Is there anything in common with Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and the small, idyllic and demilitarized islands of Åland that are located between Finland and Sweden? Not much, one could say. Except from time to time they are filled with laughter, sweat, big ideas, courage, some more laughter – and women on bicycles talking about peace.
In late August of 2017, fifty women from all over the world, professionals from different political levels of peace mediation, education and prevention, gathered to start a five-day journey into the stunning archipelago of Finland and into each others’ ideas, political settings and methodologies in peace building.
The main idea of the cycling peace seminar, organized by the Peace Education Institute Finland (RKI), was to take strong professionals out of their working rooms in different parts of the world, get them together and give them time to connect. The aim of the journey was get the women exposed to each others’ thinking and discuss peace building in the world today and women’s part in it.
Many of the women agreed on the importance of cooperation in peace building. As Razan Mahmoud Abdullah Al-Hadid from Jordan put it: ”What I’ve learned is that at the end of the day, people are the same humans everywhere and many of the challenges we face are many times the same. We need to be able to see beyond our own way of doing and look for common goals, to overcome our differences and work together for the process of peace.”
Not only was there lots of networking and sharing views but also millions of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, freedom of rolling movement and the safety that only peers can offer for persons whose daily work is more standing against than going along.
Read more about Pedal for Peace in our multimedia article!
“Women and Youth Building Peace” Seminar
After the one-week training, “Women and Youth Building Peace” seminar was arranged in Helsinki where different speakers, such as the vice director of the city of Helsinki, gave speeches. With the seminar we wanted to get more attention to young people and women’s peace work. Both the training and the seminar got positive media attention.
We were also noted in the media, for example this article:
“Women on the move for peace” / Donegal Democrat, 21.9.2017