An audience with the King to open the 2nd World Forum on Urban Violence

  • Out of the 2700 registered attendees, 700 come from foreign countries and 1000, from different regions in Spain.
  • Ouided Bouchamaoui, Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2015, will talk about the challenge faced by women in the Arab world to make progress and be part of peacebuilding processes in hostile environments. In addition, international experiences will be discussed like ‘Bájale al acoso’, an app to report sexual harassment in public transport in Quito, Ecuador, with recognition from the World Bank.
  • The experiences selected from Spain include Proactiva Open Arms, Dragones de Lavapiés, Atlas Madrid (a map of inequality in the Spanish capital), Challenging Racist Clichés, and an interview with Raúl Sánchez, who was assaulted at a veterans football match and is now a quadriplegic.
  • A side event with the participation of Miguel Ángel Moratinos and Teresa Ribera, Minister for the Ecological Transition, will focus on funding the fight against climate change.
  • The Forum will come to a close on Thursday 8 November, with a women’s panel discussing the ways to build cities for peace.

On the morning of Tuesday 30 October, Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid, and Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Director-General of UNESCO from 1987 to 1999 and President of Fundación Cultura de Paz, introduced the 2nd World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace at Matadero Madrid. The Forum will kick off on Monday 5 at 11am with an audience with the King of Spain at the Zarzuela Palace for a delegation headed by Ms Carmena and including representatives of the organisations in the International Organising Committee.

From Monday to Thursday next week, Madrid will be reaffirming its vocation as a city of peace in this Forum – an international event with 2700 registered attendees, including 700 international visitors and about 1000 from different Spanish regions. Registration closes today, but you can still get your accreditation at the entrance to Matadero Madrid on Paseo de la Chopera. Admission is free.

Following the audience with the King, there will be an opening ceremony (at 3pm) to be attended by the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska; Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid; Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona; Gabriela Firea, Mayor of Bucharest; the Mayor of Palencia and Vice-President of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP); José Graziano da Silva, Director-General at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former Director-General of UNESCO and President of Fundación Cultura de Paz; Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau, President of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); Patrick Keuleers, Director and Chief of Profession of the Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding Cluster in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support in UNDP; and Ouided Bouchamaoui, Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2015.

The Forum will come to a close on Thursday 8 November with a women’s roundtable discussion on how to build cities for peace. Speakers include the Mayors of Madrid, Barcelona, Logroño, Bucharest, Rosario (Argentina), Surabaya (Indonesia), Bangangté (Cameroon) and Astrakhan (Russia), along with the EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, the Head of Women Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), the Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, and the President of the Association of Bolivian Municipalities.

In the words of Ms Carmena, the World Forum on Urban Violence seeks to understand the roots of violence: ‘We need to develop comprehensive, cross-cutting policies to fight all forms of urban violence at the local, community and national level. It is only then that we will be able to achieve our ultimate goal, which is saving lives. By reflecting on urban violence, we are laying the foundations of peaceful coexistence and, in so doing, we are saving lives.’ This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) will be part of the Forum: ‘The World Health Organization is the only international organisation that is concerned with the loss of lives. There are many organisations that talk about security and prevention, but how many of them are really concerned with the absurd loss of individuals in the hands of other individuals? Only the WHO. It is only natural, for there is nothing that threats the health of the population as severely as this. Now, we would like this to be a general concern with both local and national organisations. We would like to have systematic programmes against violence.’

At the presentation, Federico Mayor Zaragoza highlighted the urgent need for this kind of events: ‘Our current plight should make us reflect. We are going back to situations from the past. Supremacist beliefs can kill. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that the Aryan and Jewish races were incompatible. Then Mussolini and Emperor Hirohito reinforced the idea of the superiority of the Aryan race. And we already know how this kind of ideas wind up. Supremacist beliefs have resurfaced, in the United States, in Hungary… So this Forum is more relevant than ever, now that so many people in Europe and the world wonder if you can find a democratic solution to the global situation.’

Panels and self-organised workshops

The Forum will comprise twelve panels, moderated by reputed journalists, discussing the various forms of urban violence: in sports, in social media, against women, children or the elderly, international terrorism, LGBT-phobia, inequality in cities and public spaces, youth violence, aporophobia (poverty and social exclusion), and other topics like interfaith dialogue and corruption… In addition, the opening and closing ceremonies will also be hosted by journalists. The journalists who will be part of the Forum are Hilario Pino, Susanna Griso, Montserrat Domínguez, Marta Nebot, Ana Pastor, Helena Diez-Fuentes, Marta Reyero, Gemma Nierga, Sonia Sánchez, José Manuel Vidal, Juan Luis Cano, Paloma del Río, and Puri Beltrán.

In addition to the panels, there will be 96 self-organised workshops and 30 side meetings managed by international or social organisations, political institutions and individuals.

Learning from others

The 1st World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace brought attention to experiences to prevent, fight and eradicate urban violence at the global level. In its 2nd edition, the Forum will also focus on this kind of initiatives around the globe. Dialogue and mediation, prevention and education for peace, art and culture for social transformation, mobile apps and territorial diagnosis are some of the interpersonal and political endeavours launched in a variety of cities and countries. On the whole, as many as 145 speakers will share their ideas at the panels and the opening and closing ceremonies, sharing over 45 experiences.

International experiences at the Forum include those presented by Nobel Prize laureate Ouided Bouchamaoui, who will talk about the challenge faced by women in the Arab world to make progress and be part of peacebuilding processes in difficult environments, or María Fernanda Pacheco, introducing ‘Bájale al acoso’, an app to report sexual harassment in public transport in Quito, Ecuador, with recognition from the World Bank. Among speakers from Spain there will be Raúl Sánchez, a quadriplegic as a result of an assault at a veterans football match who promotes a change in attitudes and values in sporting competitions.

Madrid has its own set of experiences for peaceful coexistence. There is, for instance, Dragones de Lavapiés, a football club in the traditional district of Lavapiés whose players have 35 different nationalities. (It has recently added women’s teams.) Or there is Atlas Madrid, a project whose purpose is to map the initiatives by groups of people who work together to build a city that is liveable, sustainable, inclusive and open to participation, developed by a team of members from Federación Regional de Asociaciones Vecinales de Madrid (FRAVM), Intermediae Matadero, Zuloark + Lys Villalba, Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas (VIC), Paisaje Transversal, Sodeste and Todo por la Praxis. The NGO Proactiva Open Arms will also be present to talk about its search for and rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean.

Keynote speakers

The Forum’s panel speakers include city mayors, heads of town council departments, experts, and representatives of international organisations, NGDOs and associations.

For instance, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, and Teresa Ribera, Minister for the Ecological Transition, will be part of a side event focusing on funding the fight against climate change.

Doris Sommer (Harvard University) will talk about education for peace in Colombia, while Monika Kosinska (WHO) will discuss the health approach to interpersonal violence to improve prevention of urban violence. Carlos Mario Yory García (Pontifical Xavierian University, Bogota) will share his views on integrated development and sustainability based on attachment to the land, and Lizbeth Rosas Montero (Mexican Deputy for PRD) will address impunity in politics.

Local authorities at the Forum will represent the cities of Valencia, Bilbao, Seville, Málaga, Córdoba, Valladolid, San Sebastián, Santander, Soria, Huelva, Ciudad Real, Las Palmas, Palencia, Granollers, Mieres, Torrelodones and Elche in Spain; San José de Costa Rica, Tegucigalpa, Asunción, Rosario and Córdoba in Latin America; Bucharest, Strasbourg and Montpellier in Europe; Moroccan, Cameroonian and Mozambican towns in Africa; Bethlehem and Ramallah in the Middle East; and Turkish, Bangladeshi and Iranian towns in Asia.

The academia will be represented by sociologist and mathematician Johan Galtung (Norway) and by Liv Tørres, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, among others. There will be artists, too, like British pianist James Rhodes, and representatives of international organisations such as FAO, UN-Habitat, UN Women, WHO or SEGIB, religious authorities like Carlos Osoro, Archbishop of Madrid; Carlos López-Lozano, Anglican bishop; Victor Kordochkin, member of the Russian Orthodox Church in Spain; or Ryaj Tatary Bakry, Imam of the mosque in Tetuán, and agents of civil society, Spanish and local organisations (e.g. FEMP, FRAVM, NGDO network in Madrid).

The Forum will also become the framework for two major international events focusing on local governance: the World Council of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG, the world’s largest organisation for cities, local and regional governments, and municipal associations) and the Ibero-American Forum of Local Governments, gathering the authorities of more than 20 cities in the region.

Finally, the Forum will offer concerts of traditional music from Spain, Africa and South America in contemporary versions, and socially engaged documentaries on the topics discussed at the panels.