Can we imagine what a peaceful world would look like?
Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world, at least according to the Global Peace Index for the last 16 years (Global Peace Index, Institute for Economics and Peace). Therefore, Iceland is an ideal place for discussions on how we can imagine a more peaceful world together, something that the Icelandic Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, together with the Höfði Reykjavík Peace Center, addressed through the “Imagine Forum: Nordic Solidarity for Peace”, which took place in Reykjavik on October 10-11 this year.
The Imagine Forum is organized every year in connection with the lighting of Yoko Ono’s light installation “Imagine Peace Tower” on the island of Viðey outside Reykjavik, to commemorate the period between John Lennon’s birthday on 9 October and his death on 8 December. The light column has been lit annually since 2007 and can be seen against the night sky throughout the capital region, Icelandic weather permitting. This year, the forum was larger in size due to the Icelandic presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers and its focus on peace. The speaker list and panel discussions were developed together with the other Nordic peace research institutes, including the Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI) and the Martti Ahtisaari Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), and the Åland Islands Peace Institute also contributed to the planning. As a result, the program was rich and impressive – from the role of cities in peace-building, through the arts and artists as ecosystems for sustainable peace and social justice, to feminist approaches to Nordic peace, new conflict constellations and challenges for Nordic peace research.
The common thread running through the conference was the issue of gender equality, Iceland’s flagship policy. The Afghan and Iranian women were particularly highlighted as two cases of female ownership of peace and human rights issues, examples that show that the way of describing women without the power to act for peace as outdated.
The Åland Islands Peace Institute was represented together with other Nordic peace research institutes through research coordinator Petra Granholm. A longer summary of the Forum will be published later this year in Fredsposten.