“Building Bridges – How Peace is Made”, the first of three Barcelona Challengers Conferences, begins tomorrow in the Spanish city at Mazda Space. The special guest is Lord David Trimble, who will share his peacebuilding experiences with the international students and European media in attendance.

The former first minister of Northern Ireland won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 (together with fellow politician John Hume) for his role negotiating the landmark Good Friday Agreement, which set up a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland ending 30 years of conflict. After his keynote address, Trimble will take part in a dialogue focused on the importance of proper negotiations, particularly during peace negotiations. Josef Jannig, a foreign policy expert and senior policy fellow at the Berlin-based European Council of Foreign Relations, will moderate.

Following that, Jeff Guyton, Mazda Motor Europe president and CEO, will present the second-annual Mazda Make Things Better Award to Yuka Kawamura. The international relations student from Sophia University in Tokyo proposes to use the €10,000 prize money to set up an interactive online platform offering free educational and consulting services to young students worldwide. Mazda set up the award in 2013 to support initiatives by under-30s to improve people’s lives through the creative and effective use of modern tools of advocacy.

Organised by Mazda in collaboration with the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, the Barcelona Challengers Conferences should encourage young people to work towards a better future. In doing so, the events also celebrate the challenger spirit of the laureates and build upon Mazda’s commitment as a leading partner to the last two summits. The two remaining conferences will also take place at Mazda Space, the company’s European cultural and event hub, in June and September.

“Having itself faced many challenges over the years, Mazda celebrates challengers wherever they are, and particularly young individuals because they’re our hope for the future,” says Guyton. “Lord Trimble helped establish peace against overwhelming odds. Having someone of this calibre here at Mazda Space is hugely inspirational for these leaders of tomorrow.”