Building roads to peace.
Bogota – 16th Summit 2-5 February 2017
Humanity’s most precious dream has been that of a peaceful existence. A life carried out in dignity, respect, productivity; a life free of fear. This dream is the core of hope pulling people through the most difficult conditions, because to many, this dream has remained little more than a utopian aspiration.
Establishing the rule of law that strives to enforce this life for the people it serves has been the intent of democracy. Maintaining normal life in times of conflict should be a natural byproduct in ensuring the well being of the majority. For this reason, democracies continue to be a means to achieve peace and create prosperous societies, provided that these are inclusive and hold the well being of its citizens at heart. A peaceful society is unlikely to attack another, as it would jeopardize this precious harmony. Both internal and external peace is strengthened by a just and compassionate rule of law. The experience in Latin America is a testimony that what seem like irreconcilable differences in societies, can find reconciliation through dialogue and civility, with the shared vision and will for peace in mind.
Though we have never lived in a world so aware of injustice and active towards change, inequality margins are widening, and youth unemployment is on the rise; it is more imperative than ever that democracies build roads to peace at a local and global level.
For sustainable peace, the strengthening of democratic institutions is indispensable. We need transparency in governance, and an organized and participatory civil society with strong channels of dialogue. Vulnerabilities must be addressed, by generating quality education and opportunities for all, ensuring gender equality and including young people in initiatives, making of them an essential factor in itself to sustainable productivity and development. Violence often erupts when it is least expected and what was built over many years of hard work can disappear in days.
For the Sixteenth World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, Colombia has been chosen as the platform to move this conversation forward, in discussing the many admirable undertaken peace processes from which there is so much to learn. After over 50 years of continued violence, the peace agreement has been signed between the government and the FARC. It is a historic milestone, for it has been through dialogue and political will between both parties and the support of the people of Colombia that a comprehensive peace agreement has been reached. Hence, the Summit has also been carried out within a spirit of exchange of ideas and experiences from the Colombian people and the international community.
During these four days in Bogota some of the world’s most inspiring successful advocates of social, political, community, international, and personal peace have gathered to address present challenges with inspiration and practical solutions. This Summit has focused on discussions and examples of the many roads that need to be built in societies in order to attain sustainable peace.