Westphalian Peace Conference 2023

Westphalian Peace Conference 2023

Münster sends out a clear signal of peace

Successful premiere: The Wirtschaftliche Gesellschaft für Westfalen und Lippe e. V. (WWL) hosted the first Westphalian Peace Conference in Münster on September 15, 2023. Renowned politicians, entrepreneurs and experts discussed ways to achieve lasting peace in the historic town hall. They concluded their deliberations by adopting a declaration ("Signal of Münster"), which states, among other things: "Lasting peace is only possible through dialog. Only through a willingness to talk can conflicts be resolved in the long term."

WWL Chairman Dr. Reinhard Zinkann, who welcomed the approximately 350 invited guests in the town hall festival hall, emphasized: "This Westphalian Peace Conference is not only timely, it is timely and it is also a historical obligation. 375 years after the Peace of Westphalia in Münster and Osnabrück, the geopolitical order has come apart at the seams. "

In his opening speech, Federal Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius said that the Peace of Westphalia continues to inspire him, not only as a minister, but also as a native of Osnabrück. With regard to the "war on our doorstep", he assured the audience that peace was "the greatest and most ardent wish of most people in the world". Ukraine deserves our unreserved support. "It is always right to believe in peace and it is always necessary to fight for it", concluded Pistorius.

Direct words of thanks came from Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kiev, who was greeted with special applause. "We cannot survive without your support," he said. He was referring to both political and economic support. "We Ukrainians want to be part of your European family," Klitschko affirmed. Ukraine was a peaceful country that had never attacked anyone. Today, it has no choice but to defend itself.

In three discussion panels, moderated by Dunja Hayali and Dr. Wulf Schmiese, experts addressed the various aspects of peace in the world. Elmar Brok, former Member of the European Parliament, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ischinger, former head of the Munich Security Conference, Dr. Othmar Karas, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, Dr. Margarete Klein, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, and the two former Federal Ministers Ronald Pofalla and Peer Steinbrück discussed Europe's role in the world in 2030.

Ahmed Alattar, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Germany, Luigi Di Maio, European Union Representative for the Gulf Region, Prof. Peter Neumann, King's College London, and the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó spoke about the importance of sustainable peace in the Middle East for global peace.

The third panel focused on the question "What role do entrepreneurs play in peaceful societies?" This was discussed by Andreas Engelhardt, Managing Partner of Schüco International, Arndt Kirchhoff, Chairman of Unternehmer NRW, Christian Kullmann, CEO of Evonik Industries AG, NRW Minister of Economic Affairs Mona Neubaur and WWL Chairman Dr. Reinhard Zinkann.

NRW Minister President Hendrik Wüst also took the opportunity to attend the premiere of the Peace Conference. He described it as a "great idea" to come together at the site of the Peace of Westphalia to discuss peace. The WFK was a perfect fit for North Rhine-Westphalia and even better for Münster. The Minister President expressed his "heartfelt thanks for this great initiative".

375 years after the Peace of Westphalia, international politicians joined entrepreneurs and political scientists in Münster's historic town hall to discuss the global consequences of Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine. The conference looked beyond the borders of Europe and also discussed the conflicts in the Middle East and the Gulf region as well as the flashpoints in Africa and the resulting consequences for the world and Europe in particular.

Just over a month before the peace conference, Dr. Reinhard Zinkann and Armin Laschet explained the concept of the new event to the press in Düsseldorf. "In this tense and challenging situation, Westphalian and Lippe entrepreneurs, with their close connection to the historic peace treaty of 1648, felt they had to do something," said Dr. Zinkann. "Our family-run companies are not unaffected when people are suddenly drawn into armed conflicts. We are also very concerned that political conflicts have a direct impact on the global economy."

Conference chair Armin Laschet said: "Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine calls into question the rule-based coexistence of peoples and reveals profound conflicts between globally competing conceptions of the system.

The representatives of a liberal community of states based on internationally agreed rules are called upon to once again promote our model, which is based on the integrity of state borders and the peaceful settlement of conflicts of interest. The foundations for modern international law were laid in Münster in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. It is therefore exactly right that the WWL is now convening the Westphalian Peace Conference." Business and politics must work together to find ways to achieve peaceful coexistence, in Europe and globally.