In a period of history that is unlikely to ever be forgotten, Normandy bore witness in 1944 to a bitter struggle for freedom, giving its beaches to the Allied Forces. However, the region has recovered from this trauma, and its battle scars now exist in harmony with world-famous remembrance sites and towns that have been rebuilt on a human scale, testament to their core values of peace and freedom.

An initiative on an international scale

Séverine Frères – Normandie Tourisme

Since 1945, these values have been promoted in several major events to commemorate the region’s history. These include the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Award for war correspondents, or the equally renowned moot court competition organised by the Caen Memorial Museum.

Launched in 2017 by the Region of Normandy, “Normandy for Peace” is an ambitious international initiative that organises and promotes both international and local events advocating for freedom and peace.

A year-round programme

Through partnerships with a variety of local and international partners (NGOs, local governments, museums, educational groups, etc.), Normandy has positioned itself as a pivotal hub for enduring peace. Conferences, seminars, academic exchanges, and creative arts programmes are among the various initiatives supported under Normandy for Peace.

It recognises and supports a variety of projects and events throughout the year, whether they are aimed at the general public, educational purposes, or smaller, more intimate audiences. These initiatives emphasise our collective values of freedom and peace.

Normandie pour la Paix

Did you know?

First released in June 2019 to align with the “Normandy for Peace” World Forum hosted by the Normandy Region, the Normandy Index was conceived and created by the research department of the European Parliament and further developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

This index provides an annual, scientifically-based assessment of global conflicts on a country-by-country basis.

The next generation: the future of our world

2IDHP
Plaidoiries à Madagascar ©2IDHP

The programme places a strong emphasis on young people, serving as a genuine source of inspiration for the next generation. Events include: speeches in defence of human rights at the Caen Memorial Museum; the “University of Peace” organised by the International Institute of Human Rights and Peace, where around fifty international students come together to discuss a specific theme; educational projects in secondary schools and colleges in remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust; and the “Walk The Global Walk programme”, which promotes awareness of the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Every year, initiatives targeting high school and university students across the five departments are organised.

The Normandy Chair for Peace

The Normandy Chair for Peace was founded in June 2019, as a partnership between the Normandy Region, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Caen Normandy. Initially planned to operate for four years, the Chair unites local and international academics.

The research it conducts is dedicated to peace, environmental sustainability, and the rights of future generations, especially in the context of climate change.

The main event: the Normandy World Peace Forum

Normandie pour la Paix

The highlight of the programme is the Normandy World Peace Forum, an event that has been held since 2018 in the park adjacent to the Abbey of Sainte-Trinité (also known as the “Abbaye aux Dames”) in Caen.

Initially coinciding with the commemorations of 6 June 1944 and the Battle of Normandy, the event has in recent years been held in September. Serving as a hub for reflection, dialogue, and inspiration, the Forum gathers the general public, geopolitical experts, Nobel laureates, government officials, diplomats, scholars, NGOs, and community organisations to build lasting peace and envision the future. The Forum is organised with plenary lectures and thematic debates accessible to everyone, alongside cultural evenings and a Village for Peace. Here you can find exhibitions, partner showcases, and a variety of activities.

As part of the ‘Normandy for Peace’ programme, the Prix Liberté is awarded annually to a recipient chosen by young people from around the world.

The aim: to invite young people aged 15-25, whether from Normandy, France or another country, to nominate a person or an organisation involved in the fight for freedom. The prize is awarded each year. Young people from around the world are involved at every stage, from submitting a shortlist of candidates to the jury, to the online voting stage where they select from the three finalists, through to the prize-giving ceremony.

The Prix Liberté

Did you know?

The International Institute for Human Rights and Peace, based in Calvados, France, oversees the Prix Liberté.

The organisation aims to foster a culture of peace by promoting human rights awareness among all citizens.

 

On 21 July 2019, Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish environmental activist, received the first ever Prix Liberté in Caen, in the presence of war veteran Charles Norman Shay.

Following Greta Thunberg in 2019 and Loujain Al Hathloul in 2020, the 2021 prize was awarded to the young Afghan rapper Sonita Alizadeh for her campaign against forced marriage and for the rights of women and children.

In 2022, 7,111 young people from 41 countries voted online to determine the winner of the Prix Liberté. The Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network was selected for its advocacy on behalf of street children. These children, accused of being ‘child witches,’ face extreme discrimination in Nigeria.

The Normandy World Peace Forum – 2023 edition

The 6th edition took place on 28 and 29 September 2023, at the Abbaye aux Dames in Caen.

Last year’s theme was ‘Resistance! Bring peace back to the people’, featuring conferences, debates, workshops, and the Peace Village. It took place during a time of particularly complex international events,

but was an opportunity for all the young ambassadors present to understand and discuss the world’s conflicts and how to build peace, a value that is close to Normandy’s heart.

As in previous years, the Normandy World Peace Forum offered two days of enriching exchanges and discoveries.

The events were free and open to all, after signing up on normandiepourlapaix.fr.

There were two plenary lectures, a unique contribution from Nobel laureates, 15 debates and 10 youth workshops which tackled current issues from a variety of perspectives, in the presence of around a hundred experts.

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