By Manvi Chaudhary and Gabriella Jones
September 22, 2022
On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, WFUNA representatives attended the UN Peace Talks held at the Palais des Nations. These talks, which were led by people sharing their own experiences of peace, were organized to highlight the appeal for peace in the global society, which is now more important than ever.
The UN Secretary-General, H.E. Antonio Guterres, delivered an opening message at the beginning of the talks. His key message highlighted the need to achieve peace to uplift human rights and dignities. He emphasized that we "need to do more than lay down weapons'' to achieve peace in the 21st century. He called for action stressing the need to support human rights campaigns everywhere and to reevaluate what peace means to different people. He concluded by stressing that peace is a united effort.
A brief message from Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva followed, noting how this year, peace is particularly on our minds as many people are not able to enjoy peace within their communities. She discussed how violent and conflictual events on the international scale remind us how fragile the world is, and reinstated the importance of cultivating inner peace as well as the role of the security sector in maintaining peace. She closed by expressing the desire for a “more peaceful, just, and tolerant world”.
The event continued with multiple speakers with distinct backgrounds sharing their personal stories on what their definitions of peace is, and how it can be manifested in today’s world. A variety of ideas were discussed on how to promote peace. They shared personal anecdotes about their understanding of peace, the aim to work towards inequalities that stand as obstacles to achieving peace, and their mission to foster a community centered around peace for the next generation. As expressed by the majority of the speakers, violent conflicts alone are not the major threat to peace; lack of education and poverty should be seen as primary hurdles to achieving world peace.
Overall, this event demonstrated the need to build new ideas about peace, as it was noted that the way to work towards peace has become distorted on the global scale. Examples of unique methods of peacebuilding were highlighted by multiple speakers who discussed their discoveries of peacebuilding through methods such as art, dance, social media, and culture. As stated by one of the speakers, we have the tools today to work towards a more peaceful and united global community due to globalization and innovations in technology and in the media. However, too often these tools are used against the fight for peace. The talks urged promoters of peace to not be afraid of change, as it is clear a change in the way we address the advancement of peace is the need of the hour.
Watch the full event here.