Vancouver Peace Forum - June 2006,     Part 1


In June, Jim and I had the good fortune to be able to attend this Peace Forum, as it coincided with a visit to relatives already planned. It was a massive conference of around 2,000 people from all over the world. Most events took place in the beautiful venue of University of British Columbia, where we also had excellent accommodation, but some events took place in Downtown locations. As it was so big, many meetings were simultaneous, so it was often difficult to decide what to attend. For example, there were sessions with First Nation peoples, education for peace, addressing domestic and workplace violence, environmental issues, Asian conference, Latin Amerian conference, racism, the UN, and many other themes. Also a large contingent of Japanese people were concerned with the threat to abolish 'article 9' which keeps Japan from participating in foreign wars. All these fascinating subjects I had to ignore to concentrate on nuclear disarmament and arms control issues.


At the very first event, we encountered Alfred Marder, President of the US Peace Council. He is very involved in the" Mayors for Peace" and in creating Peace Messenger cities across the USA. One of these cities is Chicago, where the Mayor Greg Speeter is working on the National Priorities Project, to publicise to the people where their tax dollars go - for example from an average family income, $804 on military, $115 on education. This opening event took place in the Orpheum theatre, which is usually the home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra - a very beautiful old building. As well as opening speeches there was a welcome from the Haida people (upon whose land Vancouver is built) involving a procession, drumming and songs, and lots of poetry and songs from all over Canada and the world, with a theme of peace, social justice and sustainability. Our own Leon Rosselson was there, with his song "The world turned upside Down", about the Diggers on St. Georges Hill.


In future issues of Kingston Peace News I will endeavour to describe some of the meetings and discussions we went to, and mention some of the other inspirational people we met. I have a lot of literature I brought back, and will be glad to lend it to any interested person, or come along to one of our meetings and I will have it there.


Rosemary Addington