The World Peace Congress organised by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) ended this Sunday in Barcelona after three days of conferences, workshops, and cultural events.

Under the title “(Re)imagine the world. Action for peace and justice”, more than 2,600 people participated in this hybrid congress, with activities in Barcelona. The events took place in the Centre of Contemporary Culture (CCCB) and the Blanquerna – Universitat Ramon Llull and were broadcast on the Internet.

Nine hundred people attended the congress in person, while 1,600 attended virtually. Participants came from 126 countries. In Barcelona, activists from 75 countries, including South Korea, the United States, Afghanistan, India, and Mongolia, were also able to listen to the speeches covering issues such as nuclear disarmament, climate justice, racism, and indigenous peoples’ rights.

As IPB Executive Director, Reiner Braun, explains, this is the most significant international peace event this year. “The congress was a great success. We got great support from the city of Barcelona and the president of the government of Catalonia. From my point of view, it was the right congress in this difficult political time and the right place because we got great support from the city. The IPB will continue working on the way of more engagement for peace after the congress”.

Jordi Calvo, IPB Vice-President and member of the local committee, affirms: “At the congress, we have seen that the peace movement is not alone. The large participation of feminist, anti-racist and global justice movements in the conferences and seminars shows that pacifism is more alive than ever but needs to adapt to new narratives and generations. After this congress, the Catalan, Spanish, European and global peace movement is stronger”.

The World Peace Congress brought together the different peace organisations in Catalonia for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic. From the event has also emerged the commitment to organise a Catalan Congress of Culture of Peace within two years, after opening a period of analysis, reflection and action. “The values of peace and justice are accepted everywhere, but the reality contrasts with good intentions. The peace movement must go one step further so that institutional commitments can be translated into necessary transformations. We need to update our discourse and seek new alliances to have a greater impact”, said Kristian Herbolzheimer, the director of ICIP.

The congress started on Friday 15 October with an event attended by the President of the Generalitat Pere Aragonés and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau. The opening session was attended by prominent names such as British politician Jeremy Corbyn and ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn.

Open plenary session

Exhibition “Facing Violence: Stories of Resilience in Central America”.

Coinciding with the Second World Peace Congress celebration, ICIP will launch the photo exhibition “Facing Violence: Stories of resilience in Central America “. The show, created by the Ruido Photo group, will be on display for three days, until 18 October, at Plaça Joan Coromines in Barcelona.

Through photography and interviews, the exhibition is a journey through the many faces of violence that affect daily life in three Central American countries known as the Northern Triangle: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Sean MacBride Award

Each year, IPB gives the Sean MacBride Peace Prize to an individual or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and human rights. This year the award was awarded to Black Lives Matter for the movement’s dedication and work to create a world where the lives of black people can thrive.

On the second day of the World Peace Congress in Barcelona, Rev Karlene Griffiths Sekou, community minister, academic and activist, and director of Healing Justice and International Organizing, received the award on behalf of the social movement. “Our movement is not a moment in time; it is a constant reminder to eradicate white supremacy, change racist policies and overthrow oppressive systems”.

ICIP’s director, Kristian Herbolzheimer, during the open plenary

You can access the photos of the congress here.