Themes of IFOR's Peace Work
At various International Councils the IFOR movement has elevated certain themes as main areas of concern for continued program development. Many branches and groups carry out local projects on these issues and the International Secretariat prioritizes these as areas of support and coordination. The Secretariat also identifies themes and areas of work are common among IFOR Members. The following areas represent areas of concern either elevated by the movement at an International Council, or represented as common themes or areas of work among branches.
Religion has played a central role in fomenting conflict but can also be a source of inspiration and leadership for peace. IFOR has long valued the role that faith can and has played in movements for a more peaceful and just world. IFOR understands itself as an interfaith or multi-faith community. That identity is expressed differently in different contexts and is often an aspiration as well as a fact. Many branches within IFOR began among people of the same faith tradition, just as the global movement began and spread primarily among Christians. However, the global movement has long welcomed people of all faiths and recognizes that people can be motivated to live lives committed to nonviolence by convictions not identified with religion and not often described as faith.
IFOR members seek to expand their inclusion and cooperation with a diversity of traditions. IFOR members sponsor interfaith delegations to areas of conflict and publish material on nonviolence from different religious traditions. The IFOR community condemns violence against religious minorities and seeks to expand understandings of tolerance and cooperation within faith traditions.Learn More →
Humankind’s relationship to the resources of our world has long been a theme interspersed throughout IFORs campaigns against war, militarization and violence. The unprecedented impact of human activity on the earth’s climate has already had an impact on many communities and contributed to violent conflict. IFOR members recognize the relationship between the movements to change our relationship to the environment and IFOR’s commitment to work toward a world without war. To this end, IFOR seeks opportunities for cooperation and mutual support in changing the destructive policies that result in global warming.Learn More →
IFOR recognizes that the world’s armies are composed of young people. We recognize the conditions of life including unemployment and militarization that impacts young people and young adults. IFOR seeks to provide young people with the skills and opportunities to become active peacemakers. This is done through nonviolence and leadership training and through internships with IFOR branches and groups, or with the International Secretariat.Learn More →
Since our founding, IFOR has opposed war and preparations for war. IFOR supports disarmament generally. Members continue to support conscientious objectors, campaign for a ban on land mines, and oppose nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
Recently, there is growing alarm with the influence of the global arms trade on the politics and economies of nations and blocks of nations. Several IFOR Branches have made this area of concern a priority of their work.
Lead by IFOR branches in Japan and Germany, the global IFOR expressed a common concern not only about nuclear weapons proliferation but also all nuclear activities and the problem of nuclear waste. The refurbishment of the U.S. Nuclear arsenal as well as the ongoing negotiations with Iran surrounding it’s nuclear pursuits make this an area of acute concern for the IFOR community.Learn More →
In 2006 IFOR adopted a Gender Policy in which IFOR recognizes that there is a continuum of violence that must be confronted, from family violence in the private sphere to armed conflict in the public sphere. Unequal power relations between women and men are one root of violence, conflict and militarization, where women are often severely abused. Gender justice means that women and men can equally contribute to and benefit from peace building, non-violent conflict resolution and reconciliation. This gender policy recognizes that gender equality is an integral part of IFOR’s fundamental values and is a core spiritual value. A transformation of the power relations between women and men is a prerequisite for a culture of peace and non-violence, and must be promoted throughout IFOR.
Growing out of the commitments identified in 2006, The Women Peacemaker Program (WPP) was started as a program of IFOR that is now become an independent organization with a broad portfolio of work. WPP maintains close ties within the IFOR community.
At the International Council of 2014, a Gender Working Group was re-established to examine IFOR’s ongoing commitment to the intersections of gender and violence. Many branches expressed a desire to include a more expansive understanding of gender that would include sexual orientation and gender identity and the violence directed at gay lesbian and bisexual people around the world.Learn More →
Nonviolence Education & Training
IFOR assists groups and individuals to find ways in which they can transform conflicts into positive and growth oriented interactions that involve dialogue and lead to reconciliation. This is done through various presentations and training programs, as well as through the creation of resource materials and contact with trainers and resource people.Learn More →