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Annual Meeting

Geneva Peace Week 2020 Opening Ceremony


Geneva Peace Week 2020
Opening Ceremony

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


This public session is organized by the Geneva Peace Week Consortium and will be streamed live, on the GPW homepage:

The Geneva Peace Week Opening Ceremony will focus on this year's theme: Rebuilding trust after disruption: Pathways to reset international cooperation. GPW20 aims to galvanize leadership, build trust and contribute to transforming international cooperation in the wake of covid-19. This session formally opens GPW20 and launches the reflection of this exciting week with key-note speeches, discussions, video contributions, and attendee participation and engagement. 

Speakers include: 

Tatiana Valovaya Director-General, UN Geneva

Tatiana Valovaya is the 13th Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UN Geneva) and the first woman to occupy this position. Ms. Valovaya has more than 35 years of experience in public service, diplomacy and journalism. She began her career in 1983 in the editorial office of the Economic Gazette in Moscow, first as a correspondent, then as deputy editor of the Department of World Economy. In 1989, Ms. Valovaya joined the Permanent Mission of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the European union (EU), where she served as Third Secretary. She then became Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the EU, until 1994. During her diplomatic career, she was in charge of the financial and economic cooperation issues. From 1995 to 1997, Ms. Valovaya worked at the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, where she was responsible for relations with the statutory bodies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). She then served as Head of the Monetary and Financial Policy Directorate at the Ministry for the CIS. From 1999 to 2012 Ms. Valovaya worked in the Government administration of the Russian Federation as Deputy Director and then Director of the Department of International Cooperation. Ms. Valovaya joined the Eurasian Economic Commission in 2012 as a Member of the Board (Minister) responsible for integration and macro-economic issues.

In 1980, Ms. Valovaya graduated from the Faculty of International Economic Relations of the Moscow Finance Institute. She holds the scientific degree of Candidate of Economic Sciences (1st doctoral level scientific degree and the degree of Doctor of Economic Sciences from the Financial Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation).



Sami Kanaan President of the Geneva Cities Hub, Mayor of Geneva, City of Geneva

Political life:

2020 Mayor of Geneva 2020-2021; 2020 Re-elected to the Executive Council of the City of Geneva; 2018 Mayor of Geneva 2018-2019; 2016 Appointed President of the Federal Commission for Children and Youth; 2015 Elected Vice-president of the Union of Swiss Cities; 2015 Re-elected to the Executive Council of the City of Geneva; 2014 Mayor of Geneva 2014-2015; 2011 Elected to the Executive Council of the City of Geneva; 2007 – 2011 Board member of the Geneva public transport authority - TPG; 2000 – 2006 Board member of Banque cantonale de Genève – BCGE; 2003 – 2005 Co-Founder and joint president of the ProCEVA unitary committee; 2001 – 2005 Member of the Parliament of the Republic and Canton of Geneva; 1990 – 2000 Leader of the Socialist group; 1997 – 2001 Municipal Councillor for the City of Geneva; 1994 – 1998 President of City of Geneva Socialists.

Professional experience:

2005 – 2010 Deputy Director, then Director of the Department of Social Cohesion, Youth and Sport of the City of Geneva; 2000 – 2005 Associate in an independent public policy evaluation firm; 1995 – 2000 Project Manager for the European Conference of University Rectors; 1989 – 2005 Project Manager at the University and Research Society.

Community involvement:

2003 – 2007 President of the Transport and Environment Association - Geneva section; 2003 – 2008 President of the Geneva AIDS group committee; 1992 – 2002 Member of the Eaux-vives community centre management association.


Degree in Political Science, University of Geneva Degree in Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich).



Speaker: Jürg Lauber Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations and to the other international organisations in Geneva

Jürg Lauber is Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York. Before joining the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in 1993 he worked in peacekeeping missions in Namibia (UNTAG) and Korea (Panmunjom). As a diplomat he was posted in Bangkok, Bern, Beijing and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York. Between 2007 and 2009 he served as chef de cabinet to the president of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Between 2009 and 2011 he was deputy permanent representative of Switzerland to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva and permanent representative of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament. Between 2011 and 2015 he served as head of the United Nations and International Organisations Division in Bern.

Jürg Lauber has a law degree from the University of Zurich. He was born in 1963 in Horgen, Switzerland.



Speaker: Leoluca Orlando Mayor of Palermo

Leoluca Orlando is the Mayor of Palermo and the President of the Association of the Municipalities of Sicily. His extensive and remarkable political career dates back to the late 1970s, and includes membership and a break from the Christian Democratic Party; the establishment of the Movement for Democracy La Rete (“The Network”); and election to the Sicilian Regional Parliament, the Italian National Parliament, as well as the European Parliament. Struggling against organized crime, reintroducing moral issues into Italian politics, and the creation of a democratic society have been at the center of Oralando’s many initiatives. Leoluca Orlando is also a Professor of Regional Public Law at the University of Palermo. He has received many awards and rec-ognitions, and authored numerous books that are published in many languages and include: Fede e Politica (Genova: Marietti, 1992), Fighting the Mafia and Renewing Sicilian Culture (San Fran-cisco: Encounter Books, 2001), Hacia una cultura de la legalidad–La experiencia siciliana (Mexico City: Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, 2005), and Ich sollte der nächste sein (Freiburg: Herder Verlag, 2010).

To view his full bio, please click here.



Speaker: Maria Luisa Silva Director, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office in Geneva

Maria Luisa Silva is the Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva. She has over 25 years’ experience in UNDP and the UN system, most recently as UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Peru (2014-2015). From 2009-14 she served in UNEP as Executive Secretary for the Convention for Protection of the Marine Environment in the Mediterranean and its Commission on Sustainable Development. Prior to joining the United Nations, she was a consultant on European Affairs with Deloitte at their Brussels office, and taught international law at the University of Seville (Spain). Ms Silva holds a master’s degree in International and Public Law from the University of Seville and a post-graduate certificate on European Integration from the College of Europe, in Bruges (Belgium).


Speaker: Marie-Laure Salles Director, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies OR The Graduate Institute, Geneva

Marie-Laure Salles became Director of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in September 2020. Before joining the Institute, she was Dean of the School of Management and Innovation at Sciences Po Paris, a school she launched in 2016. Before that, she was Professor at ESSEC Business School, where she was also, in turn, Dean of the Faculty and Associate Dean for the PhD Programme.

With a PhD in Sociology from Harvard University and a habilitation à diriger les recherches from Dauphine University in Paris, Marie-Laure Salles was, until her arrival in Geneva, Professor at the Centre de sociologie des organisations (CSO) at Sciences Po Paris. Her research interests range from the role of social networks in the transnational diffusion of rules, practices and ideas, to the historical transformation of capitalism and national institutions, with a particular interest for the evolving nature of the social responsibility of firms and the transnational dynamics of economic governance in the context of globalisation. She has published broadly on those issues in top academic journals and books, and has received several awards, including the prestigious Max Weber Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the American Sociological Association in 2000. Marie-Laure Salles has been a visiting professor in prestigious academic institutions in the United States and Europe. She holds a PhD honoris causa from Stockholm University and was made a Knight in the Legion of Honour by the French Government in 2017.



Speaker: Paolo Petralia Camassa Deputy Mayor , Municipality of Palermo

Paolo Petralia Camassa holds a Master in International Affairs at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva (2019) and a Master degree in Law at the University of Milan (2017). He worked in San Diego, California, for the National Conflict Resolution Center in 2015 and spent three months in California and Mexico doing field work for his master’s thesis on Mexican cartels and drug trafficking in the United States. He also worked at the European Parliament in 2018 at the office of MP Caterina Chinnici of the S&D Group and at EUROJUST in The Hague at The Institutional Affairs office.

Paolo has always been involved in politics and his researches have always been focused on the phenomenon of organized crime and its social, economic and political effects on society.



Speaker: Pierre Hazan Senior Advisor, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

A former diplomatic correspondent, specialised in humanitarian action and international justice, with Libération (Paris) and Le Temps (Geneva), Pierre Hazan has been a close observer of many conflicts over the years. A Fellow at Harvard Law School (2005) and the United States Institute of Peace in Washington D.C. (2006), he has authored numerous books and publications, including: Justice in a Time of War; Judging War, Judging History – Behind Truth and Reconciliation; and La Paix contre la Justice?. He was the guest editor of The International Journal of Transitional Justice (April 2017) on the special issue “Beyond Borders: A New Regional Architecture of Transitional Justice?”.

In addition, Pierre is a member of the Law and Peace Practice Group of the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT). In recent years, he has worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also has served as an expert to the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, collaborating on the Report on Writing and Teaching of History and the Report on Memorialisation Processes. Pierre is a professor at the Academy of Journalism and Media at the University of Neuchâtel.


Moderator: 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.


Moderator: Danson Gichini Operations Coordinator (GPW), Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

Danson facilitates, coordinates, and manages the development of Geneva Peace Week (GPW), the flagship forum of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. Danson is a part of the GPW coordination team, facilitating synergies across institutions and sectors, and bringing together over 280 partner organizations to collaborate in GPW20. He is responsible for coordinating the GPW20 Opening Ceremony Committee, a collaboration between the Geneva Peace Week Consortium.
He has gained work experience in several NGOs and international organisations, focusing on migration, humanitarian affairs, and peacebuilding. Danson has recently worked for Save the Children International, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and is now based at the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. He acquired a BA in International Relations in the U.K. and later completed a Masters in International Affairs at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, majoring in Global Security.


Moderator: Achim Wennmann Executive Coordinator, Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

Achim Wennmann works across research, policy, and practitioner communities to enable critical thinking, facilitate partnerships and find solutions. He has over 20 years of experience in strategic management of complex policy and research projects and served in a variety of advisory roles for companies, foundations, international organizations, NGOs, and governments. He is co-founder of Geneva Peace Week and the Peace Talks Initiative and has facilitated numerous multi-stakeholder processes.