On the 27th of June 2020, Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni Association hosted their first Global Cyber Peace Conference.

Recap of the 2020 Peace Conference

The event, hosted virtually via Zoom, involved speakers, organisations and conference attendees from around the world. The theme “Envisioning the World after The Great Pause”, placed emphasis on the imagining of new possibilities in a global ‘post-COVID’ society – with Positive Peace at the fore. 

‘Society’s traditional governmental, educational, business and family systems have been disrupted. How can Positive Peace inform how these systems are re-imagined and reconstructed?’ (Rotary)

The conference ran for 24 hours across three, overlapping time zones: Asia and Oceania, Europe and MENA and the Americas and Caribbean.

This ambitious structure saw the facilitation of over thirty interactive sessions.  

Zone 1 of the conference

The Global Cyber Peace Conference – organised by Rotary Peace Fellowship – marked a new format for global events for the Rotary family.  IEP’s head office – in Sydney, Australia – presented in zone one.

Director of Partnerships, Charles Allen APM and Ambassador Program Coordinator, Patricia Garcia AO hosted this first ever IEP online interactive workshop.

Panels featured IEP Ambassadors Svitlana Fatiuk, Christian Fonye and Lindsay Griswold and were moderated by IEP Partnerships Intern, Alice Stafford.

The presentation centred on the question: How can we use Positive Peace in the COVID recovery?

We focused our presentation on the 2020 Global Peace Index report (GPI) and COVID-19 and Peace report followed by a mind-mapping exercise led by the Ambassadors.

This exercise, known as the ‘yarn game’, would typically take place on the final day of a three day, face-to-face IEP workshop. Participants use their knowledge of the eight pillars of Positive Peace to explore an issue in-depth. Afterwards, they create an interlinked framework that applies it to IEP’s research.  

By comparison, the 90-minute workshop provided attendees with a crash course in the IEP framework.

The Ambassadors encouraged dialogue around COVID-19 response and the eight pillars of Positive Peace. This information was recorded live and transposed into a virtual mind map.

Given that the attendees were from seven different countries, the mind map reflected a truly global vision of Positive Peace. 

Zone 2 of the Conference

Shortly after the conclusion of this session, zone two of the conference commenced. ‘The Africa, Europe & MENA workshop was hosted by IEP’s regional offices in Brussels and Harare.

Director of Europe & MENA, Serge Stroobants, presented the findings of the 2020 GPI. After that, the Director of Southern Africa, Trust Mamombe gave an in-depth overview of the trends in peace for the region. He also discussed IEP’s concept of Positive Peace as a new innovative form of development.

After that, IEP Ambassadors in Nigeria, Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe gave presentations.

Each IEP Ambassador shared how they’ve incorporated the concept of Positive Peace in their work. Their experiences ranged from theatre arts as a form of post-conflict healing to programmes with youth in conflict zones.

The workshop ended with an engaging Q&A session about the opportunities and challenges of integrating positive peace in new areas.

Outreach and Development Officer Laurie Smolenski, Executive Director of the Americas Michael Collins and Program Director of Latin America, Carlos Juárez ran the final webinar.

This last session similarly assessed the global trends of peace and violence as presented in the 2020 Global Peace Index.

With the support of Positive Peace Activators as facilitators, [they] examined the conceptual framework of Positive Peace through a brief exercise to explore peace beyond the mere absence of conflict, including our collective role in building and sustaining it. (Laurie Smolenski)

Reimagining possibilities

The Global Cyber Peace Conference provided IEP with the opportunity to reimagine the scope of its Positive Peace workshops.

In adapting to online formats, IEP greatly expanded its reach and capacity to promote global dialogues – making accessible three presentations to participants from over fifteen different countries.

You can watch a presentation from a recording of our Sydney workshop.