Yesterday, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca delivered the opening keynote address of the 28th Annual Session of the Crans Montana Forum in Barcelona, Spain. This year’s session is entitled ‘Which world for tomorrow? Strategies for Stability in an unpredictable Environment towards a new governance.’
This was the third time that President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the Crans Montana Forum Annual Session, following her contributions in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, the President was awarded the Crans Montana Prix de la Fondation, an award given to prominent personalities who strive for peace, freedom, and democracy.
President Coleiro Preca said that there is surely one world for tomorrow, and that is, a world that recognises peace building as the only way forward, for humanity, to move ahead in peace, towards prosperity and holistic wellbeing. Although this is “certainly a tall order,” the President said that she is convinced that “if each and every one of us work together, with one aim or objective, we will be able to live up to the challenge.”
The President stated that the presence of deep-rooted and seemingly intractable conflicts, taking place across our world, are amongst the main challenges which must be faced; whilst appealing for everyone to think outside the box and take necessary action to address conflict.
“Conflict and wars are blocking our, and our children’s aspirations, for a peaceful and prosperous future,” Coleiro Preca said.
The President said that conflict prevention aims to inhibit armed conflicts from breaking out in the first place, by emphasising, or in some cases, by building, structures which impede violence.
“A successful example of a constructive strategy of prevention has been adopted by Tunisia. Tunisia stands out, as a relevant leader in the region, by having read the signs of the times. The young people of Tunisia took the lead, and stood up to recognise the importance of social change. Tunisians, though with much difficulty and great sacrifice, are holding on, to overcome the challenges of conflict, and build strong processes of democratic participation,” the President stated, whilst adding that there is another way to overcome conflict, which must be considered seriously, to secure a better world for tomorrow.
This third way is the transformation of conflict into democratic participation for peace-making and peace-building, which is “not only more sustainable, but it is also more enriching.”
The President stated that “conflict transformation, initiates a process of constructive change, that includes, and goes beyond, the mere resolution of specific problems.” It also initiates “a process of healing, through peace-making and peace-building with communities and groups.” The President added that sustainable peace can only begin within the hearts and the minds of each and every one of us.
The President stated that our communities and our authorities must be encouraged to understand that, while conflict creates profound cycles of destruction and precarity, we should be determined and capable, of responding to conflict through necessary constructive changes, adding that “we should never perceive conflicts in isolation, by singling out one particular country or region,” since violence and conflict in one part of the world leave tangible effects, across other countries and regions. This is evident in the situation in Syria, which is not just affecting neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, but also nations across the European Union and the Mediterranean.
President Coleiro Preca also reiterated that the focus on the promotion of peace, prosperity, and wellbeing should entail peace-making, and peace-building, from a bottom-up approach. It is only through such an approach that sustainable prosperity, and a culture of positive peace, in our nations, can be achieved. All of this centres on the most basic element of our humanity, which is the importance of human relationships, a fact which was highlighted in a research carried out by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, which confirms that healthy relationships are the most necessary indicator for social, economic, and cultural wellbeing, for all individuals, families, communities, and societies. Such an emphasis on relational connections will also help us to understand the strong guidelines contained in the United Nations’ Agenda 2030, and its Sustainable Development Goals.
Lastly, the President said that the conflicts that we seek to transform, whether they occur within our communities, our societies, between our nations, or at a regional and international scale, must acknowledge the intrinsic dignity of the human person.
“I urge us all to be bold, to make use of all opportunities to encourage relationships, which are life-affirming, and rooted in respect for universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. I urge us all to work in synergy, whatever our capacity or our responsibility, for peace. We must work together, to ensure a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future, for the benefit of all humanity,” President Coleiro Preca concluded.