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arch-peace: Overview of the year that was 2009

President’s Report

26 November 2009

Dear members of Architects for Peace,

It has been a pleasure for me to lead another successful year of this young organisation. The value of Architects for Peace (Arch-peace) rests in the work undertaken by its teams on the many tasks that we pursue. Peace and social justice in the realm of the built environment are our guiding principles, but the agenda is not set and Arch-peace offers an umbrella under which to create the conditions for a better future. Architecture and the professions of the built environment are not devices for the production of heroes. Architecture and the professions of the built environment represent our chosen means to service society while adding dignity and meaning to all our lives. Projects that benefit most people—particularly those who need it the most—is what Arch-peace is interested in facilitating, promoting and learning from. Arch-peace’s work depends on the interest, dedication of its members and all those who have the ability to initiate, implement and involve others around their projects and ideas.

Because of the volunteer basis of this organisation, every achievement involves hours and days of donated work from its members, who also juggle their paid jobs, family and social commitments. Volunteering is not an easy task and this makes our successes even more significant. The manner in which we work is already a challenge to the common perception that places an economic value on our persona and on everything we do and produce. This organisation is able to attract dedicated and bright professionals who without the lure of financial gain, make and add value to this organisation and the built environment.

I will now describe each particular area in which Arch-peace has focused this year. However, firstly I need to highlight that none of the Arch-peace achievements would be possible without the background work of those who attend to less glamorous tasks such as: finances, membership, networking, management systems, policy and answering a high volume of daily emails. This work is indispensable and often overlooked—thank you.

Pro bono: this year pro bono has further consolidated its services. Every project poses new questions and new challenges, more discussions and the opportunity to further adjust our protocols. In the last year, our pro bono service received many enquiries and 6 formal requests for services, of which 3 were accepted and 1 is pending.

Words@bldg50: our monthly seminars this year were a great success and they were all well attended, often even crowded. The talks covered a wide range of topics, always presented in a manner that sparked further discussion. Behind all these work we now have an energetic and professional team who have further improved on our earlier years of ‘words’. For those who cannot attend the talks, we now have them recorded and accessible as podcasts through the website.

News and editorials: this year we have also consolidated a great editorial team with quality articles that from a practice or theoretical perspectives cover a wide range of issues: from the environment, to education, natural disasters and the urban space. Similarly, our news team has expanded with the participation of members from all over the world. We may soon have a Spanish speaking news team which will further assist to create the conditions for more participation and learning. All this demonstrates, in work and intent, that Architects for Peace is becoming a truly alternative international organisation.

Forum: some forms of communication are both a success and a loss. Facebook represent this situation, a success in that there are many more ‘fans’ involved and learning about what we do. A loss in that we have accepted to compromise our free space (website) for a ‘commercial’ space, in which we have no control as how our own information and work will be treated or used. Nevertheless, this new social space is active and it is the preferred mode of communication for most of our members. From this point of view Facebook has improved the capacity for discussion and involvement.

Events: recently we organised an image competition (Visual Essay) to which 62 images were submitted. The winning image will be used for our end of the year card. Thanks to all for the magnificent contribution and to those who coordinated this event. Visual Essay has not finished here and you are invited to continue adding your images to Arch-peace in Facebook. Selected essays will then be placed in the Arch-peace website.

Advisory Committee: we have established an Advisory Committee made of 12 members from various parts of the world. This committee is composed of members who have already been involved in setting the direction for Arch-peace and/or are recognized for their scholarly contribution to the built environment. The first task for the Advisory Committee is to further define the principles of Arch-peace in all its areas of work. It will also make recommendations to the Committee of Management regarding new ideas and direction.

Arch-peace is now listed as an NGO with United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). We will be working on achieving a Consultative Status next year. This represents a recognition for all the work that each of us has offered to the organisation.

Finally, I would like to thank the great team that has worked with me during this year, thanks for your ‘stamina’ and support to the organisation and myself. I would also like to welcome the new members to the committee of management and the new President Eleanor Chapman.

Best regards,

Beatriz C. Maturana
Architects for Peace President


Edith said...

Excellent year! great results and fruitful after a lot of hard work ! also thanks to all of you, its been memorable and fantastic working with all of you.

Daniel González S. said...

Agradezco mucho el haber podido comenzar a cooperar con Uds. en el desarrollo de este grupo de trabajo, en torno a la arquitectura, la ciudad y la paz. Agradezco especialmente a Beatriz, por la oportunidad entregada y haber podido compartir con todos Uds. una primera reflexión urbana, espero una de muchas, y considerarme parte del team de Arch/Peace. Un gran saludo de fiestas para todos y espero que este próximo año sea estupendo y prolífico en compartir nuevas experiencias y pensamientos a través de Arch/Peace!.

Beatriz Maturana said...

Thank you Edith and Daniel, it is our pleasure to have people like yourselves working in our teams. Diversity of languages, perspectives and knowledge is what will assist us in our work.
Best wishes

g. said...

Fue un honor y una hermosa experiencia haberme contactado con ustedes y participar en Arch-peace.
Un gran saludo para todos.
Best wishes for all.

Gabriela Sabadini

Anonymous said...

First, let me congratulate you and everyone who is taking part in these activities. Second, I must note that this is great effort and I see it as an achievement for a true online simple but powerful medium that while aiming at raising awareness, it gathers the acts of people who share important values and have genuine concerns about the built and natural environment and the role of these environments in shaping the future. Congratulations Beatrice. (Ashraf Salama, Architects for Peace)

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