One World Week - Peacing the world together

By Simon Barrow
October 21, 2010

The annual One World Week (OWW) has been running since last weekend and is due to end on Sunday 24 October 2010. It draws together hundreds of local civic groups, development agencies, churches and faith groups to look at how the world we share can become a more just, peaceful and sustainable place – and how the often violent divisions among its people can be overcome.

The educational aim is to show the link between very local action and involvement and global change, overcoming the cynicism that says “nothing can be done” or “I can’t really make a difference.”

‘Peacing Together One World’ is the umbrella theme for 2010. The UN International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World ends this year, and OWW sees itself as contributing to a positive finale with an excellent Practical Guide to Action and other resources and links on its website.

The inspiration and ideas can also be employed well after the formal Week, too.

We should really have highlighted OWW 2010 long ago, as in past years. The one up-side of this unintended neglect is that it is indicative of just how much is going on from a civil society perspective in the realms of development education, peace and justice at the moment. Frankly, it's hard to keep up!

I should also declare a personal interest, too. In 1990-91 I worked as a part-time media adviser for One World Week, and I was a long-standing member, during the 1980s, of its then management group, the Churches' Committee of the World Development Movement (WDM).

OWW has considerably broadened its base of support and involvement since then. It has had to be determined, because it is tough to sustain such long term global education initiatives. Funding can be fitful, and we live in a restless culture which is always wanting something 'new' or to move onto the 'next thing'. The thematic approach of OWW is a distinct bonus in that regard.

With reported DfID cuts to education about development issues and the mainstream media sometimes ducking out of the more awkward or analytical angles, opportunities for consciousness and awareness raising like One World Week - especially at local community level - are extremely important.

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