Memorial special exhibition explores Australian efforts to make, shape and keep peace

17 October 2019

The Australian War Memorial’s latest special exhibition, The Courage for Peace, tells the stories of those who work to make, shape and keep peace for Australians and others around the globe.

The exhibition opens publicly on Friday 18 October, and focuses on Australian peacemakers, peacekeepers, disaster-relief workers and capacity builders, showing how they contribute to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region and further afield. Included is the vital work done by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in diplomacy to prevent conflict.

The Courage for Peace tells the stories of Australians serving in diverse roles around the world, from Somalia and Rwanda to Cambodia, East Timor, Bougainville and the Solomon Islands. The exhibition commemorates the service of these men and women, highlights the importance of their work, and honours their sacrifice.

Memorial Director Dr Brendan Nelson said the exhibition will put a renewed focus on the way Australia works regionally and globally towards peace for itself and others.

“It is the collective work of many, from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to community-based efforts, which has driven Australia’s ongoing commitment to building and maintaining peace around the globe. We are at our best when we work together to do everything we can to create and build peace.

“The more we commit our energy towards peace, the less we suffer as a nation from the effects of war and conflict. This exhibition tells stories of courageous Australians acting in the name of peace and humanity, working to avoid tragedy and to build peace,” Dr Nelson said.

Senior Curator Margaret Farmer said the exhibition is particularly concerned with Australia’s recent peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in the Asia-Pacific, and Australia’s diplomatic efforts to prevent conflict, including support of the United Nations.

“From peace processes on Bougainville, to protecting elections in East Timor; from helping the innocent in Rwanda to building peace in the Solomon Islands – Australian civilians, diplomats, police and the military have made a difference regionally and globally,” Ms Farmer said.

The Courage for Peace tells the story of their crucial work, showing how the conditions for peace are forged by the difficult, necessary, ongoing commitment of many.”

Items on display at The Courage for Peace include a number of objects on loan to the Memorial from cultural institutions across the country, such as a heavily damaged window salvaged from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta following the 2004 bombing, and a Marilyn Havini painting which depicts human rights abuses on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

The Courage for Peace will be on display in the special exhibitions gallery until late 2020.

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