Pope Francis: “Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hands off Africa”


An article from Pagina12 (translation by CPNN)

Pope Francis denounced on Tuesday “the economic colonialism” that loots the resources of Africa, shortly after arriving in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is the first leg of an African tour.”Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hands off Africa. Stop suffocating it. Africa is not a mine to be exploited or a land to be plundered”.

frame from video of Pope’s visit

“May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny,” Francis proclaimed before the authorities and the country’s diplomatic corps. In a speech at the presidential palace in Kinshasa, the Pope stated that the country’s history has been torpedoed by conflicts but also by the domination of foreign interests. “After political colonialism, an equally enslaving ‘economic colonialism’ has been unleashed. Thus, this country, abundantly pillaged, is not able to benefit sufficiently from its immense resources,” said the 86-year-old pontiff.

“The poison of greed has bloodied its diamonds. It is a drama to which the most economically advanced world often closes its eyes, ears and mouths. However, this country and this continent deserve to be respected and listened to,” added the Argentine Pope in his applauded speech.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, a huge central African country that gained independence from Belgium in 1960, has huge mineral reserves, but is one of the poorest countries on the planet.

About two-thirds of the population lives on less than $2.15 a day, according to the World Bank. Likewise, the east of the country has been devastated by armed conflicts. For this reason, Francis encouraged peace efforts, stressing that “we cannot get used to the blood that has flowed in this country for decades.”

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of the article)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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He also stressed the importance of having “free, transparent and credible elections” in a country that plans presidential elections on December 20. “We must not allow ourselves to be manipulated or bought by those who want to keep the country in violence, to exploit it and do shameful business,” Francisco added. Sitting next to him was Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, who came to power in 2018 in a highly disputed election.

Banners and chants

Joy overflowed the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, where Pope Francis arrived, who was received with banners, songs and in the midst of a strong security device.

“The Pope is here, no more useless fights. This is the support that the country was waiting for to be better served by the international community. We are happy,” Aime Mboyo, one of the hundreds of thousands of fervent Catholics and religious who rushed to receive the pontiff.

At Kinshasa’s Ndjili International Airport – where he was received by the Congolese Prime Minister, Sama Lukonde – and along Lumumba Boulevard, one of the main arteries of the city that Francis traveled in the popemobile, the faithful vibrated by waving their banners and palms. “We are a country of peace and hospitality. The Pope is at home and he can stay here if he wants to,” said Angélique Mutombo, an old woman waving a handkerchief with her hands from the Limete neighborhood in the northeast of the capital. the image of the pontiff.

In addition to the faithful, a strong security device made up of thousands of agents was activated this Tuesday in the capital. Large portraits of the Pope hung on billboards and banners with a welcoming message, such as “Welcome to our home”, were the accessories in the shower of crowds that accompanied Francis as he walked down the avenue on his way to the Palace of the Nation, where he would meet with President Tshisekedi.

“We deployed 7,500 members of the Congolese National Police to guarantee good security for this great guest in the country,” said General Sylvain Kasongo, the police officer in Kinshasa.

(Editor’s note: According to CNN , “on Friday the pope leaves Kinshasa for South Sudan’s capital, Juba, where he’ll be joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields. “This will be a historic visit,” Welby said. “After centuries of division, leaders of three different parts of (Christianity) are coming together in an unprecedented way.”)

Lula’s address to CELAC “Nothing should separate us, since everything brings us together”


An article from Peoples Dispatch (republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license)

The much awaited return of Brazil to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was celebrated during the VII Summit of the bloc on Tuesday January 24. In his opening address to the Summit, Argentine President Alberto Fernández highlighted the return of Brazil to the bloc and emphasized that “a CELAC without Brazil is a much emptier CELAC”. 

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva addresses the VII CELAC Heads of State Summit. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

Fernández received Lula on Monday January 23 at the Casa Rosada, the seat of the Argentine government, and the two leaders defended the resumption of diplomacy and cooperation between the two largest economies in South America.

Brazil left the CELAC during the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL), a measure that Lula classified as “inexplicable”.
In his speech, the Brazilian president defended points that can collaborate towards regional integration and a “peaceful world order”, such as the potential to participate in the energy transition of Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Read the full speech of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva below:

Dear friend Alberto Fernández, President of Argentina, President pro tempore of CELAC and world football champion, who fraternally welcomes us in Buenos Aires,

Dear fellow heads of state and government of the countries that make up our region, and our friends who are present,

As fate would have it, Comrade Alberto Fernández, my first activity outside the country in this new mandate was in Argentina, and for a Summit meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations.

In my first speech after the election results, I stated that Brazil was returning to the world. Nothing could be more natural than to start this path of return through CELAC.

Throughout the successive Brazilian governments since the re-democratization, we have worked hard and with a sense of mission towards regional integration and the consolidation of a peaceful region, based on relations marked by dialogue and cooperation. The unfortunate exception was the recent years when my predecessor took the inexplicable decision to withdraw Brazil from CELAC.

During my first two mandates, I was dedicated, along with so many that I see gathered here today around this table, to the task of building a Latin America based on bonds of trust.

It is with great joy and very special satisfaction that Brazil is back in the region and ready to work side by side with all of you, with a very strong sense of solidarity and proximity.

Today I renew, with emotion, the spirit that animated us in 2008, when we hosted in Costa do Sauípe, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, the first Latin American and Caribbean Summit, which three years later would evolve into the format of this Community.

That meeting had a historical meaning that is still very current. Because it was the first time that the heads of state and government of Latin America and the Caribbean came together, without any foreign tutelage, to discuss our problems and seek our own solutions to the challenges we share.

This spirit – of solidarity, dialogue, and cooperation – in a region of the size and importance of Latin America and the Caribbean could not be more current and necessary.

The world is going through a time of multiple crises: pandemics, climate change, natural disasters, geopolitical tensions, pressures on food and energy security, threats to representative democracy as a form of political and social organization. All this against an unacceptable backdrop of increasing inequality, poverty, and hunger.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have stood up for Brazil and for the Brazilian institutions over the last few days in repudiation of the anti-democratic acts that took place in Brasilia. It is important to emphasize that we are a peaceful region that repudiates extremism, terrorism, and political violence.

Most of these challenges, as we know, are global in nature, and require collective responses. We do not want to import into the region particular rivalries and problems. On the contrary, we want to be part of the solutions to the challenges that belong to all.

CELAC has advanced and collaborated in this recent period to prove the importance and the potential of this mechanism. I was very pleased to learn how much has been built during the recent presidencies of Mexico and Argentina, which coincided with one of the most difficult international periods.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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CELAC acted promptly during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the constitution of a plan to strengthen the production capacities of vaccines and medicines.

CELAC did not shy away from the challenges of food security, energy security, and climate change.

I am convinced that, with a pragmatic sense and based on collaboration with specialized organizations and agencies, such as FAO, WHO, and ECLAC, among many others, we have much to contribute to each of these issues.

In the area of energy, we have very special capacities to participate, in an advantageous way, in the global energy transition. We have diversified energy matrices and potential for growth in renewable and clean energies.

In addition to this, our territories are home to some of the main biomes; we have strategic natural resources, such as critical minerals; we preserve a significant portion of the planet’s biodiversity; and we are a powerhouse in aquifer resources, key to the future of humanity.

At the COP27, in Egypt, I announced that Brazil will soon convene a Summit of Amazon Countries. The cooperation that comes from outside our region is very welcome, but it is the countries that are part of these biomes that should sovereignly lead the initiatives to take care of the Amazon. That is why it is critical that we value our Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization – ACTO.

Brazil recently presented the candidacy of Belém do Pará to host the COP-30 in 2025. The support we are receiving from the CELAC countries is indispensable for us to show the rest of the world the richness of our biodiversity, the potential for sustainable development and green economy, and, of course, the importance of preserving the environment and fighting climate change.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There is a clear contribution to be made by the region to the construction of a peaceful world order, based on dialogue, the strengthening of multilateralism and the collective construction of multipolarity.

We consider essential the development and deepening of dialogues with extra regional partners such as the European Union, China, India, ASIAN and, especially, the African Union.

My friends

The various crises we are experiencing in the world today demonstrate the value of integration. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the risks associated with our excessive dependence on key inputs for the well-being of our societies.

This does not mean that we should close ourselves off from the world. It only highlights that this integration will be on better terms if we are well integrated in our region. We must join forces for better physical and digital infrastructure, for the creation of value chains between our industries, and for more investment in research and innovation in our region.

Our development strategy must go hand in hand with the reduction of inequality in its various dimensions, with guaranteed access to fundamental rights in the fields of education, health, and work, among many others. In order to grow in a sustainable way, we cannot continue to have unacceptable poverty and hunger rates, nor can we continue to live with the inequality and gender violence that affect half of our populations. It is necessary to respect and protect our Indigenous peoples that are still threatened and neglected. It is necessary to work so that the color of our skin no longer defines the future of our young people.

Nothing should separate us, since everything brings us together. Our colonial past. The intolerable presence of slavery that marked our profoundly unequal societies. The authoritarian temptations that even today challenge our democracy.

But also the immense cultural wealth of our Indigenous peoples and the African diaspora. The diversity of races, origins, and creeds. The shared history of resistance and struggle for autonomy. All this makes us feel part of something greater and feeds our search for a common future of peace, social justice, and respect in diversity.

For this reason, I could not end without paying tribute to an extraordinary Brazilian who dedicated himself to rethinking our region when a Latin American and Caribbean community was still a mirage.

Last October, Darcy Ribeiro, a public man and one of our greatest thinkers, would have turned 100 years old. Having lived in exile in the 1960s and 1970s, he was one of the first to speak of our unity in diversity. This Patria Grande, and the particular contribution to civilization that our region has to give to the world.

Brazil is once again looking to its future with the certainty that we will be associated with our neighbors bilaterally, in Mercosur, in UNASUR and in CELAC.

To comrade Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, who takes over CELAC, I wish you all the luck in the world.

It is with this feeling of common destiny and belonging that Brazil returns to CELAC, with the feeling of finding oneself again.

Thank you very much.

Havana Declaration Outlines Vision for Building Just World Economy


An article by Kenny Stancil in Common Dreams

Delegates to the Havana Congress on the New International Economic Order—a gathering organized  by the Progressive International and attended by more than 50 scholars and policymakers from 26 countries across all six inhabited continents—agreed over the weekend on a declaration that outlines a “common vision” for building an egalitarian and sustainable society out of the wreckage of five decades of neoliberal capitalism.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

“The crisis of the existing world system can either entrench inequalities,” the declaration asserts, or it can “embolden” popular movements throughout the Global South to “reclaim” their role as protagonists “in the construction of a new world order based on justice, equity, and peace.”

Delegates resolved to focus their initial efforts on strengthening the development and dissemination of lifesaving technologies in low-income nations.

This decision comes one year after Cuban officials announced, at a press conference convened by the Progressive International (PI), their plan to deliver 200 million homegrown  Covid-19 vaccine doses to impoverished countries abandoned by their wealthy counterparts and Big Pharma—along with tools to enable domestic production and expert support to improve distribution.

It also comes as Cuba assumes the presidency of the Group of 77 (G77), a bloc of 134 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where “the combined crises of food, energy, and environment” are escalating, PI noted.

“What is the common vision to guide the Global South out of this crisis?” the coalition asked. “What is the plan to win it? What is the New International Economic Order for the 21st century?”

“After two days of detailed discussions about how to transform our shared world, delegates agreed that a key priority must be to secure science and technology sovereignty,” PI general coordinator David Adler said  Sunday at the conclusion of the Havana Congress. “From pharmaceuticals to green tech, from digital currencies to microchips, too much of humanity is locked out of both benefiting from scientific advances and contributing to new ones. We will, as today’s declaration calls for, work to build ‘a planetary bloc led by the South and reinforced by the solidarities of the North’ to liberate knowledge and peoples.”

Speaking at the January 12 ceremony  during which Cuba ascended to the G77 presidency, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla emphasized the need for coordinated action across the Global South on science and tech, arguing that “scientific-technical development is today monopolized by a club of countries that monopolize most of the patents, technologies, research centers, and promote the drain of talent from our countries.”

The G77 Summit on Science, Technology, and Innovation, scheduled for September in Havana, seeks to “unite, complement each other, integrate our national capacities so as not to be relegated to future pandemics,” said Parrilla.

During his speech  on the first day of the Havana Congress, meanwhile, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called for a new non-aligned movement to “end the legalized robbery of people and Earth fueling climate catastrophe.”

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of the article)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Read the full Havana Declaration on the New International Economic Order:

The Havana Congress,

Recalling the role of the Cuban Revolution in the struggle to unite the Southern nations of the world, and the spirit of the 1966 Havana Tricontinental Conference that convened peoples from Asia, Africa, and Latin America to chart a path to collective liberation in the face of severe global crises and sustained imperial subjugation;

Hearing the echoes of that history today, as crises of hunger, disease, and war once again overwhelm the world, compounded by a rapidly changing climate and the droughts, floods, and hurricanes that not only threaten to inflame conflicts between peoples, but also risk the extinction of humanity at large;

Celebrating the legacy of the anti-colonial struggle, and the victories won by combining a program of sovereign development at home, solidarity for national liberation abroad, and a strong Southern bloc to force concessions to its interests, culminating in the adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO);

Acknowledging that the project of decolonization remains incomplete, disrupted by concerted attacks on the unity of the South in the form of wars, coups, sanctions, structural adjustment, and the false promise that sovereign development might be won through integration into a hierarchical world system;

Emphasizing that the result has been the sustained divergence between North and South, characterized by the same dynamics that defined the international economic order five decades prior: the extraction of natural resources, the enclosure of ‘intellectual property,’ the plunder of structural adjustment, and the exclusion of the multilateral system;

Recognizing that despite these setbacks, the flame of Southern resistance did not die; that the pursuit of sovereign development has yielded unprecedented achievements—from mass literacy and universal healthcare to poverty alleviation and medical innovation—that enable a renewed campaign of Southern cooperation today;

Stressing that this potential for Southern unity is perceived as a threat to Northern powers, which seek once again to preserve their position in the hierarchy of the world system through mechanisms of economic exclusion, political coercion, and military aggression;

Seizing the opportunity of the present historical juncture, when the crisis of the existing world system can either entrench inequalities or embolden the call to reclaim Southern protagonism in the construction of a new world order based on justice, equity, and peace;

The Havana Congress calls to:

* Renew the Non-Aligned Movement: In the face of increasing geopolitical tensions born from a decisive shift in the global balance of power, the Congress calls to resist the siren song of the new Cold War and to renew the project of non-alignment, grounded in the principles of sovereignty, peace, and cooperation articulated at the 1955 Bandung Conference, 1961 Non-Aligned Conference, 1966 Tricontinental Conference, and beyond.

* Renovate the NIEO: To accompany the renewed non-aligned movement, the Congress calls to renovate the vision for a New International Economic Order fit for the 21st century; a vision that must draw inspiration from the original Declaration, but also account for the key issues—from digital technology to environmental breakdown—that define the present conditions for sovereign development; and to enshrine this vision in a new U.N. Declaration on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

* Assert Southern Power: The Congress recognizes that economic liberation will not be granted, but must be seized. As the original call for a New International Economic Order was won through the exercise of collective power in the coordinated production of petroleum, so our vision today can only be realized through the collective action of the South and the formation of new and alternative institutions to share critical technology, tackle sovereign debt, drive development finance, face future pandemics together, as well as coordinate positions on international climate action and the protection of national sovereignty over the extraction of natural resources.

* Accompany Cuba in the G77: The Congress recognizes the critical opportunity afforded by Cuba’s presidency of the Group of 77 plus China to lead the South out of the present crisis and channel the lessons of its Revolution toward concrete proposals and ambitious initiatives to transform the broader international system.

* Build a Planetary Bloc: The Congress calls on all peoples and nations of the world to join in this struggle to definitively achieve the New International Economic Order; to build a planetary bloc led by the South and reinforced by the solidarities of the North, whose peoples recognize their obligation to resist the crimes committed in their names; and to bring the spirit of this Havana Congress into the communities that we call home.

Tribunal in Washington Calls on President Biden to End Prosecution of Julian Assange and to Defend Rights of Journalists and Whistleblowers


An article by Chris Garaffa from Covert Action Magazine

Nearly 13 years after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released the video Collateral Murder exposing the brutal and intentional killing of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists, over 150 people packed the same room in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. for the Belmarsh Tribunal. January 20th’s sitting was the third of the Tribunal, following events in London and New York City in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Many thousands also watched the event live online. See video of Tribunal below.

Video of Tribunal

Organized by Progressive International and co-chaired by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and Croatian philosopher and author Srećko Horvat, the Belmarsh Tribunal brought together a panel of whistleblowers, activists, lawyers and more in support of Assange, WikiLeaks and journalistic freedom.

Held just two blocks from the White House, the Tribunal called on President Biden to end the prosecution of Julian Assange and to defend the rights of journalists and whistleblowers.

Belmarsh, the prison near London where Assange has been held since 2019 is a high-security facility often referred to as the “British version of Guantanamo Bay.” Beginning with the so-called “war on terrorism” in 2001, Belmarsh has been used to house suspected terrorists. Today, many of its prisoners are people who have committed brutally violent crimes like murder and rape.

States government under the Trump and Biden administrations seeks to bring him to trial in the U.S. He could face up to 175 years in prison under the Espionage Act for publishing proof of U.S. war crimes. It would be a death sentence for the 51-year-old whose physical and mental health has already deteriorated during his confinement.

Solidarity was a key theme of the event. Human rights lawyer Steven Donziger opened his remarks by saying “Half the battle is this” as he motioned around the crowded room. “It’s the solidarity,” he continued, expressing his appreciation for those who came out to defend him in his struggle. “I cannot tell you how completely uplifting that was. Part of the challenge when truthtellers speak truth to these entrenched pools of power is how to turn the attacks into opportunities.”

Donziger brought and won a lawsuit against oil company Chevron/Texaco on behalf of indigenous people in Ecuador for destruction of their lands through oil extraction in the Lago Agrio oil field. Chevron retaliated after a $9.5 billion award was levied against them, filing an outrageous RICO suit against Donziger, who was placed under house arrest for a total of 993 days (in addition to 45 days in prison) until he was finally freed in April of 2022.

Solidarity was also extended to Daniel Hale, a whistleblower who exposed the deadly U.S. targeted killing and drone program. Attorney Jesselyn Radack spoke on his case and its connection to Assange’s. Hale is being held in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, A.K.A. “Gitmo North,” where his connection to the outside world is monitored and severely limited.

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Question related to this article:
Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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“I have been shut out of my own clients’ unclassified hearings. The parts of the hearings that are public often include code words and substitutions that make the proceedings very difficult for the public to understand. In one case, the government attempted to prevent defense attorneys from using the word whistleblower, or the word newspaper.” Radack’s account suggests that should Assange be extradited to the United States, he will not be able to receive a fair and impartial trial.

The prosecution of Assange is an example of naked political aggression and intimidation. It’s not only aimed at Assange himself and WikiLeaks, but puts whistleblowers, journalists and activists squarely within the crosshairs.

Former UK Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “What’s Julian charged with? Telling the truth. Telling the truth all over the world about what governments do and what governments want to hide…I, as an elected politician, am very well aware that elected politicians don’t like being questioned on the decisions that they make. But it’s fundamental to a democratic society that they are constantly under surveillance and under question. [While] they are very keen on putting everybody else under surveillance, their decisions should be under surveillance at the same time.”

In addition to calling for the Biden administration to end his prosecution, Corbyn also called on journalists and media outlets to continue to stand up. In November 2022, an open letter from The New York Times, El Pais, Le Monde, The Guardian and Der Spiegel published an open letter with the same demand: “This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press. Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of a free press in a democracy.”

Corbyn went further and called on journalists around the world to stand up for Assange: “I say this to journalists who may be watching this around the world: You might say ‘well ok that’s Assange, that’s different…’ sorry it’s not! It’s you as a journalist because if Julian Assange ends up in a maximum security prison in the United States for the rest of his life, every other journalist around the world will think ‘oh, should I really report this information I’ve been given? Should I really speak out about this denial of human rights, miscarriage of justice in any country around the world? Because the long arm of United States espionage might reach me and an extradition treaty might put me in that same prison.’”

Kristinn Hrafnsson, the current WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief, appeared by video at the suggestion of his lawyers, as travel to the United States could be dangerous for him.

Hrafnsson broke down the story of WikiLeaks into two chapters: “One is about the publications, the most important journalistic work of this century. The other chapter is about the reaction to this work, and it is equally revealing.”

On one side of that reaction are the attacks on WikiLeaks and journalism, as well as the weakening of basic democratic norms, principles and domestic and international processes. On another is the attention and support that WikiLeaks, Assange and whistleblowing have received. Hrafnsson discussed his recent trip around Latin America, meeting with leaders to discuss the case.

“Argentinians, as do others in the region, know fully well the capability of the CIA in planning kidnapping or killing of individuals.” he said of his meeting with Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina. Bolivian President Luis Arce “fully committed himself in support of Assange.” The newly-elected President of Brazil, Lula, said “the fight to end the injustice entailed in the Assange case would be a priority in his foreign policy.” Gusavo Petro of Colombia also provided words of support, as did Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico.

Colombia: Government plans to provide 100,000 young peace managers with economic benefits


An article by Maria Alejandra Uribe in W Radio

In the middle of the presentation of the Youth Employability Program, President Gustavo Petro announced that the Government has been working on a project to take away from delinquents and criminal organizations the young people who work in them and who can become peace managers .

Gustavo Petro, President of Colombia. / Photo Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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“We are preparing, with the experience we have had, a large-scale program, that is why we are talking about peace managers, we want to act with excluded youth in the areas with the highest levels of violence in Colombia such as Urabá, poor neighborhoods in Cartagena, from Montería Barranquilla, Chocó where people are hungry”, said the President.

To this the Head of State added, “we plan to achieve a program that covers 100,000 young people in those areas. It will be linked to education and based on the fact that a young person must receive an income that allows them to live with dignity, a salary that can compete with that offered by multi-crime organizations. The credit can be seen as an instrument to promote studies and work.

It is expected that the rules of the game will be established in the coming days so that this great ‘peace army’ can begin to act in the most vulnerable areas of the country and achieve total peace.

(Editor’s note: This proposal is based on a program of 10,000 peace managers that was implemented in Bogota when Petro was mayor of the city. An evaluation of that program is available in Spanish.)

Rachna Sharma: thought leader for world peace


Special to CPNN by Jalsut Luthra

Rachna Sharma, the founder of Phuro Innovations (India) is a popular political peace expert, social entrepreneur and speaker. 

It was her journey at Harvard Business School that gave her the clarity to articulate her purpose, a place where people empower and peel the onion of self-awareness. That is the most profound thing that ever happened to Rachna. Since then she has been contributing as a thought leader for world peace. 

Rachna has compiled her views and supported them with published research about the nations which received freedom around the same time as India, and how those countries rank on the global indices of Peace. She shows how these nations lifted themselves out of poverty and conflict, and how they participated in global institutions and campaigns to benefit their people. 

World Peace is a very wide subject and one has to take up pressing issues as goals and contribute to it. That is why this year she is focused on South Asia. 

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Question related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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Honours, Awards & Volunteer Work

Rachna was recognized as “LinkedIn Power Profile – Social Impact in 2018” making her amongst the top 73 profiles in India. Rachna has co-authored a book “Globalization and Voices from Indian Practitioners” in 2013 . Rachna also volunteered as ambassador for Pashmina Goat Project of Kashmir Ink foundation. She has volunteered and served on the Board of Gift Foundation an initiative of Mr. Sam Beard who in the capacity of public affairs advisor served several US Presidents from former Presidents Nixon, Ford, Clinton, Regan & Bush 

Rachna was born in Kishtwar Jammu & Kashmir, one of the most conflicted geographies in the world. It was her early life exposure to conflict which launched her interest in world peace.

Amidst the turmoil and migration in Jammu and Kschmir, Rachna finished her Bachelors in Hotel Management from Srinivas University in Mangalore Karnataka India. She began working In India’s tourism and hospitality industry in 2002 and served the industry till 2014. At that point she was a development director in India. 

In 2019, Rachna established Phuro Innovations to promote and further her cause of World Peace by adopting a project called “Political Peace Dialogue SAARC” (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).

The project celebrates United Nations World Peace Day, UN Peacekeeping Day and Peace Education by hosting awareness events, publishing articles, research papers, policy notes, and delivering small projects. Rachna created and delivered several prototypes in India as mentioned in Timeline  and proposed a Venn diagram of Peace   in the capacity of a Thought Leader. She co-chairs the India Chapter for Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs India since 2019, promoting innovation and leadership in India. 

Please read this article in Outlook Magazine  about her work in South Asia.

Colombia: This is how the new Peace and Human Rights Observatory of Armenia will work


An article from Cronica del Quindio (translation by CPNN)

In Armenia, Quindio, the Observatory for the City, Peace, Coexistence and Citizen Culture has been created so that organizations, associations and foundations, public and private entities, as well as members of civil society and victims of armed conflict can contribute to the construction of the peace of the municipality.

It is a program of the mayor of Armenia with 4 lines of work: the promotion of actions and culture of peace, historical memory, human rights, and conflict management. In addition to the lines mentioned, the program willl contribute to the production of knowledge, the investigation and characterization of the victims of the armed conflict in Armenia, as well as the articulation with policies at the national level for the construction of peace.

The Observatory for the City, Peace, Coexistence and Citizen Culture of Armenia began with the issuance of Decree 181 of July 12, 2022, which provides for its formation. “As of this moment, it begins to meet in order to establish the strategic lines for the research and development of peace in Armenia.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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The objective of the Observatory for Peace and Human Rights is to strengthen research and knowledge management for the production, use and approval of official information on peace processes and citizen culture, linking the participation of related actors and sectors. in the municipality of Armenia, Quindío”, explained Andrés Ocampo, manager of peace, human rights and civic culture of Armenia.

The 18 members of the Observatory will meet in bimonthly sessions. The members include secretaries of Armenia, delegates of the municipal table of victims, delegates of the Ombudsman’s Office and the Municipal Ombudsman, representative of human rights organizations, representative of institutions of higher education, delegate of the youth table, among other actors, to determine the strategic lines of impact on issues of peace and reconciliation.

Likewise, they will provide inputs for public policies, alliances, databases and information that allow the construction of peace and the recognition of the victims of the armed conflict. In the same way, they will realize projects of the national policy Total Peace, an event to recognize peace builders and the realization of a work route created by all the members of the Peace and Human Rights Observatory of Armenia . “We plan to obtain resources to show how many victims of the armed conflict Armenia currently houses. In addition, we seek to articulate with the national government for the implementation and adoption of national policies,” said Andrés Ocampo.

He also emphasized the importance that the victims of the armed conflict, post-conflict actors and civil society know that in Armenia there is a peace observatory that is a pioneer at the national level. “We are the second city with a Peace, Coexistence and Citizen Culture Observatory in a municipal administration. We need everyone to know of the support of the mayor José Manuel Ríos Morales for this entire peace process. Victims will receive guarantees and attention from all his work team, cabinet and offices of the city.

Colombia: Nights of Peace planned for December in the neighborhoods of Cúcuta


An article from Caracol

Achieving peace has been for years the great dream of nations around the world, a collective utopia that includes the wisdom of the ancestors and the hope of the new generations. Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize such as the Dalai Lama, David Beasley of the World Food Program, and even the former president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, have stated in their speeches that there are multiple paths to achieve peace: with access to food for all, with nonviolent actions that generate changes, with the disarmament of illegal groups, and a large number of etceteras that trace an imaginary path of peace and freedom.

With great or little rigor, some countries have been working on it. Some Colombian cities such as Cúcuta, historically affected by armed conflict, are undertaking strategies that benefit collectives, entrepreneurs, diverse population groups, provide individual services such as attention to the victims of the conflict. This leads to mass events such as the Nights of Peace that for the second consecutive year is planned for all the city’s neighborhoods during the month of December.

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Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

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“Recognizing the historical memory of our municipality and understanding the social context in which the different communes live, we decided to continue this year with the strategy called Peaceful Nights. It consists of visiting the neighborhoods of Cúcuta and adjoining rural area for 17 days, with different entertainments including theatrical presentation, puppet shows, musical acts and, of course, the prayer of the Novenas of Bonus. All these are framed under the message of the culture of peace and the promotion of the values of respect, forgiveness and reconciliation”, says Elisa Montoya, secretary of Post-Conflict and Culture of Peace of the Mayor’s Office of Cúcuta.

This year, the strategy began on December 1 and is already on day number 5, in which more than 1,200 people have participated, including children and adults. Juan Santos Omaña, coordinator of the initiative explains that: “So far we have visited neighborhoods that have historically had to face situations of armed conflict; We have reached places like Ciudad Rodeo, Motilones, Simón Bolívar, San Martín and Cuberos Niño, and the acceptance has been surprising. Every day there are more than 250 people who live with us the Nights of Peace”.

In the coming days, this strategy of the Municipal Mayor’s Office will reach the neighborhoods: Nuevo Horizonte, Aeropuerto, Guaimaral, El Bosque, Santa Clara, Pizarro, Manuela Beltrán, Santander, García Herreros, Prados del Este, El Llano, La Conquista and al corregimiento of Banco de Arena. Those interested in participating in this free event can learn about the daily schedule through the social networks of the Secretariat for Post-Conflict and Culture of Peace, which can be found as @secposconflictocucuta on Instagram and Facebook.

(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Colombia: In Caquetá social leaders, students and victims of the conflict graduate with a diploma course on transitional justice


An article from Unidad para las victimas (translation by CPNN)

With 45 graduates including university students, social leaders and victims of the armed conflict, the diploma “Transitional Justice: a contribution to the construction of territorial peace” culminated in Florencia (Caquetá). The course started last July for which ten accredited national and international organizations contributed their knowledge and experience.

The diploma was constituted in a commitment to inter-institutional articulation between the System of Attention and Comprehensive Reparation for Victims (SNARIV), the Comprehensive System for Peace (SIPAZ), the Peace Office and the legal office of the University of the Amazon ( UDLA), together with the German international cooperation organization (GIZ).

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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The participants learned basic knowledge about transitional justice, with a focus on Caquetá, where, in addition to understanding the processes of care and reparation for victims, land restitution, truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition, they acquired tools in the fields of human rights and international humanitarian law,.

Valentina Almario, future lawyer and leader of women victims of abuse, highlighted the issue of the implementation of the gender approach in transitional justice contexts, as well as the territorial mechanisms for the implementation of the public policy for victims.

“To this must be added the importance of understanding the need for truth as a public good, to contribute to the construction of a culture of territorial peace in Colombia,” she said.

The student José Luis Tinoco Rivera said in this regard that he was particularly struck by the contrast made between the negotiation processes based on DDR -Demobilization, Disarmament, Reinsertion- of the last century, compared to the negotiation processes of this century, which are part of the logic of transitional justice.

The course took place over five months and 160 hours, including face-to-face classes, practical exercises, and homework.

Meduza’s statement regarding the revocation of TV Rain’s Latvian broadcasting license


An article from Meduza

The Latvian National Electronic Media Council has revoked TV Rain’s license. The agency has banned the network from broadcasting on cable and also plans to block access within the country to its YouTube stream. According to the council’s chairman, Ivars Āboliņš, the decision was made “in connection with the threat to national security and public order.”

(Editor’s note: Regular readers of CPNN will know that Meduza and TV Dozhd – “TV rain” in Russian – were two of the independent Russian media that reported opposition to the war in Ukraine and were therefore banned in Russia and forced to move abroad in order to keep broadcasting.)

Logo of TV Rain

We are watching these developments very carefully and with concern.

In the eight years that Meduza has already spent in Latvia, the local authorities have never once attempted to interfere in our editorial policies. We are grateful for this hospitality. We have had no reason to doubt that Latvia, which has become a second home for many here at Meduza, is aware of the vital role that the independent media plays in democratic societies.

After February 24, Latvia welcomed journalists from Russia who risked many years in prison for doing their jobs and resisting the war Russia unleashed on Ukraine. We greatly appreciated the Latvian authorities’ decision, understanding how difficult it was, given the enduring pain this country’s people still experience from Soviet occupation.

At the same time, we recognized that a mass influx of journalists from Russia in wartime conditions would likely lead to conflicts. After all, the news media created by Russians is almost always focused on Russian problems, viewing the surrounding world through this same lens. This often confuses and sometimes enrages foreign audiences, especially during a war for which Russia bears full responsibility.

Unfortunately, the situation has developed very poorly. We believe that the decision by Latvia’s National Electronic Media Council to revoke TV Rain’s license is unfair, wrong, and disproportionate to the official violations flagged by the agency.

Arguments that these violations pose a “national security threat” are unconvincing. The network’s antiwar position is obvious, as is its critical stance towards the Putin regime. TV Rain’s significance in countering Russian state propaganda is colossal. Roaring about “national security” conceals what is actually a heavy blow to free speech and ultimately to European security, as well. There can be no democracy without the independent media, above all, and an undemocratic Russia will remain a threat to its neighbors and the entire world.

Even if it was reached completely legally, the National Electronic Media Council’s decision is also an incredible gift to the Russian authorities. By banning TV Rain, Latvian officials are helping the Kremlin with something it started: the complete destruction of the Russian independent media’s infrastructure. We believe the political situation in Russia will not change if the country’s inhabitants are abandoned to propaganda. (There’s also the risk that this propaganda becomes the only information source for Russian-speaking EU citizens.)

And it’s important to remember that TV Rain is one of the few truly independent media outlets that retains a large audience inside Russia. Viewers need TV Rain. The anti-war movement needs TV Rain. Watch any of its newscasts, and you’ll see the network’s position on this repulsive war and how it views those who illegally usurped power in Russia.

Were TV Rain’s journalists wrong? Was their wording inaccurate? Yes. But all media outlets, including the highest quality publications, make mistakes, even at critical moments. In times of war, forced emigration, and polarized public opinion, the likelihood of mistakes sadly only grows. Readers and viewers, as well as fellow colleagues, evaluate our reporting, too, and these assessments can be brutal.

Journalism knows no boundaries. Free speech is a universal value, but it’s nothing if we don’t defend it and fight for it, every day, wherever we are.

We stand in solidarity with the team at TV Rain. Dear colleagues, we hope you’ll persevere, and we’ll do our best to help you through this crisis.

Meduza invites other journalists and media outlets to support this statement. If you’d like to do so, please contact us here:

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Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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This statement has been signed by

the editors of Meduza
the editors of Novaya Gazeta Europe
Sabīne Sīle, editor-in-chief, Media Hub Riga
the editors of Bumaga
the editors of Provereno
the editors of Novaya Vkladka
Irina Malkova and Pyotr Mironenko, The Bell
the editors of Kit
the editors of Signal
the editors of
the editors of Pskovskaya Gubernia
the editors of Sirena
the editors of Proekt
the editors of Dovod
the editors of DOXA
the media project Stradayuschee Srednevekovye
the editors of Mediazona
the editors of iStories
the editors of OVD-Info
the editors of Avtozak Live
Konstantin Sonin, economist
Nikolay Ovchinnikov, journalist; editor-in-chief, Volna | Latvia, a travel company
the editors of Svobodnye Media
the Telegram channel Russian Refugees in Germany
Victor Shenderovich, writer
Stanislav Kucher, journalist
the editors of Rezonans, a Vladimir-based Internet publication
Valeriy Panyushkin, editor-in-chief, Spektr magazine
the Student Anti-War Movement project
Konstantin Gorozhanko, editor, Grazhdane Gdovskogo Kraya
the editors of Vot Tak
the editors of SOTA
Ilya Azar, journalist
the editors of Verstka
the editors of Republic
the podcast studio Libo/Libo
the editors of 7×7 — Horizontal Russia
the editors of Kholod
the editors of Astra
Ilya Krasilshchik, Alexander Polivanov, Igor Safonov, and other journalists at Sluzhba Podderzhki
the editors of Spektr
Mikhail Zygar, writer and journalist
Olga Churakova, journalist
Liza Surganova, journalist
Ilya Shepelin, journalist
the editors of Echo
the editors of RusNews
the editors of Pereulki Lissabona
the editors of Skat Media
Arkady Mayofis, founder of TV-2 (Israel)
Emil Khalikov, co-founder of Pogulyanka media (Lithuania)
the editors of Cherty
the Opyt Svobody project
Lev Ponomaryov, human rights advocate, and the Telegram channel World Progress and Human Rights
the editors of Perm 36.6
the editors of Perito
Mine gåter og spindelsinn, a Telegram channel
the editors of Khroniki.Media
the editors of Daptar
the editors of The Vyshka
the editors of Media Loft
the youth democratic movement Vesna
the editors of Groza
Mikhail Svetov and the editors of SVTV News
the editors of Pezduza
Talking Heads YouTube channel (Latvia)
the editors of Advocacy Street
the editors of Lyudi Baykala
the editors of Otkrytyi Gorod (Latvia)
the editors of February 24 Eyewitnesses
the editors of Govorit ne Moskva
the editors of It’s My City
the editors of The Guide to the Free World
the editors of The Insider and Roman Dobrokhotov, journalist
Yevgenia Albats, editor-in-chief, The New Times
the editors of The Moscow Times
Kirill Rogov, political scientist
Irina Shikhman and the YouTube channel A Pogovorit?
the editors of Re:Russia
Conflict Intelligence Team
the editors of Prodolzhenie Sleduet
the editors of Novaya Gazeta — Baltia
Ksenia Larina, journalist
the editors of The Village and Kirill Rukov, editor-in-chief
the editors of
Maxim Katz, blogger and politician
the editors of Khronika Turkmenistana
Navalny LIVE YouTube channel
Jean-Michel Shcherbak, media activist
Ishchem Vykhod YouTube channel
Alexander Plyushchev, journalist
Tatyana Felgenhauer, journalist
Vitaly Mansky, film director
Natalia Manskaya, film producer
the editors of Poligon.Media
Khodorkovsky LIVE YouTube channel
Ilya Rozhdestvensky, journalist
Ivan Pavlov, lawyer
Ilya Zhegulev, journalist
the editors of Fourth Sector
Ilya Shumanov, director, Transparency International Russia
Andrei Loshak, journalist
Nataliya Gevorkyan, journalist
the editors of ROMB
the editors of
the editors of Popular Politics
Roskomsvoboda, an advocacy organization
Chulpan Khamatova, actress
Antero Mukka, editor-in-chief, and the editors of Helsingin Sanomat (Finland)
the editors of Krautreporter (Germany)
Pervyi Otdel, an association of attorneys and rights activists
the editors of
Masha Phillimore-Slonim, journalist
Kovcheg and Anastasia Burakova, founder
Andrey Pivovarov, political prisoner
the editors of and Garik Chilingarian, editor-in-chief
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) (St. Petersburg) and Elena Mikhina, editor-in-chief
Polina Shilina, journalist, Delfi (Russian edition, Latvia)
Clownstan Today
the editors of Discourse
the editors of Serditaya Chuvashiya
the editors of RSh and Maria Karlin, editor-in-chief (Switzerland)
the editors of Hromadska Pravda (Ukraine)
Russian Libertarian Party
OBC Transeuropa (Italy)
Kometa News (Moldova)
the editors of Telegi i Memasy Telegram channel
St. Petersburg Human Rights Center
the Moscow branch of Memorial, a center for human rights and historical education
Sergey Lukashevsky, director, Sakharov Center
Svetlana Gannushkina and Grazhdanskoe Sodeystvie, a non-profit foundation
the editors of Russians Against the War Telegram channel (Poland)
Russian Independent Media Archive
Russian Canadian Democratic Alliance (RCDA)
Irina Kizilova, journalist, co-organizer of Memorial Israel
Artem Liss, former editor, BBC World Service
Dmitry Elagin, film critic, Snob
Kristina Lunina and Kak Poluchitsya media
Rimma Polyak, columnist, Republic
Alexey Durnovo, writer and journalist
Andrey Novichkov, editor-in-chief, Fronde TV and Nastuplenie na Nasledie
Efim Neizvestny, contributor, Panorama
Lidia Ageeva, journalist
Natalia Galkina, journalist
Oleg Ivanov, photo-journalist
Vadim Kondakov, journalist
Andrey Rebrov, journalist
Olga Leontyeva, journalist
the editors of Equality Telegram channel
Ivan Slobedenyuk, journalist, Belsat
Anastasia Sechina and Chetvyortyi Sektor media
Maria Latsinskaya, journalist
Oleg Basalin, journalist
Nikolay Kandyshev, journalist
Victor Yukechev, journalist
Boris Tukh, journalist and film critic
the editors of TJ ne umer! satirical news
Artem Androsov, news host, RTN (New York)
Afanasy Emelyanov, journalist
Alexander Gerasimov, journalist
Anton Chernin, journalist
Ivan Fedosov, blogger
Pyotr Kozlov, journalist
Vijai Maheshwari, journalist, Politico Europe
Mark Novikov, journalist
Denis Cherdov, journalist
Vasily Zakharko, journalist
Sofia Epifanova, journalist
Kirill Alexeyev, author, Analiteg Telegram channel
Semyon Zelenovich, journalist
Angela Kalsynova, YouTube blogger
Ilya Kozin, journalist
ZIMA Magazine (London)
the editors of Oni za Voynu
the editors of Pravda o Voyne
The Voice of Reason movement
Dmitry Tolstosheyev, journalist
Evgeny Galitsky, journalist
Nina Abrosimova, journalist
Elena Samoylova, journalist
Vera Vasilyeva, journalist
Ivan Makridin, journalist, podcaster
Lev Kadik, journalist
Ruslan Totrov, journalist
Apolitichnost Gubit, a social movement
the editors of Russky Kovcheg Telegram channel
the Vornadzor anti-corruption movement
Dima Zitser, teacher
the editors of Echo of Petersburg (banned in Russia) and Ischem Vykhod, a YouTube channel
Alex Dubas, journalist
Zygmunt Dzieciolowski, journalist (Poland)
Obyektiv YouTube channel
Warsaw Local Anti-War Committee Telegram channel
Dozor v Volgograde project
The Polycrates Foundation
Alexander Artemyev, human-rights advocate
Dmitry Bayandin, attorney
Arseny Lytar, member, Russian State Duma Committee on Science and Education
Ilya Furman
Maria Klementyeva
Polina Shubentseva, activist and volunteer, Memorial
Andrey Yakimovich
Dmitry Simanovsky
Linur Arslanov
Vadim Dmitriyev
Mikhail Biryukov, attorney
Dmitry Gerasimenko
Sergey Kovalchenko
Maria Kabysh, costume designer
Timofey Andropov and the Ochnis movement
Lena Pylaeva and FreeRussiaNL
Olga Chernykova, former faculty member, Moscow State University
Alina Gnatyshina and Rossiya Buduschego (Switzerland)
Sergey Losev
Alexey Shmelev
Sergey Galin
Ekaterina Komissarova
Nikolay Matrosov
Ilya Bobrik
Alisher Artykov
Zhanna Shchukina
Igor Naginer
Alexey Volkov and the Canadian Russian Association Telegram channel
Olya Kazimirchuk
Sonya Blade
Joseph Malkin
Shimon Glazshteyn
Protokolnaya Redaktsiya project
Ivan Romanov
Elena Kvasyuk
Georgy Sushilin
Olga Degtyareva
Paul Robertus
Elena Lukyanova, attorney
Timofey Ilyushin, human rights advocate
Nikolay Golikov, artist
Alexander Kabanov, professor, University of North Carolina
Kirill Povarov
Irina Karpova
Irina Sokolovskaya
Mila Zemtsova
Andrey Kotov
Julia Ioffe, journalist (United States)
Lolita Roze (Latvia)
Mihail Gokhman (United States)
Greg Dolgopolov (Latvia)
Juris Raudulis (Latvia)
Lev Mendelson (United States)
Michael Mamontov (United States)
Eleonora Scheerseu (Germany)
Artur Heidt (Germany)
Marks Lisnanskis (Latvia)
Dmitrijs Krupņikovs (Latvia)
Dmitri Gouzévitch, historian (France)
Herta Hansena
Konstantin Kabanov
Tatiana le Roy (Belgium)
Laure Thibonnier (France)
Gennadi Kreps (Germany)
Natalia Kuzmina (Germany)
Association for Solidarity with Civil Society and the Development of Democracy in Russia, Russia of the Future (Spain)
the editors of
Penguin Travel YouTube channel
Aiza Dolmatova, rapper
Ruslan Sokolovsky, blogger
the Iskra media training team
the KermlinRussia project team
the Smorodina: for Democracy in Russia association (Norway)
Oleksandr Tsyba
Andrey Lukashevich
Vadik Sirekanyan
Oleg Ponomarev
Sofia Gribkova
Alex Zatsman (United States)
Mykola Shpylchin
Marina Polishuk
Vladimir Yurovsky, conductor (Germany)
Olga Deryabina
Dmitry Cherne
Natalia Telegina
Vitaly Bovar
Maria Gabisov
Sofia Pulver
Nikita Petrashen
Lyudmila Kasa (Latvia)
Vladimir Rayevsky, journalist and television host
Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich, artist and curator
and many other journalists and editors.