Today I have the opportunity to deliver my message in Caux Forum, Switzerland within the session “Peacebuilders in action”. It has been a great moment in which a committed audience took notes, asked questions and reflected about my personal and professional journey and my conviction that change may happen from individual initiatives and a solid joint action.
Within an in-depth institutional crisis and lack of empathy towards a sustainable peace, its paramount to look to new and innovative ways for building peace. But what means “building peace”? What constitutes the essence of a peacebuilder? Above all is an attitude, not necessary special charisma, financial support or expertise. Institutions are supposed to be truly experts on how to develop methods to build peace but paradoxically, are not developing their own internal resources to weather with new realities. Social media, bloggers, personal initiatives, local leaders are still a whole new world to discover by traditional organizations.
Cities as Brussels or Geneva, hubs of lobby and connection, are closed to new shapes of connection, sadly accompanied by lack of trust in new partners. From my own experience, traditional working codes lead the way within a deep distrust on agents of the digital world, influencers or local people of good will coming from “outside”, represent a new threat. There is a conservative focus that does not allow building-peace-processes, and for doing so we must build trust by dialogue or just exchange. Changing institutions´ traditions first.
Beautifully said by Author, Leader and “hope dealer” Hassan Davis: “ when you fight the darkness, you find the light”, I´ll rather say if you simply reject the darkness, you find the light.Building peace is about an attitude in which you communicate by dialogue but also silence.
We must not forget that when there is conflict the ambitious of a Peacebuilder has to be reduced to create stability at minimum standards and not the utopian goal of a full agreement. Conflicts, from the more complex to local and small confrontations can all be prevented under a work on tolerance, patience and acceptance. Above all keeping an eye into details in our daily meetings and relations. In the end, is more about the message you spread, rather than tangible and successful actions.
Social media seems to be the only tool to communicate right now, which represents a big mistake in terms of a loss in human contact, in addition, it doesn’t work as a “tool” but as an “axis” for relations. If we make of social media a substitute, specially within this stage of anarchical rules –without strict ethical codes-, aggressive comments and biased information and opinions, we´re going to be submerged into more mediocrity. Our goal of building peace will be reduced to resend messages from acknowledged institutions and famous leaders, and not from the real actors of each conflict. Empowerment of those people that are part of the conflict is not a concession but a “must be” in a peace building process without external interferences.
Building peace is about trying not consolidating, is about exchange, not privileged relations, is about acceptance of new working codes, not traditional codes applying new technology, is about slow and open processes in which more than ever human resources become a precious source for changing and not the institutions in itself.
Do not think yourself as a peacebuilder but an active citizen in action that try to build peace within a chaotic framework of manipulation, confrontation and distrust.
Accept that you will find rejection, instead, focus on exchanging your impressions, connecting within an ethical network and finally….. silence.Change will erupt.