On November 14, 2013, Club de Madrid Members José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste and Maarti Ahtisaari of Finland met with various UN delegates and NGO representatives at the 8th UNOG-UNITAR conference in Geneva, Switzerland, speaking about the complexities of peacemaking and need for more inclusive social policy.
Common themes of the symposium included the importance of trust and inclusionary policies for building peaceful societies, topics to which the Club de Madrid gives the highest importance in our work to build Shared Societies upon a foundation of inclusion and respect for diversity. As Ramos-Horta remarked, “In some countries, respecting diversity is perceived as undermining the state when in fact we should look at this as wealth.”
In his speech, Ahtisaari importantly identified the core upon which division and deprivation occurs, noting that “conflicts are rooted in poverty, feelings of insignificance, and the people´s experience of unfairness.” Furthermore, “if we consider conflict resolution and mediation only as a redistribution of political and economic powers…we will never succeed. Sustainable peace is not measured only by the absence of violence and violence structures, but by opportunities and functions available in a society.”
Globally respected for their peacemaking efforts, Ramos-Horta and Ahtisaari greatly embody the efforts of Club de Madrid as we work in spreading the awareness of the Shared Societies Project and its desperate need in our crisis-stricken world today.