On the International day for Peace, 21st of September, 2018, I received a prize at a Peace Symposium “Investeer in Vrede: jong en ontwapenend” – Invest in Peace: Young and Disarming. It was organized by a coalition* of Dutch peace organizations called “Peace missions without weapons” that is lobbying for civilian missions, instead of military ones.
There were three young people who received a “Peace Hero” meddal.
Tayfun Balcik, who works against polarisation and racism with The Hague Peace Projects, en maakt zich sterk tegen polarisatie en racisme, and is has helped start dialogue projects between Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian people living/born in Netherlands. The second was Daan Savert, who went several months to Northern Iraq (Kurdish area) and is an activist and theologist. And, the third one – I already mentioned it- was Nina Koevoets. For my work with Towards a Nonviolent World! And probably also my background of studies and volunteering in Palestine, and India added to this nomination.
We all reacted with surprise to the title “peace hero”, but the intention became more clear at the symposium: there are war heroes and resistance heroes, so we want to introduce peace heroes! Thereby the meddal became a political statement and encouragement for everyone to work for peace. I hope it will indeed inspire others to do this, wether they get a meddal for it or not!
* Peace Brigades International, Christian Peacemaker Team NL, Eirene NL, Vrouwen en Duurzame Vrede, Pais, and Burundian Women for Peace and Development.