Geneva Peace Week: Peacebuilders – Voices from local communities

7 November 2018



On 7 November 2018, 75 people participated in the latest event in IofC Switzerland’s Enriching Encounters series, which took place in the UN Library in Geneva. ‘Peacebuilders – Voices from local communities’ was co-organized with the Library, as part of the fifth Geneva Peace Week.

This was the third year that IofC Switzerland took part in Geneva Peace Week, an annual gathering of academic, institutional and non-governmental institutions, which are working to build peace on the local, national or international level. The theme of the 2018 Week was ‘Building Peace in a Turbulent World’. During the five days, over 120 groups organized more than 65 events. IofC Switzerland and its partners chose to approach the subject through the stories of five individuals working with local communities.

Three of the five speakers were brought in by our partners: the Kofi Annan Foundation, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers.

Mimoun Berrissoun is part of Extremely Together, an initiative of the Kofi Annan Foundation which others outstanding young leaders who are tackling violent extremism. He spoke about 180° Wende, the organization he founded in Cologne to engage with young people affected by extremism.

Jennifer Pro, a Senior Emergency Coordinator for IOM, spoke of her work managing humanitarian response operations in Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.

Martine Miller is the Director of Inclusive Peace (global) and Asia and Libya (lead) for the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. She drew on over 20 years of experience providing direct peace support to communities and organizations.

The organizers felt it was important to have a local perspective in the mix of speakers and invited Fabrice Roman, Director of Le Centre de la Roseraie, to take part. He helps migrants in Geneva to become actors in their lives through French classes, visits in the city and support in administrative procedures. He expressed the need to ‘build bridges between grassroots organizations in Geneva and the UN’.

The fifth speaker was Amina Dikedi-Ajakaiye, President of Creators of Peace, an IofC programme which works to empower women in over 50 countries. She shared the importance of listening deep within so that we can be advocates for peace in our communities.

We look forward to continuing the Enriching Encounters series in 2019, creating the space for a different, more interactive, sort of conversation from the traditional conference model where experts address an audience. Stay tuned for more such opportunities to engage!

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