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Peace-Building Centre For City?

A centre for global peace-building and conflict resolution could be set up in Christchurch.

A trust, based in Wellington, asked the Christchurch City Council’s strategy and resources committee yesterday to consider establishing the first peace-building training centre for the Asia-Pacific region in Christchurch.

A member of the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre for Global Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution Trust, Roger Kemp, said the trust was set up three years ago and it wanted to create a centre away from Wellington.

He said a partnership between the trust and the council was desirable and could attract international funding.

“It is an excellent opportunity for the city and there will be economic benefits,” Mr Kemp said.

The centre would run residential courses for about 30 people at a time over five weeks, he said.

Those who underwent training then went to the world’s trouble spots to carry out mediation or the centre could be used for conflict resolution.

Mr Kemp said the first training programme was scheduled for 2001.

The United Nations had an increasing need for skilled civilian peace-builders. The idea for a New Zealand centre was initiated by Dr Dudley Weeks, the trainer for the programmes in Austria and Italy, he said.

The Mayor, Garry Moore, said Christchurch had an ideal background for peace-making, especially after the work by MP Don McKinnon, now the new Commonwealth Secretary-General, in Papua New Guinea and Bougainville matters.

“This has been brought to Christchurch to see if we like the idea before we move to the next phase. Most of the money comes from the United Nations,” he said.

“I am quite enthusiastic about and I am keen to look at it,” he said.

The committee endorsed the idea in principle and decided to get a report on the implications of such a centre in Christchurch.

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