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The question of how we can build more peaceful societies is the key focus of Vision of Humanity. In our complex and evolving world the best strategies and practices for promoting peace are also developping. Hence, we have compiled a list of books that look to provide citizens, communities, peace building practitioners and policymakers with insights into these issues. We hope this list helps to continue thinking on how we are promoting peace within communities, nations and internationally.

Peace in the Age of Chaos: The Best Solution for a Sustainable Future by Steve Killelea

The major challenges facing humanity are global in nature – climate change, ever decreasing biodiversity, full use of the fresh water on the plant, to name a few. Unless the world is basically peaceful, we will never get the trust, cooperation and  inclusiveness to solve these issues, yet what creates peace is poorly understood. Working on an aid program in one of the most violent places in the world, North East Kivu in the DR Congo, philanthropist and business leader Steve Killelea asked himself, ‘What are the most peaceful nations?’ Unable to find an answer, he created the world’s leading measure of peace, the Global Peace Index, which has become the definitive go-to index for comprehensive data-driven analysis on trends in peace, its economic value, and how to develop peaceful societies. Steve Killelea then went on to establish world-renowned think tank, the Institute for Economics and Peace. Today its work is used by organisations such as the World Bank, United Nations and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and taught in thousands of university courses around the world. ‘Peace in an Age of Chaos’ tells of Steve’s personal journey to measure and understand peace. In this time when we are faced with environmental, social and economic challenges, this book shows us a way forward where Positive Peace, described as creating the optimal environment for human potential to flourish, can lead to a paradigm shift in the ways societies can be managed, thereby transcending and reinvigorating western democracies.

Find it for purchase here (available in Paperback & eBook versions).

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Across the Lines of Conflict: Facilitating Cooperation to Build Peace by Michael Lund and Steve McDonald

Across the Lines of Conflict looks to unearth under what conditions local, interactive peacebuilding initiatives can be successful in resolving conflict within countries’ communities with cases from: Burundi, Cyrpus, Estonia, Guyana, Sri Lanka, and Tajikistan.  Through comparing six initiatives the work explores how these techniques can help bring harmony to communities through analysing when the approach is effective, and questions of audience and methodology.  The book is edited by Michael Lund and Steve McDonald.

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Making Peace Last: A Toolbox for Sustainable Peacebuilding by Robert Ricigliano

In his book Robert Ricigliano looks to reinvigorate peacebuilding, by challenging our practices for creating sustainable peace. Making Peace Last employs systems thinking to make our attempts at peacebuilding effective and durable, presenting readers with the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to make peace last.

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Security and Development in Global Politics: A Critical Comparison by Joanna Spear and Paul D. Williams

Security and Development in Global Politics questions how closely the agendas of security and development should be merged. The book pairs experts in both fields to assess the dynamics between security and development through international issues affecting both areas. Through this comparative structure the connectedness of security and development agendas is problematised and whether this relationship should be deepened is assessed. This book is edited by Joanna Spear and Paul D. Williams.

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Opting Out of War: Strategies to Prevent Violent Conflict by Mary B. Anderson and Marshall Wallace

Through analysing what are described by the authors, Mary B. Anderson and Marshall Wallace, as “non-war” communities, Opting Out of War reveals lessons about preventing violent conflict with resonances beyond the local to international situations. The authors analyse the choices, and strategies employed by 13 communities which facilitated their separation, and differentiation from violent conflicts in their surrounding communities.

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We asked our researchers for the titles of the best books they keep on their desk for constant reference.

  • The Moral Imagination by John Paul Lederach
  • Why Civil Resistnace Works by Erica Chenoweth an Maria Stephan
  • Do No Harm by Mary Anderson
  • Obstacles to Peacebuilding (Global Institutions) by Graciana del Castillo
  • The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (Cambridge Studies in International Relations) by Séverine Autesserre
  • Constitutions and Conflict Management in Africa: Preventing Civil War Through Institutional Design (National and Ethnic Conflict in the 21st Century) by Alan J. Kuperman 
  • Painting Peace: Art in a Time of Global Crisis by Kazuaki Tanahashi
  • Global Security in the Twenty-First Century: The Quest for Power and the Search for Peace by Sean Kay
  • The Fog of Peace: The Human Face of Conflict Resolution by Gabrielle Rifkind
  • Positive Peace in Schools: Tackling Conflict and Creating a Culture of Peace in the Classroom by Hilary Cremin