About the Decade to Overcome Violence

The Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace 2001 - 2010 (DOV) is an initiative of the World Council of Churches. It is a global movement that strives to strengthen existing efforts and networks for preventing and overcoming violence, as well as inspire the creation of new ones.


The DOV is…

  • An invitation to learn about the issues of violence and non-violence

  • A spiritual journey for individuals, churches and movements

  • A study and reflection process

  • An opportunity for creative projects in preventing and overcoming violence


The DOV calls us to…

  • work together for peace, justice, and reconciliation at all levels - local, regional, and global. To embrace creative approaches to peace building which are consonant with the spirit of the gospel.
  • interact and collaborate with local communities, civil society actors, and people of other living faiths, so as to prevent violence and promote a culture of peace.
  • walk with people who are systematically oppressed by violence, and to act in solidarity with all struggling for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.
  • repent for our complicity in violence, and to engage in theological reflection to overcome the spirit, logic, and practice of violence.

The DOV highlights and networks efforts by churches, ecumenical organizations, and civil society movements to prevent and overcome different types of violence. It seeks to establish points of contact with the relevant aims, programs, and initiatives within the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).


Goals of the DOV:

In order to move peace-building from the periphery to the centre of the life and witness of the church and to build stronger alliances and understanding among churches, networks, and movements which are working toward a culture of peace, the goals of the Decade to Overcome Violence are:

  • Addressing holistically the wide varieties of violence, both direct and structural, in homes, communities, and in international arenas and learning from the local and regional analyses of violence and ways to overcome violence. 

  • Challenging the churches to overcome the spirit, logic, and practice of violence; to relinquish any theological justification of violence; and to affirm anew the spirituality of reconciliation and active nonviolence. 

  • Creating a new understanding of security in terms of cooperation and community, instead of in terms of domination and competition. 

  • Learning from the spirituality and resources for peace-building of other faiths to work with communities of other faiths in the pursuit of peace and to challenge the churches to reflect on the misuse of religious and ethnic identities in pluralistic societies. 

  • Challenging the growing militarization of our world, especially the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.