Spaces of Peace - conference

Palace of the Academies


Conference, Brussels | 21 November 2019 | Free admission, registration

Illustration of a street in a middle Eastern setting.
Bengin Dawod: The Soul of the City

Our built environments – spaces, architecture and urban spaces – have a physical, cognitive and emotional impact on us. This affects our behaviour and how we interact with each other. Built environments enable social encounters or prevent them. Spaces that do not function in their intended use trigger annoyance and distrust not only towards the space, but also towards other people in the space. Surroundings that feel safe emotionally spark experiences of trust and hope.

The societal impact of built environments as a contributor to peace, stability, polarisation or conflict is a rising perspective on architecture. ‘Spaces of Peace – Architecture as Diplomacy’ conference approaches architecture as a tool for peace-building from spaces of peace mediation and reconstruction of post-conflict cities to building peacetime cities that prevent polarisation and conflict. The talks open up perspectives to how architecture and design can contribute to literally building peace now and in the future.

The conference is realised in partnership with the Embassy of Finland in Belgium, Archinfo Finland, and Raven & Wood Agency.

The conference is part of the official programme of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.


The conference is free of charge, but please reserve your seat by registering.

Language of the conference is English.


13.00 Doors open

13.30 Welcome 

13.45 Esa Laaksonen | The Impact of Space - Case: Spaces of Peace Mediation

14.30 Helena Sandman | Designing with and for Empathy 

15.15 Coffee Break 

15.30 Bengin Dawod | Architect as Peacebuilder 

16.15 Miriam Bensky | Changing Spaces of Peace Dialogues 

17.00 Panel discussion | Q&A with the audience Esa Laaksonen, Helena Sandman, Bengin Dawod, Miriam Bensky, moderated by Heini Lehtinen 

17.30 End of conference


Spaces of Peace – Facebook Event


Esa Laaksonen | The Impact of Space – Case: Spaces of Peace Mediation

Architect | Friman Laaksonen Architects. Helsinki, Finland

Helena Sandman | Designing with and for Empathy

Architect | Hollmén Reuter Sandman Architects. Helsinki, Finland

Bengin Dawod | Architect as Peacebuilder

Architect, urban designer | The Soul of the City. Aleppo, Syria / Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Miriam Bensky | Changing Spaces of Peace Dialogues

Independent conflict resolution advisor. Ankara, Turkey


Heini Lehtinen

Designer, founder | Raven & Wood Agency. Helsinki, Finland