At the Institute for Economics and Peace, we spend a lot of time working on this challenge. Our reports get considerable media coverage and we pay a lot attention to how the information within them is packaged and presented. (Newspapers and websites often reproduce our graphics and we encourage them to do so.) Newspaper articles aren’t the only way to get the word out about the latest findings in peace, however. We also rely on old-fashioned shoe leather, organizing private briefings with small groups of influential policymakers and organizing larger public events at venues like the United Nations in New York, Chatham House in London and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. As with almost anything else in life, we’ve found that there’s no substitute for face-to-face contact.
The institutional challenge with this strategy is obvious: there’s a limit to the number of meetings and public events IEP staff can organize and attend. And in fact, while we’ve done a very good job of spreading the word about our research to the four corners of the globe, we could accomplish much more. That’s why we are particularly pleased to announce a new pilot project, the Global Peace Index Ambassadors Program, in collaboration with Rotary International.
The idea is simple: to recruit and train some of the brightest people from around the world to give their own presentations about the Global Peace Index. We’re calling our pilot “10 for the 10th” to mark the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Global Peace Index in June 2016. Over the next nine months, our goal is to enlist 10 Rotary Peace Fellows to give presentations on the Global Peace Index in 10 new cities.
We are very lucky to be working with Rotary. Rotary is best known for its international network of clubs and members (1.2 million strong) and for its successful efforts to eradicate polio, but it also is a significant player in the peace world, underwriting 100 annual scholarships for peace education in six Peace Centers around the world. (This includes both two-year master degree programs and a shorter program for mid-career professionals in Thailand.) There are a total of 900 Rotary Peace Fellows and quite a few have gone on to meaningful careers in government or the nonprofit sector. (One we work with quite closely is Cameron Chisholm, who runs a wonderful organization called the International Peace and Security Institute.)
Rotary recently put out a call for applications to its network of Peace Fellows and we’re eager to see who responds. It will be an interesting experiment for us. The methodology we use for the Global Peace Index is fairly complicated and we want to make sure we give participating Ambassadors the training they need to be comfortable talking about our research. Another question worth thinking about is what we expect from our Ambassadors after they receive their training. Setting up public talks is one thing, but there are other “acts of leadership” (to borrow a phrase from the Climate Reality Project, which was started by Al Gore to train people to give presentations based on his documentary “The Inconvenient Truth”) like having private talks with influential people. An ideal Ambassador would be someone with public speaking experience who is interested in learning more about peace research and has some ideas about how they can spread the word.
If this pilot program works, we could also think about expanding it to include other organizations and other people, and we’ll be sure to update you on our progress.
For further details, please see the concept and application document.Related Articles
Is the world becoming more peaceful, or are there darker days ahead? What are the main factors that build peace and what can we do to prevent violence in the future?
Vision of Humanity is an initiative of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). IEP have offices in New York and Sydney. For more specific inquiries related to the peace indexes and research, please contact IEP directly.