Peace looks like...

On the International Day of Peace this year, we launched the "What does Peace Look Like to You?" photo compeition and asked you to share a photo with us and show us what you think peace looks like.

The launch of the competition also coincided with the launch of the Pillars of Peace Report, a research report which identifies eight key factors that underpin peaceful societies. While the Pillars of Peace is an empirical study that aims to inform smarter policies for creating more peaceful societies, we wanted to know what you think makes a peaceful society. In addition to this, we wanted to see what difference and similarities there are between the perception of what peace is, and the Pillars we had identified in the research.

The overwhelming response from the photo competition was great, as we were able to see how many different people around the world thought about peace in their context. It also highlighted three key commonalities in how people perceive peace. These commonalities are consistent with the Pillars of Peace, yet are articulated in a personal and contextual way. The three commonalities are: relationships with one another, cultural and community based activities and networks and abstract representations of peace as a multifacted and all encompassing nature of peace

You're ALL Winners

Given the nature of the competition, there can really be no winners and losers. In fact, everyone who sent a photo to us took time out of their day to ponder what peace looks like and to capture it is a winner. This process will stay with them forever and, we hope, will encourage all contestants to keep an eye out for peaceful situations and scenarios.

However, as a competition, we do need to identify one winner. The photos below are photos that the judge thought were an excellent expression of peace.

We hope these photos inspire more people to think about what peace actually is, what it can look like, and what it means to them.

And the winner is... Jae Franklin who sent us the beautiful photo below. This is the most abstract entry we received, and the judge felt it best represented the many layers of peace, as well as the individual and collective nature of peace.

Runners up

Below is a diverse selection from the runners up - text below each photo. 

This beautiful photo was sent to us by Rehanna Jones. She writes: "Children from a local village in Metinaro celebrate peace. The district of Metinaro was plagued by violence, as rival youth groups in two communities fought fiercely over land issues. Today, the aggression has ceased. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been working with the Timorese government to strengthen its ability to keep such local disputes from turning into larger and more violent conflicts."

This photo was sent to us by Bobbie Gottschalk who took it on the last day of Seeds of Peace International Camp. 

This photo was sent to us by Enver Rahmanov who writes: "to me peace is not the absence of war or a conflict but the presence of peaceful fellowship of humanity, a state of being that requires our open heart and compassionate mind."

This entry was sent to us by Juli├ín Facundo Rinaudo who writes: "Peace has many faces, many views and many ways. Peace has all the colors, any landscape, every angle; for peace is truth, inclusion, sacredness of life, interdependence, nonviolence. It is a megalithic task to portray peace in one image. However, if needed be, I would portray Peace as Diversity: diversity in full exercise, with flamboyant colors and people enjoying their right to live as they see fit. Peace in one image is the explosion of life. This photo from an Indigenous elder of the Inga People playing his home made flute in full exercise of its traditions and customs, is what –today- peace looks like to me. The photo was taken in Alto Putumayo, in the south of Colombia."

Thank you again to eveyone who entered the compeition. We hope you have enjoyed the selection of winners above. Stay posted as we share more of the entries with you via Facebook and Twitter

Related Articles

Happiness and Peace

The United Nations tackled the ticklish issue of happiness in the second annual edition of the World Happiness Report

Day of non-violence

The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.

What does peace look like?

Peace means different things to different people around the world. Share a photo with us and show us what peace looks like to you.

International Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace is a day for strengthening the ideals of peace within ourselves, our communities and throughout the world.

Kicking Goals for Peace

Goals Haiti uses soccer to engage young people with community work and education. It aims to improve their quality of life and develop new leadership.

Working in Peace

Can you make a living and change the world or change the world and make a living? Craig Zelizer, Founder of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, explains how.

Pillars of Peace

Our latest research report, the Pillars of Peace, explores the attitudes and institutions that underpin peaceful societies.

Contact us

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.

General enquiries:
Data request:

Sydney office

PO Box 42, St Leonards,
NSW 1590,
Tel: +61 2 9901 8500

New York office

3 East 54th Street
14th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Tel: +1 (646) 963-2160

Job opportunities and internships are listed on the Institute for Economics and Peace website. See them here.

Contact us