faculty & experts
25 November 2022

2022 Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address

For the second edition of the Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address, Elena Zhemkova, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Russian human rights organisation Memorial, which was awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, came to the Geneva Graduate Institute on 3 November to speak during this high-level lecture on peace, held every year as part of Geneva Peace Week.

Ms Zhemkova began her speech with a moment of silence, dedicated to the civilians who had lost their lives since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. In speaking about the responsibility of Memorial and other civil society organisations working toward peace, she underlined that, “We stand for the kind of peace once dreamt of by Kofi Annan: a world built on mutual understanding where the civil societies are involved in international processes, a world where human rights and democracy are strengthened everywhere, and where justice for victims is universal”. 

Memorial spent 30 years working across Russia, as well as in several other European cities, to compile a history of mass atrocities and political repression in the former USSR and to defend human rights wherever they are threatened. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Memorial grew to become the largest human rights organisation in Russia. When announcing the laureates, the Nobel Committee noted: “Memorial is based on the notion that confronting past crimes is essential in preventing new ones.”

The 2022 Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address was jointly organised by the Geneva Graduate Institute, the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform with the support of the Republic and State of Geneva, the City of Geneva, the Fondation pour Genève and the Right Livelihood.