Have we forgotten the path to peace?
A blog by Ignacio Packer, Executive Director Caux Initiatives of Change03/11/2023
Geneva Peace Week is a leading annual forum in the international peacebuilding calendar and provides a platform to share and exchange knowledge and best practices on a diverse range of topics related to peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
With 64 events in 3 thematic tracks, the 2023 edition of Geneva Peace Week (30 Oct - 3 Nov 2023) celebrated the forum's 10th anniversary and brought together 224 speakers and 3.000+ participants from all over the globe on the theme "Building Trust, Building Peace: An Agenda for the Future",
It has been an honour to have been part of this anniversary edition, represented by our Executive Director, Ignacio Packer, who moderated a workshop on 2 November on how to increase our collective abilities to face complex challenges and promote peace and inclusive societies. Additionally Daniel Clements, Programme Manager of Creative Leadership, participated as a speaker and facilitator and also co-moderated the PeaceTalks event on 1 November.
But once the curtains are drawn and the week is over - where do we go from here? Against the backdrop of current geopolitical realities, Ignacio Packer reflects on a week rich with emotions but also full of inspiring initiatives, encouraging stories, cooperation, hope and new possibilities.
When I look at today's realities, I somehow can't help but feel that we have ignored some basic principles that should be applied to the prevention or resolution of all conflicts: the eight core principles of peace which are the foundation of the Peacemaking Covenant! As a result, this has created a peacemaking vacuum that is most often filled by powerful nations concentrating their attention on the conflicts which affect them rather than looking at the global picture.
We tend to sidestep the time-tested premise of negotiation, a crucial element in preventing the deterioration of a bad situation and at the very least offering the potential of a bloodless solution.
The silence and the inaction of many powerful leaders today constitutes the complicity in the senseless and excessively brutal destruction of civilian life. Across the globe, the ongoing nightmares for many pose also a threat to us all. Is it possible that we have forgotten the path to peace?
During Geneva Peace Week 2023, organized by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform in collaboration with its partners, we reflected on how to strengthen trust, foster cooperation and pave the way for a more peaceful future.
Last week was not only a unique opportunity to reflect on the peacebuilding achievements and setbacks of the past. I am deeply grateful for the possibility to exchange with others and for the stories and best practices which were shared. It is good to know we are not alone in our peace efforts and we need to benefit from existing initiatives and skills. These fresh insights and concrete and bold recommendations coming out of Geneva Peace Week will hopefully pave the way for a strong Agenda for the Future and enable us to address current issues more effectively, to build trust, wherever we are, and to shape a New Agenda for Peace.
Ambassador Patricia Danzi, Director-General of the Swiss Development Cooperation (FDFA), said at Geneva Peace Week: 'We should talk about peace every day of the year." Initiatives of Change believes that each person has something unique to contribute to building a just, peaceful and sustainable world. As a people’s movement with a track record of more than 75 years in peacebuilding and reconciliation, we therefore focus on the vital link between personal change and global change, and we aim to inspire, support and equip people and organisations to help them play their part in building a better society.
This is our contribution to (re)building trust across our world's divides as the core foundation for sustainable peace - at Geneva Peace Week and throughout the year. Together, every day of the year, let us advance step by step along the path to peace that the world so urgently needs!
Ignacio Packer is the Executive Director of the Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation. He has over 30 years of experience in humanitarian work and development issues, is an expert on human rights and social issues and has been strongly engaged in global advocacy on protection frameworks for migrant and refugees with a particular focus on children and youth.
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