What does Pax Christi mean?
It is a Latin phrase that means the Peace of Christ.
What is Pax Christi International?
It is best described as a peace movement and network. Pax Christ International is what the name says - “international”. It is made up of a number of autonomous Member Organisations comprising Pax Christi Sections, Affiliated Organisations, local Pax Christi groups and partners.
Who are the members?
There are lay and religious people from all backgrounds and cultures. There are more than 100 Member Organisations spread over 50 countries and five continents.
What do they do?
They are involved in a wide variety of work related to peace and justice - from local grassroots activities and national education campaigns to advocacy. Each Member Organisation is involved in projects that are important to their local situation.
So is Pax Christi International different than Pax Christi Australia or Pax Christi France?
Yes. Countries have their own sections - such as Pax Christi Germany or Pax Christi Italy. Each section is autonomous. Pax Christi International sets priorities within the international peace movement and helps to co-ordinate the work of the various members all over the world. It also represents the movement on an international level.
How does it represent the movement?
Pax Christi International is a non-governmental organisation with special consultative status at several intergovernmental organisations including the United Nations (UN), UNESCO, UNICEF, the African Union, and the Council of Europe. It works to promote the peace agenda through these organisations with advocacy, interventions, and awareness raising.
What areas of peace does it work in?
The work is focused on six concerns: 1) Human Rights; 2) the Rule of Law and Violent Conflict; 3) Human Security and Violence; 4) Disarmament and Demilitarisation; 5) Just World Order; and 6) Religion and Violent Conflict – and on eight strategies: 1) Conflict Transformation, 2) Peace Building, 3) Education and Youth Work for Peace, 4) Interfaith and Intercultural Cooperation for Peace, 5) Nonviolent Social Change, 6) Developing Peace Spirituality and Theology, 7) Advocacy and Campaigning, and 8) Networking.
How is the work done?
It is realised through networking, advocacy, capacity building, and training.
What do they do?
It depends on the region, the topic, the priority and the members involved in specific areas. Some are involved in advocacy work such as addressing the issue of child soldiers at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Others are involved in direct action, like work in refugee camps. Others do research for instance on extractive industries and still others organise peace education sessions in schools, developing peace curricula for students and organise weeklong peace weeks.
What are some concrete examples?
There are a lot to choose from. The movement campaigned with other NGOs for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (World Court) on the illegality of nuclear weapons. We worked on the reintegration of ex-combatants in the Great Lakes region. In Latin America, all our local members received training on nonviolence and in the Middle East, we set up the Bread for life campaign for Syria.
How does spirituality fit in?
Pax Christi International's work is based in spirituality. It is a Catholic organisation but welcomes all faith based groups, as well as those not affiliated with a religious group.
How did it start?
Pax Christi began in France and Germany at the end of World War II by Catholic men and women, lay and religious, working for reconciliation. It quickly spread throughout Europe and eventually the rest of the world. In 2015, Pax Christi International celebrates its 70 years of existence.
Who’s in charge?
Pax Christi International works a lot like a government. It is made up of an Annual General Meeting (AGM), an international board with an international co-presidency, and an international secretariat.
What is the AGM?
This is the body that forms the legal structure of the international movement. It meets each year.
What is the International Board?
The board of Pax Christi International functions as the Board of Directors. It meets twice a year and governs the movement in between AGMs.
Who are the International Co-Presidents?
Ms. Marie Dennis (USA) and Bishop Kevin Dowling (South Africa).
Who is the Secretary General?
Greet Vanaerschot (Belgium) who started her term in February 2016.
Where does the money come from?
From fees from the Member Organisations, grants and donations.
How can I participate?
The movement works through volunteers just like you. For more information contact a local Pax Christi Member Organisation or the International Secretariat. You can register for the monthly newsletter here.