Published on Tuesday, April 8, 2003 by the Summit Daily News (Vail, Colorado)
Udall Backs Creating Department of Peace
By Jane Stebbins
SUMMIT COUNTY - Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, will introduce a bill today to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Peace, an agency that would be responsible for things ranging from social services to a Peace Academy.
Kucinich has the support of 38 other U.S. representatives, including Mark Udall, D-Colo. Udall represents Summit County in the 2nd Congressional District. A representative from his office will discuss the proposal from 2-3 p.m. today at the Summit County Community and Senior Center south of Frisco.
The newest Cabinet-level department was created last year, when President Bush crafted the Department of Homeland Security, designed to protect U.S. citizens from terrorism. Prior to that, President Jimmy Carter established the Veterans Administration almost 30 years ago. Today, there are 15 departments with numerous agencies under their collective umbrellas.
If approved, the Department of Peace would be dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to domestic and international peace. The department's mission would be to promote justice and democratic principles, expand human rights, strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking, promote human potential and work to create peace, prevent violence and develop new ways to resolve disputes.
"We have lived with war, violence and abuse for far too long," said Kucinich spokeswoman Denise Hughes. "By establishing a Cabinet level Department of Peace, we have the unique opportunity to confront the root cause of these evils and the ability as a society to build a safer world."
Methods would include mediation, nonviolent intervention and encouraging communities, religious groups and nongovernmental organizations to develop initiatives.
The department would be responsible for developing policies that address domestic violence, child abuse and mistreatment of the elderly, create new policies to reduce drug and alcohol abuse, protect animals from violence, develop new approaches to deal with gun-related violence and develop programs that address school violence, gangs and racial violence and violence against gays and lesbians.
Additionally, the department would take under its wing civil rights, labor law, community-based violence prevention and racial tolerance programs.
At the international level, the department would work with the U.S. Secretary of Defense and U.S. Secretary of State to reduce international conflict, train those who work to reconstruct war-torn societies, sponsor countrywide and regional conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives and encourage international sister city programs to exchange artistic, cultural, economic, educational and faith-based values.
The department also would submit recommendations to the president regarding how the sales of arms from the United States affect peace and develop strategies for the sustainability and distribution of international funds.
The secretary of the Department of Peace also would develop a peace education curriculum to include the civil rights movement in the United States, how peace agreements have worked to stop conflict and to work with teachers to help students work on peace through reflection and conflict resolutions.
A highlight of that would be a Peace Academy, which would provide a four-year course of instruction in peace education, after which graduates would be required to serve five years in public service in domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution programs.
Copyright 2003 Summit Daily News