Between 22-25 September 2016, the Schengen Peace Foundation organised the tenth edition of the World Peace Forum and most importantly, the second edition of the Youth World Peace Forum. The Forum took place in Florianopolis, southern state in Brazil, and it provided a platform where peacemakers from all around the world could come together and exchange experiences and best practices.
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By Ludmila D. Andrade
Between 22-25 September 2016, the Schengen Peace Foundation organised the tenth edition of the World Peace Forum and most importantly, the second edition of the Youth World Peace Forum. The Forum took place in Florianopolis, southern state in Brazil, and it provided a platform where peacemakers from all around the world could come together and exchange experiences and best practices. The event, under the title of “We Believe”, presented a broad approach to peace, in which each day was dedicated to one aspect of peace: We believe in change (ecology); We believe in human rights (humanity); and We believe in peace (peace education).
During the forum, hundreds of workshops, lectures and artistic interventions were facilitated by participants, creating a multiplicity of spaces for dialogue among individuals from different national, religious and ethnic backgrounds. However, despite the richness of people and activities, the primary focus on in the intra- and interpersonal dimensions of peace left little space for discussions around social and political issues related to peace. In my opinion, that was a considerable weakness of the programme because all dimensions of peace are interconnected. Besides, promoting a larger political debate can create an impact that goes beyond the self-development of those present in the forum.
The opportunity to represent UNOY in this event was very special, as I had the chance to share the experience I have built in the past year in the Youth, Peace and Security field with the young peacebuilders from my own region. The forum was also a great opportunity to raise awareness on the UN Security Council resolution 2250. For this, I facilitated two activities: one workshop for around ten youth participants on the resolution and one lecture on the same topic.
As with many young peacebuilders from around the world, the Latin American youth face a number of challenges in their work, including the lack of recognition of their positive role in their communities, the absence of spaces where they can develop of projects, and the appropriate funding to do so. For this reason, the participants welcomed the resolution and started working on strategies to incorporate it to the work they are already doing. During the lecture, representatives from different civil society organisations recognised the absence of mechanisms to include young people in issues related to peace and they demonstrated support for the content of the resolution. Thus, the event was a great place to connect with peacemakers from Latin America, a region where the network is currently under-represented. These new connections represent a great potential for future partnerships!
The forum showcased the passion and commitment of those involved in building sustainable peace in so many creative ways. Peacemakers face many similar challenges and that is the reason why we must create channels for exchange and cooperation. However we must not overlook the political and social aspects in peacebuilding, as those have relevant consequences in our work. Therefore, we must also save a space to discuss the politics of peace if we wish to create a meaningful impact in the world.
Ludmila D. Andrade is a young peacebuilder from Brazil based in the Netherlands. She is part of UNOY’s Youth Advocacy Teams working towards the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 2250.
The United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY Peacebuilders) is a member of the Global Coalition for Conflict Transformation, comprised of organizations committed to upholding and implementing the Principles of Conflict Transformation.
The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of TransConflict.