The 25th anniversary of Creators of Peace was celebrated by 200 plus participants from 43 countries at the 'Living Peace' conference held in Caux, Switzerland, from August 4-10 2016. From the start all were invited to search for clues to living peace. It was suggested that the new story for the world can result from individuals and communities applying those clues to their own lives in the practice of peace.
Speakers included Gill Hicks, London bombing survivor and founder of 'MAD for Peace'; Maryam Bibi, founder of Pakistan's 'Khwendo Kor'; Amy Peake founder of 'Loving Humanity'; Jin In of '4GGL'; Rosina Wiltshire from Barbados coming from a distinguished career in International Development, Leadership Development and Gender Equality, Justice and Peace; Dr Omnia Marzouk, recent President of Initiatives of Change; Marina Cantacuzino of 'The Forgiveness Project', Jo Berry of 'Building Bridges for Peace' and South African 'national icon', founder of the health train, Lillian Cingo. Sadly Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee was unable to attend at the last minute due to family sickness.
Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochi, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, spoke for the Founding Mothers of Creators of Peace, tracing its beginnings from the inspiration of Tanzanian politician and human rights activist, Anna Abdallah Msekwa, through the introduction of the Creators of Peace Circle tool to the global movement it has become across 43 countries and growing.
The conference days were captured by graphic recorder Willemijn Lambert from the Netherlands. Click here to see them.
The delegates from different cultures, faiths and backgrounds explored how living peace; across the world's divides; in situations of communal conflict; in meeting the health and education needs of women and girls; in leadership and through forgiveness; can inform and transform personal and community narratives from the current inevitability of violence and despair to one of compassion and hope. Working through plenaries, workshops and in small community circles, participants also valued a shared silence in the search for that deeper wisdom.
Case studies from Burundi, Kenya and Lebanon described initiatives addressing communal divides through dealing with prejudice, the taking of personal responsibility and the power of apology. Daily there were inspiring stories of personal transformation from people who had chosen to embrace a new story in their lives of honesty and reconciliation. You can find some of these stories on the Telling a New Story page.
'The conference was one of the best I've ever attended. The speakers and the programme were stimulating, moving, inspirational and painful, and everything gave hope and love with the end product of peace. Such depth.'
- Read about the Opening Session of the Leaving Peace conference
- Read more about the Living Peace conference
- Discover the Living Peace conference highlights here!
- You can hear actual speeches here
- Download the Living Peace song lyrics here
- Watch our video interview with Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochi, a founding mother of Creators of Peace
- Watch the movie 'A Film for Northern Uganda' screened during the conference online
Living Peace conference photos by Shoshana Faire, Mike Brown and Initiatives of Change Caux Foundation.