21 September marks the International Day of Peace, an opportunity to commit to building a culture of peace. But what exactly is a culture of peace and how do we build it? On this 40th anniversary of World Peace Day our world is far from peaceful.

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan has precipitated war and surrender to the Taliban leaving Afghans behind. Women peacebuilders, who have long been on the frontlines negotiating for peace, now face exponential risk of targeted killings along with other activists and human rights defenders. Meanwhile Colombia marks the fifth anniversary of its peace agreement and despite initial progress, women peacebuilders voice concern about the lack of implementation, particularly regarding the inclusion of women and youth, and the deteriorating security situation. The Global Peace Index reported deterioration in peace in 73 countries, a trend of nine of the last 13 years. Demonstrations, riots and militarisation continue to increase, exacerbated by the weakness of state institutions and rule of law exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers and chair

Roméo Dallaire (@romeodallaire) is founder of the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security, a celebrated advocate for human rights, respected government and UN advisor and former Canadian Senator. Throughout his distinguished military career, General Dallaire served in staff, training, and command positions through North America, Europe, and Africa. Most notably, General Dallaire was Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide.

Guissou Jahangiri (@guissoujahangir) is a women’s rights pioneer and a cultural and peace activist. She was elected for a second term as the Vice President of the FIDH world-wide movement for human rights and is the Executive Director of Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA. She leads advocacy campaigns in Afghanistan and the greater region and has spent five years in war-torn Tajikistan as a Human Rights Watch researcher. Jahangiri is also acting head of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Rosa Emilia Salamanca (@milucina) is the Director of Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica, a feminist organisation based in Colombia. She is a member of the National Summit of Women and Peace, the Thinking and Action collective and a 2018 Women Peacemaker at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. Salamanca is also a member of the National Commission for Guarantees for Security and Non-Repetition.

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (@sanambna) is Director of the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and the founder of The International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN).

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