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Capturing Hearts and Minds: Media and Arts for Peace

Media and the creative arts hold immense power to fuel hate and violence, but it also holds the power to be a means of preventing violent conflict.

From 7-9 May, the GCSP attended and contributed to the 2018 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development organised by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On 8 May, GCSP’s Media and Arts for Peace (MAP) Initiative co-organised a session with the Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria titled ‘Capturing Hearts and Minds: Media and Arts for Peace.’ The session explored the effective and unconventional ways in which media and arts professionals operate in insecure and politicised environments to build peace by shaping mind-sets and behaviour. The discussion focused on the role of media and the arts in violence prevention in Syria and South Africa – including monitoring and evaluation of such approaches – ending with an open discussion. 

The roundtable discussion was moderated by Ms. Lindsey Doyle, Head of Strategic Development for GCSP’s Media and Arts for Peace Initiative. The contributors to the discussion included:

  • Mr. Hani Abbas, Award-winning Syrian Cartoonist, Swissinfo
  • Ms. Hedda Krausz Sjögren, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria
  • Ms. Heba Aly, Director, IRIN News
  • Mr. Iyad Kallas, Programming Director, SouriaLi Radio
  • Mr. Jack Farell, Project Manager, Design, Monitoring and Evaluation (DME) for Peace, Search for Common Ground
  • Mr. Mike van Graan, Playwright
  • Ms. Ottilia Anna Maunganidze, Head of Special Projects, Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
  • Ms. Redi Tlhabi, Journalist, Producer and Talk Show Host, South Africa

The Stockholm Forum was an opportunity to confront the politics of peace by assessing how difference policies, processes and tools can be used to overcome political obstacles to building and sustain peace in complex environments. It built on the High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace and the conclusions of the recent UN and World Bank report, Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict. Over these three days, international organisation and government bodies from around the world participated in impactful, insightful and forward-thinking approaches towards sustainable peace.



The Media and Arts for Peace Initiative, created by Ms Honey Al-Sayed, will advance ways to connect peace, human rights, security, media and arts in an environment where we can reflect on new, more creative and innovative ways of dealing with the issues the world is facing.