Smart Peace Prize

Les menaces foisonnent, les défis grandissent. Au sein d’un monde en proie à de fortes tensions internationales et aux multiples crises qui menacent la Paix et les équilibres internationaux, nous opposons farouchement notre émotion mais nous mobilisons peu notre raison rendant ainsi faible notre capacité d’anticipation. Ainsi il nous est apparu que la source de tout sursaut était la prise de conscience par les opinions publiques de la gravité de notre situation car la conscience de la guerre est le préalable de l’esprit de Paix.

Cette prise de conscience serait d’autant plus efficace si elle se faisait dès le plus jeune âge. La pédagogie de la Paix à destination des plus jeunes pourrait ancrer des réflexes de tolérance et de respect qui viendraient conditionner de façon positive les comportements des futurs adultes et prévenir des attitudes violentes.

Intégrer l’éducation à la Paix comme un enseignement de base est essentiel pour changer les mentalités et faire des générations futures des générations plus pacifistes et concernées par la stabilité du monde.

A cet effet, notre organisation a décidé la création du Smart Peace Prize pour l’éducation à la Paix dans la petite enfance. Cette initiative prime chaque année un programme pédagogique sensibilisant les plus jeunes (à partir de 3 ans) à la culture de la Paix, du dialogue et du respect de l’autre.

Smart Peace Prize 2019

Smart Peace Prize 2020

Smart Peace Prize 2021

Smart Peace Prize 2022

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Quai d'Orsay, May 14, 2019


Dear Prime Minister, Dear Jean-Pierre Raffarin,

Madam President of the Fondation Chirac,

Mr. President of the Cartier Foundation,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Fondation Cartier and the Fondation Chirac for their involvement in peace, an ideal that increasingly eludes us in the world in which we live.

I am happy, Mr. Raffarin, to participate in this "Peace Laboratory". (I think we can say that in French, can't we?).

Everything I am about to say, most of you already know. I see many familiar faces, personalities I have known in the context of the search for peace, both in my former capacity as Foreign Minister and through my participation in various forums. Friends with whom I have worked, whether at the Munich Security Council or at the Abu Dhabi Forum. As a student in the United States, I was involved for a long time with Ambassador Swanee Hunt in Women waging peace. I am also a member of the Tana Foundation in Ethiopia on security. So it's a subject I can't escape. Fortunately, by the way!

I am now Secretary General of La Francophonie: 88 member states and governments, many of which, especially our countries of the South, are in great need of peace. The search for and the establishment of a sustainable peace, of healthy political and social spaces, is part of the mandate of La Francophonie. So I am really at the heart of this subject. Once again, thank you very much for having associated me with this discussion on "Women and Peace".

The search for peace is a subject that I have addressed in theory and in practice. I come from a country, Rwanda, where women are at the center of peace. Twenty-five years ago, this country was destroyed. Today, it is full of hope and ambition, and it is moving towards prosperity. I must tell you, and I have witnessed it, that Rwanda has risen up in large part because of women. That is why 61% of the members of parliament are women, why 50% of the Council of Ministers are women, why many women are present at a very high level in the private and business sector. But above all, what warms my heart, and this does not only concern Rwanda but the whole of my continent, Africa, is that women act daily for peace in all our villages, in all our hills, often at the risk of their own lives. These are women who will never have the opportunity to speak to an assembly as illustrious as this one today and I want to pay tribute to them. Their husbands, their sons, their neighbors are out there fighting, but they are the ones who take the hits, and then understand the role they have to play in rebuilding society. These are practices that I have seen and experienced.

I have also participated in many round tables on peace and I am firmly convinced, Mr. Prime Minister, that women are transformers of societies. Countries and nations must understand that beyond policies, texts and quotas, the active and real involvement of women is the best way to achieve peace.

My first mission as Rwanda's Minister of Foreign Affairs was to find a solution to the border conflict with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I was mandated to discuss the return of the hostages of the genocidal groups, men, women and children. It is not impossible that some of these people were involved in the massacre of my own family. Lasting peace is costly: it is not only a matter of treaties, but above all, of effort, of conscience, of reaching out and of sacrifice. I know very well, dear Chirac Prize winner, Colombo and the Tamil conflict. The women of Sri Lanka that I have met are strong, solidly committed women!

This is the same perspective that I intend to focus on as Secretary General of La Francophonie: going to the field, seeing exactly what is happening. We have to make sure that all international work ensures that women have a place at the table. We must also make sure that women's networks have a regional dimension because today's conflicts are cross-border: without peace in our neighboring countries, there will be no peace in our own countries.

I represent the Francophone space today. Many of us know that the work of the Security Council, which I followed closely when Rwanda was a non-permanent member in 2013-2014, concerns Africa in particular. I think it is right that the "Leaders for Peace" have chosen this year to highlight the crisis in the Sahel, whose epicenter is located in five of our member countries with important repercussions in several others. When we talk about peace in the Sahel, we are not talking about a single country. Women's networking is essential to create a sustainable peace space that is not limited to country borders.

Once we have ensured that women are present around the table, we who are here, Mr. Prime Minister, Madam President of the Fondation Chirac, must advocate so that their proposals are not considered incidental to the peace discussions. We must make this plea at the national and multilateral levels, in order to convince all actors of the importance of supporting women in peace processes.

It goes without saying that women are the main victims of conflicts. But I would love it if women were not seen only in the role of victim. This is practically the only role that the press recognizes for them: we talk every day about women and children victims... It is very important not to always show women as victims. It is very important not to always show women as victims. Women are victims, but they are also, and above all, actors of peace and change.

I love to tell a story of life and reality that took place three or four years after the genocide in my country 25 years ago. It was a very difficult time, with incursions of genocidal forces returning to Rwanda from the neighboring DRC. The women in the north of the country had decided that they were going to denounce to the police and the army their sons who, during the day, were hiding in their homes and, at night, were carrying out murderous attacks. As a group, they went to the authorities to denounce their own children, preferring to see them in prison than dead. The action of these women saved the country and probably avoided a war between the two countries. These women were finally the great actors of peace in this very complex region. Their children, often young, often manipulated, later benefited from an amnesty and were mostly released. It is difficult for a mother to denounce her children. The whole nation was grateful to them: the women chose peace, not for themselves or their families, but for their country. It is a beautiful story.

At La Francophonie, where I have been in office for four months, we are already very involved in actions for peace. We will be very involved in the Sahel region. The laureate spoke to us about the dramas in Sri Lanka. In the Sahel region - and this is a subject that speaks to us today in Paris - there are tragedies almost every day in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Benin, all of which are Member States of our Organization. This is a priority region for us.

We take part in international discussions in Geneva, New York, Brussels..., and our message is always the same: "Make sure that women from the field participate in the discussions and are listened to. Women will tell you where to act".

I am convinced that all women have their place in the continuum of peace. This is the reality of today's world: women have an important role to play in the prevention and perpetuation of peace. Peace education is fundamental and must begin in the home.

I really like the idea of a "peace laboratory", because there is still a lot to do, to experiment with a subject for which there is no definite formula. I therefore propose that you share with us the proposals that will come out of today's six round tables. We can in turn take them into account and disseminate them in the French-speaking world. The good practices that you will have shared can enrich our actions.

La Francophonie remains a very important ally of this "Laboratory" and of the noble actions you are carrying out. I say this to you personally, as well as on behalf of the OIF and the Francophone space.

Thank you.