is offered to students of universities and military colleges on March 26th. Two half-day events are offered in a hybrid format on March 27th and 28th from 9:00 AM EST to 12:30 PM EST to accommodate international time zones.
The hybrid events will feature four interactive panels with simultaneous three-way interpretations in English, French, and Italian. The first three panels cover lessons from history in the first panel, current peace building initiatives and future opportunities and challenges for peace. Each panel offers 75 minutes of knowledge exchange and audience participation. Each of the three panels was comprised of a moderator, a professor or subject matter expert, and one or more students from a university of military college. A fourth panel featuring the student finalists of the essay and video contest from around the world is undertaken in 60 minutes to accommodate class schedules.
Participants attending in person are invited to participate in an initial day of conferences and are offered the opportunity to undertake a field activity comprising of a walk on the Walk for Remembrance & Peace. This walk includes a battlefield tour, a briefing on civilian rebuilding activities following the War in 1943 and a visit to a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.
The experience offers an unparalleled opportunity for international networking and knowledge exchange among our next generation of peacebuilders.
PRE-FORUM EVENTS AND TEACHER RESOURCES
Organizers of the IFPSP offer a series of lesson plans that prepare students to explore the contest topics and offer the options of in-person or online class facilitation. These resources are tailored to the United Nations International Day of Peace held on September 21st and integrate the topics proposed for the March Forum.
Who Supports The IFPSP
The International Forum for Peace, Security & Prosperity is proud to include as partners:
- Institute for Economics and Peace
- Global Peace Institute
- Valour Canada
- TLN television network
- The Office for Pubblica Istruzione in Sicily
- Conference of Defence Associations Institute (Canada)
- L’institut militaire de Québec
- The IFPSP is proud to include the military colleges of the Canadian Defence Academy and the Italian Army General Staff and their military academies,
- Organizers are based in Montreal, Canada, and Sicily, Italy.
Our Youth Need To See Our Militaries At The Table
Our youth know that we have a military and need to understand their limited role in the making and sustaining peace.
The tragedy and stupidity of war is described by Paul Goodman as having eight root causes, economic or territorial gain, religion, nationalism, revenge, civil war, revolutionary war or defensive war. In all of these causes, some form of “army” is engaged either in aggression or defence. But in truth, no soldier goes to war. All soldiers are sent to war. Political leaders use militaries and others among the profession of arms for both the positive needs for societal security and when power is abused, these forces may be used as oppressive and destructive forces.
In Canada, three hundred and fifty-seven thousand citizens deploy every day to secure our society in here Canada and in UN and NATO sanctioned missions around the world. These citizens, as in the case of police and our armed forces are know as the Profession of Arms. The Profession of Arms in Canada is composed of citizens dedicated to the defence of their communities and of Canada and its interests, as directed by the Government of Canada.
The Profession of Arms is distinguished by the concept of service before self, the lawful, ordered application of force, and the acceptance of the concept of unlimited liability. They are the ones that run to danger while civilians take cover. Representatives of these professions deserve to have a voice at the table when discussing the imperatives of Positive Peace. Like firefighters who are called to put out a house fire, these Canadians are asked to do a job but can’t be expected to be solely responsible to rebuild the society destroyed by war.
All civilians have a responsibility for the maintenance of the positive peace in which we live. There is a price to creating and sustaining a peaceful, secure, and prosperous society. Peace is not accidental; justice is not automatically assured, and security is no guarantee of justice. To the extent that our youth are more knowledgeable about the imperatives of positive peace, they may be inspired to engage more directly in the promotion and sustainment of the ideals and institutions that support it.