We are pleased to present the Annual Report 2018. You can find below the preface written by Hannes Swoboda, President of the International Institute for Peace and Stephanie Fenkart, Director of the Institute.
Hannes Swoboda, President
There was a time when one could - with some optimism - hope that institutes for peace could be reduced and would finally disappear because of peace all around the world. But this was an illusion. Not only did many old conflicts not disappear but new conflicts arose or are looming behind the corner. The IIP had to step up its activities to put the focus on some important conflicts. Thanks to the great efforts of our director Stephanie Fenkart and some very active interns the IIP could deliver a really strong program with many presentations, discussions and even art exhibitions.
Peace is a very comprehensive concept and therefore also our activities are very comprehensive from analysis to the discussions of conflict resolution strategies and to art as an "instrument" to raise conflict awareness and offer visions of hope.
The IIP will continue to offer ideas of how to treat the "illnesses" of nationalism and extremism. Even if these tendencies grew stronger and stronger inside Europe and in our neighborhood we want to offer alternatives. The European exercise to develop post-national policies and international relations shows what is possible even if some forces fight against this new way of creating international understanding and peace. In the global scene the big powers from US to Russia and China are expressing predominantly national interests. The new international order has to only serve their narrow and short-term national interest. In the Middle East there is still no hope of peace and stability. On the contrary a new war may even follow in Iran. In the Balkans no war is threatening the fragile stability, but a strengthening of nationalism is preventing the necessary progress towards democratic reforms and integration into the EU.
Yes, there are some positive signs. President Trump met the North Korean leader a second time. In East Africa peace and stability got a new chance due to domestic changes in Ethiopia. But the positive changes are rare in comparison to the negative developments. The IIP will also in the present year continue to follow the main issues in the fields of conflicts, wars and peace. Not only our excellent staff but also our Vice-president Angela Kane and Prof. Heinz Gärtner are contributing enormously to the new and strengthened profile of the IIP. I want to thank them, but also our many partners in new outside Austria.
P.S. Our newly designed web site www.iipvienna.com is proof of the many and interesting activities which we had in the past year and will have in the coming months.
Stephanie Fenkart, Director
The annual report of activities of the International Institute for Peace (IIP) is a documentation of the manifold activities the IIP has set in 2018. In 2018 we organized, co-organized and/or participated in more than 55 events, workshops, lectures, field trips and summer schools.
Peace is an inter- and transdisciplinary matter and needs to be tackled from various angles and with different means. It is a global rather than a regional topic and can be seen as a process of increasing justice along with decreasing violence. Peace is not only the absence of war. It is more.
Next to our traditional focus on non-proliferation, transnational security and conflict resolution we also focus on the evolvement of societies, the handling with the past and reconciliation, alternative perspectives for good and fair cooperation and new security threats like e.g robotic wars or other forms of asymmetric warfare. We furthermore try to analyze migration in a different context, not seeing it as a genuine security threat but rather to understand the context, its motives and its impact on societies and politics in the sending and in the host countries.
Art is a mean to include people and to raise awareness to topics with different means as political work is often perceived to be sometimes too stiff. We therefore had several exhibitions dealing with actual political and social developments like the war in Eastern Ukraine and the questions of IDPs, Iran in the International system and the JCPOA, but also with migration, climate change and the need for peace movements.
Expert meetings, workshops and learning journeys are complementary to our public events. The background information we gather there is an important tool for our work and summer schools are part of our educational programs where we try to give young experts the possibility to discuss in a foreign country with people from other regions and therefore to open up horizons for different opinions.
Intergroup, intragroup and inner dialogue initiatives which should operate in a safe space could be one element of opening up parts of the societies and therefore level the ground for reciprocal understanding, which is the essence of a dialogue between equals. It is not about taking over the others argument, but the effort to understand the motives, accept them and then look for alternatives or even compromises. The IIP is committed to play a role towards the development of just and peaceful societies and therefore will be focused in the future on actual threats and how they can be overcome.
I would like to sincerely thank our president, Hannes Swoboda, our vice-president Angela Kane and Heinz Gärtner, who is a member of our advisory board. I also would like to take the opportunity to thank all our board members but my special thanks goes to our interns who have been doing a great job in organizing, administering and monitoring our activities throughout the year. Thanks to Malte, Eva, Marlene, Malte, Maro, Lea and Marylia.