David Fernández Puyana
Ambassador and Permanent Observer of UPEACE

Happy birthday Shimon Peres

Photo courtesy of the author

Yesterday, on 2nd August we marked 100 years since Shimon Peres’ birth, a founding parent of Israel whose lifelong dedication to peace and dialogue led him to become a prominent leader and visionary in Israel and beyond.

In preparation of this Anniversary, on 1st June 2023, the Reichman University and University of Peace launched in UN Geneva the book entitled “The Shimon Peres Legacy of peace through Fourteen historical speeches”, with the sponsorship of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, and the World Jewish Congress. UNITAR provided an important support in the preparation of the book.  Both the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN in Geneva and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform co-organized the launching.

Leading scholars, high-level diplomats, UN officials, and distinguished academics agreed to share their memories and thoughts on the work of Shimon Peres.

Meirav Eilon Shahar, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN in Geneva, underlined that “Shimon Peres remains one of the most important and influential figures in Israeli history”. Chemi Peres, Chairman of the Peres Center, highlighted that “Today the name Shimon Peres encapsulates the legacy of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a statesman and an innovator”. Eytan Naeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the Kingdom of Bahrain, stressed that “I delighted in his ability to talk about matters of state –and then, poetically, about the beauty of the sunset”. In conclusion, “Peres was a man of peace who never lost hope that Israel would one day live in harmony with its Arab neighbors” said Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress.

When I visited the Peres’ office at the Peres Center in Tel Aviv-Yafo in April 2022 accompanied by Ambassador Aviva Schechter and Mr. Nadav Tamir, I deeply felt the memory and his strong energy. This visit was part of the inspiration to make a book about the Peres Legacy of Peace.

Together with Daphné Richemond-Barak (Assistant Professor at Reichman University), co-editor of the book, we underline that “this book connects the past to the future, in the hope of a better present”. We also stressed that the University of Peace and Reichman University “share the most sincere hope that we all shall live by Shimon Peres’ vision, words, wisdom, creativity, and constant search for peace”.

In his yesterday special birthday, this could be the Peres’ message for the next generations:

Let’s dream BIG!, Let’s dream of PEACE!

About the Author
Dr. David Fernández Puyana was born in Spain and is a practitioner and international lawyer specialized in international human rights law, international relations, peace studies, United Nations and civil society movements. He earned a Phd with European Mention and he has also a Degree on Law & Philosophy, as well as, some Masters on Human Rights (Essex, Alcala de Henares and Barcelona Universities). He served as adviser at the UNESCO Liaison Office and the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the UN in Geneva. As a legal assistant of the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the UN Intergovernmental Working Group on the right to peace, he was one of the architects of the Declaration on the Right to Peace adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2016. He advises Paz sin Fronteras and is Professor of Public International Law at Abat Oliba University CEU. Since June 2018, he serves as Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the University for Peace established by the UN General Assembly to the UN and UNESCO. He is also nominated Gender Champion.