Flemish Peace Institute "Advice concerning the Centenary of the First World War and its message of peace" publication

Posted on centenarynews.com on 04 June 2013
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The Flemish Peace Institute publishes an English language "note" which provides advice on how to deliver commemorations for the Centenary of the First World War to "convey a message of peace".

The advice given is based on a report published in November 2011, which was written to consider how Flemish authorities and the Flemish Parliament could deliver commemorations to "convey a message of peace".

The 2011 report "critically examined how this objective could be achieved".

The theme of peace being linked to the Centenary of the First World War has been a central part of Flemish national and international plans to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the conflict.

As such, the advice issued by the Flemish Peace Institute focuses on this theme.

The Flemish Peace Insititute's advice considers three main ideas:

A consistent vision of peace-oriented commemoration

The role of historians in the commemoration of the First World War

A project that cuts across all policy area


The Flemish Peace Institute advises that in order to mark the Centenary of the First World War, the following should be implemented:

The Flemish Government should formulate a coherent vision of how it intends to give shape and content to a peace-oriented commemoration of the First World War, taking account of the following key points: 

That the message of peace should come from the bottom up, by telling stories about soldiers, civilians and children who experienced the impact of the war in their everyday lives, without losing sight of the larger historical framework and structural dynamics that led to the war

That commemoration activities and projects should approach war history in all its complexity and with respect for the historical framework, and not merely use the past as a means to achieve contemporary objectives

That the commemoration project should not only promote a message of peace, but also pursue a peaceful culture of commemoration, which means in particular showing respect to the variety of commemoration traditions and practices. 

That historians should be more closely involved in the commemoration project, for instance by inviting them to join an umbrella advisory committee overseeing the entire project from an academic perspective, as well as to sit on specific jury panels for granting subsidies.

That alongside the efforts already made in the fields of foreign policy and tourism, the Flemish authorities should make more effort than at present in other policy areas such as education, culture, youth and media, thus allowing the project’s aim of cutting across various fields of government to become a reality. Further, the Peace Institute recommends that continuous attention be paid to cooperation with and support of commemoration initiatives by the provinces and municipalities, the federal level and other communities and regions.

To read a Centenary News summary of the report, click here.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News