In the 21st century, living in peaceful Western countries, most of us believe we are civilized enough that there should easily be peace everywhere, but we continue to see waves of ethnic and religious violence around the world. The unrest and violence is a threat to peace, to political stability, to economic growth and to security around the world. We are all too aware that recent conflicts have killed and maimed tens of thousands and displaced millions. Continued violence only sets the stage for more violence.
Governments do not have all the answers. People and organizations can have influence over our path to the future. One organization taking action now is the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). ICERM is preparing for their upcoming 2014 Annual International Conference On Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution And Peacebuilding. The one-day event, on October 1, 2014 in Manhattan, New York, aims to inspire new thinking, stimulate ideas, and start dialogue towards facilitating peace and advancing social and economic well-being.
The U.S.-based nonprofit organization is committed to creating a new world characterized by peace for all, no matter what their cultural, ethnic or religious differences are.
The conference brings together people who care about peace, and are prepared to contribute to discussions on making sustainable peace a reality. Differences in ethnicity and faith traditions are often seen as a drawback to the peace process, but ICERM sees ways to unite people.
The purpose of this conference is to help us get to know one another and see our connections & commonalities in a way that has not been made available in the past; to inspire new thinking, stimulate ideas, inquiry, and dialogue & share anecdotal and empirical accounts, which will introduce and support evidence of the numerous advantages that multi-ethnic & multi-faith populations offer to facilitate peace and advance social/economic well-being. – ICERM
Around the world, all peoples have different histories, customs and practices that work to support the health and cohesion of their communities. We all have different rites, rituals and beliefs that in one way or another support the social relationships within our community or group. Our communities have various rights, but with rights come obligations and responsibilities. On this, ICERM says we have “tenets, ethics and boundaries establishing what is right, what is just, and what is honorable, which govern interpersonal and business relations. Throughout time, it has been these personal and shared doctrines that have cultivated the cooperation and collaboration necessary to have a better quality of life, promote innovation, build economies, nurture the arts, as well as foster advances in science, medicine, technology, civil society, and law.”
The organization wants to center conference discussions on identifying and utilizing the most beneficial aspects of the “shared and individual beliefs, doctrines, principles and codes of conduct.” The goal is to help “mediate and mitigate conflict, stabilize relations, and move toward reconciliation between cultures and across borders.”
ICERM’s Chairman of the Board, Dr. Dianna Wuagneux, holds a Ph.D. in International Relations. She has more than 18 years of experience advising in Central Asia, the Middle East, Russia and the former Soviet States, China, the Balkans, India, Eastern Europe, Indonesia and the Pacific and her primary interest is to help people cooperate and thrive in peace.
As an Independent International Advisor, Dr. Wuagneux specializes in working with the US Departments of State and Defense, the UN, foreign governments, foreign militaries and other stakeholders to address the needs and consequences of Fragile States and Nations in Transition.
She served as US Policy Advisor for the Department of State in Moscow 2012, Peace & Development Officer for UNDP Tajikistan, Senior Policy Advisor in Iraq 2008 and Senior Policy Advisor in Afghanistan 2006-2007. She worked alongside the US Embassy in the post-war Balkans devising and implementing strategies to improve regional relations and mitigate conflict while rebuilding the devastated region 2003-2005.
At ICERM, she provides guidance, inspiration, and direction to support the development of responsive methods of improving inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations around the world. She is a co-author of the 2012-2013 World Conflict Report, is included in the Harvard University registry of Eurasian experts, has a seat on the U.N “Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues;” and has been awarded the NATO Medal for her service to ISAF.
ICERM believes the key to creating sustainable peace lies in mediation and dialogue to prevent and resolve ethnic and religious conflicts.
The keynote speaker for the 2014 Annual International Conference On Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution And Peacebuilding is Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, 3rd Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom for the United States of America.