Peace is a process

Metal crosses crafted in Liberia from cartridge shells following the country's civil war. Photo: Nikos Kosmidis/WCC

Highschool students are searching their path through an exhibition titled "Peace takes a different way“. They stop in front of a mannequin representing a black woman dressed in white. They are reading on a roll-up about the struggle of Liberian women for peace.

Suddenly a girl shouts amazed: „They went on sex-strike!“ Then the students watch on a media screen a video interview with Leymah Gbowee: „...because of women like us, I believe that in the end, tyranny will never succeed, and goodness will always vanquish evil. Although I may not see it in my lifetime, peace will overcome. I believe, I know, that if you have unshakable faith in yourself, in your sisters and in the possibility of change, you can do almost anything.“

The students are impressed by the nonviolent power of the Liberian women against civil war, dictatorship and rape of women, men and children, and against the recruitment of husbands by various warlords in Liberia. The youth get into a discussion about solidarity, courage, civil disobedience and interreligious dialogue and partnership.

The exhibition "Peace takes a different way“ introduces visitors to nonviolent solutions for conflicts in or between states. The peace struggle of Liberia’s “women in white” is one successful example of civil peacemaking.

Another exciting figure in the exhibition is the mannequin of a Russian colonel: On 26 September 1983, Stanislaw Petrow had to take a quick but weighty decision, as he received the alert about a US attack with intercontinental missiles on the USSR. He correctly considered it to be a false alarm. That way, he prevented the Cold War suddenly turning into a nuclear war.

His personal responsibility, his decision of conscience is impressive for young visitors of the exhibition. The older ones remember the Cold War times and the deep need for nonviolent instruments for a policy of peace: confidence, diplomacy, reliable agreements, treaties and multilateral conferences, and organisations like the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The message of the exhibition: Peace is possible. Peace doesn’t need weapons, wars and more armament. Peace will come by trust, solidarity, by courage to take notice of injustice and violence.

Step by step, peace is a path, a process. People as well as states are able to implement peace in laws and regulations.

The pilgrimage of justice and peace, to which the WCC invited its member churches in 2013, witnesses a transforming power at work in all examples shown in the exhibition: violence and structures of injustice or oppression can be overcome by just peace for human beings and societies through courage, solidarity, faith.

Highlights from this interactive exhibition will be on display at the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, from Wednesday, 3 April 2019 through Friday, 3 May 2019.

About the author :

Rev. Sabine Müller-Langsdorf is an ordained pastor in the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN), and serves the joint Ecumenical Centre of the EKHN and the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck (EKKW) as officer for peace issues.

She is the main contact for EKHN and EKKW members and congregations with regard to the pilgrimage of justice and peace, and also represents the church on various national forums dedicated to peace issues.


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.