“We are in what was, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a luxury hotel, with medieval hall features, terraces etc, overlooking Lake Geneva. Now it’s filled with some of the most disparate, but interesting people I’ve met in a long time, at the second Initiatives for Change Forum on Human Security. An important part of the philosophy here is that the participants also get involved in cooking and serving meals (I now know how to work an industrial grade cucumber slicer..) The first day I served tea with a delightfully chirpy member of Ghana’s National Peace Council. Among his many claims to fame, he was asked to appear on a cookery show on Ghanaian TV to encourage men to cook.
There is a lot of talking here about problems that (by implication) someone else should be sorting out. The most practical and action oriented people by far are two children – 12 and 13 years old. One talked about her campaign for Carbon Neutral Kids, and the other has a campaign to plant a million trees. He showed us his poster campaign ‘Stop Talking Start Planting’, which shows him putting his hand over the mouths of a number of celebs, from a Chinese pop star to the Chair of the International Panel on Climate Change. I wish I could think of something as simple and compelling for Peace Direct. Rather endearingly he explained that in the full campaign there will be lots of children featured, not just him.
One of the remarkable people here is Jemma Nunu Kumba, the only female State Governor in Sudan. Although the Lords Resistance Army are a considerable problem for her, it was a refreshing change to hear of a state, Western Equatoria, where there is no inter tribal conflict, and she is not expecting election related violence. She is, however, very concerned about how to protect the tropical forests in her state.