Prague, Czechia—The Czech UPF chapter commemorated the International Day of Peace by convening a public panel discussion.
Three distinguished panelists accepted the invitation to participate in the discussion on October 13, 2022 at the Peace Embassy: Professor Dr. Harald Christian Scheu from the Faculty of Law of Charles University; Dr. Roman Joch, director of the Civic Institute; and H.E. Daniel Herman, minister of culture of the Czech Republic (2014-2017) and at present an honorary consul of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
The moderator prepared 10 questions concerning peace. Each of the panelists had the chance to present his opinion. It was very interesting to listen to different perspectives and viewpoints on the same topic. Each panelist represented a different area of expertise in society.
The discussion was very profound, and the participants learned many new things and heard quality information.
The panel discussion started with a single question: What does peace mean for you?
Professor Scheu, who is a lawyer, said that peace is a fundamental principle of the international community. The UN plays an important role in this respect. Unfortunately, peace is legally unenforceable.
Dr. Joch mentioned that the United Nations intervenes usually after a conflict is over, appearing as a peacekeeping factor.
H.E. Herman pointed out that it is important to remind people about peace, though it is difficult to achieve this goal. We need to remind ourselves of the ideal of reaching peace because it is not an illusion, he said.
The next question was: What is the cause of conflicts? Are there only economic, territorial or political reasons, or are there some psychological or spiritual reasons in play?
H.E. Herman said that psychological or spiritual factors play the most important role in conflicts. If we have peace within ourselves, so-called inner peace, we do not need conflict. Unfortunately, people have an attachment to sin, and then conflicts emerge.
Dr. Joch mentioned the Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, who said that war is a policy with other means. According to Dr. Joch, the main factors that cause a conflict are fear, some interest to achieve something, and the feeling that we lose our face and dignity and therefore we need to fight.
Professor Scheu mentioned that there are many international organizations dealing with the prevention of conflicts. However, there is an erosion of the international order. The first victim of war is truth itself, which is the cause of the conflict and not the consequence.
The next questions focused on the topics:
If you want peace, prepare for war (the Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu)
Peace through strength (Ronald Reagan)
Peace or justice
How to solve conflicts?
The panel discussion was very intense, useful and instructive. The 17 participants appreciated the format, which gave them an opportunity to hear more opinions on the same topic, and they applauded the panelists enthusiastically.