Rotaract Scheveningen, 5 May 2020
On Tuesday 5 May 2020, day marking 75 years of peace since the end of the Second World War in The Netherlands, the Rotaract Scheveningen organised its first webinar on Peace. Forty Rotaract members and guests gathered virtually to discuss the importance of peace in the context of the 1990s Balkan wars and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The discussion started with Ms Leila Prnjavorac’s personal account of the Bosnian war (1992-1995) which she experienced as a young girl who grew up in former Yugoslavia. Ms Prnjavorac shared with us her memory of the war and of her escape with her family to The Netherlands, country chosen for its tolerance, which led her to become a Freedom ambassador advocating for peace.
After hearing this moving and inspiring testimony, the audience listened to Mr Nenad Golcevsk, who worked for several years at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and now at its residual mechanism, the MICT, in the Public Information Office. Mr Golcevsk described how the ICTY’s work contributed to fighting impunity, deterring the perpetuation of war crimes, and granting a space for witnesses to tell their stories and ‘complete their mission’ by contributing to justice. Mr Golcevsk further explained the need for justice to reach peace and later normalisation among communities.
Finally, another crucial aspect of peace building was described by Ms Ingrid Rollema from the Hope Foundation who dedicated her life to arts and the impact they can have on reducing violence and inter-ethnical conflicts. Ms Rollema initiated children living in the Gaza Strip to arts as a way to develop and express themselves. By painting themselves and scenes of their life or by performing dances in ruined cities, they hope to make their voice heard by the rest of the world.
The Rotaract Scheveningen would like to thank all the participants who joined this Peace Webinar and contributed with their questions to such a fruitful discussion. We would also like to thank Ms Nora Stehouwer-Van Iersel for moderating the event with energy and passion, and our three speakers who inspired us with their experiences and ideas. If you would like to follow their work, click on the following links:
- Ms Prnjavorac’s website: http://www.leila.nl/
- The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY): https://www.icty.org/en/about
- The UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT): https://www.irmct.org/en/about
- Ms Rollema’s latest initiative: https://www.beehomeacademy.com/about/