“In 1971 I loved life and they wanted to force me to spend fifteen months in jail under ridiculous orders and learning to kill. They wanted to deny me of my status of a person endowed with intelligence and reason to believe that conflicts must be resolved through dialogue, common sense, generosity, compassion, qualities that make humans social persons. I said no and paid a good price for it. Not only do I not regret but feel very proud. Court-martial, prison, punishment battalions in the Sahara. They did not change our opinion”. They did not change them and thanks to people like Pepe Beunza (more than one million objectors and 30.000 person who refused to do military service or any substitute social work), in 2002 the last person who refused to do military service or any substitute social work left jail and compulsory military service was eliminated. Pepe is member of the Board of novaand currently participates in campaigns for disarmament and other struggles in the field of ecology and human rights. He is Chairman of the Memorial Association Jose Vidal i Llecha.
Simonetta Costanzo Pittaluga
“From very young I looked for alternatives to things that did not satisfy me: my motto was ‘there must be a better way of doing things’. From an early age I had an aversion to any kind of violence: in movies, in everyday behavior, even in human relationships. I have also always been interested in human nature, why are we how we are and why do we behave as we behave? what changes would serve to relieve poor living? what personal ways must be done to change the world? And from these questions to Yoga and the discovery of nonviolence, I understood the value of these precepts, not only for personal transformation, but potentially for social transformation. Its application in my social interests, profession, volunteering in my daily life, grew steadily, until I found in nova and in collaborating with its team, the way to become more useful to society”.Simonetta is a professional and vocational educator, and public relations professional. She has more than 35 years of experience in transforming nonviolent conflicts and mediation of local and community conflicts. She is teacher of Ashtanga Yoga and has used the principles of Yoga in public relations, education, personal transformation to achieve job skills and communication. Since 1992, she is researching and educating on issues of nonviolence and peace. Since 2002 is part of the Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) and the European Network of Civil Peace Services (EN-CPS). She is co-president of the International Council of the NP government. Born in South Africa and raised in the U.S. and Italy, resident in Catalunya, is a proud mother of two children.
Member of the first group of objectors of compulsory military service (1975-1977). Since then, Martí dedicated his life to the promotion of nonviolence and social innovation in various associations such as nova, of which he is director, at the International University for Peace of Sant Cugat and the Association José Vidal Llecha (Memorial Peace), and earlier in the Joan Bardina Studies Center and EcoConcern. The secret to never give up and have boundless energy is simple but foolproof: “sleep well and always look forward”. He has a Bachelor of Communication Studies, he is author of the book “The power of money: electronic banking and political change”, he was instigator of the Catalan Forum for Rethinking Society, organizer of the Alliance for a Responsible and United World, and advisor to the Universal Forum of Cultures Barcelona 2004. Since 2002 has participated in UBUNTU, World Forum of Civil Society Networks, the International Council of the World Social Forum and in the Forums of Porto Alegre of 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2011. Has been a promoter of the proposed reconversion of the Castle San Fernando for Peace (since 1997), organizer of the 3 International Meetings of Culture for Peace, with nonviolent civilian and military, and instigator in Catalonia of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, the Catalan Marches for Culture of Peace, the new culture of collective energy, and active citizenship – Transparents.org. Martí has been coordinator of the project Support to civil society organizations in the Middle East, that is committed to a nonviolent strategy to transform conflicts in the region (LaOnf) and promoter of the Barcelona Consensus process on alternatives to neoliberal globalization.
“After more than 20 years of working as a nurse in a few hospitals in Barcelona, I found very interesting moving from looking after peoples health to the health of society, and in 1998 I joined the professional team of nova, carried out by the Catalan Forum for Rethinking Society, energizing health forums and intergenerational relations”. Since then, Carmen has developed in nova various tasks on different projects and needs that have arisen, always working for the institution and its objectives so they can go forward. Currently, her functions are more related to the administration department and coordination of nova. Apart from the topics discussed in the association, she is especially interested in others such as accompanying the finiteness of life, personal growth and health education.
“After 3 months of living in Palestine I began to see the limited impact of international cooperation to improve the lives of Palestinians. My idea of development cooperation was in crisis. In this personal process, I began to hear news of a small Palestinian village that resisted against the construction of the separation wall day after day. The first demonstration in Bil’in showed me the power of nonviolence. Suddenly, I found a real opportunity for cooperation and solidarity between villages through the Palestinian nonviolent movement that fought against the occupation and conflict transformation”. Prior to his experience in Palestine and Israel, Felip lived in southern Senegal to conduct an investigation on the conflict in Casamance and later worked in the Mission of the OSCE in Albania, where he learnt the movements of civil society in the country and the dynamics of conflict in the Balkans. He has a Degree in Political Science from the University of Pompeu Fabra, Master in International Relations from CIDOB and postgraduate diploma in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation by the Complutense University of Madrid, and is currently studying Social Psychology at the Open University of Catalonia. His relationship with novabegan in 2006, when he met leaders of the program Active Nonviolence at the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. A few months later he began working at its headquarters in Barcelona. He currently coordinates nonviolent and peace operations in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Yemen, as well as efforts to increase control over arms trade and private security companies.
M. Luisa Martín
Formed in teaching and public health, Luisa has devoted much of her life to teaching, training and outreach in the area of preschool education. She is part of the team of trainers of Preschool Education and the management team of the Program of Child and Family Education of the Institute of Education Sciences (ICE) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). She has been involved in organizing the Conference on Innovation in Preschool Education, of which there is already ten editions. In addition to her dedication to teaching and teacher training, she publishes articles in innovation journals and educational outreach, both aimed at educators, families, and participates in conferences and symposiums. Luisa came into contact with nova helping with the Catalan Forum to Rethink Society by mobilizing the education forum, and participated in some seminars and subsequent specific actions. As of three years ago, with partial retirement working in the childhood centre, collaborates regularly with nova.
Mediator, coach and national and international consultant on conflict resolution. Master in Mediation and Conflict Resolution (University of Ramon Llull). Co-director of Aequitas. Supervisor-consultant of the Mediation Center of Private Law of Catalonia, Department of Justice of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Currently working with novaas research director of the investigation ”Impact of Private Military and Security Companies in Human Rights in Iraq”. Supervisor-consultant of the Youth Justice Mediation Technical Advisory Service and Victim Assistance, of the General Directorate of Criminal Measures and Youth Justice, of the Department of Justice of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Accredited Mediator of the Mediation Center of Private Law of Catalonia. Accredited Mediator in the Cooperative Council for Cooperation, of the General Directorate of Cooperative Economy and Enterprise of the Generalitat of Catalonia. He teaches mediation and conflict resolution in various national and international universities. Has a Bachelor of Law (BU). He is member of the Lawyers Association in Barcelona. Attorney accredited to the International Criminal Court. Since 2004 he is co-facilitator and responsible for the international process of Intra-Rwandan Dialogue (DIR).
“No more quiet time, we have demonstrated that we have voice. I think the future will be ours if we can play with both tools at our disposal: education and speech. Young people and women are, for me, the great hope “. Journalist, she advocates for the Rights of men and villages, and she is a cultural and social activist. She is part of the Peace Culture Foundation, along with Federico Mayor Zaragoza, of SERPAJ, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, and France Libertés, with Danielle Mitterrand. She is honorary member of the Association Guayasamin- Ecuador, the CEIC Granollers General Hospital and the Center for Cultural Peace Can Jonch of Granollers. Mother and grandmother of a large family, has three intertwined passions: people, writing and cooking.