We live in a turbulent world where cut-throat competition takes individuals, companies, and counties to an unhealthy level, and in some cases, to public fighting through word and legal means where there is the rule of law. It worsens where there is an absence of the rule of law; it leads to physical fights and sometimes killing, especially when individuals are involved. However, when it comes to nations where the rule of law is respected, you still see the fight, but often at court in which people and organizations threaten one another, as Twitter’s owner Elon Musk Completes with the owner and Chief Executive officer for Meta, Mr. Zuckerberg. These individuals and their corporations often threaten legal actions again one another for legally britches allegations. It even gets worse when it comes to countries competing with one another, as we see in economics between the United States and China, Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, Iran, and Israel, etc. The consequences too often conflict and wars, in the case of counties such as Ukraine and Russia war where vulnerable and poor bear the larger share of pain and anguish the war brings.
In this piece, I would provide ideas and examples on employing the power of meaningful engagement with individuals and companies and certainly for nations to embrace continuous negotiation to resolve issues through peace instead of conflicts and wars. Straddling between a world of peace and conflict brings uncertainty and anxiety among people, especially those who bear the pain and anguish of conflict and wars, especially for the poor and disadvantaged people on all sides.
Relative Distinguishing between Peace and Conflict
Peace can be associated with opportunities to be a part of the existing social, economic, and health infrastructural network in which members are superbly connected with the power of technology that propels privileged people to a higher standard of living and, thus, improved life. In contrast, poverty and the lack of modern technology continuously drive what former Presidential Aspirant John Edward characterized as two Americas, the privileged haves, connected with the supper technology that fuels a higher standard of living and, thus, opportunities for further improved life circumstances.
On the other hand, according to John Edwards, are the have-nots, often those who do not have the privilege of the infrastructural social, economic, and social network, and these are people that, by and large, live in poverty as individuals, companies indeed it applies to counties too. In a nutshell, these people’s lives are driven by systemic deprivation, which too often quickly puts them on the side of poverty. People within such environments have low economic resources, leading to inevitable poverty. In some instances, this situation could be linked to other problems such as health, anxiety, conflicts, wars, and other terrible crises, such as the suffering and anguish Ukraine and the Sudanese people are enduring right now because of wars.
Humans can do better through collaboration and building relationships.
Humans can do better if we learn to collaborate, negotiate and create more opportunities for the privileged and less privileged. With corporation, collaboration, and negotiation, the world could eliminate unnecessary suffering and wars; collaboration would inevitably foster a more open world where people of various cultures can live in peace, thus advancing equity and social justice for all. But unfortunately, that is not the case; the world is experiencing conflicts and wars more than ever. According to the Council on Foreign Relations Global Conflict Tracker, “There are currently 27 ongoing conflicts worldwide. The tracker categorizes conflict into three groups: “worsening,” “unchanging,” and “improving.” The Council on Foreign Relations further states, “Right now, there’s not a single conflict described as improving.” So the question still needs to be answered: How can we create a better world of peace, equity, and social justice?
My suggestion for a peaceful world
To the above question, people should be encouraged to be inquisitively eager to engage with others, especially those they may have been taught to hate or those with whom their cultures may differ. I encourage and continue to encourage people and nations to connect with others to overcome potential misconceptions that would otherwise lead them to stereotype people and impede meaningful learning that would otherwise enrich them with new perspectives of a peaceful world.
As I had stated above, citing the Council on Foreign Relations Global Conflict Tracker, “There are currently 27 ongoing conflicts worldwide. The tracker categorizes conflict into three groups: “worsening,” “unchanging,” and “improving.” The Council further states, “Right now, there’s not a single conflict described as improving.” If that is not frightening, I do not know what does!
It’s unbelievable; I can’t imagine the kind of world The Council on Foreign Relations describe above in their work.
Do the peace-loving people in our global communities succumb to the above-stressing and depressing situations with heartbreaking human suffering? Or should we reverse this current trend? The first option is unfavorable, so we must choose the latter.
Every individual, company, and nation must play their unique roles.
To that end, I urge all peace-loving people to think of what they can do to change this trajectory. As you think about what you can do as an individual, a company, or a nation, I will point you to a practical approach within your immediate vicinity, connect with people, and collaborate to solve problems. Those will foster peaceful communities within your environment; when other people do the same, it ripples, and by the time you know it, it will go a long way to creating a world of peace and harmony.
An example worthy of Replication- is the Palestinian and Israel youths’ Model.
Suppose you are familiar with the plight of Palestine and Israeli Never-Ending Conflict where the purported leaders continuously failed the people, two societies that, at the grassroots, both sides want peace, which is continually sabotaged by those who do not wish to have a two-state solution. They want peace, which continues to be impeded by politics and anti-democracy in Palestine and Israel. Those in politics could learn from their younger generation who are engaging with one another, such as reflected by the work of The Seed for Peace, which provides Israelis and Palestinian youths a way to resolve their historical conflict with the potential that if Israelis and Palestinian leaders can see a partway to fostering a two-state solution, perhaps the younger generation can change that trending conflict. I am rooting for the younger generation to engage and negotiate for a peaceful resolution as they are demonstrating in the beautiful work they do at The Seed for Peace.
Conclusion and suggested strategies for the power of engagement and peace building
The Israelis and Palestinians’ leadership could model the actions of the youths; they may find a part of the peace and live in peace and harmony if their leadership could replicate the approach employed by The Seed for Peace. Undoubtedly, providing Israelis and Palestinians hope when looking at Seeds of Peace’s work could serve both sides well. The Palestinian and Israeli youths focus on building relationships, and its undoubtedly yielding fruits. The program brings Israeli and Palestinian teens together, feeding a world of hope for those who are increasingly hopeless due to increasing conflicts locally and globally. So yes, seeing or reading what the Seeds of Peace program has done for the Israelis and Palestinian youths is heartening. According to Alice G. Walton, in her piece titled “How to Forge Relationships with the ‘Enemy.” She characterized the situation as “overwhelmingly successful at facilitating tolerance and close, positive relationships. Similarly, research by Facebook’s Shannon White and University of California at Berkeley’s Juliana Schroeder (both graduates of Chicago Booth’s Ph.D. Program) and Booth’s Jane L. Risen” echoed similar sentiments.
Alice G. Walton further provided foundations for this Seed of Peace program this way, “The work grew out of previous research by Schroeder and Risen, who in 2014 studied the program and found that campers’ attitudes toward people of the other nationality (in the “outgroup”) became significantly less negative after completing the program, particularly for campers who said they’d formed a close relationship with someone from the outgroup.”
As Risen’s research demonstrated what propelled the relationship, as they investigated, It’s encouraging to work, especially for most of the earth’s human beings who aspire for a world devoid of conflict. White, Schroeder, and Risen analyzed data from the information they collected from more than 500 participants who participated in one Seed of Peace summer camp between 2011 and 2017. To ensure a proper conclusion, Alice asserted that “Schroeder and Risen surveyed the teens before their camp stay began, including how positive, sympathetic, and anxious they felt toward or about members of the other group.” They also asked participants questions as the program ended, enquiring to ascertain “how close they had become with other program members, both Israeli and Palestinian.” Alice states, “The researchers tracked how participants were arranged across three main activities: facilitator-led dialogue groups, bunk groups, and dining-table groups. Because participants were randomly assigned to each activity group, the researchers could test the causal effect of being in the same (versus a different) group on the likelihood of forming a close relationship for ingroup pairs compared with outgroup pairs.”
This fantastic work fits into SDIG’s perspective that every conflict can be resolved if opposing sides learn to respect those that oppose them through careful listening and meaningful dialogue and engagement. Although all the sources of disputes can be seen from both perspectives and through genuine understanding and commitment to fairness and peaceful co-existence, no battle can be impossible to dismantle if both sides adhere to the Model that these research, Facebook’s Shannon White and the University of California at Berkeley’s Juliana Schroeder (both graduates of Chicago Booth’s Ph.D. Program), along with Booth’s Jane L. Risen have shared in their research.
The Seed of Peace program could provide the world with a new paradigm for resolving all sorts of problems for individuals, groups, or nations. I advocate such a model as a means through which world peace can be designed and developed. Can you imagine Russia and Ukraine; Palestinian and Israelis; Ireland and British; United States and Iran; and here at home, the conservatives and liberals employing this Risen model to advance peace, equity, and social justice as SDIG does by bringing all people white, black and brown, Hispanic and Asians, and middle easterner to embrace SDIG’s Model in their quest for peace, equity, and social justice for all. SDIG platform is an engagement and awareness-raising networking on LinkedIn that brings people from various cultures, ethnicities, gender and sexual orientations, global locations, socioeconomic statuses, ages, disabilities, and multiple identities with different perspectives. Through explorative inquiry and engagements, participants learn together and share ideas, lived experiences, and the latest research and studies on effective diversity and inclusion policies and practices that foster peace, equity, and social justice for all. I believe that if our global leaders would learn about the Seeds of Peace program along with the SDIG engagement and awareness-raising program, that could provide the leadership in these conflicts parts of the world an opportunity to choose peace instead of competition, and perhaps they could change the trajectory of the world from the sentiment the Council on Foreign Relations expressed this way, “There are currently 27 ongoing conflicts worldwide. The tracker categorizes conflict into three groups: “worsening,” “unchanging,” and “improving.” The Council on Foreign Relations further states, “Right now, there’s not a single conflict described as improving.” There is no doubt that if the leaders in these conflict-ridden locations embrace the Seed for Peace program and SDIG inquiry-driven approach and engagement for peace, the world could experience a paradigm shift, one that would foster peace and harmony around the globe, which will by and large foster peace rather than conflict and wars.