Advocating for a world where peace encompasses more than the mere absence of war!


In a world grappling with conflicts and divisions, the pursuit of lasting peace has never been more crucial. Recently, the Helvetas Eastern Europe Regional Advocacy Network had the privilege of participating in the thought-provoking International Cooperation Forum for Peace held in Basel, Switzerland. This global gathering served as a powerful catalyst, igniting robust dialogue, fostering connections, and providing a platform to amplify the collective voice for peace across regions.

As regional advocates operating within the complexities of Eastern Europe, we seized this opportunity to contribute our unique perspectives while absorbing invaluable insights from diverse stakeholders united by a common vision of harmony. In this blog post, we aim to capture the essence of the forum’s discourse through the lens of our regional advocacy network, distilling key takeaways and exploring contextually relevant avenues for impact.

What is peace? Redefining the Narrative

The forum emphasized the need to reshape the narrative surrounding peace, transcending the mere absence of violence. As one participant eloquently stated, “Peace embodies the very essence of humanity’s survival—a sanctuary where empathy reigns supreme, justice is a living reality, and the echoes of conflict are silenced by the gentle whispers of nonviolent communication.”

Participants highlighted the importance of diverse voices, such as youth, civil society, women, and affected communities, in shaping this redefined narrative grounded in inclusiveness, transparency, and verifiable facts.

Power of Storytelling and Arts in Peacebuilding

“Only through collective acknowledgment, acceptance, and active participation can communities begin to heal and move forward toward a future built on trust, understanding, and reconciliation,” emphasized Olin Monteiro, an Indonesian writer and researcher.

The forum underscored the vital role of storytelling and the arts in the peacebuilding process, enabling communities to transcend divisions, alleviate stress, and foster collaboration. Creative expression serves as a bridge, connecting hearts and minds, and facilitating healing from historical conflicts.

fueled by the miraculous engine of hippocampal neurogenesis. As we cultivate these facets of our mental immune system, we pave the path towards inner tranquility and outer harmony, fostering a world where peace reigns supreme.

Engaging the Private Sector for Sustainable Progress

With its vast resources and influential reach, the private sector emerged as a crucial ally in promoting accountability, fostering sustainable practices, and ensuring equitable resource distribution. As one participant aptly stated, “Economy and peace are two sides of the same coin, both of which should serve the interests of people.”

Genuine empowerment and collaboration with the private sector through multistakeholder platforms are essential for addressing challenges such as fair taxation, sustainable resource management, and navigating pivotal transitions like those in the energy sector and climate change.

Adapting to Geopolitical Shifts

In the face of a shifting geopolitical landscape, peacebuilders must demonstrate adaptability and flexibility, customizing processes to suit specific contexts while remaining prepared for potential setbacks. Thania Paffenholz, Founder & Director of Inclusive Peace, highlighted the non-linear nature of peacebuilding, characterized by diverse approaches and a continuous journey marked by progress and setbacks.

Engaging with opposing views, empathizing with diverse needs and perspectives, and addressing sensitive or taboo issues are critical components of successful peacebuilding processes.

The Path Forward: Building Trust

As we emerge from this enriching experience, a resounding message echoes: Trust-building stands as a cornerstone for forging a peaceful future. We must nurture compassion and create safe, inclusive environments where individuals feel empowered to share their experiences openly, fostering open dialogue grounded in human dignity.

Experience has taught us the urgency of acting now, weaving the fabric of trust that will pave the way for a peaceful and harmonious future. We invite you, our readers, to join us in harnessing the power of collective action, transforming inspiration into tangible efforts towards a brighter, more peaceful world for all.

Interested in learning more about the advocacy network? Contact us at AdvocacyWesternBalkans