News — June 02, 2017

What Form of Peace are you Seeking?

By: Molly Eime, JCI Communications Coordinator

As we look to the future, we are learning that the ways in which peace was once made possible are no longer working due to rapidly changing worldly views. But peace comes in many forms and the methodology of each kind differs from landscape to landscape—posing the question, can we really adapt our ways in order to change the world? 

With an influx of negative events taking place in the Mediterranean region over the last decade, the economy and society as a whole continue to fall into a downward spiral. Insecure business environments, unstable politics, violence, terrorism and massive waves of immigrants and refugees fleeing the region have all contributed to the need for change in the economic sector. 

However, these undesirable conditions have amplified the concept and need of social entrepreneurship as a means to create concrete solutions to economic difficulties as well as increase equal employment opportunities. 

But how does social entrepreneurship relate to peace? By learning how to properly equip themselves with practical tools and skills for social peacebuilding, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to be leading peacemakers within their communities. Furthermore, these tools help assess the impact a local business has on society and how that impact relates to any ongoing community conflict.  

All of these challenges and opportunities were discussed in length during the Peace Academy which took place prior to the 2017 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference in Sousse, Tunisia and was jointly organized by BUSINESSMED and the Euro-Arab Business Council. The 2017 JCI African and the Middle East Conference took place 3–6 May and united 450 active citizens from 43 countries to further the JCI Mission, celebrate the impact created throughout the region and develop the skills needed to be an active citizen in today’s world. 

The Peace Academy was moderated by IES-Social Business School Academic Director and Board Member, Carlos Azevedo as well as Founder of House of Peace, Elias Sadkni—both experts on social entrepreneurship and peace. This 27-hour intensive training event trained 45 participants on how the integration of peace into projects—whether in the community or commercial business—can positively impact society. During this event, participants explored and identified societal challenges that entrepreneurs currently face and designed relevant sustainable solutions and business plans to solve these problems; they then presented their business models to an evaluation board. Furthermore, the workshops covered topics and provided development in areas that enhance peace such as such as ethics, business-plan design, fundraising, partnerships and impact measurement. 

Through this specialized training, participants found that through the exchange of best practices and established social peacebuilding skills, individuals are empowered with the tools to contribute to peace and economic growth in their communities and countries. More importantly, we begin to see that when individuals are empowered and given the skills to succeed—ideas turn to action and real change begins to transpire.  

This type of change is new and innovative and is not a one size fits all method. It is the responsibility of all people everywhere to take a look at the bigger picture and determine how social peace works into their projects or their business plan. JCI members in Africa and the Middle East have identified that there is a need for peaceful solutions in conjunction with economic growth. So it is now time to ask yourself, what challenge does my area face? What form of peace does my country seek? It is only then that you will be able to turn that challenge into change and say yes, as a matter of fact, I am changing the world. 

Do you want to discover more about how to collaborate with partners for positive change? Learn more about the upcoming Global Partnership Summit in New York City this August! 

Are you looking to create change in your community by taking action for peace? Learn more about the upcoming International Summit on Peace in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia this September!

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