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24hr Global Cyber Peace Conference

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

‘Societies 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 twenty-four 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 – ensuring that there was not a moment within the twenty-four-hour period that was without an ongoing presentation. 

The Global Cyber Peace conference – organised by Rotary Peace Fellows – marked a new format for global events for the Rotary family.  IEPs head office – in Sydney, Australia – presented in zone one. This first ever IEP online interactive workshop was hosted by Director of Partnerships, Charles Allen APM and Ambassador Program Coordinator, Patricia Garcia AO, featuring IEP Ambassadors Svitlana Fatiuk, Christian Fonye and Lindsay Griswold and moderated by IEP Partnerships Intern, Alice Stafford. The presentation centred on the question: How can we use Positive Peace in the COVID recovery?

The three hour time slot was divided into two sections – a presentation on the 2020 Global Peace Index (GPI) and COVID-19 and Peace reports 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 a topical issue in-depth and create an interlinked framework that applies it to IEPs research.  

By comparison, the ninety-minute workshop provided attendees – each with varying understandings of Positive Peace – with a ‘crash course’ in the IEP framework. The Ambassadors effectively encouraged dialogue around the varying COVID-19 responses and the Eight Pillars of Positive Peace. This information was recorded live and transposed into a virtual mind map – displayed on the screen at the conclusion of the session. Given that the attendees were participating from over seven different countries, the final mind map reflected a truly global vision of Positive Peace. 

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’ followed up by ‘Director of Southern Africa, Trust Mamombe, [who] gave an in-depth overview of the trends in peace for the region and discussed IEP’s concept of Positive Peace as a new innovative form of development.’ 

‘Following these presentations, IEP Ambassadors in Nigeria, Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe were heard from. Each IEP Ambassador shared how they’ve utilised and incorporated the concept of Positive Peace in their work; from theatre arts as a form of post-conflict healing, to programmes with internally displaced peoples and youth in conflict zones. The workshop ended with an engaging question and answer session regarding the various opportunities and challenges to bringing positive peace into new fields of work.’ (Lea Perekrests, Deputy Director of Operations, Europe & the MENA Region)

The final webinar to round out this IEP workshop mini-series was run by Outreach and Development Officer Laurie Smolenski and Executive Director of the Americas Michael Collins as well as Program Director of Latin America, Carlos Juárez. This last session similarly assessed the global trends of peace and violence as presented in the 2020 GPI.

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)

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.

If you would like to watch one of our presentations, a recording of Sydney’s workshop can be found here.