The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) participated in the 9th edition of the Geneva PeaceTalks, held on 21 September 2021, which marks the International Day of Peace.
The event was livestreamed online from the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
This year’s edition of the Geneva PeaceTalks was organised under the theme of “Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World”. Through short talks, twelve speakers from different walks of life and different parts of the globe told their stories addressing different aspects of the overall theme. Each speaker shared their tangible learnings and ideas drawn from their own experiences in the fields of climate change, dance, education, health, music and peacebuilding.
The panel of speakers included Zarifa Ghafari, human rights activist, politician and entrepreneur, ex-mayor of Maidan Shahr and Director of a Department of the Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan; Yves Daccord, Executive Chairman Harvard’s Edgelands Institute & former Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross; and Hiba Qasas, Head of Secretariat of the Principles for Peace Initiative at Interpeace. Other prominent humanitarian leaders and artists were also onboard.
The PeaceTalks delved into the alarming topics of racism, climate change, global wealth disparity, and also covered what peace implies in the context of Palestine. We heard from Yves Daccord and Hiba Qasas on their experience of being peacebuilders in Palestine and Palestinians’ struggle for justice throughout the ‘peace-process’.
Hiba Qasas stressed the importance of inclusivity or a whole-of-society approach when it comes to conflict-resolution and peace-talks. She stressed how decades of unilateral and exclusionary discourses would only lead to repeated cycles of violence, suffering, and hopelessness for generations of Palestinians longing for peace. This discussion gave an illuminating insight into the possibilities of what the future could possibly hold for Palestine, and what outlooks are necessary in order to attain peace.
Debates on what peace would look like in Palestine is another episode in the series of pro-Palestine advocacy campaigns, which are, themselves, the by-products of a reshaped reading of the narratives on Palestine and the younger generations’ revived hope for peace and justice in their homeland.
PRC’s participation in the event matches its increasing efforts to speak up for justice and freedom for the Palestinians and their inalienable right of return to their homeland. As an NGO with special consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since July 2015, PRC continues to address the UN and international organisations on Palestinian refugees, collecting data on their behalf, and mobilising support for their basic rights, most notably the right of return. PRC will keep up its efforts in this regard until a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian refugee plight sees the day.