“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”
– Preamble to the constitution of UNESCO
It all began in our little apartment in Pristina, Kosovo, where the two of us got to spend a few weeks with our team for our MPGW project. As some of you may know, Kosovo is a country still shaped by its war history. Thus, conflict and living in a post-war society were topics of our conversations with locals. We quickly realised that we were both very passionate about peace and conflict resolution, and so we decided to take on this challenge to try and contribute to SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions for our Value Creator semester.
A few weeks into our semester, Russia invaded Ukraine, making the topic more prevalent and closer to us than ever. In our numerous conversations with experts in the field, we realised that both because and irrespective of the current situation, we still have a lot to do in our society to create peace. Because is peace really only the absence of war? Or is there more to it?
Together with our networks, we started to dream. We imagined a world where peace was part of our daily conversations. Where we – regardless of our background, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political stance, individual mindsets – could enrich each other with our different perspectives and experiences to create a culture of peace. And not just far away in places of active war but right here in the Netherlands, in Zwolle.
Driven by our new-found passion and motivation, we began to brainstorm how exactly we could bring value to society and contribute to creating a culture of peace. After weeks of deliberation, going back and forth, getting more input, and revising ideas, we came up with: PeaceWalls.
PeaceWalls is an interactive exhibition created to encourage people to think critically about a culture of peace and their role in it. PeaceWalls was developed to be set up anywhere – whether that is a convenience store, a train station, a school, or anywhere else. In order to make this concept available to anyone, we developed the PeaceWalls toolkit, which essentially offers a method to bring the topic of peace to people of all walks of life and create a space for dialogue about peace. It guides organizations through the process of setting up PeaceWalls while simultaneously giving them the freedom to adapt the concept to their specific environment.
We are very excited to see where PeaceWalls will be set up in the future! If you would like to know more about PeaceWalls, please do not hesitate to contact us. And in the meantime, think – what can you do to create peace in your everyday life?
Station 1 #Reflection
Station 2 #Exchange