The Permanent Peace Movement (PPM) is an independent Lebanese non-governmental organization founded in 1989 at the height of the Lebanese civil war by a group of young university students unified by their common vision of the future and their aversion to war. They considered that the peaceful means for conflict resolution are the most useful of all, and once exhausted, one should resort to non-violent means and never to violence.
PPM works on building peace in the local, national and international communities through spreading the culture of peace and transforming/preventing conflicts. It also strives to empower individuals and institutions enabling them to play their respective roles in this field.
In recognition of its work. PPM was granted on June 6th, 2019 the special consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the highest accreditation to any NGO by the United Nations.
Scope of PPM's work
Permanent Peace Movement works in coordination with other associations and the various components of the community in the following fields.
- Resolving/preventing conflicts through research, training, and intervening where necessary and possible.
- Controlling armament, possession and misuse of small arms. In addition to Promoting children’s rights and stopping the use of children in armed conflicts.
- Promoting transitional justice, facing the past and consolidating reconciliation in the post-war society, replacing retributive justice with restorative justice.
- Spreading the culture of non-violence so that it becomes a value and a human choice by itself. Promoting citizenship and democracy and motivating individuals as well as groups to fulfill their duties and know their rights.
Stop Child Soldiers
As part of the International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, PPM launched the Stop Child Soldiers project with the aim of raising awareness of the use of child soldiers in Lebanon and across the Middle East and North Africa. Along with awareness raising initiatives, PPM campaigns for the adoption and implementation of aspects of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that deal with the involvement of children in armed conflicts. It has been involved in the international process toward signing an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Lebanon has become the 102nd State Party to the (ATT) after depositing its instrument of ratification at the UN on Thursday, 9 May 2019. PPM has been lobbying for that for years. It has also participated in every bi-yearly consultations and committee meeting at the UN headquarters in New York since 2003. PPM represented by its president was voted the leader of the regional negotiation committee.
PPM is lobbying to fight the spread of arms in the hands of Lebanese, especially that sporadic gun shots whenever a politician appears on television, or at weddings and funerals, have killed hundreds of civilians at their homes or when crossing the streets. This led to its participation in several international conferences dedicated to prevent the use of children as soldiers and regulate arms control mechanisms, not only in Lebanon but in the MENA region as well.
PPM is a main partner in the process of ‘Responding to the Arab Spring: Enhancing Civil Society and Regional Intergovernmental Organisations Collaboration to Meet New Peace and Security Challenges’. This process gathers international and regional actors like the Global Partnerships of the Prevention of Armed conflict and the League of Arab states. PPM lobbies to fight the uncontrolled spread of personal arms in Lebanon and the Arab World.
Lebanon supporting Peace Education and Promoting Religious Tolerance in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria
Through this project, teachers and community leaders learn about the importance of religious freedom, generate context-specific strategies that protect religious freedom, and are empowered to resolve current and future conflicts across religions and groups.
PPM selects 30 teachers in the North and Mount Lebanon governorates to participate in training workshops on non-violent conflict mitigation, key religious community tensions, and ways to facilitate a classroom environment that promotes religious tolerance. A follow up workshop with teachers allows them to exchange ideas, best practices, and lessons learned in relation to promoting religious tolerance in the classroom and utilize this information to produce a booklet that participating teachers can use throughout the year to encourage them to continue utilizing these identified strategies.
Focus groups with participating teachers will allow teachers to reflect on their experiences using the strategies in the fall semester and identify what changes they observed and the most beneficial strategies. PPM checks in with teachers monthly to give them support and encouragement. It will also develop a curriculum on religious conflict that will be taught to 60 religious leaders and community members from the North governorate which has experienced an increase in inter-religious conflict in the past years. The curriculum is taught to participants through a series of five workshops, with each workshop’s content building upon the previous one. In the final workshop, participants from communities in conflict will come together to share strategies which promote religious tolerance and commit to using these strategies to resolve future disputes.
Aside from Lebanon, in the last decade PPM has mediated and delivered conflict resolution training in Cyprus, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan and has instructed Iraqi NGOs staff.
Harnessing Local Capacities for Resilience in the Face of the Syrian Crisis
The overall objective of this project was to strengthen local resilience in Lebanon to the effects of external conflicts on peace and security. Lebanon’s fragile peace remains highly vulnerable to external shocks.
One major external influence that has affected domestic security in Lebanon since March 2011 is the on-going conflict in Syria and the resulting spill over into Lebanon. It is likely that the reverberations of the Syrian endgame will be felt in Lebanon for many years to come, and action must be taken now to shore up capacities to resist negative impacts areas of the country receiving refugees.
The specific objective of this action was therefore to better equip stakeholders at the local, national and international level to respond effectively to the short and long term impacts of the conflict in Syria on areas that are most affected. In order to play a more effective role in this regard, stakeholders at the local, national and international level need three things: knowledge, networks and capacity.
The results for this action are therefore: Knowledge generated among local, national and international stakeholders of the role of local peacebuilders in strengthening resilience to conflict; Networks for collective analysis, reflection and best practice sharing between peacebuilding actors on the local and regional levels created; and Capacity built of local actors to raise local conflict issues at the national level.
PPM works to raise awareness on the threats to the youth and strengthen the capacity of local institutions to prevent the escalation of tension into violent conflict, especially with the newly created relations in the society with the arrivals of Syrian refugees.
It has launched fund raising for small projects and Training workshops on conflict resolution, nonviolence, team work and life skills in tens of villages in Mount Lebanon.
From Memory to Peace Education
From 1975 until 1990, the Lebanese fought a civil war, and the divisions between the different Lebanese parties and religions persist. In the last couple of years, there have been more or less intense violent clashes between different political groups and sects. Today’s youth don’t know much, if anything at all, about the civil war. They might get biased points of views told by their families and in their schools, they don’t learn anything about the Lebanese war because it is not subject of the history lessons. Equally, on a more political level, the issue of the civil war remains a taboo.
This project aims to make the history of the Lebanese civil war an issue in the public, addressing particularly students and teachers, because PPM believes that working with memories, however painful, has a healing process for the society and understanding the violent past is a precondition for creating sustainable peace in Lebanon.
Thus it works with public high schools all over Lebanon, the Ministries of displaced and education for this end. The focus of this six years long project that started in 2013 was to create educational standards for peace education.
Hip Hop for Peace
Hip Hop for Peace teaches young people to use arts - specifically Hip Hop and Graffiti - as well as practical skills such as conflict prevention and resolution, to spread a culture of peace amongst their peers. Hip Hop for Peace aims to bring young people from different religious backgrounds together, through a shared love of hip hop culture and providing them with the skills to express themselves, voice their concerns and become messengers of peace.