Aga Khan at 2018 Paris Peace Forum Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and world leaders gathered for the first edition of 2018 Paris Peace Forum all look to the sky as an aerial photograph is taken to mark this historic event. Photo: AKDN/Cécile Genest.

1. 2018 Paris Peace Forum

The 1st edition of the Paris Peace Forum was inaugurated on the centenary of the 1918 Armistice on November 11, 2018. As heads of state and government from once warring nations, peacefully reunited in Paris under the Arc de Triomphe, the French President Emmanuel Macron, who conceived the Forum, wondered how that image would be interpreted. He asked, “….will it be the vivid symbol of a lasting peace between nations or, on the contrary, a photograph showing a final moment of unity before the world descends into fresh chaos? And this depends on us alone.”

Aga Khan, Trudeau and se Spusa at Paris Peace Forum in 2018, Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, was among over 60 world leaders for the opening session of the the first edition of Paris Peace Forum in November 2018. Here he greets President de Sousa of Portugal and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. Photo: AKDN/Cécile Genest.

President Macron then reflected on the global crisis and explained the goals of the Paris Peace Forum:

The world in which we live is being weakened by crises which are destabilizing our societies: the economic, environmental and climate crises and the migration challenge. Weakened by the resurgence of threats which could strike at any moment: terrorism, chemical and nuclear proliferation and cyber crime. Weakened by the return of grim passions – nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, extremism – which call into question the future our peoples expect.That’s why we wanted to organize this Paris Peace Forum, which is destined to take place every year and draw together heads of state and government […] but also representatives of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, voluntary organizations, businesses, foundations, intellectuals, journalists, activists;[…] everyone who makes up the world today and can change it.

The first edition in 2018 was attended by 65 Heads of State and Government as well as 10 leaders from internationals organizations. Further, hundreds of representatives of NGOs, companies, foundations, philanthropic organizations, development agencies, religious groups, trade unions, think tanks, universities, and civil society at large participated in interactive debates, a 3-day hackathon, as well as meetings to advance concrete global governance solutions.

2. 2019 Paris Peace Forum

The 2019 second edition of the 3 day Paris Peace Forum is set to be inaugurated on November 11 with a “Soft Opening” which will include a speech by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The official “prestigious” opening ceremony will be held on November 12, during which multiple heads of state will take the stage on issues of global governance, including French President Emmanuel Macron. During the entire 3 day Forum Program, there will be open dialogue between all actors of global governance, focusing on the solutions rather than merely the challenges at hand. Diverse debate content will encourage innovation and communication, in which all voices will be heard.

The 2019 Paris Forum program notes that Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, who has been referred to as Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV, will be attending the event along with dozens of heads of state from around the world, and leaders of international and regional organizations. The photo at top of this post from the website of the Ismaili community shows Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon with His Highness ahead of the 2019 Paris Forum.

A number of speakers and moderators at the 2019 Paris Forum will be key leaders of numerous agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network or the Aga Khan Foundation. The talk of Meredith Preston McGhie, the new secretary general of the Global Centre for Pluralism, is entitled “In Defense of Pluralism: Including Minorities in Diverse Societies.” Before her appointment, she spent the past 20 years of her career in frontline negotiation and diplomacy, overseeing complex mediation and dialogue efforts in Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Sudan, Somalia and South Sudan, among other places.

Alex O. Awiti, the Vice Provost and Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Media and Communications at Aga Khan University, will speak on “Age is But a Number: Including Youth in Decision-Making.” Prior to joining the Aga Khan University, Awiti was a research fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University in the City of New York.

The topic of Dr. Najmuddin Najm, Chief Executive Officer of the Aga Khan Foundation in Afghanistan, will be “Handle With Care: Local Governance and Conflict Prevention in Fragile States.” For over 16 years, Najm has held various positions across the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network in Afghanistan including, Border Districts Programme Manager with Aga Khan Health Services, and Regional Director of the Foundation’s Badakhshan Programme.

The subject of Onno Rühl, the first general manager of the newly established Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, will be “Surviving Climate Wrath: Building Resilient Infrastructure in an Age of Global Warming.” Prior to his appointment, Onno was the Country Director for India at the World Bank, based in New Delhi.

We look forward to bringing you a report and photos of the 2019 edition of the Paris Peace Forum.

Date posted: November 9, 2019.

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