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Westphalian Peace Summit

International guests discuss global perspectives on peace with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee in Münster

To conclude the anniversary of “375 years of the Peace of Westphalia”, international experts from the global South and North, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Roberta Gbowee from Liberia, Indian political scientist Prof. Dr. Ummu Salma Bava from New Delhi, and the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Prof. Dan Smith, discussed current conflicts and issues of global peace at the Westphalian Peace Summit in Münster. Moderated by ARD journalist Georg Restle, the discussion also featured the head of the ZDF studio in Washington DC, Elmar Theveßen, and focused on the paths that could lead to peace when crises worldwide threaten a safe future.

The summit was part of the “ANNIVERSARY!” programme to mark the 375th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia on 24 October. The patron of the summit was former European Parliament President Prof. Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering. The event was organized by the Westphalia Initiative Foundation, the North Westphalia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster, and the City of Münster.

The summit was followed by a large open-air production on Prinzipalmarkt entitled “Longing for Peace”, which saw a visual and sound journey by light artist Michael Batz from Hamburg and an international music ensemble setting an example of hope in troubled times.

International guests discussed current conflicts and issues of global peace at the Westphalian Peace Summit in Münster
© Stadt Münster

In the run-up to the event, Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee spoke about the relevance of the Peace of Westphalia to this day: “The Peace of Westphalia is important because it teaches us the following: That violence can never solve any conflict, that in our current global order, Westphalia presents a road map for negotiations and mediation. That dialogue remains the best and most efficient tool to ending hostilities. That Peace is Possible!”

Commenting on the Cluster of Excellence’s participation in the anniversary year of the Peace of Westphalia, Cluster speaker Prof. Dr. Michael Seewald said: “For years, the Cluster has been investigating conflicts past and present, as well as strategies and symbols of peace. Faced with war in Europe and crises across the world, peace and conflict research is needed more than ever to work out the conditions for a global peace in the 21st century. The Westphalian Peace Summit allowed us once again to promote dialogue between academics and those on the international political stage and in civil society – and on an equal footing with representatives of the Global South, without whom a global system of peace is inconceivable”.

Global perspectives on peace – Video of the Westphalian Peace Summit

THE ANNIVERSARY! – A video review of all events at the culmination of the year of peace