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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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July 11, 2014

How will you use your 67 minutes?

by Christina Gore

In November of 2009 the United Nations General Assembly declared July 18 Nelson Mandela International Day. Nelson Mandela International Day is a day honoring the memory of the great president of South Africa for his contributions to peace and freedom all over the world.  The United Nations has issued a call for individuals to spend 67 minutes helping others.  Each minute represents a year that Mandela spent serving others.


Nelson Mandela once said, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference. “ It is in all ...


July 9, 2014

10 years after the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion

Today, I attended the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People meeting recognizing the 10-year anniversary of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the construction of a separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Committee stated, “The Wall is but one element of the wider system of severe restrictions on the freedom of movement imposed by Israel, the occupying Power, on the Palestinian civilian population in the West Bank. There are currently well over 600 closure obstacles, including checkpoints, obstructing Palestinian movement within the West Bank. In addition, the system of roads ...


July 8, 2014

Progress made, work to do, on children in armed conflict

by Max Hill

No child soldiers red handsLast week the Secretary-General released the annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. This report summarized all of the progress that has been made in terms of reducing the amount of children involved in situations of armed conflict, as well as highlighted areas where work still needs to be done. UN Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, stated that there are 23 situations around the world in which children are being used in armed conflict in some way.

The annual report named some specific groups and areas where clear violations of children’s rights ...


July 7, 2014

Be our media

by Max Hill

Group shot of four students and colleaguesOn 1 July 2014, I attended a meeting with four students from Bethlehem University (BU), a Catholic university founded in 1973, in Palestine. Our partner NGO Caritas Internationalis arranged the meeting for members of the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group.

The four students were all very personable and had many positive things to say about their experiences both at the university and their time here in the United States. All four are here as a part of BU’s ambassador program and are participating in 6-week internships arranged through Caritas and its partners

To kick off the meeting ...


July 3, 2014

Problems and progress with command and control in UN peacekeeping missions

by Grace Segers

The Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations hosted a panel on July 3, 2014, entitled “UN Command and Control Arrangements: Progress, Challenges, Opportunities.” The purpose was to discuss the successes of command and control (C2) arrangements of UN peacekeeping operations, while also highlighting issues and proposing solutions to remedy any flaws. The event was moderated by Mr. Adam Smith, Senior Fellow and Head of the IPI Center for Peace Operations.

One of the first speakers was Mr. Herve Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), who referenced a 2012 DPKO evaluation of ...

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