An exhibition for Peace

The fruit of a project started in 2004, Hands of Peace intends to provide contemporary testimony for the generations of tomorrow on the actors of peace in the 21st century.

Through a gallery of 30 silver portraits of known or anonymous people, the exhibition pays tribute to these people committed to a better world in order to make their voices heard and show the multiple paths of peace today in different parts of the world (India, Latin America, Bhutan, France, USA, Somalia, Burundi, Ecuadorian Amazonia, Democratic Republic of Congo…).

Séverine Desmarest, professional photographer, reminds each of these future citizens of the world that peace is a commitment of men and women, a daily struggle that comes to life in action and tenacity.

Many personalities have enthusiastically accepted to participate in this project; Stéphane Hessel, Denis Mukwege Nobel Peace Prize 2018, Sharon Stone, Raoni Metuktire, Barbara Hendricks…

UNESCO is an official partner of the Hands for Peace. Since the beginning of the project, UNESCO has supported the Hands of Peace, which fully carries the spirit of its peace education actions.

Black and white photography of Maissa
Maissa (Senegal)

The objectives of the exhibition

  • Restore a constructive meaning to the term of Peace. Hands of Peace must be a new impetus and encouragement for all those who act or want to act every day.
  • Show what are the different paths of peace to build peace in the 21st century:
    • Sustainable development
    • The fight against poverty
    • The equality of chances
    • Child protection
    • Help for women
    • Conflict prevention
  • Raise awareness among young people, especially adolescents (13 – 17 years old) to become actors of the new humanism.
  • Encouraging this awareness among young people constitutes for UNESCO a real stake for a more just society, convinced that each of us can become a craftsman of tomorrow.
Black and white photography of Barbara Hendricks
Barbara Hendricks (USA)
Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation

UNESCO, official partner

“Wars begin in the minds of men and women ; and that it is in the minds of men and women that the defenses of peace must be built.”

Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO

Since its founding in 1946, UNESCO has contributed to building peace. Every day, UNESCO accompanies and supports multiple initiatives working in this direction.

UNESCO has become convinced that its greatest victory will undoubtedly be the realization by everyone that we can be actors of peace. UNESCO has become convinced that its greatest victory will undoubtedly be everyone’s awareness that we can be agents of peace. With these forty portraits of known or anonymous people, UNESCO intends to draw everyone’s attention to the extraordinary success of international initiatives for peace.

La Rochelle 2018 exhibition poster with Sharon stone
Sharon Stone (USA)
“Peace Summit Award” 2013 for its action in favor of the fight against AIDS

A traveling exhibition and publication of a beautiful book

Since the beginning of the project, UNESCO has supported the Hands of Peace, which fully carries the spirit of its peace education actions. Exhibited for the first time in November 2017 on the UNESCO gates in Paris during the 39th UNESCO General Conference, the photographs have since been exhibited at the United Nations Office in Geneva, at the Lausanne cathedral, at the Cannes Film Festival, at the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud …

The publication of a beautiful book in both French and English versions is planned by Flammarion editions, a historic publishing house founded in 1875 which is the leading publisher of fine books in France. Member of the Colbert Committee, they have acquired a reputation for excellence in the field of fine books exploring the fine arts sector, particularly photography.

Black and white photography of Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Chad)
Fulani ethnic group, protection of the environment and protection of human rights and indigenous peoples

Themes and personalities of the Hands of Peace

Dialogue between peoples

  • Stephane Hessel, France – Diplomat, Co-drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Man, activist for peace and dignity.
  • Barbara Hendricks, Sweden/USA – Honorary Lifetime Ambassador of the High Commission for refugees, Founder of the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation
  • Henri Borlant, France – Doctor, Holocaust survivor, member of the Association Testimonies for memory and Foundation for the memory of the Deportation
  • Lakhdar Brahimi, Algeria – Diplomat, International Mediator for the UN in the Syrian conflict, Special Jury Prize from the Chirac Foundation for Conflict Prevention
  • Giuseppina Nicolini, Italy – Mayor of Lampedusa from 2012 to 2017, UNESCO Félix-Houpouhët-Boigny Prize for the Search for Peace 2017

Child protection

  • Sharon Stone, USA – Actress and producer, 2013 Peace Summit Prize for her commitment in favor of the fight against AIDS
  • Forest Whitetaker, USA – Actor and director, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation since 2011, Founder of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative
  • Marie De la Soudière, France – Humanitarian, Founder of Thread of Hope for Economic Advancement for the reintegration of child victims of war
  • Marguerite Barankitsé, Burundi UNHCR Nansen Medal for helping displaced people 2005, activist and creator of Maison Shalom for helping children
  • Claudia Cabral, Brésil – Founder of Terra dos Homens to help street children or those experiencing family breakdown
  • Estella de Carlotto, Argentine – activist and president of the Grandmothers of the Place de Mayo, an association to find children stolen during the Argentine dictatorship

Support for women

  • Sharon Stone, USA – Actress and producer, 2013 Peace Summit Prize for her commitment in favor of the fight against AIDS
  • Dzongsar Khyentse, Bhoutan – Lotus Outreach International, helping abused women and children
  • Asha Hagi Helmi, SomalieAlternative Nobel Prize winner, activist against female genital mutilation
  • Tawakkol karman, YémenNobel Peace Prize 2011, Founder of the group Women journalists without chains
  • Docteur Denis Mukwege, République Démocratique du Congo UN Human Rights Prize 2008, Sakharov Prize 2014, Nobel Peace Prize 2018, gynecologist and activist against female genital mutilation

Fight against poverty

  • Xavier Emmanuelli, France – Founder of SAMU Social, Co-founder of Médecins sans frontières, Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor 2020
  • Père Pedro Opeka, Argentine – Founder of the Akamasoa association in Madagascar to restore human dignity to the most disadvantaged populations
  • Bibi Russel, BangladeshUNESCO Artist for Peace, Creator of Bibi Productions for the development of Bengal’s craft heritage
  • Bunker Roy, Inde – Creator of the Barefoot College for rural literacy, education and training
  • Père Ceyrac, France – Founder of Père Ceyrac Association for helping the most deprived
  • Amma Amaritanandamayi, IndiaGandhi-King Prize for non-violence 2002, Founder of the NGO Embracing The World for humanitarian and ecological purposes

Sustainable development

  • Jose Gualinga, Amazonie Équatorienne – Leader of Edge of Life, for the protection of the Ecuadorian forest and the Kichwa people of Sarayaku
  • Vandana Shiva, IndeAlternative Nobel Prize 1993, activist of Navdanya Association for biodiversity and the defense of water
  • Raoni Metuktire, Brésil – Great chief of the Kayapo people, figure in the preservation of the Amazon forest, its biodiversity and its indigenous culture
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Chad – Human and indigenous rights activist, Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award 2019 for environmental protection

Interventions in disadvantaged areas

  • Maria Aurora Carrillo Gullo, ColombieUNESCO Literacy Prize 2018, President and Director of Transformemos Foundation for education for social development and peace
  • Miguel Angel Estrella, Argentine – Pianist, founder of the NGO Musique Espérance, committed to the defense of human rights