Centre News

December 2018 Centre News

Opposing War Memorial News:  Key City of Edinburgh Committee Approves the Memorial

Our proposal for a Memorial to Conscientious Objectors and all who oppose war has been enthusiastically approved by the Transport and Environment Committee of the City of Edinburgh. Councillors unanimously supported the proposals.

Green Cllr Chas Booth said: “I think it’s fantastic. It’s clearly beautiful and it encourages thought, it encourages respect for those who showed the bravery to stand up in the past to war.” Conservative Cllr Nick Cook praised “the consideration and the thought that has gone into this”.

Transport and Environment Convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes who formerly worked for a landmine and cluster munition NGO said: “I was tasked with dealing with those weapons and the impact of those weapons both during conflict and post-conflict. I’ve witnessed and understood very clearly the impact of war on human lives. I think it’s very important that the voices that represent opposition to that can be heard in Scotland’s capital city.”

A full transcript of our deputation is here. Our testimony can be viewed starting at 40 minutes into the webcast of the Committee meeting. Officials have confirmed our choice of location for the Memorial between the Ross Bandstand and the Ross Fountain in West Princes St Gardens, subject only to archeological investigation.

Motion in Scottish Parliament: MSPs from all parties Support the Memorial

A motion by Alison Johnstone MSP supporting our proposal for an Opposing War Memorial was debated by Scottish Parliament in early December. There was support from all parties and from Scottish government. Several MSPs made moving contributions recalling past COs who were ostracized, treated harshly and even died in prison, noting Conscientious Objection as a human right, and calling attention to contemporary COs around the world. Many MSPs congratulated the Peace & Justice Centre for our work on this. The debate was Live Streamed on BBC Scotland’s Holyrood Live. Watch the full debate on www.scottishparliament.tv/

This Evil Thing Fundraiser performance raised £1,000 for the Memorial.

We are very grateful to Michael Mears for his performance of his one-man play about First World War Conscientious Objectors. The audience was involved in re-enacting a meeting of the No Conscription Fellowship where people attending waved handkerchiefs instead of applauding speakers in order not to aggravate a hostile mob outside. That episode inspired Kate Ive to design a bronze handkerchief peace tree for the Memorial a fantastic moment of synergy between these two projects.

£18,000 Raised in October / November Crowdfunder. Donations still welcome. Thanks to all who have donated & helped raise £19,000 for the Opposing War Memorial more than doubling donations received so far to £37,000. Now we can get technical drawings, engineer certification & planning permission and deliver workshops so people can be involved in the project.

We’re over halfway to goal of £59,000 in private donations. The support shown by City Council, Scottish Parliament and so many donors will help us raise the balance of the full budget of £168,000 from grants.

We’re continuing to raise funds for casting the bronze Peace Tree sculpture. Anyone who wants to support the Memorial can still donate at: www/opposingwar.scot/donate/

Legacies of Resistance: As a project partner P&J staff delivered workshops to the Workers Education Association Scotland HLF funded Legacies of Resistance to the First World War project. We are preparing materials for a final exhibition and an associated booklet.

Exhibition Launch event. Friday 25 January. 1:30 – 3:30pm. St Mungo Museum, 2 Castle St, Glasgow G4 0RH. Booking Required. Email a.campbell@wea.org.uk with “Legacies of Resistance to the First world War:  The Stories of Conscientious Objectors – Event and Exhibition” in Subject line.  This is a WEAScotland project with support from the Peace & Justice Centre. 

Peacebuilding for Schools Programme

We completed an Evaluation of the programme which concluded we are meeting targeted outcomes in line with the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and identified areas of improvement. The Evaluation is available on our website. On the back of this we have received grants from Pumphouse Trust, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and Fellowship of Reconciliation in support of our Peacebuilders Schools Programme enabling us to continue working in schools and further develop the programme. WE engaged Emma Quayle as Project Development Worker and Louise Smith as Project Coordinator.

Twelve people attended Facilitator Trainings in October. Our Facilitators and new trainees have worked in two schools this term – Hermitage Park and Bonaly Primary. We have been invited back to Hermitage Park and Parsons Green schools and aim to continue working intensively in certain schools where Head Teachers support developing a culture of peace.  We are improving our ability to achieve outcomes and plan to develop and incorporate a Restorative Practice component and a Whole School approach to conflict resolution.

White Poppies Our volunteers distributed about 700 white poppies to six City Centre venues including Central Library.

Origami Cranes Workshops & Storage Needed. Can you help? We now have 100,000 origami cranes. Can you offer a place to store a big box of cranes until August 2020 when we plan to mount an exhibition? Come along to a workshop at the Centre, second Saturday of each month. If you can’t make that can you make cranes at home or organize a workshop?

Email origamicranes{at}peaceandjustice.org.uk for more info or to offer a home for these birds!

Don’t Bank on the Bomb  The P&J continues to take part in the network, campaigning for divestment from nukes. The network met with Gil Paterson MSP a Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme Trustee to discuss ways we can work to promote divestment. An article by Linda Pearson, author of the Stop Funding the End of the World report appeared in Common Space. The report is available from our website.

Intern Hsiao Wei from Taiwan joined us in November – December. Barbara Stankova, a graduate of St Andrews University is joining us in January.

June 2018 Centre News

Nobel Peace Prize Medal Comes to Scottish Parliament

The Nobel Peace Prize medal, which was awarded to the the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in 2017, was displayed at Scottish Parliament on 12 June. Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre is one of five Scottish civil society groups that are among the 468 worldwide ICAN partners, who collectively share the Peace Prize. The medal was brought to a meeting of meeting of the Cross Party Group on Nuclear Disarmament by ICAN Co-Chair Dr. Rebecca Johnson. The event coincided with the Trump – Kim summit.
Read more: http://peaceandjustice.org.uk/nobel-peace-prize-medal-comes-to-scottish-parliament/

May 2018 Centre News

New Administrator: Welcome Jane!

Our new Administrator Jane Herbstritt is settling into her role at the Peace & Justice Centre. Jane is also part time at Global Justice Now.  She has already put her skills to good use sorting out GDPR consents and setting up Donate functions on our website.

She will be handling all administrative work so for room bookings, events information and membership issues please email: admin@peaceandjustice.org.uk.

For Events for Calendar still use: contact@peaceandjustice.org.uk.

logo Legacies of Resistance to ww1Legacies of Resistance to the First World War Scotland Classes have started with groups of adult learners in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. A special session took place at National Register House with Dr Billy Kenefick and Cyril Pearce, creator of the most comprehensive national register of COs. The “Pearce Register” is now part of the Imperial War Museum. Cyril also gave a public talk entitled “New Thoughts on Resistance to the First World War in Britain”. The project, on which the Peace & Justice Centre is a partner, is organised by Workers Education Association. 

140,000 Origami Cranes Project

The project is now reaching out beyond Edinburgh. Scottish CND have run a first workshop in Glasgow and workshops are being organised in the Borders. Approximately £1,000 funding is now in place for this project, sufficient to hire a Curator for an exhibition that we hope to hold in Scottish Parliament. Madeleine Loll is coordinating outreach on this project with our latest volunteers Emma Clark and Coady Johnston helping out over the summer. Madeleine is set to do a workshop at St Thomas Aquins High School with History teacher Katie Hunter before the end of the year.

Saturday workshops are continuing, second Saturday of each month 2-4pm at the Centre. Note though that August workshop is 5th August to coincide with Hiroshima. 

coadyDivest othian Pension Fund from Arms

We joined CAAT in Petitioning City Edinburgh to call on the Lothian Pension fund to Divest from arms. A video of our testimony at that hearing is available on the City of Edinburgh website. Following the Petitions Committee hearings we were invited to meet with the CEO and fund managers of the Lothian Pensions Fund. We will be appearing before the Pensions Committee 28 June 2pm.

Volunteers  Coady Johnston, a student at University of Edinburgh maintains our online Diary of Community events and is a Coordinator on our Cranes project .

 

fly kites decoratingFly Kites Not Drones Days

The beautiful blue skies of Afghanistan are now a fearful sight to children who no longer want to fly kites, due to fear of a drone strike. Drones are now extensively used in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Gaza, Yemen, Mali and Somalia.

In solidarity with all people living under threat of drones we organised a fun day being the change we want to see and brought our ideas of a culture of peace to life. There was Kite making, kite decorating, and lots of kite flying as well as badge making and face painting. Lots of families turned up and it was great to see so many people, young and old alike out flying kites.

Marking the Centenary of Conscription

On Thursday, 28 January 2016, Patrick Harvie MSP, Quakers in Scotland, and the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, hosted a reception to mark the centenary of the Military Service Act at the Scottish Parliament.

St Thomas Aquins students spoke about Conscientious Objectors at Scottish Parliament event.

Trevor Royle, author of ‘The Flowers of the Forest’ the definitive history of Scotland in the First World War, and a member of the Scottish Commemorations panel praised the “16,000 brave men who refused to be conscripted in the First World War” saying it would be right to honour them with a memorial. Historian Lesley Orr told stories of several Edinburgh conscientious objectors and of people who supported them, notably within St Mark’s Unitarian congregation.

Trevor Allen: Author of Flowers of the Forest

Second World War conscientious objector David Turner recalled that it was his mother’s opposition to war, as a result of the experience of the First World War that first led him to refuse to take part in the Second World War. All were moved by his simple assertion that we must keep refusing to support wars throughout our lives. A faithful Campaign Against the Arms Trade activist David has practised what he preaches. Elisabeth Allen remembered her grandfather John Searson, a First World War CO and Joyce Taylor-Richards, spoke about her grandfather John Taylor, a trade unionist and councillor for the Independent Labour Party in Glasgow. In addition, three students from St Thomas Aquin’s High School in Edinburgh, Kristy, Rose and India, presented their work on conscientious objectors. EP&JC Coordinator Brian Larkin told the assembly about plans to develop a memorial to Conscientious Objectors in Edinburgh’s Princes St Gardens.

Conscientious Objectors Day Recognition by Scottish Parliament?

The Peace and Justice Centre worked with the office of Alison Johnstone MSP who lodged a motion calling on Scottish Parliament to recognise International Conscientious Objectors’ Day 15 May. The motion was signed by MSPs John Finnie, Drew Smith, Patrick Harvie, Jean Urquhart, Neil Findlay, John Wilson, Claudia Beamish, Alison McInnes, Malcolm Chisholm, Sarah Boyack, John Mason, Iain Gray and Fiona McLeod. While the number of MSPs signing the motion was comparatively small the fact of it being lodged and signed by Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green MSPs is worth noting, and helps to raise awareness and respect for those who refuse to take part in war.  We will be exploring the possibility of a fresh motion in the new Parliament around the time of international CO Day itself.

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