What a privilege to be selected for the Positive Peace Activator programme and representing Oceania!

Along with 42 new activators, we gathered in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 17 to 20 May 2024 to brainstorm and collaborate on different ways to mainstream peace in different sectors of society.

As a researcher and peace practitioner, I know how the work of promoting global peace requires a multi-sector, multi-regional, and multi-disciplinary approach. The three days was a rare and unique opportunity to platform the voices so often overlooked on the global stage.

One such moment was when we heard from our Pacific Island: they shared about the everyday impacts of rising sea levels covering their homes and islands completely. One activator described the Fijian practice of being buried in your ancestral village and the horror of communities digging up ancestral bones when forcibly relocated due to the rising tides.

Our time together as policy makers, practitioners, scholars, business folk, and activists to dream of ways to respond to these pressing issues in the region was very much needed.

To help us reflect on how we might respond to the pressing issues facing our communities, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) presented their 8 pillar framework to approaching peacebuilding. Building on Johan Galtung’s work on Positive Peace through transforming attitudes, behaviours and structure, IEP’s model specifically focused on the institutional and governance aspects of peace. We discussed how a sound business environment, acceptance of the rights of others, and a well-functioning government are intimately connected to the other five pillars of equitable distribution of resources, free flow of information, good relations with neighbours, high levels of capital, and low levels of corruption.

As a qualitative researcher who values the need to go deep by directly engaging with the people we seek to understand, I came to appreciate how quantitative indicators and indices like the Global Peace Index offers us a useful snapshot of how countries are faring relative to others.

The 8 pillars of Positive Peace framework complements other approaches to researching and working in peace and conflict.

During our time in Yogyakarta, we were hosted by Indonesian Rotarians who reminded us to always take culture and context into account when designing peace initiatives. To help us appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of their culture and worldview, we travelled to Prambanan Temple to experience a retelling of the Ramayana epic.

Many thanks to the Institute for Economics & Peace and the Rotary Foundation for this opportunity to collaborate with so many passionate peace activators. While our time together was short, friendships and connections were made. More was achieved in three days than years of meeting online via zoom!


Dr Elaine Pratley

Dr Elaine Pratley

Founder - Peace Inc. and Peace Kitchen

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