Sydney’s Peace and Anti-War networks are collaborating on an 11-day, online Raising Peace Festival, 16-26 September. It will resonate with many in Australia and beyond, who are asking big questions following
the U.S. and Australian military retreat from Afghanistan.
Raising Peace features more than 30 public events, clustered around the United Nations International Day of Peace on 21 September,
when the keynote address will be given by His Excellency Mr Armando Vargas Araya, Ambassador for Costa Rica, at noon. Costa Rica is a model country for developing a culture of peace, it has no army and is the site of the UN’s University
The Festival brings together academics, activists and practitioners to celebrate key achievements, and to address
challenges and strategies. The objective is to raise the profile of peace in public debate. It will be opened on 16 September at 6.30pm by David Shoebridge MLA, with speakers Alison Broinowski (author and former diplomat), David Brophy (University of Sydney) and Rita Warleigh (Raising Peace). Other sessions will include Geraldine Doogue (ABC), Allan Behm (Australia Institute) and Clinton Fernandes (author and academic).
Raising Peace will be discussing the nation’s involvement in wars and its commitment to peace, and will provide a
platform for Australians to hear first-hand from Afghan citizens who have fled their home country. They will also have
access to the most up-to-date information about ‘Killer Robots’ and the danger of nuclear devastation.
The Afghanistan situation; talk of war with China; the climate crisis; the COVID-19 pandemic; the proliferation of
nuclear weapons, and the weaponisation of space all jeopardise security. Coming together at this moment they constitute
a ‘perfect storm’.
The Raising Peace Festival has been organised by an unprecedented coalition of Sydney-based peace groups, in a welcome
demonstration of unity.
The concept of a Raising Peace Festival began two years ago when International Volunteers for Peace (IVP), the
Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF NSW) got
together. Now some 30 peace groups are registered to be part of the Festival, from Knitting Nannas and the Marrickville
Peace Group to PEN Sydney, the
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and the United Nations Association of Australia (NSW).
The festival will showcase a variety of approaches to peace, including a day devoted to First Nations voices and a
session on Youth for Peace. Other topics include practising non-violence; prospects for peace in Afghanistan; faith and
peace; peacebuilding in the Asia-Pacific; disarmament and anti-militarism; permaculture for peace, and the road to a
nuclear free future.
The program will also feature musical performances, poetry reading, yarning circles, film screenings and workshops.
Spokesperson for Raising Peace, Rita Warleigh, says: “It is high time we started talking about peace again, instead of talking about war. The organisers are inspired
and excited that so many groups, with a common interest in furthering the cause of peace, are co-operating on this
project. It indicates widespread interest in prospects for future peace, within the Australian community.”