Background of CRS Peacebuilding Program
Peacebuilding emerged as one of CRS' top priorities in 2001. Historically we worked on many activities related to peace and justice, but in the 1990s we began to focus more explicitly on them. This grew in large part out of experiences in East Africa and the Balkans.
We pair peacebuilding with justice to ensure that our activities address the root causes of conflicts and not just surface issues. Justice provides the vision and standards for peace while peacebuilding focuses on the process of how we get there - how we repair relationships and restore broken structures, how we prevent future devastation and how we address current injustices.
The following are a number of important developments in CRS Peacebuilding:
- The first regional training in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation is held in East Africa in 1994.
- Justice becomes an agency priority in 1996; it is often twinned with peacebuilding although justice is emphasized.
- The first regional peacebuilding training institute - Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute - is established in The Philippines in 1998, with the cooperation of Eastern Mennonite University.
- A yearlong consultation process for CRS culminates in a World Summit in 2000. The CRS Agency Strategy Visionary Direction Statement that emerges from the summit commits the agency to "build a culture of peace throughout the world based on a foundation of justice and reconciliation."
- The first Summer Institute on Peacebuilding (SIP) is held in 2001. It is a 10-day joint education and capacity building initiative for CRS partners and staff that is co-hosted by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace at the University of Notre Dame. At SIP 2001 participants craft a broad statement of purpose for peacebuilding, a tailored CRS Peacebuilding Statement,and 10 Peacebuilding Principles for quality programming. These broadly define what we hope to achieve with our peacebuilding work and identify guideposts to help us along the way.