Thank you to everyone who attended the 2018 Forum and explored the Paradoxes of Peace and Water with us. In our 30th year, we continue to feel honored to uplift and bring together so many peacemakers from near and far. This year we had over 70 speakers, presenting on topics ranging from nuclear disarmament to water rights in the Middle East to youth activism. We hope you took away meaningful strategies for building peace in your own communities.
This year, we had a unique opportunity to honor the work of two Nobel Laureates- President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia (2016), and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) (2017). Friday’s plenary panel of Colombian activists explored forgiveness and rebuilding relationships after periods of violence. We are so glad we could host them. Saturday’s plenary featured Beatrice Fihn and representatives from ICAN. She provided excellent insights into how everyday people are a part of denuclearization and peace processes; from voting for leaders who support the nuclear ban, to divesting from nuclear weapons.
Several themes continued to appear in and around Forum programming, including youth leadership and peacemaking through music and art. We are so glad our partners at youthrive and NYLC brought hundreds of students to hear speakers and learn how to plan for community involvement. Musician and activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez showed the power of youth leadership, and representatives from SDSN-Youth shared stories from their youth changemaker report. Several large scale exhibitions were installed around campus, and the Friday night PeaceMeal concluded with Sinking, a motion arts exhibit by Jenny Schmid and Ali Momeni. Afro-Colombian singer Daira Quiñones gave spectacular musical performances on several occasions, tying together Colombia and Minnesota in song.
At the Forum, it was announced that next year, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum will begin a new chapter by moving the host location to a different city around the world each year. Here at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, we have decided to forge new partnerships to create a new destination gathering and discussion each year. We are still in talks about exactly what this will look like, remaining committed to the ideas of peacemaking and grassroots activism, engaging our community near and around the globe. We hope to see you at the next iteration of the Forum!