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Updated: Aug 21, 2019

Last year's annual global peace forum was themed 'The Anatomy of Peace'.

The Anatomy of Peace

“Initiating contact, making a deal, sustaining peace.”

The theme of RISING 18 was ‘The Anatomy of Peace’, designed to explore the three crucial stages of ending conflicts; initiating contact, making a deal, sustaining peaceful communities. The theme was interpreted through several channels by the speakers.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (pictured above) discussed the vital role played by women in initiating the contact, using examples from her home country Liberia, which struggled with civil wars from 1989-1997 and 1999-2003. Her talk was deeply inspiring as she emphasised the sacrifices and achievements made during the peace process in which “the women of Liberia took charge - providing the pivotal push to ending the conflict. They took the path of peace, conducting a grassroots campaign that challenged warring factions to come to the table. Women historically share a rich tradition of peace advocacy, participating at all times in leading modern peace movements. In 2016, a UN Institute of Peace report, titled ‘Women in Non-Violent Movements’, found women’s involvement in civil resistance movements to be a game changer.” Find out more on this report here:

Internationally Renowned Speakers

The guest speakers on the first day included Yemeni journalist Tawwakol Karman on the importance of free press in peace making, the former Taoiseach John Bruton on the difficulties of making a deal in Ireland, Alistair Campbell on his own personal mission for peace, Simon and Laurelle Pentanu on the independence of of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, Ad Melkert on sustaining peace .

First Looks

RISING 18 also hosted the U.K. premier of the film ‘Trafficked’, based on the book ‘Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery’ by Professor Siddarth Kara, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The film follows the stories of three girls from America, Nigeria and India who are trafficked through an elaborate global network of illegal trade of humans, organs and drugs. Members of the audience were also treated to a lively Q&A after the viewing with the film’s producer Conroy Kanter.

The Programme

On the second day delegates were treated to a wide array of workshops, three for each stage of ‘The Anatomy of Peace’. Under ‘Initiating the Peace’ were workshops on:

· What action is needed to make progress in the Cyprus peace process?

· How are practitioners prepared for peace building?

· Peace has been agreed in Columbia and Guatemala, but what next?

Then to better understand ‘Making a Deal’, the three workshops covered:

· Ireland, Kosovo, Ukraine and elsewhere; what needs to be done to reform civil society and ensure peace can be built after violent conflict?

· What is the message from Northern Ireland about how best to manage unresolved issues after a peace agreement has been signed?

· What challenge does sustaining Brexit pose to managing peace across Europe and the Middle East?

Finally, on “Sustaining Peaceful Communities” we had three workshops titled:

· Overhauling interreligious dialogue for peacebuilding

· Why is more attention given to security peace than social peace; and how, in Syria, can we build and sustain peace?

· What role do conflict sensitive journalists have in sustaining peace?

The two days were a great success with over 200 delegates from around the world, engaging and contributing to debates on ‘The Anatomy of Peace’. This year we have an even bigger programme as the event runs for three days rather than two. For more information on RISING 19 check out our next blog post.

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