Biennale Luanda

About the Biennale of Luanda

What is the Biennale of Luanda?

The Biennale of Luanda – “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace” is a joint initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the African Union (AU) and the Government of Angola that aims to promote the prevention of violence and the resolution of conflicts, by encouraging cultural exchanges in Africa and dialogue between generations. As a space for reflection and dissemination of artistic works, ideas and best practices related to the culture of peace, it brings together representatives of governments, civil society, the artistic and scientific community, and international organizations. It participates in the implementation of the "Plan of Action for a Culture of Peace in Africa/Make Peace Happen" adopted in March 2013 in Luanda, Angola, during the Pan-African Forum "Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace."


The 2021 edition was held in a hybrid format!

The latest edition of the Biennale of Luanda was celebrated under the African Union's 2021 theme, "Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want" in an hybrid format, mixing digital and presential events. 

Read the concept note here

The art of storytelling in drawings...

The tradition of "Sona" & the Linguali symbol

The sona are usually delineable shapes that can be drawn without lifting a finger or going over the same line twice. 

These drawings are part of the Tchokwe oral tradition (the Tchokwe are a Bantu-speaking population of Central and Southern Africa, mainly present in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola). They serve primarily as mnemonics in storytelling. The sona are drawn by men. The boys learn to tell stories and draw sona as part of their initiation ritual. The Linguali - the "big or important bird" -  symbol is part of this tradition and designates one of the most recognized sona in Angola.

Femme Linguali
The History of the Culture of Peace

"Peace is more than an absence of war. It means justice and equity for all as the basis for living together in harmony and free from violence, now, but even more so for our children and succeeding generations." Koïchiro Matsuura

Inspired by the Constitution of UNESCO, the concept of a "Culture of Peace" was formulated during the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men, held in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire in 1989. UNESCO, followed by the United Nations, then engaged in a process aimed at defining, structuring and then promoting the concept of a culture of peace and non-violence worldwide, a commitment reflected in the late 1990s with the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

Culture of Peace

The Culture of Peace consists “of values, attitudes and behaviors that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavor to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society"

United Nations General Assembly (Resolution A/53/25) 1998

From Manifesto 2000 to the Biennale of Luanda

In 2000, a public awareness campaign was launched, based on Manifesto 2000, a personal commitment drafted by a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates. This common pledge to observe and put into practice in daily life the universal principles of a culture of peace and non-violence was signed by over 75 million people worldwide.

Thirteen years later, for the Africa region, the call for the creation of a “continental and sustainable movement for peace” was included in the “Action plan for a culture of peace in Africa / Agissons for peace “. This plan was adopted at the end of the Pan-African Forum "Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace" in Luanda, 2013. The objective of the forum was “to rely on the sources of inspiration and on the potential of the continent’s cultural, natural and human resources to identify avenues and concrete actions to build a lasting peace as the cornerstone of endogenous development and pan-Africanism.” In this context, the decision was taken to create a Biennale of the culture of peace. 

Read more about the culture of peace

"We need a new commitment to respect the right to be different and to make the most of diversity as a strength to share among all people, regardless of where you are coming from, what kind of ethnicities or languages and traditions and history one may have. We need mutual respect and mutual tolerance. We have to raise the level of tolerance among all of us. This is the culture of peace."
Ban Ki-Moon 8th Secretary-General of the UN Remarks to the High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace (2014)

Global Objectives 

The aim of the Biennale of Luanda for the Culture of Peace in Africa is to work towards a daily and sustainable individual and collective appropriation and implementation, on the continent, of the concept of a culture of peace.

This initiative reinforces the implementation of Goals 16 and 17 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 7 Aspirations of the African Union's Agenda 2063, in particular its "Silencing the Guns by 2033" initiative. The Biennale also contributes to the implementation of UNESCO's "Operational Strategy for Priority Africa (2014-2021)", aimed at providing African responses to the transformations affecting the continent's economies and societies.  


Alphadi, UNESCO Artist for Peace

"Africa is the mother of humanity"

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The Biennale of Luanda 2019

The first edition of the Biennale of Luanda, "Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace" was held from 18 to 22 September 2019 in Luanda, Angola. UNESCO, the African Union and the Angolan government jointly organised the five-day event, which was a celebration of various African values, beliefs, forms of spirituality, knowledge and traditions that contribute to the respect of human rights, cultural diversity, the rejection of violence and the development of democratic societies.

The Biennale was organised around five main axes: the Partners' Forum - Alliance for Africa, the Forum of Ideas, the Youth Forum, the Women's Forum and the Festival of Cultures. These axes created a platform for cultural diversity and African unity, and a space for sustainable and innovative partnerships for Africa's future. They aimed to disseminate good practices and solutions for conflict prevention and resolution in Africa.

As "a privileged space for the promotion of cultural diversity and African unity, the Biennale of Luanda is a unique platform for governments, civil society, the artistic and scientific community, the private sector and international organisations to debate and define strategies for the prevention of violence and conflicts with a view to building sustainable peace.”  
H.E. Mr João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço President of the Republic of Angola​

Key Figures of the 2019 Edition:

Heads of States
Participating Countries

at the Festival of Cultures

Biennale 2019
All the Resources on the Culture of Peace