By Thomas Ansell
On February 2 more than 150 figures from the world of Peace & Justice came together at The Hague Humanity Hub for an evening of networking and finding new opportunities for collaboration.
Perhaps the largest announcement of the night came from Mayor Jan van Zanen of The Hague, who drew attention to the revealing that afternoon that a war crimes investigation centre looking into the war in Ukraine will be opened in The Hague by the European Union (working with Eurojust). The announcement drew applause from the room as acknowledgment of the size of the step towards delivering some justice following the invasion. Mayor van Zanen also spoke on the importance of the history of the city; having now been the ‘City of Peace & Justice’ for over 125 years, and the importance of maintaining a connection between the industry and the public, for example through Just Peace.
The City of The Hague was also represented by Wethouder Marielle Vavier, who’s portfolio of responsibilities includes the International Peace & Justice organisations, and who gave a closing address to attendees.
The evening included speeches from Deputy Prosecutor Mame Mandiaye Niang of the International Criminal Court, who spoke on the support that the ICC appreciates from the city of The Hague, and the importance of maintaining links with civil society organisations in the city. Deputy Prosecutor Niang also made mention of the need to continue to show the work of the court to the public to maintain support for its mandate, and drew attention to the fact that this year is the 25th anniversary of the Rome Statute; looking forward to its celebration both in The Hague and across the world.
Jill Wilkinson, the Director of The Hague Humanity Hub, welcomed guests and noted the journey that the organisation been upon since opening 5 years ago, highlighting the depth, breadth and diversity of the Peace & Justice ecosystem and re-stating The Hague Humanity Hub’s commitment to supporting connection and collaboration across sectors to help bring innovative approaches to challenges.
Host Connor Satterly led the room in a warm-up exercise using a Mentimeter, asking what attendees specialism and working area were, as well as what they are looking forward to in 2023. Highlights of the exercise included responses to the prompt ‘What is the main benefit your organisation has experienced from operating in The Hague?’, with answers including ‘the network of peace & justice’, ‘community’, and ‘research-practice exchange’.
The event was hugely well received by attendees, and The Hague Humanity Hub team looks forward to facilitating more connections and idea-sharing at the next Peace & Justice Café, to be held in April 2023 around the theme of climate.