“Genuine peace is the sum of many small actions”
Kofi Annan (1938 – 2018)
Experiencing a United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in real life is a world apart. Tirelessly, I studied the mandates of different peacekeeping missions for my International Relations exams, but I never could have imagined what reality would be like. It actually turned out to be the start of my passion for peacebuilding.
Written by Kelly Buis, One Young World The Hague ambassador
In 2015, I visited the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force during my travels to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Since 1974, the observer force is in charge of monitoring the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in Golan, which ended the 1973 Yom Kippur war. I remembered feeling excited having the chance to talk to peacekeepers in real life. To hear what it was like to observe the truce (turns out it is a lot of waiting), stories about their previous missions and their thoughts on peacebuilding. This could have been a conversation taking place anywhere around the world, were it not for the fact that gunshots on the Syrian side alarmed me. The peacekeeper continued his answer without blinking an eye. The life of a peacekeeper is indeed a different world.
Back in the Netherlands, I specialized in post-conflict peacebuilding initiatives. My research on local peacebuilding initiatives for my Master’s Conflict Studies and Human Rights took me to Lebanon: a complex but fascinating country I fell in love with. It was in Lebanon that Kofi Annan’s words came to life: “Genuine peace is the sum of many small actions by many individual people all across the globe”.
In the spirit of Mr. Annan’s words, I am honoured to present the Just Peace festival. Around the International Day of Peace on 21 September various events on the themes of peace and justice are organised in The Hague. They allow you to dive into this world to discover what your small action can be. I promise, there is definitely something according to your liking with among others a Peace Night Run through the streets of The Hague, an Amnesty human rights meet-up, and various international organisations opening their doors for a day.
And as icing on the cake, One Young World has partnered up with HagueTalks for the kick-off event of the festival on 20 September. I am really excited to hear fellow One Young World ambassador Heshika Deegahawathura share his thoughts on the central question of the night: “How can we invest in sustainable peace?”
Join us at this interesting talk on sustainable peace in the city of peace and justice, because peace will always be a human action.
Kelly Buis, One Young World ambassador & Just Peace board member – www.justpeacethehague.com