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World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for better Living together and Peace

Madrid hosts from 19 to 21 April 2017 the World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Better Living Together and Peace; an event aiming at outlining the tasks that local governments and citizenship must assume when working for the construction of coexistence and peace.

27-03-2017    Congress

New: Follow the sessions of the World Forum live here

This event was created thanks to the initiative of the mayors of Madrid and Paris, Manuela Carmena and Anne Hidalgo, shortly after the jihadist attacks that the French capital suffered in November last year.

Here below you could watch the invitation to the World Forum of the Mayor of Madrid, Ms. Manuela Carmena. The video has subtitles in English to be run up.

Cities, which will be home to 70% of the world population in 2050, are the setting in which violence displays multiple faces: terrorism, gangs, gender violence, violence at school and in sport… different forms of a problem for which, as the Mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, has noted, there is still no solution in sight. “Despite so much research, so many studies, so much time, we still have not been able to stop this disease that leads us to kill each other.”

The concentration of population, manifestations of violence. A combination that makes city authorities the main actors in the search for solutions, in finding new ways to address this issue. This quest was the spark for the Madrid Forum, the setting of a stage that, in the words of Carmena, aims to “initiate a process or join in others that are already underway and which we have not yet undertaken”. A process that, while not rejecting any other approach, makes a clear commitment to education for coexistence and for peace.

A melting pot of organisations

Aware of the fact that solutions are never reached unilaterally, the Forum aims to bring together not only representatives of local and regional governments, but also international networks and bodies, social and educational organisations, NGOs… A melting pot clearly reflected in the composition of the Organising Committee, which includes, along with the City Councils of Madrid, Paris and Barcelona, the Mayors for Peace network; the International Association of Educating Cities; UN-HABITAT; the World Health Organisation (WHO); Metropolis city network; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI); United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); the Spanish Association for Peace Research (aiPAZ); the ONGD Madrid Network and the Regional Federation of Neighbourhood Associations of Madrid (FRAVM).

Only a few weeks ago the Organising Committee held its first meeting in the Madrid City Council. Following the meeting, Carmena sent a letter to council members of various cities all over the world and representatives of other organisations that, without being part of the Organising Committee, have much to contribute because of their areas of expertise.

To the heart of violence

One of the Forum pillars will be getting to know, showing and sharing those experiences that are often unknown because of their limited territorial impact, but have proven to be effective in addressing different facets of urban violence. In short, actions that illustrate the daily work of organisations and citizens that, until now, have provided valid solutions anonymously.

Together with these actions, an open debate that goes beyond mere safety considerations. “Addressing violence from a perspective of safety is to accept it as an issue that we do not broach. We merely protect ourselves from it and try to protect our citizens”. These were the words of Carmena at the meeting of the Organising Committee in order to neatly sum up the ultimate goal of this Madrid event: “We have to go to the very heart of violence, we cannot accept it as an inevitable fact. Violence is something that is learned, hence the importance of tackling it through education for peace. We need to be aware that violence starts from the moment a person prevents another from exercising his or her rights”.

New formats

The Forum will eschew traditional formats. The organisers want to move it away from the cold formality of the rostrum and move beyond a simple dialogue between the speakers and a specialised audience. Violence affects the whole of society and, based on that premise, the Madrid Forum aims to open up dialogue and participation to that very society in which conflicts arise and which suffers its consequences. Hence the open design concept to which La Nave will make a significant contribution; a quite unique space of 16,000 m2, the design of which will enable a blending of formats where reflection will combine with participation and where a visual approach will prevail, not detracting in any way from far-ranging debate.

Citizen participation, individually or through their organisations, is the other major commitment. The Forum does not want to be confined to La Nave, but aims to spread across the entire city, occupying spaces where culture, equality, social rights, and safety are also reflected in the multitude of intertwined offerings that will plot out this new path that Carmena has shown.

For further information on the Forum please visit the portal https://capitaldepaz.madrid.es or send an email to capitaldepaz@madrid.es

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