20 August 2014, Caux, Montreux, Switzerland – From 10-13 August UNITAR took part in the first International Peacebuilders’ Forum in Caux. The Forum, organised by CAUX Initiatives of Change (CAUX-IofC) in partnership with Caux Scholars and the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding (ICP), was organized to offer to peacebuilding organizations and practitioners the opportunity to meet, connect and interact with actors in the peace-building field, participate in group discussions, attend presentations, panel discussions and workshops, and visit the stands of peacebuilding organisations.
Created by CAUX-IofC, an organisation working to promote peace, prevent conflicts, build trust, and encourage intercultural dialogue and ethical conduct in business and the ICP, an independent and non-partisan non-governmental organization based in Switzerland which engages in conflict transformation and peace-building in the public and private sector, the forum was open to NGOs, foundations and networks, State actors and international organizations, think-tanks, university students and academic staff, grant-giving organisations, philanthropic individuals and corporates as well as individual peace-builders.
The other organisations present included the Insan Foundation Trust (Pakistan); Women Creators of Peace (International); The Corrymeela Community (Ireland); Center for Integral Peace Promotion (Switzerland); Schweibenalp-Center of Unity (Switzerland); Instruments of Peace (Ireland); The Institute for Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding (Switzerland); CAUX-Initiatives of Change (Switzerland); Global Development Africa (Netherlands); Selmiyah (Egypt); Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice & Peacebuilding (CJP) as well as individual participants from a wide range of countries including: South Sudan, Mali, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, Colombia, India, Pakistan, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Afghanistan, Costa Rica, Mexico, Lebanon, Kenya, Philippines, Sierra Leone, USA, totaling about 200 participants.
UNITAR was present as an exhibitor and took the opportunity to present and advertise its activities, the e-learning and face-to-face training programmes as well as the Master’s degree and also to liaise with potential partner organisation. All the participants showed strong interest in the activities of the Programme, with particular emphasis on the Master’s Programme on Conflictology and the newly-developed course on Child Soldiers. Extremely positive comments were also registered for UNITAR’s highly specialized training methodologies, with particular regard to the Training of Trainers programme. Many of the various organizations present expressed interest in potential collaborations and partnerships with UNITAR in the delivery of courses.
UNITAR’s participation in the event gave the opportunity for people who had previously heard of UNITAR’s work to garner a greater understanding of the scope and variety of the activities offered. UNITAR’s participation in these kinds of fora is important for marketing purposes. It strengthens connections between possible partners and increases UNITAR’s visibility.