Conference on Peacebuilding in the MENA Regions

Geneva, Switzerland – (iina) The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) hosts a conference on the 28th of September about the role of media in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in the Middle-East and North Africa, using Iraq as a model. They are partnering with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Iraq to the United Nations Office, the Iraqi Foundation for Foreign Policies, the Al-Basheer Foundation for the Development, and the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC).

The conference invited six important speakers, including Ambassador Thomas Greminger, the Executive Director of GCSP, Ambassador Abdul-Karim Hashim, the Representative of Iraq to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Minister Dr. Ali Al-Moayyed, the Head of the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission, Laurent Sierro, Journalist and Executive-in-Residence in the Global Fellowship Initiative of the GCSP, Dr. Christina Schori Liang, the Head of Terrorism and Preventing Violent Extremism at GCSP, and the moderator Paul Dziatkowiec, the Director of Mediation and Peace Support.

Ambassador Thomas Greminger opens the conference with a statement expressing his gratitude and introducing the topics of the debate as well as presenting the events GCSP holds. This is followed by Ambassador Abdul-Karim Hashim beginning the debate by mentioning the importance of dialogue for the Middle-East, in order to develop and find solutions to their conflicts. He continues to recognise the years of suffering Iraq has gone through which has helped them to come up with an action plan to build peace in Iraq and in regions around it.

The debate proceeds with Dr. Ali Al-Moayyed expressing the strong potential of Iraq in conflict resolution as he speaks on the Arbaeen pilgrimage, which in recent years is bringing together Kurdish people, Shia and Sunni communities in Iraq. In addition, he believes that the different communities and minorities around Iraq should be able to have a freedom of speech as it can allow communication between them leading to peace.

Dr. Christina Schori Liang concludes the talk by speaking on the importance of having “governments respect the right to know”, meaning that people should be able to “seek, receive, and impart information through any media regardless of frontiers”. She also believes that young people should have the freedom to access factual and trustworthy information to understand the different angles and contexts of conflicts as a way of peacebuilding, because it opens a door to dialogue which is a big factor for reconciliation.

Lastly, Ahlam Al-Hussainy, the Deputy Head of Foreign Policy in Iraq, closes the conference with a statement indicating that she supports the freedom of dialogue in peacebuilding in Iraq and the rest of the MENA.

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