The Józef Rotblat Institute for Disarmament of Culture and Abolition of War will be a major European center aimed at advancing public awareness, participation and engagement in building a culture of peace, the nonviolent resolution of conflict, toward the universal abolition of war.
Poland lost nearly 6 million citizens as a result of the Second World War; with 800,000 Warsaw inhabitants killed (60 per cent of the prewar city population), and over 85 per cent of the city physically destroyed. Such a profound and tragic experience of war makes Poland and Warsaw the most appropriate country and city for the location of the Institute.
The most appropriate way of respecting and honoring the memory of those who have died and suffered in war is to create the conditions for a future in which wars will not be repeated. In this way their sacrifices will have not been in vain. The fundamental task of the roposed Institute is to provide the cultural and educational conditions for a future free of war.
The Józef Rotblat Institute for Disarmament of Culture and Abolition of War is proposed to be located at the center of Warsaw, built under the surface of the vast Marshal Jozef Pilsudski Plazaplaza — a place used for military and paramilitary parades and war commemorations –and be symbolically interconnected with located at the plaza Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
The Institute’s spatial axis is a lower ground Passage that leads the visitors to the Tomb of Unknown Soldier. The main functional areas and facilities of the Institute would be located concentrically beneath Marshal Jozef Pilsudski Plaza and be accessible from the Passage which central entrance would be marked by the symbolic Tree.
The Institute’s functional areas and programmatic zones include:
– The Situation Room: with an interactive world map monitoring, visualizing and narrating the dynamics of conflict mediation, resolution and transformation, global areas of emerging social unrest and armed confrontation,
– The Forum: a highly mediatized space designed for international regional and national gatherings, symposia, congresses and large-scale conferences as well as cultural events performances and media spectacles.
– The Hall of Makers of Peace: including Polish Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Lech Walesa (1983), Jozef Rotblat with Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs (1995), as well as all Peace Prize laureates from other countries,
– The Replica of the Polish Round Table Room: a space devoted to continuing public debate on the historical merits of the government, solidarity negotiations of 1989 and their present day implications and meaning.
– The Research Zone: including central archives and library, study rooms, and smaller conference halls devoted to war and peace making related socio- psychological, anthropological, legal cultural, artistic, and pedagogical. research and practical programs.
The programs and activities of the Institute will coexist with official commemorative events at Jozef Marshal Pilsudski Plaza such as parades, marches, gatherings and other public functions. The work of the Institute will indirectly contribute to the gradual evolution of war commemorations, whilst respecting their existing substance and form.
In this way the presence of the Institute on the site of Jozef Marshal Pilsudski Plaza and its symbolic connection with the Tomb of Unknown Soldier will become a public manifestation of respectful cohabitation, and provide an organic link between tradition and change – a mutual ground of cultural continuity and cultural transformation towards a world free of war. Source and images Courtesy of Krzysztof Wodiczko and Jaroslaw Kozakiewicz.