Back to "Normandy for Peace 2023"

Paris, Wednesday, October 18, 2023

« My dear friends,

No sooner had the doors of the Normandy World Forum for Peace closed than a new outbreak of violence shook the world.

When such events occur, one could be tempted to give up. The war between Russia and Ukraine is sinking into a winter of despair, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia could potentially lead to a genocide. In the meantime, terrorism is leading its way in the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, foreshadowing a war of retaliation…

Let’s be clear : conflict, war, genocide and terrorism are not the same thing. Still, day after day we count the dead, the wounded, the displaced and the crippled. We are witnessing the birth of a new generation of traumatised people, who will be responsible for bringing peace to future societies.

In the face of this gaping wound, can we still choose to believe in peace? I think we can.

Even today, I choose to commit myself by saying: I believe in it!”

Frédérique Bedos

Frédérique Bedos

With 10,000 participants over 2 days, the 6th “Normandy for Peace” World Forum continues to gain momentum, confirming the public’s keen interest in major international issues.

Year after year, more and more people turn out for the civic event organised by the Normandy region: in search of keys to understanding, or even ways of taking action to promote lasting peace on a global scale. The participants are citizens of all ages, including a large proportion of young people, and from all walks of life. They attend the various conferences scheduled over these two intense days.

On this 6th edition, the outstanding speakers gathered to discuss the following theme “Resistances, the Peace of Peoples! “. They lived up to the audience’s expectations! The high-quality discussions on the various contemporary conflicts provided food for thought. The wide range of experts who attended the event voiced various points of view, with a focus on specific issues and powerful testimonies from those who are deeply involved, whether in Hong Kong, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia or Iran…

The courage of these ‘resistence fighters’ calls out to us, all the more so because each of their stories shows how their soul and their heart was changed by their involvment. As a rule, their commitment begins as an individual undertaking and gradually develops into a genuine dynamic of solidarity and mutual aid. Like the stories of our ‘Humble Heroes’, the journeys of these resistance fighters demonstrate the power of action of so-called ‘ordinary’ people. Everyone can choose to stand up, to take a stand, to resist… And together, we can make a difference.  This belief underpins all the work of Projet Imagine!

Frédérique Bedos, a member of the Forum’s Scientific and Strategic Council, led the main plenary sessions, as she does every year, alongside François-Xavier Priollaud, Vice President of the Normandy Region in charge of European and International Affairs. The debates took place under the watchful eye of Bertrand Badie, PhD in Political Science and Professor Emeritus of the IEP Paris, and Nicole Gnesotto, Vice-President of the Institut Jacques Delors. They lived up to their promise as they were simply fascinating.

▼ Watch the replay▼

Radiography of resistance

No peace without people

In the media...

Interviewed on this occasion by BFM Normandie, Frédérique gave an on-air presentation of the raison d’être, missions and involvement of our NGO in peace and social cohesion, before asking the question that concerns us all: “We, as citizens, as a civil society, what can we do to change things so that they are as humane as possible?

Part of this interview is available for replay.

Another interview worth checking out is the one Frédérique gave to Joanne and Annaelle, two young reporters on Radio Phénix’s La Méridienne programme. The Caen-based student radio station, which is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, relocated its studio to the Forum for a special programme, which can be found here.

High level meetings

A unique forum for exchange and sharing, the Normandy World Forum for Peace is also a privileged place for summit meetings, such as the small group lunch to which the founder of our NGO was invited in the presence of various personalities such as Oleksandra Matviïtchouk, Nobel Peace Prize 2022, Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize 1997, and Hadja Idrissa Bah, President of the association “filles Leaders de Guinée”, winner of the 2023 Liberté Prize.

She was also able to discuss the challenges of peace with two former prime ministers, Jean-Pierre Raffarin of France, founding chairman of the NGO “Leaders for Peace”, and Stefan Lofven of Sweden, now co-chairman of the UN High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism and chairman of the Party of European Socialists, along with Hervé Morin, former minister of defence and now chairman of the Normandy region, and François-Xavier Priollaud.

Narges Mohammadi, Nobel Peace Prize 2023!

As we finalised this newsletter, we were delighted to learn that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Narges Mohammadi, the imprisoned iIranian journalist for “her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her struggle to promote human rights and freedom for all”.

Given our long-standing commitment to the equal rights and treatment of women throughout the world, and our deep sensitivity to the struggle of Iranian women, we applaud this award, which highlights the cause of women, the Femme Vie Liberté movement and in particular this activist who, despite imprisonment and torture, continues to resist obscurantism. We can only hope that this international recognition will bring hope and relief to Narges and her family! Because this new notoriety is also a form of protection: from now on, all eyes will be on the fate of this resistance fighter!

After just over a year of fighting, this decision by the Nobel Committee finally sounds like a strong first blow against the Mullah regime.

Now more than ever, it is vital to support the just struggle being waged by women fighting for their rights, in Iran, Afghanistan and everywhere else!

And that’s exactly what we’re proposing for the forthcoming International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. We’ll tell you all about it soon!

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