Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace and the EU

by Judy Coode, Project Coordinator for the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative
and Alice Kooij Martinez, Senior Advocacy Officer

(Ed. note: This article appears in europeinfos, the newsletter of COMECE and the Jesuit European Office.) 

How can the EU contribute more proactively to the development of nonviolent strategies? Can it help forge an alternative style of politics when responding to conflicts and violence?

Seeking to build on Pope Francis’ 2017 World Day of Peace message: A Style of Politics for Peace in which Francis invited the international community to make better use of nonviolent strategies, on 21 April, Pax Christi International hosted a lively panel discussion at its Brussels office. Pax Christi believes that the EU, along with its member states, has an important role to play, having employed and supported financially a wide array of external assistance instruments for the prevention of violent conflict and peace building.

Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi UK, moderated the panel discussion, with panelists Marie Dennis, Co-President of Pax Christi International; Teresia Wamuyu Wachira, a Sister of Loreto, professor at St. Paul’s University in Nairobi and member of Pax Christi International’s board; Canan Gündüz, mediation adviser at the EU External Action Service (EEAS); and Joachim Koops, dean of Vesalius College, Free University of Brussels (VUB) and director of the Global Governance Institute (GGI). The panelists thus represented a variety of backgrounds (grassroots, policy, research) and were able to speak about the potential for using nonviolent strategies and tools in responding to conflicts in the world. They also identified the challenges facing nonviolent strategies. The second part of the panel discussion looked at the link with EU policies…

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