Peace is beyond “solving conflicts”

Conflicts between nations and communities have existed since the dawn of human civilization. Wars and battles were executed and fought by men in the hopes of attaining peace in their nations. But, communities should not solely focus on resolving problems in order to achieve peace. Instead, they can achieve it by establishing relations between people and institutions.

Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist and the Father of Peace Studies, described that peace was not entirely achieved by reducing conflicts but also by building relationships among communities and societies. In his theory, Galtung defined peace within two views – negative peace and positive peace.

Galtung described negative peace as the absence of direct violence. To create negative peace, communities must eliminate violence through ceasefire or treaties. On the other hand, he identified positive peace as the presence of social justice and equality. This meant building institutions or systems that foster peace. 

Individuals must perform their duties and uphold ideals that promote growth and development in order to create peace.

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), peace is achieved when societies adopt the eight pillars of peace and address certain targets that can lead to peaceful societies. 

  • Well-functioning government
  • Sound business environment
  • Equitable distribution of resources
  • Acceptance of the rights of others
  • Good relations with neighbors
  • Free flow of information
  • High level of human capital
  • Low levels of corruption

In another sense, peace can be linked to the process of growth. In Amartya Sen’s Development for Freedom, peace is discussed as a development process. According to this perspective, peace is accomplished through the growth of certain instrumental freedoms:

  • Political Freedom
  • Economic Facilities
  • Social Freedom
  • Transparency Guarantee
  • Protective Security

Individuals must perform their duties and uphold ideals that promote growth and development in order to create peace. Upholding one’s rights, promoting the rule of law, ensuring accountability and transparency, and pushing for harmony can bring about peace.

Peace in today’s society was built from the ashes of the war, but if we hope to sustain it, we must not only focus on reducing conflicts but build relationships. As Johan Galtung stated, it is a “never-ending process” – by peace, we mean the capacity to transform conflicts with empathy, without violence, and creatively.

This article is written by Renzo Christopher Riosa of AKLATAN Organizing Committee, in partnership with Conversations to the World.

AKLATAN is Ambisyon Philippines’ flagship project on development awareness through education. Throughout its activities, AKLATAN hopes to empower, educate, and engage educators-advocates for development.

Learn, volunteer, and donate to Aklatan through their Social Media Channels below.


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