Speaker Events - Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Coomaraswamy: Healing Requires a Partnership between Lawyers and Artists
“Healing requires a partnership between lawyers and artists,” said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict.
“Lawyers because we need justice… but artists too; a society begins to heal when its creative energy begins to flow again, both in the individual and state level.”
Ms. Coomaraswamy spoke on July 25, 2012 in an event co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the UN and by IPI. The event, titled “A Farewell Conversation,” would be Ms. Coomaraswamy’s last public address to the international community as SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict.
“In many ways I inherited a vision,” said Ms. Coomaraswamy. The vision called on the Security Council to play a more thematic role on issues surrounding children and armed conflict. “My task was really to implement this vision.”
In the past six years, Ms. Coomaraswamy and her office worked with UN agencies and partners to streamline their efforts to help children affected by war. Among other accomplishments, they established a monitoring and reporting system for the Security Council, created a country level task force to gather information, trained child protection teams, and implemented an action plan for perpetrators to be delisted from the Security Council list.
When asked by Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch what the biggest obstacles are for future progress, Ms. Coomaraswamy answered, “I would say the politics of the UN is the biggest obstacle… and the politics requires all of us to reassure states that this is not the end of the world, that these are important issues, and to build that trust.”
Ms. Coomaraswamy also spoke about the importance of art in the healing process of children in conflict and poverty. “Research is showing that in societies where there is no structured healing process, they’re more likely to return to war.”
Ms. Coomaraswamy shared stories of children who are healing from traumatizing experiences, including child soldiers in Sierra Leone who formed a theater company, children in Gaza and Sri Lanka who paint as therapy, and a girl in Sierra Leone who became a ballerina.
“The focus of creativity can help us overcome the horrors and destruction of war.”
In conversation with Ms. Coomaraswamy was Lukas Pairon, the General Director of the Ictus Ensemble, based in Brussels. Mr. Pairon discussed how music and art can be used as a humanitarian tool for development.
“It softens people, brings them closer to peaceful thoughts,” said Mr. Pairon.
Mr. Pairon explained that students who are actively learning an instrument also excel in other subjects. His organization donates instruments to children in impoverished areas in hopes to aid in their development.
“Artists play a very important role in creating the symbols, the climate, and space for peace and healing,” said Ms. Coomaraswamy. “I thought perhaps my last conversation should be about art.”
The event was moderated by Ambassador Jan Grauls of Belgium. Jérémie Labbé, IPI Senior Policy Analyst, gave welcoming remarks.
The Global Observatory
History Points to Rough Road Ahead for Ukraine Peace Deal
Previous deals can help shed light on the future of Minsk II.
Key Global Events to Watch in February
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
February 26, 2015
ICM Briefs African Regional Group
On February 26th, Chair Kevin Rudd and Secretary-General Hardeep Puri briefed delegates from the UN’s African Group about the ICM and its work. This was the last of a series of briefings which the Commission held during the month of February to inform UN regional groups about its vision for an effective multilateral system.
February 24, 2015
“Peace can and should be quantified,“ said Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace while speaking at IPI’s Vienna office on January 24. Mr. Killelea stressed the need for focusing on positive peace rather than just the absence of conflict (negative peace), and outlined ways of defining and measuring peacefulness.
February 17, 2015
ICM Briefs UN Delegates from Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Others
ICM Chair Kevin Rudd and Secretary-General Hardeep Puri briefed delegates from the Eastern European and Western European and Others groups on February 17th and 19th, respectively.
February 20, 2015
Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri Appointed IPI Vice President
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt