Kick off of the International Peacebuilders' Forum 2016

Kick off of the International Peacebuilders' Forum 2016



We are excited to announce the opening of the International Peacebuilders’ Forum (IPF) 2016! In light of current trends in mass forced migration across the globe, this year’s theme of the forum is “Peacebuilding among people displaced by violence and war.” The aim is to provide a platform and safe space for reflexivity for practitioners in refugee and migrant work, and people from these communities to deepen contextual understanding, foster collaboration and joint action, and establish an international community of peers.


Janet Lim, former UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, launched the forum 2016 on Wednesday, 20 July with her speech “Exploring the Big Picture on Refugees and Migrants.”  She drew on her 34 years of experience to present an overview of the present situation, operational challenges, and changes within the migration sector of development. Among the changes she noted, she included the emerging relevance of acknowledging the agency of migrants themselves: “Another area of change, one that is close to my heart, is the need to recognize that displaced people, whether they be refugees, IDPs, or migrants are people who have capacities and need also to be given a chance to help themselves.”

In the afternoon of the the same day, participants broke into discussion groups to engage with the topic “How the big issues play out in our own contexts.” After this discussion, participants have been invited to attend an exclusive comedy show at the end of the day. Comedy for Change presents four internationally acclaimed comedians: Conrad Koch, Stuart Taylor, Celeste Ntuli, and Dana Alexander. Participants will explore the element of comedy and how it can be used in conflict transformation through their own experience of comedy at the show tonight.

On Thursday, 21 July, participants will have the opportunity to choose between seven workshops that address various relevant topics such as how to create calm in chaos and that are led by professional peacebuilders from around the world. Friday will offer time for sharing stories and for reflection. The afternoon session will encourage participants to brainstorm possibilities to progress, improve, and collaborate in their work. The forum will close on Saturday, 23 July, with a speech by Mpanzu Bamenga, former asylum seeker from Zaïre and founder of the Dutch Inclusion Leaders Network.

Built into the program of this week’s forum are opportunities for self-reflection, like morning quiet time and afternoon reflection, and opportunities for embodied engagement. Special exercises are designed to allow participants to engage with the forum, express themselves, and relate to each other using their body. These exercises are especially relevant at a bilingual forum such as this, as they allow for people who do not speak the same language to relate to each other wordlessly.

We welcome you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we undertake serious discussion, thoughtful reflection, and exciting collaboration at IPF 2016!


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