Huis van de Vrede in Genève. Foto:

House of Peace Geneva

Geneva is next to New York the most important center for International organizations and law. The city not only houses the European headquarters of the United Nations, but also about 250 international NGOs. A remarkable new appearance is the House of Peace, Maison de la Paix. The building houses the Graduate Institute of International Development and Studies, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, the International Centre for Humanitarian demining and the Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.

The architecture is striking and symbolic. The complex consists of six glass towers in the shape of a leaf, but they do share a common pedestal. The six continents that are connected to each other, but have different foothills. Switzerland has also experienced the necessary violence and political and religious conflicts in its own past, although the last armed conflict goes back a long way to the Sonderbunds war in 1847. The different cantons, religions, languages and cultures, however, have developed a model where it has proved possible to prevent self-direction and to resolve conflicts through dispute resolution.