Since it’s inauguration in Geneva in 2010, the Making Peace photo exhibition – considered one of the largest photo exhibits of its kind ever produced – has been shown in 12 major cities, including in a Rio de Janeiro subway station during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
What impact can an exhibition such as Making Peace have on the public? The number of visitors to the exhibition since its inception has been more than 1.2 million people. But an audience drawn to the intriguing narratives in the photographs and to photography as a discipline, isn’t enough. Understanding how and why the project has an impact on our target audience of young people from age 12 to 24, is key to its success.
The Making Peace exhibition tries to portray the key elements that are necessary to create sustainable peace, while paying tribute to the people across the planet who devote their time, energy and resources to its cause. Many of these people and organizations have influenced the course of the 20th century.
Here are 13 powerful images for World Refugee Day 2019, that give some insight into the issues, and the people, who are dealing with this crisis.
A child soldier hands in his weapon to Moroccan United Nations soldiers and registers as part of the Demobilization program organized by MONUC (United Nations Peace Keeping Mission to the Congo). Children participating in conflict deny them an education and perpetuate the cycle of poverty. This (and the violence) can result in the movement of people across the world — in search of a better life. Photograph: Roger Lemoyne. Children in school uniform pose in front of a poster promoting peace and disarmament. Social stability needs to be actively promoted by authorities. An unhappy community will start to roam, adding to migration and refugee numbers. Sierra Leone. Photograph: Teun Voeten. Young North African boys gaze across the narrow stretch of water separating them from Spain, a well-known route for “illegal aliens” hoping to better their prospects in Europe. Morocco. Establishing strong, local economies in countries with social problems will stop people looking for decent work elsewhere. Photograph: Olivier Jobard. A sign warning motorists to beware of humans crossing the road is seen on Interstate 5, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, considered one of the busiest points of entry into the United States. San Ysidro, California. Photograph: Hector Mata. Chinese workers have lunch at a construction site in Shanghai. According to the World Bank China’s rapid economic and social development has lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty. It’s also drawing increasing numbers to cities, which creates its own set of problems. Photograph: Philippe Lopez. Activists of ATTAC (Association for Taxation of financial Transactions and for Action by Citizens) with a model of the earth. Attached on a chain are the logos of banks which were involved in the worldwide banking crisis in 2009. Berlin, Germany. Corruption, money laundering and illicit transactions by those in developed countries also contribute to the overall health of world economies. Illegal or unethical transactions by developed countries may perpetuate the poverty of others, leading to the flight of citizens. Photograph: Stefan Boness. Thanks to the “One Laptop per Child” (OLPC) project, children at a school in Rwanda were able to learn to use a computer for the first time. Founded in In 2002 by Professor Nicholas Negroponte from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), OLPC aims to provide each child in a developing country with a computer. Creating entrepreneurs and an educated workforce in poverty-stricken countries is one way of stimulating local economies and building longterm wealth. Photograph: Sven Torfinn. Backyard swimming pools, Will County, Chicago vicinity, USA. Wealthy countries consume far more natural resources than poor countries. This consumption results in more CO2 being released into the atmosphere, that contributes to global warming and the creation of more extreme weather around the world. When people living in areas of extreme heat, drought or flooding face even more extreme weather, they become environmental refugees. Photograph: Terry Evans. A young girl waits for private water vendors to open the tap in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Managing local resources successfully and fairly can prevent communities seeking basic necessities elsewhere. Photograph: Amit Dave. People gather to get water during a drought from a huge well in the village of Natwarghad in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Shrinking natural resources are a key cause of much migration and refugee movement. Photograph: Marco Longari. Vandana Shiva is an Indian scientist, philosopher and environmental activist. Shiva participated in the Chipko movement against deforestation during the 1970s, and is now a leader in the “alter-globalization” movement. Shiva argues for a sustainable agriculture system, based on an eco-feminist approach. She has also assisted grassroots campaigns against genetic engineering. Recognizing the economic importance of women can create stability in regions of poverty and help prevent conflicts that result in refugees. Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana. Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez is a Costa Rican politician who has twice been President of his country. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end civil wars. He is known for his active role in the Esquipulas Accords: A plan to promote democracy and peace in Central America. Arias has been outstanding among government leaders in his critique of excessive levels of military spending and the evils of the arms trade. War and violence is the biggest cause of refugees. Photograph: Micheline Pelletier. Professor Muhammad Yunus (1940 – ) Bangladeshi banker and economist. He previously was a professor of economics where he developed the concept of microcredit. These loans are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Yunus is also the founder of Grameen (village) Bank. Creative ways of stimulating community wealth, however small, can have a big effect on the happiness and wellbeing of communities in impoverished countries. Photograph: Micheline Pelletier.