Cygnet Centre for Peacebuilding and Transformation responds to humanity’s need to develop collaborative relationships that enable constructive, non-violent solutions to conflict and the expression of good will in all its forms. Such relationships are essential for the growth of a global culture of peace, recognised through the UN’s ‘Earth Charter’ and ‘Agenda for Sustainable Development’ as essential for the effective stewardship of our planetary resources and all life.
The need for peacebuilding is obvious in struggles seen everywhere, ranging from full-scale armed conflict and intergang violence, down to schoolyard and cyber bullying, intimate partner violence, and neighbourhood disputes. Systemic violence is equally destructive, enforcing crippling economic and social disparities. One of the most significant impacts of conflict and violence is an ‘unsafe’ atmosphere where physical, psychological, and social needs remain unmet, and the potential for expression and goodwill is blocked.
Peacebuilding and restorative practices enable community safety and foster trusting, cooperative relationships, because they address the underlying needs of all stakeholders. They have proven effectiveness, yet they are not widely used among governments and organisations. Cygnet’s work feeds into the expanding global network of community-led peacebuilding initiatives which are gradually developing collective impact, through the promotion of public dialogue around the benefits and legitimacy of peacebuilding, and through the application of peacebuilding practices across diverse contexts.
Cygnet’s work is guided by our awareness of the interconnection and interdependence of all life. Our vision for ‘a world transforming relationships through peacebuilding and restorative practices expresses our focus on strengthening relationships as the best way to achieve peace and prevent violence and harmful behaviour.
We seek to harness the creative potential of conflict by setting up safe environments where people can discover the hidden messages and unmet needs within the conflict. We use a range of peacebuilding practices to transform conflict, from the individual to the collective level, and to support the improvement and repair of relationships between people and communities. These include meditation, mindfulness, social and emotional learning, trauma responsive practice, facilitated and community dialogue, community arts projects, mediation and restorative practices.
An important keynote of Cygnet’s approach is the recognition our innate creative capacity and resilience and a fundamental belief that the most powerful solutions lie with those who are living the problem. We are committed to developing peacebuilding practices and projects that are formed and expressed by the communities who need them.
We value and honour community empowerment and the emergence of co-creative solutions through the use of ‘popular education’ methodologies that enable increased understanding among people working together. Used consistently over time these approaches act as a form of prevention and early intervention, harnessing adversity and potential conflict and directing it into more creative pathways.
Cygnet prioritises the empowerment of young people, holding in mind the potency of this group to spearhead generational change and to help shape a better future for all. Today’s young people number more than 1.8 billion globally, forming the largest generation in world history. Through our work in the community we have had the opportunity to engage with young people who are culturally diverse, living with disabilities, marginalised, and experiencing discrimination. We are currently engaging young people through an exciting documentary project entitled ‘Talking Peace.’
Mutual and Respectful Relationships
We promote and cultivate mutual and respectful relationships with ourselves, others and the environment. We embrace diversity and difference as we seek to recognise and affirm our interconnectedness.
We seek to support the development of safe environments that foster connection, where people feel empowered towards responsibility and self-determination. In connecting with each other we aspire to build authentic relationships where people feel free to express their own truth and to listen to the truth of others.
We value listening and dialogue for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes that are based on an understanding of our shared humanity. We seek to embrace the opportunities for growth and learning that conflict contains. We invite expression and difficult dialogue while holding in focus the wellbeing of all.
We strive to balance humility and listening with a courage that engages conflict, challenges harmful behaviour, and evokes accountability and responsibility, without blaming.
We challenge ourselves and others to enter into a spirit of enquiry that connects with and explores presenting needs and issues. Through reciprocity, we open ourselves to learning and reflection, which nourish the development of flexible responsive processes and solutions.
We value a sense of belonging in fostering good will. We believe that community connection offers opportunities for participation and service of something greater than ourselves. We seek to develop collaborative relationships where cooperation leads to viable sustainable communities.
We are committed to developing restorative cultures that value and respect the inherent dignity all people. We advocate for equitable constructive social and political processes that allow everyone to be heard, especially those who are voiceless and powerless. In facilitating truth-telling, self-responsibility, forgiveness and reparation we are intent on creating a space where healing can occur.
Healing and Transformation
We aim, through the creative use of peacebuilding and restorative practices, to inspire vision of new ways of living together that will transform our society and open the door to healing. Through the lens of healing and transformation we acknowledge the past whilst looking to the future with a sense of hope and purpose.
To advocate for the recognition of the fundamental social and political rights of all peoples, and for the identification and resolution of underlying systemic causes of conflict and adversity.
To inspire awareness and understanding of the transformative potential of restorative and peacebuilding approaches, in order to advance their application across a range of settings.
To enhance and promote mutual and respectful relationships that nurture intrinsic awareness of interconnection.
To empower individuals and groups to enhance the viability of their communities through restorative and peace building principles and practices.
To develop and deliver restorative and peacebuilding skills and solutions that offer creative, collaborative approaches to resolving conflict and responding to adversity.
To foster the growth of peaceful, inclusive societies and effective, accountable institutions that provide access to justice for all.
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