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Canadian Senator explores peace at Dialogue Café

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Personal contributions key to building the conditions for a culture of peace

What: Dialogue Café with Senator Doug Roche

Where: Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church

When: Saturday, Nov. 1, 1 p.m.

About six months ago a war exploded on our television sets in Technicolour detail.

Still, Canadian Senator Doug Roche, who is hosting Whistler’s next Dialogue Café on Saturday afternoon, maintains the world is moving away from times of war towards a culture of peace.

"We just have to look beyond Iraq," he said from his Edmonton home last week.

"Iraq is a dominant scene in the world to be sure but it’s not the whole scene by any means.

"We are in a big transition in the world now, moving from a culture of war, which has dominated our political activities for centuries... to a culture of peace."

Roche explores this idea in his latest book The Human Right to Peace. The book will kick-start a discussion, open to the entire community, about the aftermath of the war in Iraq and Canada’s role in creating the necessary conditions for peace throughout the world.

The goal of the Dialogue Café is to make people in Whistler more conscious of the need to make a personal contribution to the global peace process and to learn how to build the conditions for a culture of peace.

"It’s a heck of a lot better than accepting the continuation of a culture of war," said Roche.

The work of building this culture of peace has been ongoing for more than 20 years, primarily through the United Nations. Roche was Canada’s Ambassador for Disarmament to the UN between 1984 and 1989.

In 1984 the UN passed a resolution on the right to peace which stated that peace is a sacred right of all human beings. From this resolution UNESCO has been active in many projects around the world where conflict has been resolved through peaceful measures.

Roche calls the UN an "indispensable organization of our time."

Recently the peace movement was even bolstered by the war in Iraq, he said.

"Iraq was supposed to have been fought over weapons of mass destruction... but the very idea of weapons of mass destruction is fostering a climate of peace because people realize that nobody’s safe against weapons of mass destruction," he said.

With these weapons in existence around the world, there is recognition that human beings everywhere are vulnerable. People do not want to live under this threat.

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