Good News Agency – Year X, n° 172



Weekly – Year X, number 172 – 21st May 2010

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.           

 “…In conveying the appreciation of the Head of State for the passion and the professionalism with which you spread, above all among the young, the culture of "good news", I would like to take this opportunity of adding my personal greeting”. (From the letter of the Adviser for the Press and Information of the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, to the Editor of Good News Agency, 12 October 2007.)



Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,700 high schools, colleges and universities. It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.  




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education


International legislation



UN Member States debate ways to fight piracy off Somalia

14 May – The United Nations General Assembly today held a day-long informal meeting on piracy, with Assembly President Ali Treki calling for broader international efforts and resources to combat the ever-expanding scourge, particularly off the coast of war-torn Somalia.

“The international community must step forward to help Somalia,” he said, stressing the need for “a truly holistic approach” covering political, security, governance and humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa country, which has had no functioning central government and has been torn apart by factional fighting for nearly two decades. (...)

“I call on the Security Council, in particular, to shoulder its responsibility with regard to Somalia by undertaking strong and resolute measures in support of a wider political, peacekeeping and peace-building strategy in Somalia, to bring peace to the country and to ensure its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” he said. (...)

East African officials attending the debate included Somali Deputy Prime Minister Abdurahman A. Ibrahim, and Kenyan Trade Minister Amos Kimunya.


Niger: training the trainers in international humanitarian law

Niamey (ICRC), May 11 - Twenty-five officers of the army, the gendarmerie and the national intervention and security forces began a train-the-trainers course in international humanitarian law in Niamey today. The course, which is being given for the fourth time, is organized jointly by Niger's armed forces and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). For 10 days, officers in charge of instruction in military training centres and schools, and those whose duties include military planning and operations, will be given training so that they in turn will be able to teach international humanitarian law and to include it in the training, strategy and planning of military operations. (...)

International humanitarian law aims to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting people not, or no longer, taking part in hostilities, and by restricting the choice of methods and means of warfare. Its main rules are set out in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. (...)


UK ratifies international treaty banning cluster bombs

May 5 - The United Kingdom, a major former producer and user of cluster munitions, ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the United Nations on 4 May 2010, becoming the 32nd country to do so. (...) The Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, requires clearance of contaminated land within 10 years, destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions within eight years, and includes groundbreaking provisions for victim assistance. To date, 106 countries have signed the treaty, of which 32 have ratified, and it becomes binding international law on 1 August. (...)

More than a third of the UK’s cluster bombs have reportedly been destroyed, and the government has committed to eradicating its remaining stockpile by 2013, well ahead of the allotted eight years under the Convention. (...) Many of the UK’s allies have signed or ratified the treaty, including 20 out of 28 NATO members. The UK has engaged in outreach to a number of Commonwealth countries that have not yet signed.

The treaty will enter into force for the UK on 1 November, meaning the UK government will be eligible to participate fully in the First Meeting of States Parties from 8-12 November in Lao PDR, the most cluster bomb-contaminated country in the world. The CMC urges all states to attend this meeting, regardless of whether or not they have signed or ratified the treaty.


CARE celebrates the introduction of the GROWTH Act in the U.S. House of Representatives

The Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive Act would provide a range of economic tools to help women lift themselves, their families and communities out of poverty

Washington, D.C., April 29 - CARE celebrates the introduction today of the GROWTH Act, which would help women in poor communities around the world start and grow businesses, reach markets with their goods, protect their property rights and save money for future needs through increased access to microfinance and microenterprise.

The bill, introduced by Reps. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), would ensure that U.S. international assistance and trade policies promote the economic security of women and their families. Rep. Lowey headlined an event introducing the GROWTH Act today at the U.S. Capitol.

"The introduction of the GROWTH Act is a step forward for poor women around the globe. It would help provide them with a range of economic tools they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty," said Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE. "The bill directly addresses property rights, access to markets and increased access to microfinance which are key factors in ending poverty."  Specifically, the bill would:

    * Help women start and grow businesses, and create jobs in their community;

    * Enhance women's land and property rights;

    * Support training and education programs to prepare women for better-quality jobs; and

    * Tackle the legal and structural barriers to women's economic empowerment, including obstacles to their participation in trade.

The GROWTH Act was developed after ten years of research and outreach by Women Thrive Worldwide. The research included input from many local women's organizations in developing countries and policy experts. (...)


Seychelles to launch UN-backed courts to combat piracy

5 May - The remoteness of the Indian Ocean nation of Seychelles has made it a prime target for pirates, and the country is fighting back by setting up a United Nations-supported centre to prosecute piracy. (…) The Seychelles’ regional centre will be the second of its kind, the first having been established in Kenya, and it will try piracy suspects apprehended by the European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation (EU NAVFOR). The country’s Government has been working with the new joint Counter-Piracy Programme of the EU and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to ensure that its criminal justice system is ready for such trials. The scheme aims to assist the police, coastguard, prosecutors, courts and prisons in dealing with the challenges posed by piracy cases. (…)

Last week, the Security Council put forward the possibility of setting up international tribunals to try pirates, as its members called for tougher legislation aimed at prosecuting and jailing suspects caught off the coast of Somalia. (...) The Council noted efforts by UNODC and other international organization and donors, including the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), “to enhance the capacity of the judicial and the corrections systems in Somalia, Kenya, Seychelles and other States in the region.”



Human rights



Defending human rights

May - The latest Human Rights Report was presented to foreign affairs ministers on 10 May by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and chair of the Foreign Affairs Council. The report gives an overview of the wide range of EU activities to promote human rights worldwide, covering the period from July 2008 to December 2009.

Human rights, democracy and the rule of law are core values of the European Union. Not only are they part of the EU's identity, but the Union also has a vocation to bring them to its external relations. The report covers thematic issues, such as freedom of thought and human rights of women, as well as the Union's action on human rights in various countries. For example, during the report period, the EU provided over € 235 million in funding for 900 projects of non-governmental organisations in some 100 countries. It also spoke out for the protection of human rights at the United Nations and other international fora, and increased the number of human rights dialogues it conducts with non-EU countries. At present, the EU's agreements with more than 120 countries include a human rights clause, which gives the possibility of re-examining the agreement in the event of serious breaches of human rights.


On International Day Against Homophobia EI reaffirms LGBT people’s rights

May 10 - Despite significant improvements in recent decades, homophobic harassment and prejudicial treatment continues to span all occupations, including education. The presence of homophobic behavior and attitudes, in all regions, affects the workplace culture which in turn creates hostile and unsafe environments for lesbian and gay teachers.  

Education unions have a proud record of taking an active stand for positive legal changes and the effective implementation of policies to end violence, discrimination or any criminal act against education workers, as well as students, because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This work must go on. Education International congratulates all members that fight for equal rights in the workplace and raise awareness of issues related to discrimination in education, particularly homophobia. These efforts help to make the trade union movement more pluralistic and inclusive of all workers. (…)

Welcoming the first Conference on LGBT equality in Central and Eastern Europe, organized by the Polish Confederation of Trade Unions (OPZZ), which includes EI member teachers’ union, ZNP, EI Deputy General, Jan Eastman, said: “Nothing is impossible!”


New “Roadmap” to Boost Action on Child Labour

Brussels, 14 May (ITUC OnLine) - The ITUC has welcomed the adoption of a new child labour “Roadmap”   at an international conference in the Dutch capital The Hague this week, which will give a new push to reach a target set by the International Labour Organisation to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

Thirty trade union representatives from the ITUC, national affiliates and Global Union Federations took part in the Conference alongside representatives of employer organisations, governments from 80 countries and non-government organisations including the Global March Against Child Labour.  The union delegation was hosted by the ITUC-affiliated FNV-Netherlands and the Dutch Government, which organised the event in cooperation with the ILO.

The Roadmap recognises that tackling the worst forms of child labour works best when it is integrated into action to abolish all child labour and provide free, quality education to all children without exception.  It puts the agriculture sector, which accounts for 60% of child labour, and domestic work, in which mainly girls face appalling exploitation, into the international spotlight, and recognises that providing decent jobs to adults is crucial in ensuring that children are able to go to school and complete their education.

The results of the Conference will be submitted to the June ILO Conference, which will debate progress towards ending child labour, based on a key ILO report “Accelerating action against child labour”

  The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 312 national affiliates.


General Assembly elects 14 countries to serve on UN Human Rights Council

13 May - Fourteen countries were elected to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for three-year terms starting next month after one round of balloting today among Member States at UN Headquarters in New York. Angola, Libya, Mauritania and Uganda were chosen to fill the four vacant African seats on the 47-member panel, according to a formula that allots seats among regions. The two seats up for grabs in the Latin American and Caribbean region – successful candidates in each category must obtain an absolute majority of valid votes cast by the 192 General Assembly members – went to Ecuador and Guatemala. In the Eastern European category, the two available seats went to Poland and the Republic of Moldova; in Western Europe, to Spain and Switzerland. Four countries contested the positions distributed to Asian States, with Malaysia, Maldives, Qatar and Thailand winning the most votes to join the panel.
Under the Geneva-based Council’s rules, members serve for three-year periods and cannot run for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.


Mongolia joins other countries in abolishing capital punishment

In a country where death sentences remain state secrets, the president steps boldly into democracy

by Indra Baatarkhuu

May 14 - Mongolia, a country that was governed by Communist rule for 70 years until 1990, dropped the death penalty earlier this year in a move that not only advances its human-rights standards but also reflects its efforts to join two-thirds of the world’s countries in moving away from capital punishment. While many Asian countries continue to execute their citizens, and the United States was the only country in the Americas to carry out executions in 2009, the number of countries refusing to use capital punishment continues to rise. Last year, Burundi and Togo, in sub-Saharan Africa, did away with capital punishment, making the total number of countries worldwide that have removed the practice from their laws to 95. No executions were carried out in Europe and Russia as well last year, for the first time since Amnesty International has been keeping records on the procedure.

The successes follow decisions by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 and 2008 calling for a global moratorium on executions as a first step to total abolition, even though Mongolia voted against these resolutions. A similar resolution will be considered by the General Assembly in late 2010. International human rights groups also campaigned in Mongolia against capital punishment.

Despite progress in Mongolia and elsewhere, more than 700 people were executed in 18 countries in 2009, excluding an estimate of thousands in China. (...)



Economy and development



UN Commission on Sustainable Development - New York, May 3 - 14

The CSD meets annually at UN Headquarters in New York to review progress in the implementation of agreements reached at the Rio and Johannesburg Earth Summits, as well as the Agenda 21 program of action developed at the Rio Summit. 53 member states are elected to the CSD every year. Important though this annual gathering of government representatives is - the CSD is much more because it includes representatives of all stakeholders in the movement towards a sustainable development path. UN Headquarters are filled with representatives of citizens groups from around the world as well as business groups, local government and others.


May 15, Inernational Day of Families

2010 Theme: The Impact of Migration on Families Around the World

A day to highlight families in a time of transition - with the special focus this year on migration.

All in all it is the worst of times and the best of times. In spite of all the dreary statistics about the family, never before in the history of humankind has there been a greater opportunity for family love based on true intimacy. I honestly believe that we are standing on the foundations which will open up an area of self-actualisation and interpersonal co-creation - the likes of which we've never known. All transitions are difficult. We are in the open air between trapeze bars. The transition offers us an evolution of consciousness. Like all previous evolutions, growth and expansion are fraught with pain. But without pain there is no gain. We must all 'take the current where it serves, else lose our venture'. John Bradshaw


Five years of European Neighbourhood Policy: more trade, more aid, more people-to-people contacts

Brussels, 12 May - The annual European Neighbourhood Policy reports once again demonstrate the clear benefits that the European Union brings to its neighbours. For five years, the European Union has been delivering more trade, more aid, more people-to-people contacts and far deeper co-operation between the EU and its neighbours on the whole range of their economic, political and sectoral reforms. Our partnership has significantly developed in areas like transport, energy, environment and climate change, research, health and education. This has been backed up with an increase in the current Financial Framework by 32% and will reach over EUR 2 billion annually in 2013. (...)

On the basis of a joint Action Plan, the EU supports partner countries in implementing their reforms to improve their standards of democracy and human rights, to increase their access to the EU's single market, to improve the environment and to step up their co-operation with the EU on issues like climate change, energy, transport or migration.

Today, the Commission has published its annual “ENP Package”, consisting of: a Communication taking stock of the policy achievements since its launch in 2004, 12 reports on progress achieved in 2009 by the 12 countries who have agreed ENP Action Plans with the EU, as well as a sectoral progress report.


IRAQ: supporting agricultural development, reducing poverty

As a way of reducing poverty across northern Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government is encouraging people displaced by conflict to return to their villages and resume farming. Crucial to this process is MAG’s role in ensuring valuable farming land is free from remnants of conflict. (...)

With former residents now returning to the area, the clearance of agricultural land in such villages is a key priority of MAG’s operations in Iraq.

From January to April, a Mine Action Team cleared 278,142 square metres of contaminated farmland, safely removing and destroying several hazardous 'BLU-97' cluster submunitions. The land was then handed back to the local community, at a ceremony at the Batel sub-district mayor's office. It can now be used for growing wheat, barely and other types of vegetables, and for grazing animals. This will increase the availability of, and access to, food, and opportunities for employment, while also contributing to the local economy through improved trade with nearby villages and larger towns.


European Union summit with Latin America and the Caribbean: 18 May in Madrid

Spanish Presidency sees summit as a golden opportunity to establish deeper, more concrete and more useful cooperation

18 May - The Spanish Presidency of the EU sees the summit with Latin America and the Caribbean, to be held in Madrid this Tuesday, as a “golden opportunity” to establish deeper and more concrete relations between two regions that can also cooperate productively at a global level.

The summit is "one of the central points on the Spanish Presidency's agenda", Spanish government sources said this week in a briefing, stressing that Madrid has actively promoted the relationship with Latin America ever since it joined the EU, and that Spain is the "natural bridge" between the two regions. (...) The Spanish Presidency has “worked hard” for this meeting to be a success and hopes it will end with an ambitious final declaration, with the creation of a foundation to enable civil society to participate in the construction of the bi-regional relations, and with the approval of an action plan, which will be the first to be adopted at a EU-LAC summit. This action plan includes cooperation programmes in five areas: science, technology and innovation; the environment, climate change and energy; regional integration and cohesion; education and employment and the battle against drugs. (…)


Designers from around Africa work with local communities to build Football for Hope Centres

Construction starts on next three Football for Hope Centres

May 19 - As the FIFA World Cup™ kicks off, Architecture for Humanity in partnership with streetfootballworld, honors the architects, designers and building professionals across Africa who have helped design sustainable Football for Hope Centres as part of the Football for Hope movement. The first centre, located outside of Cape Town, South Africa, was completed in December 2009. Centres in Nairobi, Namibia and Mali are currently under construction and aim to be completed around the time of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.

The Football for Hope Centres are part of a movement created by FIFA and streetfootballworld to strengthen local community-based organizations in promoting social development within their community. The buildings house facilities to promote public health, education and football initiatives. (...)

The integration of renewable energy, passive solar and local materials ensure each design is a case study in sustainable building. To learn more about the design of each center, visit: Future centres are being planned in Rwanda, Ghana and Lesotho, with an additional three centres to be identified before 2011.






A boost to half of Lesotho’s rural farmers

European Union Food Facility brings substantial increase in food production

Maseru/Rome, 19 May - The European Union and FAO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), are assisting over 36 000 farmers in Lesotho, more than half of its vulnerable farmers.

Soaring food prices and the recent global economic downturn struck Lesotho hard, especially the majority of its 1.9 million people that rely on agriculture. In just one year, the cost of planting crops rose more than four times. Assessments found that over half of the country's arable farm land was lying idle. (...)

The European Union responded by allocating EUR 6 million toward agriculture, as part of the EUR 1 billion European Union Food Facility (EUFF), the European Union's massive response to increased food insecurity around the world. Four million Euros are channelled through FAO to swiftly stave off the food crisis and at the same time make a long-term impact on Lesotho's food situation. FAO is working closely with MAFS, while keeping its efforts in line with ongoing government programmes. (...)


Kyrgyzstan: ICRC provides medical supplies for wounded people in Jalalabat

Bishkek/Geneva (ICRC), May 14 - In response to the violent clashes between two rival factions in Jalalabat, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in collaboration with the Kyrgyz Red Crescent Society, has delivered medical supplies to the main hospital in the town, where 60 wounded people have been admitted. The supplies include dressing materials, infusions, suture and sterilisation items.

Since the beginning of last month, when the violence broke out in the country, the ICRC, together with the Kyrgyz Red Crescent, has provided support for a total of 16 health-care facilities throughout the country, including Bishkek's three main referral hospitals and the blood collection centre. Following the assistance, over 750 people have received treatment in ICRC-supported facilities. ICRC staff in Bishkek and Osh continue to monitor the developments in Kyrgyzstan and stand ready to provide assistance.


Gates Foundation signs agreement with Indian State to provide aid

May 14 - Bill Gates worked out an agreement with the state government of India's eastern Bihar state on Wednesday to accelerate improvements in maternal, newborn, and child health there, says WFMY News 2, a television station in Greensboro, N.C.

Aid provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be used to reduce the mortality rate among women during childbirth and the infant mortality rate. In addition, the foundation will support other health-related programs such as the eradication of diarrhea, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.


CDF gives $15K to ACDI/VOCA’s Haiti recovery efforts

May 13 - The Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) this week presented ACDI/VOCA with a check for $15,000 to support our cooperative development efforts in rural southeast Haiti, bringing our total Haiti recovery fundraising effort to $88,055. (...)

Because our established Haiti project operations are in the Southeast Department, ACDI/VOCA has focused its relief and recovery efforts in Jacmel and surrounding areas. All donated funds—large and small—will be administered and monitored by our 50-person team in Haiti, with 100 percent of the donations going toward the Rural Economy Acceleration in Haiti (REACH) project.

Our Haiti REACH project will award small grants to local nongovernmental organizations, with a preference for cooperatives, that offer economic opportunities through jobs training and creation in the areas of construction, coffee production, manufacturing, water and sanitation systems, and artisan business development. The anticipated start date is June 15.


Rotary International board lowers interact age

by Ryan Hyland

Rotary International News, 11 May - To help promote the growth of Interact, the RI Board has agreed to lower the age of eligibility for Interactors from 14 to 12.

“This is another opportunity to expand the family of Rotary,” says J.R. Thompson, a member of the RI Interact Committee and the Rotary Club of Rocky Ford, Colorado, USA. “In my personal experience working with young people, they will put out the effort to reach a reasonable level of expectations. I found this is just as true of a 12-year-old as it is of a 14-year-old.” (...)

Each year, Interact clubs are asked to complete at least two community service projects, one of which should further international understanding and goodwill. Through these efforts, Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs. (...)

The Board also agreed to set these priorities for the program: promoting Interact using publications, video, the Internet, club presentations, and other methods; sharing information about Rotary with Interactors (...); assigning Rotarians as mentors for Interactors, inviting Interactors to attend Rotary club meetings, and consulting with Interact clubs to develop a districtwide service project for all Interactors

“Strong clubs -- whether they are Interact, Rotaract, or Rotary -- are always looking for more good people willing to put their minds, backs, and hearts into Service Above Self,” says Thompson.


Toys"R"Us, Inc. supports Save the Children's work in the U.S. through 'Bundled in Hope' campaign

Baby blankets designed by Blythe Danner, Faith Hill, Regina King, Kelly Rutherford and other celebrity moms to be auctioned online

Westport, Conn., USA, May 6 - Save the Children in partnership with Toys"R"Us today launched the 2010 Bundled in Hope campaign to benefit Save the Children's U.S. Programs.

From now until Sunday, July 11, all donations made at Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores nationwide and online at will be directed to Save the Children's U.S. Programs to help purchase blankets and provide support for babies living in poverty in communities across the country. To kick off this year's campaign, a $250,000 grant was made to Save the Children from the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund.

Blankets for Babies: Making a Difference in the Lives of Little Ones

Providing hope for babies living in poverty is the focus of this campaign. Impoverished young ones often face higher levels of stress and more anxiety-producing situations than those from more affluent families. In fact, research shows that something as simple as a blanket can comfort a small child during difficult periods of transition and provide a sense of security. (...)

In 2009, the Bundled in Hope campaign raised more than $1 million, allowing Save the Children to purchase thousands of blankets for distribution to children living in poverty in homes and hospitals across the country, and provide basic services to support their growth and long-term success. (...)


Haiti receives more relief from Counterpart International

Counterpart International’s humanitarian aid shipments to Haiti near $1 million

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 23 - Three months after the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, Counterpart International (Counterpart) continues to provide aid to displaced Haitians. In response to the disaster, Counterpart has shipped 15 forty-foot containers valued at nearly $1 million. These containers include commodities such as rice, beans, dehydrated soup mix, tarps, hygiene kits, kitchen supplies and compact, pre-packed family buckets (including first aid and hygiene supplies). (...) The containers have been distributed in Gonaives, a port city located to the Northwest of Port-au-Prince, as well as the surrounding areas of Port-au-Prince including Croix-des-Bouquets and Titanyen.

In these relief efforts, Counterpart has teamed with several partner organizations in the U.S. including the Judsonia Church of Christ in Arkansas, Columbus Church of Christ in Mississippi and Global Aid Network in Dallas, Texas. Counterpart has also teamed with several organizations in Haiti, to ensure these shipments are properly and effectively distributed: Hope for Haiti’s Children, Mission of Hope and Haitian Christian Development Project. (...)

Contact: Rang Hee Kim, Senior Director, Humanitarian Assistance::


International Charity gets surprise gift from women's prison group

by Caroline Preston

April 16 - A few weeks ago, Cary Kimble stumbled upon an unusual envelope while opening mail at the international-medical charity where he works as director of development. The envelope contained no letter -- just a check for $15,000 made out to the Haiti relief efforts of Mr. Kimble's charity, Project Hope. After a little research, staff members at Project Hope, in Millwood, Va., learned that the donation had been given by a group of women at an Ohio prison, known as the "Life group," who are serving terms of 15 years to life. The group of roughly 130 women earns money by selling photographs of inmates with their family members when they come for visits. The photographs, which they sell for $3 to $5, earn them about $6,000 each month.

Ginine Trim, warden at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, says the inmates saw and read news reports about the earthquake in Haiti and wanted to help. Staff members at the prison used the prison library to do research on which charities were providing aid, and the women then voted to make the gift to Project Hope. (...)



Peace and security



Bridging Cultures, Building Peace - UN Alliance of Civilizations Forum

Rio de Janeiro, May 27 - 29

A powerful network of over 2,000 political and corporate leaders, mayors, civil society activists, youth, journalists, foundations, international organizations, and religious leaders will come together in Rio and agree on joint actions to improve relations across cultures, combat prejudice and build the conditions for long-term peace.

This Forum is a project of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Established in 2005, the Alliance seeks to address widening rifts between communities and societies by reaffirming a paradigm of mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious backgrounds and by helping to mobilize concerted action towards this end. It aims to bridge the world's divides and to build trust and understanding across cultures and communities worldwide.


68 Senators have signed a letter to President Obama calling on the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty

Washington, DC May 8 - This week a letter asking the administration to accede to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty will be delivered to President Obama by 68 Senators including ten Republicans and two Independents — signifying a key two-thirds Senate majority.

“The fact that there are 68 signatories on the Senate letter is especially important given that accession to the treaty must be ratified by a two-thirds majority in the Senate,” said Zach Hudson, the coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL). "The strong support these letters received demonstrates that Congress stands with our NATO allies, and with Americans around the country, in calling for the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT-D) and Sen. George Voinovich (OH-R) circulated the Senate letter, and a similar letter, circulated by Rep. James McGovern (MA-D) and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA- R) in the House will also be delivered to President Obama this week.

In the letters, legislators note the effectiveness of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, saying, “In the ten years since the Convention came into force, 158 nations have signed including the United Kingdom and other ISAF partners, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan which, like Colombia, are parties to the Convention and have suffered thousands of mine casualties. The Convention has led to a dramatic decline in the use, production, and export of anti-personnel mines.” (...)


Nigeria: forum to rally support for comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty

Abuja (ICRC) May 12 - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with the support of Nigeria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the participation of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is holding a forum in Abuja today to mobilize ECOWAS member States for a strong and comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty in the run-up to the United Nations negotiating conference in 2012. (...)

The unregulated trade in arms is a scourge on West Africa. In past armed conflicts, it has wrought enormous destruction and immense suffering affecting hundreds of thousands of civilians. To tackle this problem, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2006 to start work on a legally binding instrument – an "arms trade treaty" – establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.

In Nigeria, the ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross Society assist victims of internal violence and natural disasters, and the ICRC works closely with the ECOWAS Commission and government ministries to support and promote the ratification of treaties of international humanitarian law and the incorporation of their provisions into national legislation.


Students win over militarism in Oakland

Two year campaign succeeds in protecting students’ privacy from recruiters

May 2010 - A two-year campaign by youths in Oakland, California, has resulted in a significant victory: the Oakland Unified School District will now offer every student the chance to “opt out” of the military recruitment database known as JAMRS. The district becomes the first school district in the nation to allow students and their parents to withhold their personal data from JAMRS.

The privately run database contains personal and educational information on 30 million people, mainly recruitment-age students. Young organizers campaigned over two years to give students the opportunity to decline participation in JAMRS. Their efforts were supported by AFSC staff in partnership with Better Alternatives for Youth-Peace (BAY-Peace), a community partner.

The young organizers collected over 1000 petitions, made a video, and created a theatrical piece that was performed before the Oakland school board. They also held a career fair featuring alternatives to the military and drafted--and redrafted--the resolution the board adopted Wednesday night (May 12, 2010). In the resolution, the board approved including a form allowing students to “opt out” of sharing information with JAMRS in student registration packets.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that includes people of  various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service.


Iraq: top UN envoy lauds ‘proper conduct’ of election recount process

17 May - The top United Nations envoy to Iraq today welcomed the “proper conduct” of the manual recount of votes cast in the country’s March parliamentary polls.

Following an appeal by the State of Law coalition, a political group headed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, regarding the election results, the Electoral Judicial Panel ordered the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to recount by hand all ballots cast in the governorate of Baghdad. (…)  According to media reports, the recount has upheld the narrow lead of the party headed by Iyad Allawi, a former prime minister, over Mr. al-Maliki’s coalition in the 325-member Council of Representatives. (…) The results, announced yesterday, must still be ratified by the Federal Supreme Court. The Special Representative called on all parties to begin, as soon as possible, talks towards forming a new Government.

At least 12 million people cast their votes in the 7 March polls, in which more than 6,000 candidates took part. (…)


Security Council anti-terrorism committees move towards greater cooperation

11 May - The heads of the three committees set up by the Security Council to support the efforts of Member States to combat terrorism today reported increased cooperation within the past six months among their respective bodies and their expert groups, and voiced the need for the Council’s guidance to better coordinate future efforts. (...)

Also briefing the 15-member body was Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria, chair of the so-called 1267 Committee on sanctions against individuals and entities linked to Al-Qaida and the Taliban, who stated that he planned to “intensify the dialogue between the Committee and the authorities of Afghanistan.” He also noted that the Committee was in the process of reviewing all 488 names on the sanctions list by 30 June. So far 24 names had been de-listed and five deceased individuals had been removed, with 35 names still pending, as more information was necessary. (...)

Mr. Mayr-Harting also said that the Committee is close to choosing an Ombudsman, an office that the Council authorized last December. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to appoint a candidate, in close consultation with the Committee, in the coming days. (...)

The Committee had placed particular emphasis on increasing its dialogue and cooperation with other relevant international and regional organizations, such as the African Union (AU) and the Organization of American States (OAS). In the coming period, the Committee planned to organize a seminar in New York on the theme of “Bringing Terrorists to Justice.”


EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) calls on the Israeli and Jordanian governments and the Palestinian Authority to work together to return fresh water to the near dry Jordan River

Two new reports identify the amount of water needed to rehabilitate the Jordan River and where the water must come from if we are to bring back to life one of the most famous rivers on earth

Amman / Bethlehem / Tel Aviv, 3 May - At an international conference held in Amman, Jordan, FoEME today released two new studies co-written by Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian experts, identifying for the first time the ecological water needs of the Lower Jordan River and from where that water can come from. (...) The report entitled, 'An environmental flows report on the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River,' calls on the governments of the region to work together towards the river's rehabilitation as a concrete project of the Middle East peace process. (...)

The second study released today has identified over a billion cubic meters of water that could be saved and made available from the water economies of Israel, Jordan and even Palestine for other purposes including fairer share and reviving the Lower Jordan River, if current poor water practices came to a stop. (...)  Undertaken for the first time in the region, the second report, entitled 'An economic analysis of policy options for water conservation in Jordan, Israel and Palestine', released today adds up the water savings lost due to poor water supply and demand management practices in all our countries.

The two reports together reveal that rehabilitating the Jordan River is not only very desirable but economically feasible with the lion's share of water savings being possible at prices lower than the cost of desalination. Please find below links to the two reports (economic study and environmental flows reports) in full.

Environmental Flows Report: 

Economic Report (TDA):


FoEME's Environmental Peacemaking

FoEME participates in President Obama's Summit on Entrepreneurship

FoEME is proud to report that our Jordanian Director, Mr. Munqeth Mehyar was one of 150 selected delegates from 50 countries around the world to participate in President Obama's Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington DC on April 26-27th.

The Summit highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship to fostering economic opportunity and community development and aimed to identify how to deepen ties between business leaders, foundations, and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim-majority countries. President Obama declared that "real change comes from the bottom up, and that is why we are here", a vision very much shared by FoEME. 

FoEME receives Green Globe Award for the best Environmental Education project

Life and Environment, the umbrella organization of environmental organizations in Israel, awards the "Green Globes" – the "Environment Oscar" - to activists, groups and companies for environmental action in Israel. FoEME is delighted to announce that our Good Water Neighbors Project was awarded the Green Globe Award for the best Environmental Education project this year. Read more on our Good Water Neighbors Press coverage  page, and click on this video  about the GWN project that was shown at the Awards Ceremony.

Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. Our primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage. In so doing, we seek to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region. FoEME has offices in Amman, Bethlehem, and Tel-Aviv.  


“Earth is Our Common Home” international event 

18 - 20 of June 2010, Novosibirsk; 21 June - 21 of July 2010 – Altai Mountains expedition

Earth is Our Common Home event will be conducted in Siberia and we invite people from all over the world to support this initiative and to organize synchronised events with the same symbol for putting people together in harmony with nature and putting together their creative visions and actions for the future. It will be a collective tuning fork for safeguading our planet in this crucial moment of our planetrary life.

“Earth is Our Common Home” project is devoted to creating a network of international culture of peace youth villages.  The event is focused at effectively managing the transition process into a new world of peace and love. The event will put together people with bright visions of the future to bring to life new ways of thinking and new models of actions for awakening people as co creators and becoming capable to safeguard the planet into her new state.  As world citizens, we need to develop our cooperation at the local, national and world levels which create new equilibrium with each other, nature and the Universe.

For further information,  please contact us:  Nina Goncharova 






Tajikistan conducts nationwide vaccination and prepares for next two response rounds to end polio outbreak

14 May - As polio cases in Tajikistan climbed to 83 this week, authorities reported that close to 1.1 million children under the age of six had been vaccinated with oral polio vaccine. The nationwide vaccination campaign was launched on 4 May by the Minister of Health and the WHO Regional Director for Europe. "The only way to eradicate polio is immunization,” said Minister of Health Dr. Nusratullo Faizulloevich Salimov. The campaign was the first in a series of three immunization rounds that will sweep Tajikistan in an effort to stem the outbreak; the second round will take place on 18–22 May and the third is planned for 1–5 June.

WHO is working closely with the governments of Tajikistan’s neighbours in the WHO European Region (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) on preparedness and response measures. With UNICEF and CDC, WHO has deployed expert teams to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to help strengthen surveillance and support national and subregional vaccination activities.


Retired professor pledges $50-million to UCLA

May 13 - A retired University of California at Los Angeles professor, Paul I. Terasaki, has pledged $50-million to the university, says the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Terasaki made his fortune by starting a company based on his research at the university. He devised a new way to ensure successful matches between donated organs and transplant recipients.

Most of Mr. Terasaki’s donation—$48-million—will support a new life-sciences building, and the remaining $2-million will endow a professorship in surgery. Mr. Terasaki, who is 80, told the newspaper that he owes much of his success to the university and wants to repay the institution.

He received bachelor's and master's degrees there, as well as a Ph.D. in zoology.



Energy and safety



EU - Energy efficiency: only very low-energy buildings to be built after 2020

18 May - On Tuesday MEPs approved the EU's new energy efficiency legislation for buildings, which will help consumers to cut their energy bills and the EU as a whole to hit its climate change target of using 20% less energy in ten years' time. Member States will have to alter their building codes so that all new buildings constructed from the end of 2020 meet high energy-saving standards. Existing buildings will have to be upgraded where possible. (...)

All buildings put up from the end of 2020 must have high energy-saving standards and, to a large extent, use renewable energy. Public authorities' building projects are to lead the way two years earlier. Part of the funding for these changes will come from the EU budget. (...)

The directive approved at second reading on Tuesday is part of a wider energy efficiency legislative package. The EP's report was drafted by MEP Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D, RO).


Solar Cooking: "News you send"

China / United States

One Earth Designs (OED), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, has developed a novel solar device to reduce reliance on these fuels in this region. The device, called the SolSource 3-in-1, not only enables rural communities to harness the sun’s energy for portable solar cooking, but for space heating and electricity generation as well. (...)

OED worked with rural communities in the Himalayan region to design the SolSource 3-in-1 according to these local needs and with local materials when feasible. The reflective component of the SolSource 3-in-1 is a lightweight, foldable parabolic shell comprised of several triangular yak-wool canvas panels stretched across a curved bamboo frame and lined with aluminized polyester film (Mylar®). This shell sits on detachable legs that can be staked to the ground to prevent the cooker from blowing over. Multiple functions are performed by attaching one of three interchangeable modules to the center of the shell at the focal area. (...)

The SolSource 3-in-1 has been recognized for its innovative design by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Yunus Innovation Challenge, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Contact: One Earth Designs, P.O. Box 382559, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02238, USA - 


Solar Cooking: "News you send"


Gadhia Solar Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. recently completed installation of an enormous solar steam cooking system, capable of cooking 40,000-50,000 meals per day. It is located at Shirdi Saibaba temple in Shirdi, Maharashtra, India. With nearly 30,000 visitors each day, the temple’s dining halls are some of the largest in India.

The solar steam cooking system is comprised of 73 rooftop-mounted reflective dishes of 16 square meters each. The dishes concentrate sunlight on receivers that contain water, generating steam that is piped down to the kitchen for cooking purposes. To maintain constant focus with the sun, the dishes automatically rotate throughout the day after being manually aligned once each morning. The solar steam cooking system is retrofitted to existing liquid petroleum gas-powered steam boilers that are still used in the evening and during prolonged periods of inclement weather.

Though the solar steam cooking system cost nearly $300,000, government subsidies reduced the temple’s portion to about $170,000. Liquid petroleum gas use has been cut by roughly 100,000 kilograms each year, for an annual savings of approximately $45,000. The temple should recoup its investment in three to four years. Gadhia Solar Energy Systems, India.

News from special “News You Send” issue by Rene Hamlin, SCI Resource Development Director:


May 17, World Telecommunication & Information Society Day

2010 Theme: Better City, Better Life with ICTs

This is a day to reflect on international communications technology which is linking people the world over, as Peter Russell says, in much the same way as are the billions of cells in our own brain. The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

The theme of this year's WTISD draws attention to the role communication technologies can play in improving life in the city. The primary celebration of the Day will take place during the Shanghai World Expo 2010 which has the theme: Better City: Better Life.


Chad becomes 100th nation to give UN nuclear inspectors greater access

14 May – Chad has become the 100th nation to agree to give the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) more information about its nuclear activities, which the agency hailed as a milestone in efforts to bolster global nuclear verification efforts. The so-called Additional Protocol furnishes IAEA inspectors with enhanced access to information and locations of nuclear activity. (...)

Chad’s notification yesterday comes as more than 100 nations are taking part in the five-yearly review conference of the NPT, the cornerstone of the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime, to discuss how to further full implementation and enhance the universality of the pact.



Environment and wildlife



“Conserving fragile agricultural biodiversity is critical to sustaining rural people’s livelihoods”: IFAD President Closes International Biodiversity Week in Rome

Rome, 20 May - More investment to protect agricultural biodiversity is crucial to maintain and improve food security, said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) prior to International Biodiversity Day on 22 May. (...)

Biodiversity is the sum of all existing species, their interactions and the ecosystems they form. According to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, human beings share the planet with as many as 13 million different living species including plants, animals and bacteria.

Biodiversity and natural resources play a central role, especially in the lives of many indigenous peoples, in particular for their subsistence and for their cultural and spiritual values. (...) Biodiversity is also important for enhancing poor farmers’ and indigenous peoples’ resilience to climate change, pests, diseases and other threats.  IFAD-sponsored programmes are working with poor farmers and indigenous peoples to contribute to the sustainable use and conservation of species and ecosystems. (...)


Bringing the Jordan River Back to Life: Strategies for Rehabilitation Conference

Amman, Jordan May 3-4

May 3 - FoEME held a unique gathering of regional and international experts, local and national government representatives and other stakeholders from Jordan, Israel and Palestine and the international community to highlight the results of two new scientific research undertaken by FoEME over the past year to identify a regional rehabilitation strategy and opportunities to return fresh water to the Jordan River - released to the public here for the first time.

The event also included declarations of support from leading regional and international "Champions of the Jordan River" as well as calls to action and descriptions of new local and international efforts underway to rehabilitate the Jordan River. The conference brought together international tourism operators and Jordan Valley Mayors in a joint  call to allow new opportunities to flourish alongside a rehabilitated Jordan River.


University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is one of US top green universities

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh endorsed the Earth Charter in 2002 and since then has proven its commitment to sustainability.  On April 2010, EPA - US Environmental Protection Agency - released the names of the top 26 colleges and universities honored for their individual green power purchase among all respective schools in their athletic conferences, among them is the University of Wisconsin-Oskhosh.


Swedish hunters help save Amur tigers

Vladivostok, Russia, 29 April - The Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management is helping Russian tiger conservation efforts thousands of miles away by sharing their secrets to raising prey animals like deer and wild boar.

The managers of four sustainable hunting estates in Russia recently joined leaders from WWF-Russia’s Amur branch on a special trip to Sweden to learn how to increase the number of prey in their areas – a crucial component of efforts to save wild tigers.

The managers, who head Tigrovoye, Medved, Orlinoye, and Borisovskoye hunting estates, have been working with the Amur branch of WWF-Russia since 2000 to better use their natural resources and conserve rare and endangered plants and animals on their lands.

The Russian team visited hunting estates in the north and east of Sweden in collaboration with the country’s National Veterinary Institute, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management, and the Kolmården Zoo, the largest in Scandinavia. Their Swedish counterparts shared methods on how they increased populations of ungulates, including roe deer, wild boar, fallow deer, reindeer and elk. The  Amur tiger’s main prey in the Russian Far East are roe deer, red deer, sika deer, and wild boar. (...)

Projects such as this one that are helping tiger populations recover are a part of WWF’s Year of the Tiger campaign, which seeks to double the number of tigers in the wild by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022. (...)



Religion and spirituality



Pax Christi International welcomed Bishop Kevin Dowling (South Africa) and Marie Dennis (USA) as the new Presidents of the movement

Pax Christi International triennial world assembly (TWA), Strasbourg, France, May 12-16

 About 100 delegates from different member organisations worldwide and more than 40 different countries, attended the TWA. Participants reflected on the vision and mission of Pax Christi International, on the global concerns and discussed and agreed on a renewed/revised strategic framework for 2011 - 2013. (...)

This TWA reflected upon the signs of the times and challenged all participants to explore innovative ways and approaches to peace building leading towards action models at a global or regional level. Six particular concerns were identified and explored: Human Migration Resulting from Conflict; Youth Violence and Civil Unrest; Climate Change, Violence and Climate Refugees; Nuclear Disarmament; Impunity, Transitional Justice and Truth Commissions; Religion and Violent Radicalisation.

At the TWA, delegates were invited to reflect upon the articulation of a common theology and spirituality of peace. (...) Special focus was given to youth delegates who met in parallel conference in a youth seminar to enter in a dialogue process with European policy makers on the question of military spending versus development. 30 youth delegates came from different European countries to attend.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu to address finalist bid cities for 2014 Parliament of Religions

From May 16 – 20, representatives from five international cities will gather in Chicago to learn more about hosting the 2014 Parliament. The meeting will take place at the Palmer House Hilton, site of the centennial 1993 Parliament and steps from the site of the inaugural Parliament of 1893 which launched the worldwide interreligious movement.

Much to our delight, Archbishop Desmond Tutu will personally address city representatives via live-stream video from the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative’s 10th Anniversary Celebration held in honor of the decade anniversary 1999 Parliament of Religions. Archbishop Tutu will share the meaningful legacy of the 1999 Cape Town Parliament as well as the critical importance of the Parliament of World Religions. The Cape Town Interfaith Initiative will also celebrate the launch of the Charter for Compassion in South Africa. Karen Armstrong, a featured speaker at the 2009 Parliament, Melbourne, will deliver a special pre-recorded address to acknowledge the decade anniversary and to officially launch the Charter in Cape Town, South Africa.  



Culture and education



May 21, World Day for Cultural Diversity for dialogue and development

An international Day to mark the important role that dialogue between different cultures plays in the overall development of society. A new global consciousness is in process of emerging. While human unity and the oneness of life are greatly valued; the immense diversity of human cultures is also held in high esteem. This Year is also being celebrated as International Year for Rapprochement of Cultures.

Following the events of 11 September 2001, the 185 member states of UNESCO unanimously adopted the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. The Declaration reflects the conviction that respect for cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue is one of the surest guarantees of development and peace.

Culture is defined in the UNESCO Mexico City Declaration of 1982 as: the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group. It includes not only arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs.


May 3:  World Press Freedom Day

Year 2010 Theme: Freedom of Information: The Right to Know

It is easy for those of us who live in liberal democracies to take a relatively free press for granted. We can forget how fundamentally important freedom of the press is to the health of a community.    Reporters Without Borders  document the many areas of the world in which journalists are far from free.

Free media fosters dialogue

Perhaps the best way a media can work towards building mutual understanding is by strengthening the media culture itself. A media that is vibrant, independent, pluralistic, inclusive and fair, editorial free and beyond censor and influence from interests, political, commercial, or otherwise – only a free media will innately contribute to the dialogue and understanding across divides. Moreover, a media that is free is essential for the provision of information and knowledge upon which informed democratic participation and good governance depend.

Journalists must be able to practice their profession without fear. They must move freely to collect facts and views, to disseminate news, to demand accountability from those in office, and to protect their sources. In turn, journalists must exercise the highest ethical and professional standards and conduct themselves in accord with general ethical principles.

It is vital that media outlets and professional associations encourage accurate, professional and ethical reporting. This can be done by establishing voluntary codes of conduct, providing training for journalists and setting up mechanisms of self-regulation. Such media accountability should be organized through self-regulation systems that facilitate the direct dialogue between readers, listeners, viewers or internet surfers and the media professionals. Only the application of high professional standards will give media the credibility with their public.


Europeana moves on

Europeana – Europe's online library, museum and archive – aims to make Europe's cultural and scientific heritage accessible to all. On 10 May, the Council adopted conclusions outlining the further development of the web site

May - The tool currently gives access to more than 7 million digitised works, including books, paintings, films, newspapers, photographs and maps. The target is to make 10 million objects available by the end of 2010. Europeana is a single multilingual online portal, hosted by the Dutch National Library. (...) The content is provided by more than 1,000 cultural institutions from across the EU, but contributions remain unbalanced. The conclusions argue that it is necessary to increase the number of objects accessible through Europeana, in full compliance with copyright law. At the same time, a broader geographical spread and a better balance between the types of works is needed. Until mid-2011, Europeana will be co-funded by the Commission, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania and Hungary.


Conference to tackle gender gap and give impetus to girls’ education

17 - 20 May, Dakar, Senegal

May 9 - The education of women and girls is a top priority for UNESCO. The Organization will thus be a key partner at the forthcoming “E4 Engendering Empowerment: Education and Equality” conference. A related e-conference was launched on 20 April. To mark the occasion, UNESCO is also launching a new Gender Equality and Education website.

The conference is organized by The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), a partnership of organizations dedicated to promoting girls’ education and to reducing the gender gap in education. It was launched in 2000 at the World Education Forum by the U.N. Secretary-General. (…) The current E4 conferences aim to strengthen and expand partnerships for girls’ education around the most pressing obstacles many girls face in pursuit of education, and will address issues of violence, poverty and educational quality and their intersections with participation, climate change and health.


Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution 

Rotary Peace Fellows are leaders promoting national and international cooperation, peace, and the successful resolution of conflict throughout their lives, in their careers, and through service activities. Fellows can earn either a master’s degree in international relations, public administration, sustainable development, peace studies, conflict resolution, or a related field, or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict resolution.

The Rotary Peace Centers are at: Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (professional development center) - Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA - International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan - Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina - University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England - University of California, Berkeley, USA (NOTE: The Rotary Foundation Trustees will no longer be accepting applications for this program after the 2009-11 class.)  - University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Fellows are chosen from countries and cultures around the globe based on their ability to have a significant, positive impact on world peace and conflict resolution during their careers. Learn more about program eligibility and deadlines. To find out more about the Rotary Peace Centers program, contact your local Rotary club or the Rotary Peace Centers Department at The Rotary Foundation.


USA - EDC education research contract is extended

U.S. Dept. of Education extends REL contracts to six years

Newton, MA, USA, May 11 - The U.S. Department of Education will extend to 2012 its contract with Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), to operate the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands (REL-NEI), one of 10 such labs across the country. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, REL-NEI is administered by EDC  in partnership with Learning Innovations at WestEd and American Institutes for Research.

Now in its fifth year, REL-NEI brings rigorous education research to educators and policymakers in the region, the largest and most diverse in the country, which includes more than 5 million students, nearly 10,000 schools, and 2,000 districts in the six New England states, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (...)

REL-NEI provides pre-K–16 educators at the state, district, and school levels with the best available evidence to make decisions leading to improved student achievement and reduced performance gaps. The REL network also provides research to assist policymakers with their decision-making to make the best use of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In the past four years, REL-NEI has produced 18 original research reports requested by regional educators and policymakers, with four more slated for publication this year. (...)

The nation’s RELs serve as partners with state and local educators and policymakers to use research to tackle issues of education reform and improvement.



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Next issue: 18 June 2010.


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Good News Agency is published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next. Past issues are available at . Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph.D. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti, Maria Grazia Da Damos, Arianna Cavallo, Azzurra Cianchetta. Editorial Secretary: Maria Grazia Da Damos. Webmaster: Fabio Gatti.


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations in 54 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oceania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to 3,000 NGOs and 1,700 high schools, colleges and universities.


It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered educational charity chartered in Italy in 1979 The Association operates for the development of consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing. It is based in Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy.


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