19 January 2021 

Unconventional ideas for peace   

The first digital edition of the Basel Peace Forum opens on Wednesday. Over 600 participants from around the world will generate unconventional ideas for peace for two days. They include activists and artists, mayors and epidemiologists, as well as representatives from academia, business, and diplomacy. This year's edition focuses on how cities are dealing with COVID-19. The forum is organized by the Swiss Peace Foundation (swisspeace) and sponsored by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Canton of Basel-Stadt, and private sponsors.   

The Basel Peace Forum demonstrates that peace and conflict are not isolated issues, but are closely intertwined with health, environment, migration, economy, and art. Regarding cities, participants will discuss in innovative formats whether urban spaces are becoming more segmented and competitive as a result of the pandemic - or what needs to be done to ensure increased cooperation in the future.

Among our prestigious speakers figure:  

  • Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, OBE, Mayor of Freetown, who began her public sector engagement during the 2014 Ebola outbreak and is still committed to addressing her city's challenges using an inclusive, data-driven approach to urban development. 

  • Maureen Achieng, Chief of Mission for the IOM Special Liaison Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union, IGAD, and the ECA.  

  • Mai Khoi, Vietnamese artist and activist, who leads efforts to promote freedom of artistic expression in Vietnam for which she was awarded the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent.  

  • Ronald Rael, designer and artist, who advocates for a reconsideration of the U.S.-Mexican border wall through design proposals that exemplify the consequences of the wall by showing actual scenarios in an exaggerated form.

Further speakers

Thematic inputs: 

  • The Politics of Public Health 
  • The Power of Art 
  •  Building Peace? 
  • Social Media Activism 
  • Transitioning to a Low Carbon World: Urban Decisions, Local Impacts 
  • "Smart Cities" in times of COVID-19 
  • Risks and Opportunities of Migration for Peacebuilding 
  • 100 Reasons for Nuclear Disarmament Psychological Change in Intergroup Conflict 
  • 19 Questions on Security 
  • Why we need Safe Havens for Archives at Risk 

Sanjally Jobarteh
Media Relations Manager
+41 31 330 12 05

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