Imperial War Museum Build The Truce
Archive
Exhibitions: IWM North

IWM North IWM North suffers from an identity crisis.  As a museum with the words Imperial and War in the title, some people think that we must be about military campaigns, dates and victories.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes we do display tanks and guns and bombs and all the paraphernalia of warfare and conflict, but our message is far more challenging and complex.

At Imperial War Museums we believe it is important to communicate the causes, course and consequences of modern conflict in a courageous and authoritative way that is relevant to our audiences and empathetic with people’s experiences.  Our reason being – whether we recognise it or not – war has shaped all our lives and continues to do so – some more personally and tragically than others.

Read More

peaceday_banner2We’re delighted – and privileged – to host a panel discussion on neutrality in NGO and peacemaking activities at IWM London on 22 September, as part of our International Peace Day programme.

Starting in Neutral: What does neutrality matter in 21st century humanitarian conflict response? brings together speakers from MSF, Conciliation Resources, the International Committee of the Red Cross and International Alert in a discussion covering the meaning,  problems and perceptions around neutrality in conflict and post-conflict zones. Dr Tim Jacoby, Senior Lecturer in Conflict Studies and co-founder of the Humanitarian & Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester, will chair what promises to be a lively and fascinating panel discussion. Hope you can join us in the Cinema at 5pm, prepared with any questions for our panellists:

Andy Carl, Executive Director: Conciliation Resourcesled the development of programme work in Fiji, Bougainville/Papua New Guinea, northern Uganda, Somaliland and Sri Lanka. Andy previously worked for International Alert (1989–94) on peace initiatives in southern Africa, Europe, Liberia, the Philippines, Colombia, Iraqi-Kurdistan and elsewhere.

Phil Vernon, Director of Programmes: International Alert joined Alert in 2004, having worked on development, humanitarian and peacebuilding programmes for NGOs in different parts of Africa since 1985. Initially a forester by training, living in Rwanda from 1992-94 inspired an interest in peace. He is a member of the Forum on Corporate Responsibility of mining company BHP Billiton, and a trustee of UK-based development NGO BuildAfrica.

Jeroen Jansen: Head of Programmes Unit MSF,  took up his current role in 2010. He had worked in the field for MSF from 2002 to 2008 in Afghanistan, Liberia, Nigeria, Darfur, Khartoum and South Sudan. He left MSF  to attend the American University in Cairo and obtaining a masters in International Human Rights Law. In 2010 Jansen joined MSF’s London office as head of the Programmes Unit.

Sean Maguire: Spokesperson, International Committee of the Red Cross, broadcasts regularly to explain the ICRC’s policies and operations in zones of conflict. He builds relationships with political, military and civil society stakeholders to generate support for Red Cross humanitarian work in situations of violence. Sean spent 20 years as a correspondent, bureau chief and news editor for Reuters before joining the ICRC in late 2011.

Read More

Help us mark the International Day of Peace 2012 – join us at IWM London or IWM North for a programme of film screenings, talks and performances linked to conflict, truce and conflict resolution.

We’ll welcome organisations who work during or after war and conflict, including MSF, International Alert, the British Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Conciliation Resources over 21, 22 and 22 September. Find out more about what they do, where, and why in this free event programme. Pick up your Peace Day schedule on the day, but keep an eye out for these highlights of the IWML HIGHLIGHTS and IWMNorth HIGHLIGHTS.

We’ll post more info about the organisations taking part over the next week too. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Read More

Have you visited IWM North or IWM London lately? Had a chance to look at Build The Truce’s  film, touchscreens or Big Picture Show?

Let us know what you think of Build the Truce displays by completing this quick questionnaire – we’d love to hear your thoughts and it will help us plan future projects.

This pen signed the extension of the Armistice in 1919 (IWM Collections)

 

Read More

Build The Truce displays at IWM North and IWM London are based on interviews with real people. They have lived and worked in the aftermath of violent conflict from Kosovo and Northern Ireland to Iraq, El Salvador,  and Sierra Leone. Civilians, ex-paramilitaries, peace builders, medics and researchers share their stories and their views on  truce, and  its potential to unite – or divide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBn-ckSu7D4&list=PL8F0A8CE1DA91ED46&feature=plpp_play_all

In these original interview clips, they introduce themselves and their experiences of life as war comes to an end – and new struggles for peace begin.

You can watch more material from these interviews at the Build The Truce displays in IWM London and in IWM North, and we will keep adding  more links to Truce interviewees between now and the end of the month.

 

 

Read More

During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, all the nations taking part agree to support global truce. The host nation shows support for the Truce through practical and cultural activities  (see  June news) and here are some of the ways the UK  is making this happen for 2012:

In Barbados the British High Commission and a local NGO hosted a football match bringing together rival gangs from underprivileged areas –  neutral ground for  young people who would not go into each other’s areas for fear of violent conflict.

In Quito, Ecuador the British Embassy is sponsoring children’s rights projects, and supporting children’s participation to reduce their chances turning to social violence

In Sri Lanka, the UK High Commission hosted a sports day inspired by the Paralympics for participants with disabilities. Soldiers, ex- combatants and civilians, many of them former enemies in conflict, took part in the event.

In the Philippines the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office worked alongside local people to organise a coaching and football tournament, bringing together Christian and Muslim communities.

In Colombia 8 young sportspeople visited London 2012 as Olympic Truce ambassadors

The British High Commission in Sierra Leone hosted a basketball tournament between rival groups, calling the event ‘Hoops for Peace’.

I found this last item especially interesting. It may not sound like a huge achievement, but the ‘rival groups’ in Sierra Leone have a background of extremely violent civil war and armed conflict. I knew very little about this country and its conflict situation until we interviewed  Courtny Edwards, who worked with a medical aid agency just after the war ended in Sierra Leone. Some of her interview features in our displays at IWM North and IWM London. In case you miss them, I’ll upload links to clips from Courtny’s interview next week – more Truce films coming up over August and September as we head towards International Day of Peace in September.

It’s easy to be cynical about these kinds of projects. But for the people taking part – perhaps especially the young people born into conflict or post-conflict zones – it means a day, or maybe just 90 minutes, to play the game and celebrate. Its time out from conflict. It sounds a bit like truce to me.

Read More