About the Livia foundation and the Livia awards
“If violence is the last resort then we ought to give some attention to the second to last resort.” M.K. Gandhi
The Livia foundation was brought into the world to make visible the courageous and non-violent approach to conflicts in societies, which are being practiced every day everywhere on this planet, but even so often overlooked by the media. The world is full of conflicts, which need to be managed with reason. The Livia foundation aims to show the public that it is possible – in Denmark as well as the surrounding world.
The name Livia refers to the olive twig, which is an ancient sign of peace and reconciliation. It is also a sign of hope: when The Flood was at an end, it was a dove, which carried a sprig of olive leaves back to Noah at the arch.
The Livia foundation looks for and publicises forceful examples of competent and alternative conflict solution. This is done in order to show the surrounding world that conflicts can be managed inventively rather than to give as good as one gets. The Livia foundation supports projects and individuals who manage to turn conflicts into new opportunities, even in bleak times.
It takes place among other things at the presentation of the Livia awards. The candidates for the Livia prizes are put forward in an open, international nomination process, whereupon the board of the Livia foundation elects the recipients.
The prizes are awarded spirited individuals, who pioneers new processes in conflicts and approach those peacefully and creatively by:
- encouraging communication between opponents and adversaries
- keeping in touch with the opponent and insisting on dialogue and negotiation
- noticing an escalation early on and go to great lengths to ensure a détente
- creating watersheds in escalated conflicts
- fighting for ones conviction without the use of violence
- supporting all parties after a given conflict to ensure a cordial cohabitation and the potential for a reconciliation
- organising a concrete strategy for conflicts in local societies.
The works of the Livia foundation are based on the voluntary efforts from many people, you can see the board here.
The vision of the Livia foundation is to create – through the Livia awards – reverberations and hope throughout Denmark and internationally. Thousands of people should get involved with finding inspiring examples, which show that we – as a human race – are taking well thought out and audacious steps towards a world where we can live in greater amity with one another.
Recipients of the LIVIA AWARD 2016
It is with pride and humility that the LIVIA Foundation presents the three award recipients. They all create hope. And they are all doing something unique for a future in which people can live in dignity and safety.
From South Sudan: The award for William Ongoro is given for acting bravely and wisely in the painful and violent conflicts of South Sudan. For bringing the contending parties together for contact, dialogue and mediation, and for bridging the gap with great personal risks. For intervening in the focus of dangerous situations. We also acknowledge the well thought and creative measures used by William Ongoro to raise public awareness of constructive conflict resolution and peace building. We congratulate William Ongoro and his co-workers for having contributed to reconciling conflicting communities and uniting former enemies under very difficult circumstances.
Global Network for Women Peacebuilders. The GNWP promotes something very important to the prevention of violent escalation and to peacebuilding, namely women’s participation in peace negotiations and peacebuilding. Only when women’s voices and perspectives are heard, a peace
agreement can lead to genuine co-existence and reconciliation. Therefore the UNSCR resolution 1325 is of immense importance, but only if it is implemented. Here GNWP is doing a very efficient work at the UN, and especially with the focus at national and local levels, translating international policies of women, peace and security into positive, realistic actions in the local communities, where people who have suffered in wars are hoping for a secure and dignified future. GNWP’s contributions I Colombia and South Sudan are strongly appreciated.
The Trampoline House, Denmark. The work and life of the Trampoline House – a great drop-in center in Copenhagen – addresses a politicized conflict area in Denmark, namely our relation to refugees and immigrants. The Trampoline House acts locally and equally, creates inclusion, counteracts an escalating dehumanization, powerlessness and hostility. The center works for community and contact with Danish citizens, friendships and understanding of each other’s values and norms. All conflicts are solved together; all rules decided together – a safe space for experiments.
The festive award ceremony
We celebrate the three award recipients with music, thought-provoking narratives, and strong pictures. We are looking forward to listening to their stories of how to act with courage and reflection in a violent and troubled time.
The award ceremony takes place May 25th 2019
In 2014 the recipients of the Livia awards were:
Mobaderoon, Syria, receives a Livia prize for building bridge in a situation of war and for working in non-violent and brave ways to create human contact and bond. Amidst the tragic civil war the network of Mobaderoon aims to promote peaceful coexistence through dialogue. Mobaderoon engages thousands of social activists and drive a network for 52 local, Syrian organizations. Members develop their own activities and initiatives as for example Peace Ambassadors, Social Leadership and Active Citizens. The young leaders are catalysts for change in their local societies. For more information, see here.
Bydelsmødrene Denmark, builds bridge between ethnic groups in Denmark. Bydelsmødrene consists of local women that create hope and change other women’s life. They strengthen other women’s belief in changing their lifes and solve the conflicts they face. Bydelsmødrene mitigate potential conflicts and misunderstandings between the Danish society and women with linguistic or social barriers. Fore more information, see here
In 2012 the recipients of the Livia awards were:
Jakob Johannsen and Somali Fair Fishing. A Danish-Somali project, whose purpose is to make possible for young Somali people to choose the fishing business over piracy. Jakob Johannsen is the man behind the idea, and it was also he who took the lead and followed it through. Somalis Fair Fishing implements one of the strongest and most beautiful concepts of an amicable answer to a conflict: To get to the root of a problem, think creatively and implement new solutions instead of fighting fire with fire or give in. Read more about Somalia Fair Fishing here.
Parents Circle – The Family’s Forum, a Palestinian-Israeli organization by the surviving relatives of the conflict who are working together towards reconciliation and an amicable settlement. They do so with persistence and creativity, in spite of scepticism and resistance from both sides in the conflict. They have all endured the loss of a close family member because of the conflict. Each of them could have chosen to carry on the spiral of violence, seeing as they do have reason to thirst for revenge, but they chose to take the step of the courageous; to meet the enemy and trying jointly to break the vicious circle. Read more about the Parents Circle here.
Ramazan Tas and “From Vandalism to Networking”, a project initiated by Lejerbo to create network, good collaboration and solutions to conflicts between the residents in the apartment buildings. Among other things, by educating dispute arbiters among both the employees and the young residents. Ramazan Tas is one of the fireballs in the project and the principal organiser in the conflict effort.
In 2010 the recipients of the Livia awards were:
Leymah Gbowee from Liberia for her efforts to organise Christian and Islamic women towards an efficient, courageous, inventive and non-violent battle with the crippling civil war and the dictatorship of Charles Taylor. Leymah Gbowee were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year. Read more about Leymah Gbowee here.
Norwegian Steinar Bryns and the Nansen Network unrelenting and firm work for reconciliation in the most traumatic area in Europe since the Second World War, the erstwhile Yugoslavia. As practically everybody else had forgotten the 90’s wars in the Balkan Peninsula, the Nansen Network went on with their act of performing a respectful aid towards a firm reconciliation in the villages in the Balkan Peninsula. Read more about the Nansen Network here.
Greve Fire Cadets. Prior to 2009, Greve was continuously battered from intentionally set fires and harassment towards the firemen by a group of youths. Instead of adapting an attitude of punishment, the commune offered the youths at fault an education to become fire cadets and thereby being able to help fire fighting. It was a success: today only a few fires are being set intentionally and the firemen are no longer being harassed.
The association “We Want To Live Here Together” at Nørrebro for taking back the streets and offering resistance to the gang violence through their presence at the places where shootings had found place, with festive events, flowers and music. They erected a statue created by the artist Bjørn Nørgaard at a square in the heart of Nørrebro. The sculpture depicts a large heart forged out of handguns, which were handed over to the police by gang members given a safe conduct.
In 2009 the recipients of the Livia awards were:
Combatants for Peace. Combatants for Peace is a group of Palestinians and Israelis who used to take an active part in the cycle of violence in the region. Now, they work together to create peace on the basis of non-violence principles. They primarily work at the street level in the two communities where they encourage people to take joint Israeli-Palestinian action against the violence. They believe that the conflict cannot be resolved on the basis of military means for both parties. Read more about Combatants for Peace here.
Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen. The former head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service was awarded the Livia prize for his involvement in the strategy of “conciliatory gesture” – to keep contact with the opponent, even when it seems impossible, and insist on negotiation and dialogue.
The K-team in Høje-Taastrup Community. A prime example of interdisciplinary conflict management in a community. The K-team is educated to provide guidance and to mediate in issues concerning generation conflicts, forced marriages and arranged marriages.