The year 2021 has been one of unprecedented change and disruption. From the continued COVID-19 pandemic – which has affected every sphere and sector of society – to protests for justice and equality, governmental elections and more, we have seen the ever-increasing need for peacebuilding practice. Within the Platform itself, many changes and staff transitions took place during the first quarter of 2021. Most notably, the former Executive Coordinator, Achim Wennmann, began transitioning out of his role, while Rainer Gude progressively replaced him. Rainer began working for the Platform on 1 February on a 20% basis; as of 1 March this percentage had increased to 40%, with an additional increase to 80% for the second half of the year. Moreover, the former Geneva Peace Week Focal Point, Claudia Seymour, also left the Platform at the end of December 2020 to focus on her research and teaching.
The core team consisting of Annika Erickson-Pearson, Community Manager, Danson Gichini, Project Lead for Geneva Peace Week and Kathryn Gichini, Events and Administration Manager, also changed. Kathryn Gichini went on an early maternity leave in April and left the Platform in September. Since her position was shared with the CCDP, a decision was made not to replace her until October. After that, Maëlys Glück started as the Events and Administration Manager at 40%. However, despite the staff transitions and the challenges of working with the uncertainties of COVID-19, the team handled this transition year quite well. In 2022, Dr. Annyssa Bellal replaces Rainer Gude as the Platform’s Executive Coordinator, meaning the GPP will continue to undergo a transition period and will need to continue taking the necessary time to reflect on the strategic positioning of GPP in the rapidly changing landscape of peacebuilding.
For the Platform, the usual yearly activities of in-person meetings and convenings also had to keep COVID-19 into account, most of them continuing in a hybrid format where possible. Despite the disruptions and the resulting adaptation, GPP achieved important results: