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Katarina Kruhonja, board member of Documenta, spoke at the Hearing of the Committee on Women’s and Gender Equality on April 2, 2019. The title of her presentation was: “Women’s Role in Peace Processes – the specific case of Western Balkans: Building Culture of Peace – between Despair and Hope“. Her address to the European Parliament began with fundamental question of peacemaking: can nonviolence overcome violence? Referring to the wars in the former Yugoslavia, Kruhonja warned that this issue is still open. Speaking of the women she collaborated during her years of peace activism, she noted that they came from very diverse socio-cultural and activist contexts, but all together, throughout the war, they managed to find ways of collaborating, contributing to the building of values on which the democratic society and the culture of peace are based.

That is precisely why, Kruhonja emphasized, today it is necessary to find hope again in preserving the fragile environment of peace in the region. The foundation of this hope is in common global recognition of the need to build peaceful societies as a lever towards sustainable development. On the other hand, there is also one of the key experiences she has learned in her activist work: peace can be built even in the midst of the worst war conflict.

For the European future of peace it will be necessary to invest in those individuals who oppose violence, regardless of their religion, ethnicity or gender. All this can be achieved through non-violent education, empowerment of individuals, encouragement of cross-border meetings to restore trust and ultimately by providing sufficient financial resources to women who are proven builders of the culture of peace.

Please find the whole speech below.