The Positive Peace Conference 2017 was co-hosted by the Institute for Economics and Peace and the Stanley Foundation at Stanford University.

Positive Peace Conference 2017: Research, Policy & Practice

Connecting the dots on research, policy & practice

Stanford University and the Institute for Economics and Peace co-hosted the Positive Peace Conference 2017 in October. Over 100 participants and 30 international speakers from backgrounds of research, politics, media, and activism explored the peace systems currently operating in our communities. The connection between research, policy and practice was the emphasis of the 2017 conference.

Each speaker brought a unique perspective on Positive Peace to the conversation.

Three distinct themes emerged from the discussions:

  • A call for a stronger, more connected network of prevention and peacebuilding efforts and recognition that a common goal could unite these efforts.
  • A holistic societal approach to peacebuilding, engaging all aspects of the Positive Peace framework.
  • The need to identify the impact of long-term peace building in order to lay stronger foundations for Positive Peace and for engaging donors.

The discussions focused on two of the eight Pillars of Positive Peace specifically in order to examine real-world implementation: low levels of corruption, and the free flow of information.

In the panel discussing the Low Levels of Corruption pillar of Positive Peace, Francis Fukuyama identified three important elements of political action needed to inspire an end to corruption: civil society mobilisation; good leadership; and clarity regarding the sought-after political system. Mark Schneider’s perspective and research resonated with these sentiments; on the panel he outlined the greatest challenge now as creating political will to achieve and maintain change. Ulysses Smith gave a business-oriented viewpoint emphasising the way commerce thrives in stable environments, thus confirming a strong incentive to support firm governance.

The focus on the Free Flow of Information pillar of Positive Peace was grounded in IEP’s research highlighting a correlation between the free flow of information and conflict outbreak. Mark Leon Goldberg aptly noted the opportunities and challenges new technologies present for previously unimagined forms of communication. Anna Therese Day expressed the dual significance and struggle for journalists to comprehensively cover conflict in order to equip citizens with knowledge. Obi Anyadike echoed this concern, confirming that the first target is the media and NGOs when a government has something to hide.

Download the summary.