Pacicultura is a youth-led non-governmental organization in Geneva, Switzerland, that focuses on the development of alternative social systems on the basis of an exploration of cultural alternatives. Pacicultura studies the conceptual frameworks that currently inform our social organization and develops alternative, more sustainable worldviews that nurture diversity. These form the basis on which new systems are created, with an emphasis on experimentation and the theory-practice feedback loop. Capacities such as imagination, creativity, desire and design are at the core of these activities. We tentatively view peace as the continual process of creating live space for diversity to thrive. This inherently conflictual space allows conflicts to bloom and bear fruit, to unfold nonviolently and creatively, thus participating constructively in the ongoing transformation of society. Central in Pacicultura’s vision and philosophy is the understanding of peace systems as learning spaces that are relational and elicitive, as well as the role of youth as agents of change and developers of new models.
A world where societies nurture a culture of peace by continually desiring, designing and creating infrastructures for peace at all levels.
Design and create sustainable learning systems to facilitate the culture of peace.
Modus operandi and Aims
Pacicultura is an experiential application of the culture of peace. We are committed to applying principles and practices of peace in our own work, using peace tools and processes as resources for each aspects of the work. As such, Pacicultura strives to enable diversity within itself as a field for paciculture. Our purposes are thus manifold and related:
Raising awareness: We work to raise awareness about the culture of peace, the nature of violence, diversity and conflict; the relevance of education as a lens, and peace as a process.
Creating support: We play to develop a support system among young peaceworkers in order to create nourishment for their ideas and their work: a hand between seed and terrain. We wish to participate in mobilizing more youth to be effective contributors to the creation of peaceful societies.
Exploring: We recognize the need for further research and experience in peacework and wish to seize this opportunity to contribute to the wider debate on peacework and social systems. Tracing the conceptual roots of peace and violence will serve as the necessary basis to develop alternative social systems.
Pacicultura pursues the aims above through formal and non-formal peace education, events such as workshops and retreats, the co-creation of peaceworkers’ support networks, consulting on conflict transformation processes and systems, publications, advocacy and outreach.
One model developed by peace scholarship identifies at least three kinds of violence: direct/behavioral, structural and cultural. Our current systems (political, social, economic…) are rooted in a culture that is in many ways violent and justifies and reinforces inequalities – the notions of rights, of merit, of independence, of control… Such cultural violence is embodied in the structures our societies have designed – the State, the court, the prison, the school… Our belief is that sustainable change will only take place if the cultural level of violence is addressed.
While direct and structural violence are addressed by many, cultural violence has not received much specific attention. One reason for that may be the difficulty of addressing the underlying worldview through which we perceive and create structures. In fact, the lenses through which we look at the world are at the same time what we attempt to change and the inescapable medium through which we do so. This provides a particular challenge as we are subject to blind spots, and tend to reproduce the same mistakes in various forms, along with the same structures.
One approach to move away from this self-perpetuating cycle is to consciously develop structures for learning that will allow to critically examine our own capacities, lenses, worldviews and approaches, as well as developing an ability to learn. With a rapidly growing body of peaceworkers and peace professionals, there is a need for a support community and network, especially for young peaceworkers, focused specifically on the development of peace culture(s) and cultivating the conceptually new. We wish to provide a learning space about peacework, to ‘learn how to learn’ so that new generation of young peacebuilders may be better able to move away from old patterns, such as military operations “for peace” or the liberal peace paradigm. We wish to create a space in which individuals’ creativity can be expressed and used to design innovative and adaptive conflict transformation processes, systems and structures.