Did you miss the Global Peace Conference?

What does peace-building look like in a post-pandemic world? 1,987 people across the world deliberately coming together for 24 hours.

“You cannot have democracy based on an economic apartheid system.” —Hafsat Abiola, Women in Africa Initiative, President

“I hope you remember this prayer of an old man, for peace and nuclear disarmament.”—94-year-old Shohei Tsuiki, survivor of Nagasaki atomic bombing.

“Why does there always have to be a right answer. What is the right answer? Why can’t we just share what we think and still feel safe?” — 14-year-old Meher Nehra, youth presenter.

The annual 24-hour Global Peace Conference that took place on 19 June 2021 brought home the pressing need of addressing what it means to weave a shared future together as 1,987 attendees and over 150 speakers converged, laughed, and discussed the issues and contours of peace-building. Organized by the Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association (RPFAA), this was the second year of the grand conference. Nigerian activist Hafsat Abiola; Prof. Roger MacGinty of the Everyday Peace Project; Arnoldas Pranckevicius, Deputy Foreign Minister of Lithuania, and Rotary International President Holger Knaack were some of the notable speakers at the conference. For the conference that took place in the Asia-Oceania region, the keynote speaker was Chaiwat Satha-Anand who stirred the audience with the call to “Breathe each other in, see their lives as tied to us.”

Similar to the inaugural year, this year’s conference crossed all time zones in a continuous 24-hour program, and defied the rigid structures of a typical academic conference or the formal formats of business networking opportunities. Anyone around the world, in any time zone, could access a full day of online programming that includes keynote speakers, peace and conflict resolution training and skill building, opportunities, to connect with various communities of practice in the peace field, and knowledge sharing. Held primarily in English, the conference was translated into Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish.

Other speakers included survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bombing; and youth activists as young a 13-years of age. Skills-based workshops also focused on indigenous peacebuilding strategies; discovering your peacebuilding skills; peacebuilding through food, arts, sports and drama; measuring peace; and having courageous conversations. Well-known musicians such as Karim Wasfi, Rahul Ram, Ramzi Aburedwan, Remi Hilal, Maya Youssef, and Sara Curruchich also enabled a lyrical journey to peace.

Key features of the conference:
● 1,987 participants
● Over 100 experts
● 100 break out room facilitators
● 52 panel sessions and workshops
● 75 hours of content on peace issues

Rotary Peace Fellows have completed a Rotary Peace Fellowship at one of seven Rotary Peace
Centres around the world as part of a multi-sector cohort of global peacebuilders. Follow this and
other events on Facebook and our website. Send queries to gpc-2021-enquiries@rpfaa.org.