Words of Harriet Mayor Fulbright
You certainly do have the right name – Wow! It is such a pleasure and honor to be here among you for this amazing celebration of a global network of women! Your support of each other across national borders to celebrate differences and collaborate on projects that spread understanding and opportunities for worldwide collaborative activities is definitely leading us toward a more peaceful productive and environmentally sound world. For this reason I thought you might like to know of an amazing idea that the J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center, in collaboration with the Alliance for Peacebulding, has been working on. I know it is of great interest to women because when I googled the phrase “women and peace building,” up came over one and a half million sites!
It is called the Global Peace Index, or GPI, and is the brain child of an entrepreneurial Australian who discovered that war, violence and terror had massive statistics and analysis, and peace – nothing. The aim of the Index (or GPI) is to create discussion around the role of peace and its relationship to sustainability and productivity. It uses the ground breaking research done by the Economist Intelligence Unit to highlight peace research and to create further debate around the relationship of peace, economics and business.
A business leader recently told me how delighted he was to see peace finally connected with concrete numbers, with measurable indicators, with concepts that can be weighed and compared and yes, even argued over. “This makes peace more definable and therefore more real.” He said. “It also makes it easier to discuss action items which, if listed and accepted, can help us work toward a more peaceful world.”
This realization does not make the move toward peace easy. As I have said before, the Fulbright definition of peace is that it is “not a negative static concept. It is not a tranquil state of felicity and blessedness. It is a positive method of adjusting the endless conflicts inherent in the nature of restless and energetic [human beings]. The institution of law based on justice and adaptable to the ever-changing life of [the people on this planet] has been such a method in the history of mankind.”
The GPI indicators of peace and country rankings are only the beginning of our work. Armed with clear insights on the benefits of working toward a more peaceful planet and concrete measures of peacefulness, I know that women all over this world will join us in the effort to settle differences through thorough discussions and much listening to each other, followed by compromise and consensus. I know this because organizations such as yours are already well on their way and provide a great example for everyone everywhere – bravo! And thank you.