ProjectThe World Security Network Foundation (WSN) is researching, developing and promoting universal and practical “Human Codes of Tolerance and Respect” for families, educators, religious leaders, journalists, and politicians – the five affinity groups who have most influence on promoting tolerance and respect towards other ethnic groups and religions.
The codes will – in a format as guidelines - have simple to understand wordings and instructions on teaching your children, pupils, religious believers, readers, TV viewers and voters about the fundamental moral standards of tolerance and respect towards ethnic minorities and other religions. It is also a project to counter ethnically or religiously motivated totalitarianism and the spread of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.
This project includes deep research of the preaching of tolerance and respect by the Prophet himself during his lifetime, contrary to the concept of Islamic totalitarianism and Al Qaeda. It involves several international research teams who have worked in the archives and library of the Vatican and the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies PISAI of the Pères Blancs (White Fathers).
The Human Codes will be combined with more than ten best practice examples tailored for each target group to show how it could work in throughout the world and how you could implement the Codes in your affinity group. Included is a toolbox with 20 examples for national and international policy makers.
For the World Security Network, tolerance and respect are the lifeblood of peaceful coexistence and crucial elements of the soft powers of peacemaking. As Eric Hoffer said, “a war is not won if the defeated enemy has not been turned into a friend.” German philosopher Emmanuel Kant wrote: “the state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state - a state of peace, therefore, must be established.”
We believe that these wise sayings are truer today than ever before. The soft factors of peacemaking are often put aside by the harder instruments of peacemaking in strategic planning, political implementation and action.
WSN, with its global network including 19 former generals, is convinced that this lack of soft factors cannot lead to success, but that a new credible and balanced double strategy combining military containment and strength with an active reconciliation policy is needed – a holistic formula for peace based on diplomacy, power, and reconciliation; a new art of peacemaking effectively winning the hearts and minds of the people.
The Human Codes of Tolerance and Respect will be an important tool to develop a creative and more effective soft power peace policy in different conflict areas around the world, including the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the containment of Islamic totalitarianism in Moslem communities all over the world as the necessary second pillar of an overall peace strategy.
The Codes of Tolerance project is led by, and the report written by, WSN Founder and President Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann and supported by a special WSN team including WSN Vice President Frauke John, Research Director Jochen Ketterer and Monsignore Ortwin Gebauer from the Advisory Board.
The Codes are intended to promote tolerance, respect, and dignity for ethnic minorities and people of different religions, and to support a peaceful coexistence between other religions, races and nationalities of our “global village.” This starts from where you live locally, but reaches up to the national and international policy levels too.There are thousands of active grassroots projects from which we can choose best practice examples of tolerance and a number of academic and nongovernmental approaches to promote tolerance and peaceful coexistence. There is as yet no precise strategy and a recipe, however, for implementing these best practice examples into political action worldwide. This is especially true for conflict areas.
To implement Codes of Tolerance is enormously important for conflict solution, nation building and as a soft factor of peacemaking in countries like Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Baltic States or Russia in Europe, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel-Palestine as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan or Sri Lanka in Asia and many more regions in the world with different nationalities and minorities in one state. WSN has members of the International Advisory Board and Editors in those countries, and has analyzed the situation in Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Baltic States, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Pakistan carefully through fact finding missions.
WSN, comprised of globally experienced and respected experts on defense and foreign affairs, media, and education, is convinced that in today’s diverse and unstable world there is an urgent need for an active reconciliation process. This process also includes “Education for Tolerance and Respect” as a second pillar of global peace policy in addition to the classic tools of diplomacy, defense and deterrence.
Education for Tolerance is needed, in particular, to promote a fruitful dialogue between the Western and Islamic worlds, to avoid a clash of these cultures and to actively isolate and contain the radicals from the silent majorities.
The focus on the promotion of stability by military means and homeland security has led to an unbalanced approach. The human soul, the needs of the victims of oppression, and their suffering and dignity at the heart of peacemaking have been almost forgotten, and a cold power policy has prevailed which will not be able to produce stability and perpetual peace.
WSN, with its 19 former generals advising it, knows much about the hard strategies and tools of peacemaking, and also of the need to implement an effective double strategy including and strengthening the second pillar of reconciliation in strategy and concrete actions.
Several of our International Advisory Board members have personally experienced this in war time military actions: General Klaus Naumann as Chairman of NATO Military Committee during the Kosovo war against Serbia, later General Klaus Reinhardt commanding the KFOR troops in Kosovo, and Goetz Gliemeroth as one of the first commanders of ISAF in Afghanistan.
Other members of the WSN Advisory Board and Editors like Tunne Kelam, the freedom hero of Estonia, have to deal with the strong Russian minorities; Sergey Rogov from the Russian Academy of Science and his assistant and WSN Editor Russia Dmitry Udalov with a strong Muslim minority in Russia; WSN Editors Teram Poghosyan and Fariz Ismailzade are covering South Caucasus with its many minority problems and Russian influence; former Col Bernd Papenkort is, as WSN Editor in Sarajevo, involved in the reconciliation process in Bosnia, Arben Qirezi, former Spokesman of the Prime Minister and now Executive Director of the Transition Center in Pristina/Kosovo knows the discussions there since the beginning; Samy Gemayel is leader of the student Kateab group in Lebanon promoting independence there, Muhammad Aslam Khan Niazi is Brig Gen ret. in Pakistan and as well as Amin Hashwani and our two editors Roah ul Amin in Peshawar and Sahabzada Abdus-Smad Khan from Islamabad deeply involved in the complicated situation in Pakistan, the tribal areas FATA and neighboring Afghanistan; Prem Singh Basnyat is fighting, as an active Lt Col and WSN Editor, with the instable situation in his home country Nepal. WSN knows the urgent need for reconciliation, tolerance and respect – but also the need for concrete political planning and solid implementation of a soft power peace policy.
We know that until now there has been a lack of concrete and systematic planning, funding and integrating it into the peace strategies on the local levels as well as the international arena.
We believe that the important containment of terrorism and its isolation from the majority of peaceful people, especially in Islamic countries, needs a fresh and active effort to promote Education for Tolerance and Respect on a global scale. As this task currently lacks the necessary political attention, the role of WSN will be to spread tolerance where it matters most: among the young population of the broader Middle East and the Islamic countries of Asia.
The Human Codes of Tolerance and Respect will be valid all over the world, in all cultures and regions. There is a need all over the world and nobody can ask for tolerance and respect if he does not offer it to another.
The Codes should help religious minorities of all faiths and ethnic minorities in their desire for a peaceful coexistence with their regional majorities.
Religions and Islam
Religions, especially Islam, are increasingly important and influential in promoting tolerance and respect. The Codes will therefore analyze the roots of tolerance and respect in major religions.
Monsignore Ortwin Gebauer serves as Chairman of the special WSN Committee Christian Peace, Tolerance and Reconciliation Policy and is as well a member of the Advisory Board. Also involved is Prof. Alfons Nossol, the Archbishop of Opole (Poland), Member of the Commission on Christian Dialogue in the Vatican and close friend of former Pope John Paul II, as expert who is one of the spiritual fathers of the German-Polish reconciliation process.
One larger chapter will deal with the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his teaching of tolerance towards the people of the book and other tribe members during the early days of Islam. First findings and many quotes of the Prophet show us that the merciful nature of the Prophet has been forgotten, like that of Jesus Christ for more than 1800 years by Christianity during the long periods of inquisition, crusading and the Thirty Years’ War against the Protestants in Europe. We believe that an Islamic Renaissance is urgently needed to bring back Muhammad’s teaching of mercy, respect, and tolerance not only for the West but the Islamic nations themselves and for the clash of Shiites and Sunnis - i.e. in Iraq - as they are the first victims of totalitarian thinking.
Partners and Institutes
We integrate not only our network but also experience-rich institutes. A team at the CAP Institute in Munich has written a WSN paper on how to teach tolerance. We will also leverage the knowledge of many NGOs that have worked in this field for decades.
The Codes of Tolerance and Respect will be published as a book end of 2009 in several languages including Arabic and in the WSN and a special Codes of Tolerance website.
WSN will not only research, formulate and publish it, but also develop the important second stage of active promotion of the Human Codes of Tolerance and Respect and the best practice examples through its unique network of high-ranking politicians, media, opinion leaders, experts on education, and celebrities in the U.S., Europe, Broader Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The goal is implementation into many different societies and government policies.
The five codes and the policy proposals will be presented to the media and politicians at special conferences in cities like: New York, Washington D.C., London, Brussels, Berlin, Rome, Moscow, Sarajevo/Bosnia, Pristina/Kosovo, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Beirut, Bagdad, Dubai, Doha, Jakarta, Singapore, Islamabad and Kabul.
Regional conferences there will include highly respected experts, politicians, journalists, and parents. Their results will be widely disseminated and publicized to the public, parliaments, and international organizations such as the OSCE, the EU and the UN.
Press conferences and media events will be conducted using local celebrities, experts, and politicians to promote the Codes.
Video clips of celebrities from music, cinema and sports will go online in the WSN website as well as YouTube.com, and sponsoring TV stations will promote the Codes to young people.
Selected Best Practices Examples
The World Security Network Foundation is collecting ideas, policy examples, and best practice examples of tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the areas of family, education, and media from all over the world. To give a first impression of them:
Examples for families include
- “Art Road to Peace” initiative of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to educate Jewish and Arabic children in cooperation through working on art projects;
- Berlin Diversity-Exhibition for Children and Parents, including the internet-project "Codes of Tolerance for Kids", made by the non government organization "Mit allen Sinnen lernen e.V., Berlin", supported by the German Aktion Mensch e. V. and the World Security Network Foundation
Examples for religious leaders include:
- Local committees with religious leaders of the Christian, Islamic and Jewish communities to visit and get to know one another, as organised by WSN Advisory Board member Monsignore Ortwin Gebauer as Deacon of the Catholic Church in Lindau at the Lake of Constance in Germany.
- Reconciliation ceremonies in churches, mosques and synagogues, inviting those from other faiths.
Examples for teachers and schools include:
- A Joint School Book Commission presenting two sides of history, as done by the Braunschweig School book Institute in Germany for German-Polish and German-French history books since decades successfully.
Examples for journalists include
- Declaration in editors committees to cover more stories of reconciliation in TV, print and radio, not only hate and terror. This should show the world as it is: full of hope and people taking responsibility for the younger generation especially in public controlled media.
- Support of movies covering the aspects of reconciliation, tolerance and respect to reach out to a young audience, as done by local moviemakers in Bosnia-Herzegovina with funding from international organizations.
Examples from the WSN toolbox for domestic and international policy makers to implement tolerance domestically and in international relations include:
- The establishment of a governmental position of State Secretary or Special Representative for Dialogue of Cultures and Tolerance, with a budget similar to the environmental and arms control initiatives of the 1970s and 1980s.
- Legislative resolutions requiring governments to publish an annual report on the status of the dialogue of cultures, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence.
- A National Day of Tolerance and Minorities.
- Establishment of a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission like in South Africa.