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Annual Report 1999

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"Contrasts and Solutions in the Caucasus" edited by Ole Høiris and Sefa Martin Yürükel, Aarhus University Press 1998 appears with Jan's chapter 'Conflict-Mitigation on the Spot - Towards Citizens' Diplomacy.'

TFF PressInfo # 54 "Why "Peace" Efforts Can't Bring Peace to Kosovo" is sent out on Janaury 9. We also start preparing TFF's participation in the Haag Peace Appeal Conference in May.

Mission 34 to the Balkans takes place January 24 to February 10 and covers Skopje, Belgrade, Pristina, and Decani. Jan Oberg meets with ministers, experts, NGOs and media people in Belgrade, with Albanian and Macedonian politicians as well as the OSCE and the UN in Skopje, with Serbs and Albanians in Pristina, with OSCE officers there and with Father Sava in the Decani Monastry. He meets members of the Kosovo-Albanian delegation to Rambouillet and gets acquainted with the original version of the Agreement text. Shortly after, UNPREDEP was closed down in Macedonia, so this was the last visit to that mission. He gives two guest lectures at Skopje University, meets the dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and meets also with Albanian politicians and the Tetova University senate leader - to discuss a future guest lecture there.

TFF PressInfo # 55 "Rambouillet, Imperialism in Disguise" is sent out on February 17. PressInfo # 56 "Rambouillet - A Process Analysis" appears on February 20.

Mission 1 to Burundi takes place February 22 to March 7. Having met the Burundian minister of education, Prosper Mpawenayo at the State of the World Forum in November last year, Jan was invited to a conference in Bujumbura on education for tolerance and co-existence.

In addition to participating and speaking at the conference, he had the opportunity to meet with 3 ministers, a presidential advisers, a series of national and international NGOs, Sweden's representative in the country and he travelled, kindly arranged by the Norwegian Refugee Council, via Ngozi to Kirondo in the north where he saw schools, health clinics, water stations and got a general impression of life in the countryside. The rest of the time was spent to investigate what types of seminars and other activities could be useful. Together with Dr. Christian Scherrer, ECOR and COPRI, Jan was given the task by the Minister to produce a comprehensive report on ways to introduce peace education and research in a broad sense to help facilitate the process of peace, reconciliation and democratisation.

On March 12, Jan trains selected United Nations staff in peacebuilding thinking, reconstruction and reconciliation (cases: Eastern Slavonia and Kosovo) as part of a series of TRANSCEND courses for the United Nations. Highly successful with experimental video link to Taplow Court outside London. This is the first concrete cooperation between TFF and TRANSCEND & Johan Galtung - to be intensified. 

By this time, TFF associates such as Johan Galtung, Håkan Wiberg, Sören Sommelius, Kerstin Schultz, Richard Falk, Carl-Ulrik Schierup and others are fully engaged in writing, speaking and appearing on radio and television about the build-up to NATO's bombing campaign that started on March 24.

An anthology on conflict and reconciliation is published by Hans Reitzels Publishers and the Danish Refugee Council, "Konflikt og forsoning. 11 indlæg om en vanskelig, men nødvendig proces" edited by Dorte Broen and Vibeke Vindeløv. Jan contributes a chapter on reconciliation and the logic of power. It is one of several activities that emphasizes the foundation's exploration of reconciliation, peacebuilding and forgiveness.

TFF PressInfo # 57 "Read the Civilian Kosovo Agreement" is sent out on March 17 and PressInfo # 58 "Read the military Kosovo Agreement" is sent out the day after. This was the first ever analysis of the actual content of what was now on the table in Rambouillet. CNN reacted, as did many others.

From now on TFF's website is visited by 1200 to 1500 per day and we receive more than 200 emails per day from all over the world, many in response to the PressInfos but also appreciations of the website content - and many from the bombed region expressing their fear and grief.

TFF PressInfo # 59 "Insecuring Macedonia" is sent out. Leads to questions at NATO press conference in Skopje, later a government meeting. Broadcasted in several leading media, 3 minutes on Macedonian TV prime time.

CNN's Jim Clancy writes and calls up concerning the Rambouillet text; interview is planned.

March 23, on Danish prime time TV Jan predicts NATO bombing to start very soon, calls NATO "a smiling crocodile..." and stirs a bit of media debate there. 

On March 24 NATO bombings begin, pre-prepared PressInfo # 60 "Bombings - Incompatible with Humanitarian Concerns" goes out an hour later.

Teaching an international course in peace and conflict issues for one week at the European Peace University in Stadtschlaining, Austria between March 26 and April 4. That morning, the interview with Jim Clancy, CNN takes place. Numerous other interviews, including participation in a Japanese TV program.

Mission 35 takes place during the weekend with a drive through Slovenia and Croatia to Vukovar, picking up assistant Aleksandra Glumac and meeting teachers, NGOs and others from our courses there and driving down to the border and talk with Yugoslav border patrols. No way to get to Belgrade. Drives Sunday March 28 to Brcko, where the intention was to meet with OSCE and OHR people to follow-up on earlier discussions as to a TFF seminar program. Much to our surprise, their missions had been evacuated because of the bombing. While driving back on the Autoput late Sunday, participated via mobile phone in a one-hour debate on Danish Radio about Kosovo.

April 12 we start a new Internet service, "TFF PeaceBrowser." It updates thousands of recipients about new materials on the foundation's website and offers suggestions to other websites and themes in related fields.

On April 14 PressInfo # 61 "Covering Up NATO's Balkan Bombing Blunder" is sent out.

We participate in a remarkably fast book project, a Swedish-language book titled "Fredsbomber över Balkan. Konflikten om Kosovo" ("Peace Bombs Over the Balkans. The Kosovo Conflict") published by Manifest Publishers in Stockholm and edited by Axelsson, Püschel, Reinholdsson & Wijk. It started as a signature campaign published in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet against NATO's bombardment and developed into a book with contributions by e.g. Howard Zinn, Diana Johnstone, Vjeran Matic, John Pilger, and numerous Nordic intellectuals, politicians, experts, etc - including Sören Sommelius and Jan Øberg.

TFF PressInfo # 62 "The Information Warfare About Kosovo" goes out on April 15. PressInfo # 63 "More Dead by NATO Than by YU-UCK War" goes out the day after. 

The first version of Christian Scherrer's and Jan Øberg's confidential report to the Burundian minister of education is dispatched by mid-April. Jan lectures at an educational seminar in Oslo for the Norwegian Refugee Council as a follow-up to our emerging co-operation from the Burundi mission.

April 25, PeaceBrowser goes out "Be Better Informed About NATO/Kosovo."

Longer personal interviews with the founders made at TFF by Finland Swedish TV and the Denmark's Radio.

On April 26, Jan lectures at Vaxjö University about the Kosovo crisis and at Kommunförbundet's conference. Christina Spännar lectures at the latter a few days later. 

April 27: TFF PressInfo # 64 "Yugoslav Ethnic Cleansing Plan?" goes out. On April 30 PressInfo 65 and 66 are sent out "NATO's War Hits the West Itself (A) and (B)."

On April 28 TFF's Kerstin Schultz, Sören Sommelius and Jan meet with members of the Center for Conflict Resolution and Encore in Copenhagen - as a first follow-up to our December meeting to explore more cooperation. TFF contributes some thoughts on the question of media, news, peace and war. Common work to be expanded.

May 3-5 various TFF associates and friends participates in the State of the World in Belfast. Many from San Francisco and from the Bujumbura conference were re-convening. Lots of new contacts. We had secured the participation of TFF's assistant from Eastern Slavonia Aleksandra Glumac and one from the Balkan Peace Centre in Skopje. Of particular importance, Jan meets with Burundi's minister of education, Propser Mpawenayo and gets feedback on the first draft of report - to be revised before mid-August.

On May 7, TFF PressInfo 67 "G8 Kosovo Principles - Another Peace Fraud" goes out.

At this point we receive about 20 messages per day from people who want to get TFF PressInfos. They now go directly to more than 7.000 individuals and organisations and proliferate through list serves, other websites, journals and others who pick them up, translates and reprints them. So during the Kosovo crisis and NATO's bombing campaign, TFF achieves a major position in its field on Internet and we receive way more mail than we can ever handle.

The Åland Islands Peace Institute edits and publishes "Peace Work for the Next Milennium" with contributors such as Mary Kaldor, Pertti Joenniemi and Jan Øberg, in time for the Hague conference.

The Hague Appeal for Peace Conference with more than 10,000 participants during the week begins on May 12. TFF associates like Galtung, Sommelius, Schultz, Robert C. Johansen, Pertti Joenniemi, friends from Soka Gakkai, old students from IUPIP, Schlaining, Toshki Mogami from ICU, colleagues from IPRA meet here. TFF had three obligations: Galtung and Oberg gave two Core Program sessions on the international community's handling of the Balkans and Kosovo since 1991. An overwhelming 600 people attended them. Apart from the opening session with people like Tutu, it was the largest audience that day and the session that sold most tapes (however every reference to these two sessions omitted in in the Appeal's September Newsletter). Next, Jan moderated - for the European Quakers - a session on European peace forces, with EU Parliamentarians. All in all a success. Sören Sommelius writes a series of articles for Helsingborg Dagblad, appearing also on our website.

The Council of Europe has accepted two grant applications for projects - on media and on education - in Eastern Slavonia facilitated by TFF last autumn at Bizovac. They start this spring with local coordinators. So, our work bear fruit there.

Mission 36 between Friday 14 and 26 - this time to Belgrade and Novi Sad while NATO's bombs fell. Due to the circumstances, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs arranged the meetings we had asked for with government representatives and provided a car with security for a one-day trip to Novi Sad to get a feel for the destruction. Met with foreign minister Zivadin Jovanovic for 90 minutes, with members of the Academy, spokespersons and security advisers to the government. In addition, met with peace NGOs, intellectuals, controlled and free media and on May 20 gave a press conference at the independent Media Centar which reached all important government and opposition media. Also met the Swedish ambassador, advisers to Vuk Draskovic and other opposition party people. On Monday 24, met with Patriarch Pavle and gave a guest lecture at the Belgrade's University, invited by Svetozar Stojanovic. In addition met with Aleksa Djilas and politicians from Voivodina. Due to safety problems, a wish to go to Pristina could not be fulfilled. Several interviews given on the spot and on the mobile phone during the visit.

TFF Board meeting 46 takes place in Haverdal on May 28 and 29.

Biljana Vankovska from Skopje University, new TFF adviser, visits the foundation on May 30.

TFF PressInfo 68 "Belgrade Under the Bombs" is sent out on June 2. PressInfo 69 "The Horrendous Price of G8 Peace" appears on June 9. PressInfo 70 "NATO War, Ethnic Cleansing - Ways Out?" written by Johan Galtung is sent out on June 10, when NATO's bombing campaign ends.

On June 18, TFF PressInfo # 71 "Read UN Resolution 1244 and Watch NATO in Kosovo" appears on June 18. So does PressInfo # 72 "NATO in Kosovo - Failed Peacekeeping."

On June 19, Jan lectures for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' International Humanitarian Brigade personnel.

The summer months are spent relaxing a bit, on foundation maintenance and on catching up after this uniquely intensive spring. We install a new main computer, improve the website and navigation on it, catch up with several hundred e-mails. New articles are featured once a week now regularly, 60 per cent are re-visits, which is a good sign. PeaceBrowsers are sent out about once a month now, subscribers to and letters about PressInfo has grown overwhelmingly these months.

Christian Hårleman, formerly the UN and the International Peace Academy visits the foundation on July 13. We explore common ideas and possibilities to join forces.

On July 16 PressInfo # 73 "Some Ethical Aspects on NATO's Intervention in Kosovo (A)" goes out. The B part - TFF PressInfo 74 - goes out on August 2. # 75 "NATO's Psychological Projection" appears on August 8.

PressInfo # 76 "The World Needs Reconciliation Centers" goes out and yields a lot of positive responses. It is based on a proposal written for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs three years ago.

Christian Scherrer and Jan revise the 45-page report to the Burundian minister of education.

Evelin Lindner, Oslo University, whom we have met both in Bujumbura and Belfast and who works with human healing after humiliation, visits the foundation on August 23. Future co-operation is discussed.

Both during the spring and this summer, TFF board member Kerstin Schultz has continued her project at COPRI, "What Happened at Pakrac?" in Western Slavonia, Croatia.

In August, Jan contributes an article to The World Bank Institute Journal on peacebuilding and the necessity to take the human dimensions, including reconciliation, into account in a new, systematic way.

On August 26, Encore/Amphion and TFF staff meets with the Center for Conflict-Resolution; we contribute a comprehensive overview of background resources (books, institutes, website etc) on the theme war, peace, news and the media - one of the common processes the three organisations aim to pursue together.

TFF's website now contains more than 600 documents covering peace research, non violence, Balkan affairs, Iraq, international security, important documents and references; its link section many hundred links. TFF's virtual life has thus been boosted tremendously in 1999.

As usual, Jan Øberg's "Kalejdoskop" columns appear regularly in the Danish daily Information (till September), the Norwegian Klassekampen and the Swedish Helsingborg Dagblad, about once a month. They are not part of TFF's activities as such but support them as a meeting point with larger readership and active participation in public debate.

On September 11, Jan is a guest speaker at the annual Serbian Unity Congress, SUC, in Cleveland and on Monday the 13th he lectures about conflict management mistakes and alternatives in the Balkans at the Kroc Institute at Notre Dame University, Indiana.

Carolina Schwarz who studies international relations at Lund University begins working as a part-time intern, assisting in practical matters, in research and outreach; about one day a week.

Mission 37 to ex-Yugoslavia begins on September 18; it goes to Skopje, Macedonia; then to Pristina, Kosovo/a further via Skopje to Belgrade and back to Skopje again. It ends on the 28th. Discussions and interviews with some 60 individuals - Serbs, Albanians, OSCE, the UN (UNMIK) in Kosovo, NGOs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as scholars and opposition people in Belgrade.

TFF is represented at lectures and meeting in various places in Sweden and Denmark during this autumn: the School for Further Education of Journalists, the Danish Centre for Conflict Resolution, the Swedish Association of Municipality Employees, various political parties and NGOs etc.

TFF PressInfo # 77 and 78, "Misleading UN report on Kosovo" (A+B) goes out on October 3, and elicit a lot of comments, printed versions, featuring on websites and news group debate.

Jan Oberg and Christian Hårleman meets with staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stockholm (October 8) to present ideas for the Balkan Stability Pact, TFF's proposal about reconciliation and foregiveness centres around the world.

Christian Hårleman and Jan publish two critical articles for the Swedish press about Sweden's participation in the KFOR mission in Kosovo.

Two days of intensive training of UN in staff peacebuilding and conflict-resolution in a changing global system at a TRANSCEND course in Geneva in October.

We introduce the Transnational WIRE on TFFs site - a selection of articles, analyses, columns, editorials, reports, website etc that we combine with a text - helping people to focus attention on important issues related to the new Cold War, the Balkans, peace and nonviolence, the role of media, alternative development etc. In general, the website is expanded considerably this autumn - new link sections, more featured materials, more TFF associates participate.

Oberg's article to the World Bank Journal is reduced to a couple of boxes in the final issue. Negotiation about this leads to nothing. Perhaps the article was not politically correct?

Jan Oberg is invited to be a guest speaker at a conference of the Socialist Party in Bergen, Norway, and at a conference arranged by the "Dialogue" journal in Paris, lead by Diana Johnstone. Both focussing on lessons learned from the West's response to the Kosovo conflict. Several interviews at both places in addition to an overwhelming response among the audiences. Also in October, panel discussion about humanitarian intervention at Lund University.

TFF publishes another occasional paper, "Preventing Peace. Sixty Examples of Conflict Mismanagement in former Yugoslavia since 1991" by Jan Øberg (58 pp) - which serves as a first draft of what will later become a book.

TFF PressInfo # 79 - "Your Ideas for Peace in Macedonia Wanted" - goes out early November. This encourages recipients to send in their thoughts - in short, an e-mail brainstorm worldwide. The results were summarized in PressInfo 80.

A four-page interview with Jan in the Macedonian weekly PULS appears also in November. About the same time the independent Yugoslav weekly NIN publishes another interview with his written responses.

Another occasional paper by him - "The World Needs Reconciliation and Forgiveness Centres" (30 pp) - appears in November. It was our contribution to Alice Ackermann (ed), Reconciliation in Global Perspective - Theory and Practise, (forthcoming).

TFF board meeting # 47 is held on November 12, 1999.

The following Swedes and internationals join the foundation as new advisers: Birgitta Hambraeus, Maj Britt Theorin, Per Gahrton, Christian Hårleman, Biljana Vankovska, Wilhelm Nolte, Dietrich Fischer, Michel Chossudovsky, Evelin Lindner and Gudrun Engström.

The foundation establishes a new unit, the TFF Peace Antennas - young scholars and NGO peace workers who have shown extraordinary commitment and activity in fields related to that of TFF. They will alert us to important events, be granted an opportunity to publish on our site and draw closer to actual projects with TFF. They can also become trainers in our mitigation team. The first peace antennas are: Dylan Scudder, Rocio Campos, Kai Frithjof Jakobsen , Carmen Giselle Ober and Julijana Mladenovska. 

After the first mission to Burundi earlier this year and the production of a report for the Ministry of Education, the board decides that TFF shall engaged in Burundi. Project planning and fund-raising begin immediately.

It is also decided that TFF shall be engaged basically in "2 1/2" conflict regions and - given the situation in Kosovo - downgrade that and upgrade Eastern Slavonia; upgrade Georgia/the Caucasus and have shorter engagements - "1/2" a conflict - elsewhere.

Another important decision is emphasize the theme "Time For Forgiveness" (TFF, too) in everything we do, also as a contribution to thinking about the year 2000 and beyond.

Thus Newsletter 19 (Annual Letter 1999) is published in December with a thematic presentation of that theme. The usual activity report is reduced and featured in full, instead, at the website.

TFF PressInfo # 80 - A Bouquet of Peace Ideas for Macedonia...and Kosovo - appears late November, listing all the ideas produced through brainstorming. It's times with the Macedonian presidential election.

TFF PressInfo # 81 - Questions to Clinton in Kosovo - appear the day before President Clinton visits Kosovo. Again, a lot of responses and further publishing.

In December we publish "From Agenda for Peace to Kosovo" by TFF adviser Radmila Nakarada and Jan Øberg, the third occasional paper this autumn (50 pp).

The founders participate in the TRANSCEND end of the century conference at Taplow Court outside London, December 16-19. Among other things, Jan and Johan Galtung prepares their common book on the Balkans in the 1990s.

On December 20, Jan gives an 8 minute interview to Jim Clancy at CNN's London studio - on the peacemaking catastrophe created by NATO, the UN, OSCE and NGOs in Kosovo.


1999 in summary:

The century, the 'peace devidend' decade and the year 1999 ended on a largely sad note. A year with numerous set-backs for world peace: the war against Yugoslavia, NATO expansion, Chechnya, and some 30 other conflicts; re-militarization in Europe and the United States, and failed peacemaking in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo etc.

Due to the Kosovo conflict, TFF became more known to more people than ever. We would have been more happy had the reason been a different one.

Given the size of TFF, its global reach - through the website, PressInfos, international mass media exposure, printed press and books - is quite amazing.

The Transnational WIRE has taken shape on our site.

TFF has kept a high profile in the local communities where we work, not the least during NATO's war against Yugoslavia.

We have taken steps to get involved in Burundi. With a reduction of our time and energy devoted to ex-Yugoslavia, we are ready now to "catch up" on Georgia - a country with more world attention now than when we started - and do more limited missions to new conflict areas.

The Peace Antenna idea has been launched.

We have added 12 new advisers/associates.

8 publications between mid-1998 and end of 1999.

The foundation now has a stable relationship with a number of teaching and training institutions in Europe.

We enter the year 2000 with a conviction that we have made a small but pioneering contribution to field conflict-mitigation and created an innovative balance between research, field work, training and advocacy.

Given world trends of the 1990s, TFF is - unfortunately - more needed than ever.


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