Is conflict part of the human condition?

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When we think about conflict we may think of recent wars, genocide and social unrest in places like Syria, Iraq, Rwanda...or other distant countries and geopolitical situations far from occidental reach. But after brief reflection, you realize that conflict is not a one-dimensional distant phenomenon and that it has and does occur right next to us, in every community, city, and nation around the world. And though the type of conflict we may experience day-to-day is far from an active war zone, new threats are constantly emerging, and without the proper tools and strategies to confront them, our sense of peace remains fragile. Much more fragile than you think.

The global fight against terrorism, increasing cybersecurity concerns challenging notions of individual privacy and existing democracies, threats of nuclear warfare, social unrest and political awakeness most recently marked by hashtags #metoo, the #giletsjaunes or even more silent sources of conflict- like the one literally affecting us all - Climate Change.

Yes, conflict is all around us. One way or another. 

In fact, there have been more than 80 pronounced wars and armed conflicts since 2003 and countless other incidents of violence and social unrest.

So where are the solutions? are there just not any? Are these problems too complex? Are we as humans just always destined for conflict and instability?

These are questions I asked some members of the Paris Talks team last year after our first conference, which ultimately guided us to the theme of this year’s edition: the future of conflict.

We - Paris Talks - choose to believe there is a solution to the conflict and we called on experts to prove it. Sure the solutions may be as complex as the problems themselves. But they could also be simple and already exist.

I was excited that we had 14 speakers and working group facilitators that took us from where we were in all areas of conflict to where we can be. Where we need to be for a sustainable future. 

The backdrop of this year’s talks at UNESCO headquarters only highlighted the fact that institutions and nations around the world have already chosen to believe in the same truth - that a solution does exist and that they are willing to pursue by all means necessary to achieve it. 

This year, Paris Talks is happy to assist the institutions and nations of the world by presenting and debating new ideas, and drafting new recommendations with the people this topic most crucially concerns global citizens like you.

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