Geneva Peace Conference
Dialog Forum tog med en gruppe venner til Geneva/Schweiz for at deltage i Geneva Peace Conference i United Nations. Den 24. oktober er United Nations Day, derfor var det særlig interessant og på sin plads at tale om fred med en holistisk tilgang. Denne konference var arrangeret af Journalisternes og Forfatternes Forbund (www.gyv.org) og Dialog Institut (www.dialog-institut.ch). Journalisternes og Forfatternes Forbund har hovedsæde i Istanbul/Tyrkiet og Dialog Institut har kontorer i Zürich/Schweiz. Begge organisationer er inspireret af den muslimske lærd og fortaler for social bevidsthed Fethullah Gülen. “Geneva Peace Conference” var helt igennem en fantastisk konference, hvor mennesker fra alle verdenshjørner understregede nødvendigheden af “Mobilizing Civil Society for Building Peace”. Dialog Forum er derfor beæret over at have været partner ved en så essentiel og vigtig konference. Konferencens tema berører netop et kerneområde, som Dialog Forum bestræber sig på at bidrage til. Det overordnede tema blev belyst med yderligere tre temaer. Den første session var ”Freedom of religion & Building and ”Sustaining Peace”, som belyste, hvordan religioner under frie forhold kunne være med til at opretholde fred. Den anden session berørte ”Peace Journalism”, hvor man diskuterede, hvordan medier kunne være med til at bidrage til fredsprocesser. Den tredje og sidste session handlede om noget, som ligger Dialog Forums medlemmers hjerte nært: ”Educating & Sustaining Peace”. Herunder udtrykte panelisterne bl.a., at hvis man ønskede at etablere og opretholde lokal og global fred, skulle man sørge for, at fred var et essentielt tema på alle vores uddannelsesinstitutioner.
I en tid, hvor individer og grupper bliver sat for had, var der et udtryk, der gjorde særlig indtryk på os: “Peace speech instead of hate speech”.
Humanity continues to face problems ranging from hunger and poverty to armed conflicts and all forms of discrimination, but these realities should not lead us to a sense of despair, apathy and hopelessness since a growing number of individuals, families, communities, institutions and civil society organizations as well as government sectors and intergovernmental agencies are slowly and patiently planting the seeds and nurturing the seedlings for the building of a more peaceful world, a world with much less suffering, conflicts and destruction.
The concept of peace is seen as an important element in the global culture of the 21st century and has led the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), Dialog Institut and University of Geneva Institute of Medi@LAB to hold a Peace Conference at the United Nations in Geneva, the humanitarian capital of the world. The date of the conference, which aims to find ways on how to promote peace, was consciously chosen as October 24, to coincide with the United Nations Day. The conference dealt with the role of education and media, which are seen as key issues for a better mutual understanding of different groups in society.
Seven years after the General Assembly of the United Nations proposed a bottom-up mobilization working to promote peace in the world, it happened in the city of Geneva, as the Honorary President of the JWF Mr. Fethullah Gülen, said. Building peace means building peace-loving human beings, the conference stressed. Further emphasis was put on teaching diversity as a means to raise peace constituencies.
As far as the theoretical framework of peace, Professor Johann Galtung’s idea of negative and positive peace is adopted as essential for understanding what peace is and is not. Negative peace refers to the absence of violence and the absence of the fear of violence. Positive peace is the institutions that create peaceful behavior.
To attain positive peace five tools are suggested as modus operandi at a universal level: interfaith dialogue, justice and forgiveness, education (especially to foster intercultural understanding), forming negative and positive peace institutions and peace speech to replace the hate speech that is prevalent especially in social media.
An independent media is also listed as a condition sine qua non for social peace and harmony as inaccurate and falsified information can become a weapon in the hands of a corrupt government. This further highlights the need for a sensitive global community regarding protection of journalists and freedom of expression.
The Geneva Peace Conference addressed concrete examples in addition to a theoretical debate. The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement from Sri Lanka and the University of Peace in Costa Rica were cited as some of the best practices. Furthermore, the vital role played by religious leaders in Sierra Leone, Philippines and Indonesia were noted as powerful examples of religion as a key contributor in resolving conflicts.
The Geneva Peace Conference thus gave a strong sign to believe in peace efforts, are they small or big, in a world, which was seen in several contributions in a risk to do not enough in this field. The conference expresses its genuine commitment to stand against all forms of extremism and calls upon all stakeholders for joint efforts to advance the peace agenda.
Geneva Peace Conference - JYF
Andres Smith Serrano
External and Inter-Agency/ Political Affairs Officer, Office of the Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
President, Journalists and Writers Foundation
Peace Activist, Granddaughter of Mohandas Gandhi, South Africa
Dr. Heinrich Kreft
Director for Public Diplomacy and Dialogue among Civilizations, Foreign Ministry of Germany
FREEDOM OF RELIGION & BUILDING AND SUSTAINING PEACE
Gunnar Johan Stålsett
Member of Norwegian Nobel Committee, Norway (Moderator)
Prof. Tariq Ramadan
Oxford University, Faculty of Oriental Studies, UK
Dr. Samya C. Marasinghe
Daughter of Mr. Ariyaratne, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, Sri Lanka
Rabbi Ehud Bandel
Vice President of the International Council of Christians and Jews, Israel
Prof. Thomas Michel
Georgetown University, Faculty of Theology, US
PEACE AND JOURNALISM
Columnist at Today’s Zaman (Moderator), Netherland
Editorial Writer & Diplomatic Correspondent, JoongAng Ilbo, South Korea
Dr. Petra Aczél
Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Dr. Cengiz Aktar
Lecturer at Süleyman Şah University, Istanbul, Turkey
EDUCATION & SUSTAINING PEACE
Prof. Abdeljalil Akkari
Prof of International Education, University of Geneva (Moderator)
Prof. Toh Swee-Hin
Distinguished Profesor, University for Peace, Costa Rica
Prof. Radhi Al-Mabuk
Professor of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, US
Institute for Economics and Peace, Australia