Intimate, educational, captivating, inspirational, powerful – It’s difficult to accurately depict just how moving it was to see a such an engaging group of people convened at the Carter Center Wednesday night for the Center’s International Day of Peace panel discussion. Moderated by Karin Ryan, Senior Advisor for Human Rights at The Carter Center, the panel topic centered on investing in peace and diverting financial and human resources from the “machinery of violence.”
Three of Atlanta’s most notable women – King Center CEO Dr. Bernice King, Georgia Sen. Nan Orrock, and Carter Center CEO Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters – set out to answer the question, “What does it Mean to Invest in Peace?”
Citing daunting statistics, all three panelists addressed the societal trend towards “the normalization of violence” that can be clearly observed here in the United States and across the international arena. In the United States, for example, military spending accounted for 55% of the President’s discretionary spending in 2015. From a global perspective, Karin Ryan highlights a study from the Malala Fund noting that cutting eight days of military spending worldwide could pay for child education worldwide for twelve years.
The panelists provided valuable insights addressing the topic of investing in peace.
Dr. Bernice King
- “If I’m afraid of speaking up, for fear of being called unpatriotic, then I’m just as guilty of not creating a peaceful world.”
- “I believe wholeheartedly that when people study, learn, and understand my father’s philosophy, it helps change the mindset”
- “The reason we have gotten this far is because after the killing of Mike Brown, people have refused to let us go back to business as usual… We have to remain awake.”
- “It’s going to take MORE of the privileged communities to beginto speak up, get involved, and push what is needed.”
- “This is going to take generations. We have to just be prepared for that and make sure that we are on the local and state level, doing our part, and pushing for peace training.”
- “One city, one state, one region at a time to balance the law enforcement and community.”
Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters
- “There is nothing weak, there is nothing partisan about peace… There is this impression that (violence) is the natural state of the United States of America. There’s also this idea that Democrats are for peace and Republicans & ‘real men’ are for war…”
Georgia state Sen. Nan Orrock
- “It makes a difference WHO we elect”
Following the discussion, key questions were set before the speakers and audience:
- How do we ENVISION peace, when we are AT WAR?
- What are some ways people are WORKING for peace?
- Can we contribute to peace by amplifying what is WORKING?
- How do we convince CITIZENS/VOTERS that STATE VIOLENCE (at home AND abroad) is making matters WORSE?
- How can we influence our GOVERNMENT?
How would YOU address these questions in the interest of peace?
We streamed the panel live on our Forum on Women Facebook page. You can watch the archive video below.
- A Time for Peace | The Carter Center
- Poetry in Action: “A Girl Has Been Born”
- Love is the Answer | The Carter Center
- ATTN: will.i.am on Education #Wheresthelove
- The Black Eyed Peas – #WHERESTHELOVE ft. The World
- Forum On Women – Twitter
- Forum On Women – Facebook
- Pillars of Peace – Institute for Economics & Peace
“What is needed now, more than ever, is leadership that steers us away from fear and fosters greater confidence in the inherent goodness an
d ingenuity of humanity.”
“It is clear that we must embrace human rights and aggressively challenge our society’s acceptance of violence, which should never be seen as normal or as the preferred means of solving problems.”
“We are at a turning point in history. We can choose either policies of peace and human rights or we can continue our moves toward warfare and human suffering.”
“Meanwhile, governments invest far too much in the machinery of war, when investment in human rights would produce more peaceful results. Peace and prosperity are more likely when people are included and respected by their own governments.”