On World Peace Day, observed on September 21, local and international organisers of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) conference reflected on what peace and justice mean to disenfranchised communities across the Caribbean.
They also encouraged community organisers to get involved in the conversation by submitting a proposal to take part in the 29th IPRA conference, to be held at Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann's from May 17-23, 2023.
Established in 1964 as a non-profit international scientific association of peace researchers and educators, IPRA’s members are focused on conflict and its prevention, the successes and failures of building justice-based societies and the role of resistance in fighting oppression, a media release said.
The call for submissions to the conference is now open to artists, activists, students, researchers, community organisers and more.
This will be the first time IPRA’s conference will be held in the Caribbean and it is expected to attract hundreds of peace and justice researchers, educators, activists, and artists from across the world for four days of discussions and workshops, the release said.
Dr Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams, co-chair of the IPRA 2023 Conference Planning Committee and professor/director of Peace and Justice Studies at Gettysburg College thinks Trinidad and Tobago is the perfect place to have this conversation, the release said.
“Growing up in Laventille, I saw both promise and peril. I saw innovation and different types of violence. This was my basis for studying peace education. Therefore, it is now my honour to bring this international peace conference to TT,” Williams said in the release.
Attillah Springer, co-chair of the local organising committee of the IPRA 2023 conference said now is the time to come up with solutions.
“For societies like ours living in the shadow of inherited colonial violence and traumas, escalating rates of violence against women and children and on the brink of climate disaster, it’s hard to stay optimistic,” Springer said in the release.
“But this is hardly the time for despair. If we are to have any chance of a future, now is the time for us to put our heads together and come up with practical, tangible, achievable solutions.
"We also have a long history of thinkers and doers in TT and our rich culture has been a space for us to resist, rethink and reform our communities and we hope to give this cultural strength a chance to shine at the conference.”
Interested individuals and organisations are invited to submit proposals for plenaries, panels, poster sessions, art exhibits and installations, video presentations, experiential workshops, restorative justice circles, youth workshops, and song/dance/movement workshops/performances, among others.
Angelique Nixon, also co-chair of the local organising committee, said the call is under the theme, Rooted Futures: Collective Visions of Peace and Justice.
“We need to focus our energies now more than ever on peace and justice; and how we create change and transform the harmful cultural norms and violence impacting our families, our youth, our elders, our most vulnerable communities, our region, and our environment,” Nixon said in the release. “We have an open call for proposals under the theme, Rooted Futures: Collective Visions of Peace and Justice, and we invite submissions on matters including peace and justice in community organising, restorative justice and community building, community and youth-led movements,” she said.
Proposals, due by October 31, can be submitted to: https://www.ipra2023.org/call-for-proposals.
For more info on IPRA2023 TT: www.ipra2023.org or e-mail email@example.com