The knowledge hub for better peacebuilding

Public event

Geneva Peace Week 2020 Closing Ceremony


Geneva Peace Week 2020
Opening Ceremony

Monday 2 November, 15:00-17:00
Streamed online

This session is organized by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform and will be streamed live, on the GPW homepage:

The final day of Geneva Peace Week 2020, held on the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, will be devoted to innovations, conversations, and solutions in environmental peacebuilding. A combined 45 institutions will host, curate, and facilitate conversations and sessions both live and in contributions to our pre-recorded Geneva Peace Week 2020 digital series. The day will culminate in a closing ceremony, held online in the afternoon (CET) on 6 November.

A major stop on the Environmental Peacebuilding Association’s Road to Geneva, an international series of events leading up to the Second International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding, the 6th of November will offer an opportunity to highlight environmental peacebuilding to key stakeholders in the Geneva and international community, including representatives from permanent missions, journalists, environmental peacebuilding practitioners, researchers, and many more.

The vision for the closing ceremony includes a mix of media, including live interviews and discussions, pre-recorded videos, and audience participation through online chat features. The ceremony will range from Geneva to the international levels and feature global thought leaders, technical experts, and peacebuilders in their own communities. The closing ceremony aims to focus the conversation on impact and policy, pushing the collective community of practice towards what comes next.

Speakers include:


Moderator: Carl Bruch Director of International Programs at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) , the founding President of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association (EnPAx)

Carl Bruch is the Director of International Programs at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and the founding President of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association (EnPAx). His work focuses on environmental peacebuilding (especially after conflict), environmental governance, adaptation, and environmental emergencies. He has helped dozens of countries— including in many conflict-affected countries—throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe strengthen their environmental laws, institutions, and practices. He has edited more than ten books and authored more than 80 journal articles, book chapters, and reports. He is an adjunct professor at American University School of International Service.


Speaker: Inger Andersen Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme

Inger Andersen is Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Between 2015 and 2019, Ms. Andersen was the Director-General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Ms. Andersen has more than 30 years of experience in international development economics, environmental sustainability, strategy and operations. She has led work on a range of issues including agriculture, environmental management, biodiversity conservation, climate change, infrastructure, energy, transport, and water resources management and hydro-diplomacy.


Speaker: Nazhat Shameem Khan Permanent Representative of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations in Geneva

Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan is the Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN in Geneva. She is a former prosecutor, a former Director of Public Prosecutions of Fiji and the first woman High Court Judge in Fiji. She has been the PR of Fiji in Geneva since 2014, and in 2017, was Chief Negotiator under Fiji’s Presidency of the UNFCCC COP.


Speaker: Hani Abbas Cartoonist, proposed by UNESCO

Hani Abbas is a prolific, world-renowned cartoonist who was born in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, Syria. Abbas creates visceral, provocative cartoons that have been featured in numerous international news outlets including Al Jazeera, Al-Wahda Newspaper (UAE), Oman Newspaper, Geroun Media Network (Qatar), Hebdo Magazine (Switzerland), SwissInfo, and Roman Magazine.

Abbas, drawing from the heart, has a keen sense of how to put a human face on issues as difficult as war, oppression, and loss, and as a result, his cartoons resonate around the world. In 2012, threatened by the Syrian intelligence services because of his drawings, Abbas was forced to leave Syria for Lebanon; today, he continues drawing and publishing from Switzerland. In May 2014, the late UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Geneva Mayor Guillaume Barazzone awarded Abbas with one of the highest international recognitions in cartooning, the Editorial Cartoon International Prize (Prix International du Dessin de Presse).



Speaker: Irene Ojuok Climate resilience and land restoration specialist

Ms Irene Ojuok is a PhD Student at the University of Bonn and a former Environment and Climate Change Advisor with World Vision Kenya. She was responsible for mainstreaming environment and climate change across the organization and with other partners, providing technical oversight and programming into the design of projects within Livelihoods and Resilience, WASH and other sectors, integrating sustainable natural resource management into resilience building. Irene is passionate about gender mainstreaming and community driven approaches, notably Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration for which she has been honoured locally and globally.

Irene Ojuok holds a degree in Environmental Studies (Resource Management) from Kenyatta University and is about to commence doctoral research in land restoration in Kenya at the University of Bonn.



Speaker: Darlene Sanderson Assistant Professor with the School of Nursing , Thompson Rivers University (TRU)

Darlene Sanderson is of Cree ancestry from Manitoba (Churchill, Norway House) and a mother of two adult children. She is currently an Assistant Professor with the School of Nursing (SoN) at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, BC. She completed her PhD at Simon Fraser University in Interdisciplinary Studies; her MA in Child and Youth Care at UVic; and her BScN at the University of Alberta. She worked as a cardiac nurse for 17 years and have since worked with Indigenous peoples locally and globally on water, climate change, and health issues. Her doctoral work focused on Indigenous elderly teachings of the spiritual dimensions of water and the connections between health, education, law and the environment. She learned teachings from her Cree, Nuu-Chah-Nulth and Maori Elders from Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Her current scholarship explores the nexus between water, climate change and health among Indigenous peoples at the local and international levels. In particular, it focuses on Indigenous solutions to water and climate change, their implementation to improve health outcomes among Indigenous peoples, and the role nurses can play in the facilitation of self-determination in health. One of Darlene Sanderson’s recent research projects enabled her to work in collaboration with interdisciplinary scientists from three universities to bring together Indigenous-led research with western science to address critical water, climate change, and health issues. Another led to the development of a Water Guardians project, which engaged youth in emancipatory action towards water and health and resulted in the creation of knowledge translation tools that included two films and a written water declaration. In British Columbia, Darlene Sanderson worked closely with urban and rural Indigenous communities to co-design ten solution-focused workshops on water protection in order to create enhanced awareness and education.

As an active participant at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Darlene Sanderson worked with approximately 40 Indigenous organizations and caucuses on water and climate change issues; and coordinated several interventions and side events on the protection of water. Additionally, at the World Water Fora, she has presented and coordinated Indigenous sessions related to water: water protection, human rights, water and climate change, and water and health. In 2018, Darlene was invited to be an Indigenous focal point for the Civil Society Process for the World Water Forum in Brazil. Her local and global involvements have reflected her passion for the implementation of Indigenous values and practices, relationship building, and collaboration for improving the health and well-being of water and of all people, plants and animals.



Speaker: Nadim Farajalla Director of the Climate Change and the Environment Program, the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs

Dr. Farajalla started out his graduate academic studies in irrigation engineering attaining an MS from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, USA and then an MS and a PhD in environmental engineering from the University of Oklahoma, USA. He worked in the private sector first as a senior scientist at Stone Environmental, Inc., Montpelier, Vermont, USA and then at Dar al-Handasah (Shair and partners), Beirut, Lebanon as a Senior Environmental Engineer on projects which focused on water resources and associated infrastructure; environmental impact studies and management plans, hydrological studies and erosion assessment and mitigation. Dr. Farajalla founded and headed the Land, Water and Environment Department at the consulting firm SETS sarl with projects in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, and Oman. 

Currently, he is the director of the Climate Change and the Environment Program at the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs. His current research focuses on the impact of climate change on human settlements and activities through extreme events of flooding and droughts; impact of climate change on security; the nexus of water-energy-food and climate change with focus on adaptation and resilience; and recovery of devastated land due to anthropogenic activities such as wars, farming, quarrying, etc.


Speaker: Vadim Sokolov Head of Agency for projects implementation , the International Fund for the Aral Sea Saving

Civil Engineer in Hydro Construction graduated in 1981 from Tashkent Institute of Engineers of Irrigation, PhD (Candidate of Science) in Hydrology. Head of Agency for projects implementation of the International Fund for the Aral Sea Saving, located in Uzbekistan. Active member of IWRA. Board member of the Asia Water Council.


Speaker: Alvaro Umaña Former Minister of Energy and Environment of Costa Rica, OAS

Alvaro Umaña was Costa Rica's first Minister of Energy and Environment with president Oscar Arias (1986-1990). He holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering and Science and Masters in Economics from Stanford University and was Vice-Chair of the High Level Panel on Water and Peace. He has written extensively on environmental policy and climate change and he has been Ambassador for Climate Change for COP1 and COP15. He presently works as part of the Hub for the Americas of the Global Observatory on Water and Peace, a collaboration between the Geneva Water Hub and the Organization for American States (OAS).


Speaker: Claudia Seymour Senior Researcher, Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding

Dr. Claudia Seymour is an applied social researcher with 20 years of experience, working primarily in conflict-affected environments. Her research specializations include youth, child protection, resilience to armed violence, youth migration, and young people’s engagement with violence and peace. She has extensive experience working with the United Nations and as a research consultant for a range of international NGOs and think tanks, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

She is a trainer in protection and human rights and a lecturer and convenor in MA courses on the political economy of violence and conflict management. Her current research project, ‘Balancing on the margins: young people’s pathways to engaging with/transforming violence,’ is a comparative interdisciplinary inquiry into how young people cope with and make sense of violence, drawing on mixed methods including ethnography, narratives, and the practice of yoga and pranayama. She is the author of The Myth of International Protection: War and Survival in Congo, published by the University of California Press in 2019.


Speaker: Annika Erickson-Pearson Community Manager & GPW Team, Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

Annika Erickson-Pearson is a facilitator, event manager and researcher, currently managing the environmental peacebuilding portfolio at the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. Annika is an experienced community organizer, political advocate and event manager, working with nearly a dozen NGOs over the past eight years, including the Conference on World Affairs, Represent.Us, Run for Something, and the Global Campaign for Education. She recently completed her Master's degree at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva where her research focused on gang desistance policies in the U.S.


Speaker: Juan Mayr Maldonado former Environment Minister for Colombia

Juan Mayr Maldonado, former Environment Minister for Colombia, has dedicated his life to the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity as the mainstay for cultural diversity, sustainable livelihoods and good governance. A professional photographer, he immersed himself in environmental issues and protecting the ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, on Colombia’s northern coast, in the 1970s.

His experience in both government and non-government sectors includes key roles such as Colombian Minister for the Environment (1998-2002) and IUCN Vice-President (1993-96). He has presided over major conferences and negotiations on environment and sustainable development, including sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Biosafety Protocol negotiations. As a member of the National Conciliation Commission and advisor to the UNDP (Colombia), he has consistently promoted ecological and social justice as core elements for a sustainable path towards peace and reconciliation. He recently served as Colombian Ambassador to Germany (2011-2016), and is a member of the negotiating team between the Colombian government and the country’s ELN rebel group (Ejercito de Liberación Nacional).


Speaker: Lea Perekrests Deputy Director of Operations, Europe & MENA, Institute for Economics & Peace

Ms. Perekrests is the Deputy Director of Operations for Europe & MENA at the Institute for Economics and Peace in Brussels. She is responsible for managing operations, outreach, and partnerships. With a master’s degree in International Conflict and Security from the University of Kent, she has expertise in the security and foreign policy analysis field. Professionally, Lea has a background as a human rights investigator and policy advising; with expertise in EU law and human rights in China. She also has experience developing university-level curriculum and is a fellow of the Belgian Inclusive Leaders Network and a member of the international development committee of the World Humanitarian Forum. Lea is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and studied International Relations at Connecticut College (USA).


Speaker: Johanna Lissinger Peitz Ambassador, Government Offices of Sweden, Ministry the Environment

Ambassador Lissinger Peitz is recently appointed to lead the work within the Swedish Government offices on preparations from a high-level meeting in the commemoration of the first UN conference on the human environment that took place in Stockholm in 1972. Before that she has been the Lead negotiator for Sweden and EU in the UN Climate Change process and earlier on in the field of chemicals and waste. She was the EU lead negotiator on climate finance in the period after Paris and leading up to Katowice. She has also had roles as COP president for the 7th Conference of the Parties for the Stockholm Convention and for the third ministerial meeting on integrated chemicals policy (ICCM3). Her last assignment was at the Swedish Mission to the UN in New York leading the work together with India on the Industry transition track ahead of the Climate Summit in September 2019.

Ambassador Lissinger holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Management and Policy from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University in Sweden from 2000 and an M.Sc. in Biology at Lund University from 1999.