Servas International at the United Nations and Global Peacebuilding, #9
Sun, 18 Aug 2002
Dear Servas Peacebuilders,
We applaud and welcome all the many peacebuilding efforts by Servas
In addition to the action of the team of Servas International Representatives
to the United Nations in many parts of the world, our Peace Secretaries
or the Committees responsible for Peacebuilding, as well as national representatives
to the UN in different countries, are reporting of excellent peacebuilding
efforts worldwide. Do please continue to keep me regularly up to
While in many countries peacebuilding is possible, allowed and easier,
you will appreciate that this was different for Servas in South Africa,
where now Servas International is about to be officially represented at
the imminent United Nation's World Summit on Sustainable Development.
You might be interested in the following from their recent report:
As an organisation
Servas SA hasn't undertaken specific peace-building efforts. You can, however,
argue that keeping Servas going from around 1975 during a time when encouraging
international visitors was unpopular with the then government was itself
an exercise in developing peaceful relations with travellers from many
lands. It also involved briefing travellers from SA to the sensitivities
around apartheid felt by potential hosts. Partly
because of our relatively small numbers we didn't make public statements;
our Durban co-ordinators for many years were members of the SA Indian community.
In Johannesburg we have not been able to enrol hosts from other population
groups - largely because of our fairly small circle of friends, and we
find that people have to be fairly close friends before you can ask them
if they want to be SERVAS hosts. The
national co-ordinator has been working in African welfare work for many
years; the co-ordinator in Johannesburg has been involved in the World
Conference on Religion and Peace South African chapter since 1986, and
is currently a Vice-President of that, he's been working in intergroup
teacher contacts for most of his life, and in 1955 he chaired an ad hoc
committee to celebrate the 10th anniversary of UN....
As you will realise, in South Africa
such activities must rate as work for "peace and mutual understanding".
We applaud Servas South Africa for their exemplary action and endurance
despite the so difficult situation they were confronted with.
In so many regions of our planet there is no peace!
The news from the Servas world which I share with you in these messages
will inspire you to develope new ideas for peacebuilding in your area.
Looking forward to read your stories,
I'm yours in Servas,
Servas International Peace Secretary