Geneva Peace Talks 2016

Peace Happens!

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Every year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and people.


Even in the most hostile and challenging environments, there are many peace initiatives taking place that don’t receive the attention they deserve. The 4th edition of the Geneva Peace Talks, organized under the theme “Peace Happens!” will look to bring these initiatives and the people behind them to light.

Speakers coming from diverse backgrounds will share their personal experiences, stories and ideas to highlight that everyone can contribute to peace – be it at home or in a far-away conflict zone. The Peace Talks symbolically stand for a Geneva spirit to resolve conflict through dialogue and negotiation.

The Geneva Peace Talks are a public event co-organized by the United Nations Office at Geneva, Interpeace and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform to celebrate the International Day of Peace. This year’s edition is held in partnership with the Kofi Annan Foundation, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces and the Global Shapers Community Geneva. The event is made possible with the generous support of the Swiss Confederation, the Republic and State of Geneva, the City of Geneva, and Mirabaud Bank.

Location: Palais des Nations, Room XVII
Date: 21/09/2016
Time : 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm


Ahmed Labnouj

Ahmed is a Middle East and North African expert. He is currently leading Interpeace’s programme in Libya and Tunisia. In this role, he is conducting a Peace Mapping exercise in different areas of Libya to understand local sources of stability and resilience to conflict in order to help bridge polarised communities. Prior to joining Interpeace, he worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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Hadja Saran Daraba Kaba

Ambassador Dr Saran Daraba Kaba was appointed as the first female substantive Secretary-General of the Mano River Union in September 2011. Dr Kaba has extensive experience in administrative and women affairs from her previous post as Minister of Social Affairs, Children and Women's Promotion of the Republic of Guinea. She also has a deep private sector background and has taken part in all peace negotiation in the last 10 years within the Mano River Union and West Africa. She also runs the MARWOP NET organisation. In her current role, she looks forward to the Mano River Union becoming the driving force for full integration and development in West Africa.

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Helen Calle Lin

Helen is an eclectic and creative entrepreneur, whose experience varies from the restaurant business, music industry, graphic arts and culture and event management. Helen’s vision is to make life fun in Geneva through different socio-cultural projects to revitalise public spaces in the heart of the city and turning them into friendly areas where a diversified public can meet. Some of her achievements in this area include the Brasserie des Halles de L'île, Baby BOA, Le Comptoir and the Overground Festival.

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Karim Wasfi

Karim is the Chief conductor and Director of the Iraqi Symphony Orchestra. During his distinguished career as a musician, Karim has promoted creativity to convey powerful messages about peace. Founder of the “Peace through Arts’’, Karim teaches music to youth and orphans from different backgrounds to promote reconciliation. He also initiated the first female conductors’ class in the Middle East. Recently, Karim drew the attention of international media for his courageous acts of playing cello on blast sites of terrorist attacks. This response to violence has become a campaign called Music for Peace, aiming at rebuilding connections among his fellow citizens to resist violence.

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Lionel Aeschlimann

Lionel joined Mirabaud & Cie in 2010 as a member of the Executive Committee. He is a Managing Partner since January 2011 and responsible for the Asset Management division. Lionel is also a member of the Expert Commission for Asset Management of the Swiss Funds and Asset Management Association, a member of the Swiss Takeover Board, and a member of the Board of the Swiss think tank Avenir Suisse. Prior to joining Mirabaud, Lionel was a lawyer practicing at the bar of Geneva since 1994.

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Marc Bonnet

Marc has extensive experience in international cooperation with national authorities and non-governmental organizations in conflict, post conflict and development contexts. Before joining the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining as Head of the Risk Management, Marc gain substantive experience in demining action both within the UN system and in leading civil society organisations. In particular, he managed the Programme the United Nations Mine Action (UNMAS) office in Colombia as well as directing Handicap International and Norwegian People Aid, running development and humanitarian mine action programmes in Cambodia, Laos and Burma.

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Mimoun Berrissoun

Mimoun is a German-Moroccan peace advocate. During his studies, he founded and is now managing director of 180 Grad Wende, a widely recognised NGO in the field of radicalization prevention. He is an award winning advocate on integration and radicalization prevention and serves as a counselor to governmental bodies and civil society. Mimoun initiated a jail project to build bridges between young convicts and the Hikmah-Concept to provide alternative messages to hate speech. He is a Young Leader at the Kofi Annan Foundation’s program extremelytogether.

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POSOSHOK is a group that mixes the South African sounds with those of the rest of Africa and worldwide. The songs are in Zulu and Bafia (Cameroonian language) but also in French and English. POSOSHOK was founded by Conrad Hughes, guitarist, singer and songwriter originally from Johannesburg. Estelle Baroung Hughes (Cameroon) is the singer and dancer of POSOSHOK but she is also the artistic director and composer.

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Mireille Widmer and Nicolas Witschard

Mireille was elected in April 2014 to the governing board of a Geneva “neighbourhood contract”, a joint commission between the city administration and residents, where she leads a working group on safety and security. An adviser on security and development issues, she was Senior Programme Manager at the Graduate Institute’s Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative from 2014 to 2016. Prior to this she worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Haiti, the Central African Republic and Somaliland/Somalia, and with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue on disarmament in peace processes.

Nicolas is a counsellor for community action at the City of Geneva. For the past 2 years he has been working on the Geneva neighbourhood contract, a joint commission between the city administration and residents. Nicolas is from the Paquis area of Geneva, one of its most multicultural areas. He has worked for several local NGOs in the field of cooperation and development. He completed his studies at the Haute école de travail social de Genève and the University of Geneva.

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Best of the Geneva Peace Talks 2016

Speakers from diverse backgrounds shared their personal experiences, stories and ideas to highlight that everyone can contribute to peace – be it at home or in a far-away conflict zone. The Peace Talks symbolically stand for a Geneva spirit to resolve conflict through dialogue and negotiation.

  Watch Video

Watch full event

Please use the link below to watch the full-length video of the Geneva Peace Talks.

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Geneva, Switzerland, has been viewed by the world as tolerant, neutral, and peaceful for centuries. The 24 constituent agencies of the United Nations, 250 NGOs, and variety of private sector actors have become known as International Geneva.

International Geneva is at the heart of a global discussion which seeks to improve international governance mechanisms. The unique combination of stakeholders fosters a network of actors on crosscutting themes such as peacebuilding. Unparalleled synergies emerge as a result of these platforms, creating new spaces for policy innovation across different institutions and sectors. Moreover, Geneva’s vast infrastructure enables it to host key conferences such as on the occasion of the International Day of Peace on 21 September. All these attributes attest to the city’s role as a global hub for issues that can be resolved through multilateral diplomacy.