PAX works on peace in the Netherlands too. Together with local organisations and passionate volunteers, PAX works on obtaining an inclusive society that is based on solidarity. Also, we get Dutch citizens involved in our international work in conflict areas via campaigns.
In recent years, Dutch society has become more polarised: the division between groups has become more prevalent. The knowledge that PAX acquires and applies in other parts of the world also holds significant value for our work in the Netherlands. For example, knowledge about the way conflicts evolve and how to help limit tension in society can be applied here is as well. But also, for instance, how citizens can join forces and raise political awareness to work on social change in a constructive and non-violent way.
PAX's targets for its work in the Netherlands are:
1. Strengthen the solidarity between citizens with different cultural and religious backgrounds.
2. Uncover and point out exclusion mechanisms in the Netherlands which could form a breeding ground for dissatisfaction, division and conflict. This should, eventually, help limit the problem.
To achieve this, PAX works with involved citizens who have organised themselves into Embassies for Peace or as a Walk of Peace group. The highlight of this involvement is the annual Peace Week. Since 1966, PAX has been organising the national Peace Week, which links up with the International Day of Peace on 21 September. During the Peace Week hundreds of activities are organised throughout the country and tens of thousands of people take part. The message: everyone can contribute to peace. PAX also set up the Story of a Refugee programme, which was started because the debate about refugees is becoming increasingly polarized. This education project focusses on 12 to 23-year-old students. The programme helps students form a more nuanced idea about refugees. Also, teachers are supported in leading discussions about controversial topics while restraining from heated arguments.
PAX also advocates on national and international level to tackle the causes of violent conflicts and injustice and to start the process of permanent change. By taking part in our campaigns, Dutch citizens can apply pressure and exercise influence on politics and trade and industry, and show solidarity with the peace activism in conflict situations. This way, everyone can contribute to the protection of civilians and the ambitions for peace and justice in conflict situations.