Washington D.C is a happening place for discussions with an international focus. The city nevertheless deserves its global importance, as decisions taken in and around the city have had long lasting political and economic impacts across the globe. Similarly the concept of global peace and stability (or instability) might not have been born here but certainly abodes in this city. Several institutes, organizations, and stakeholders in the district are consumed heavily towards shaping the global state of affairs to be more peaceful than the present day.

Washington D.C was the ideal location chosen by the Diplomatic Courier and the Institute for Economics and Peace to organize a summit on the “Future of Peace”. The summit was focused on discussing major challenges and opportunities for global peace in the years to come. The summit also marked 10th edition of the Global Peace Index: a mechanism to rank peacefulness of 162 countries using 23 indicators, with annual editions and a large global outreach.

Hosted in the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, the summit had everything right about it. Kudos to the organizing team for having 19 amazing speakers shares their insights during the 6 and half hours of the summit. The structure of the summit was ideal with a balanced mix of forums and individual lightning presentations on a wide range of topics pertinent to peace and stability.

The discussions were diverse, ranging from political challenges and solutions, to the entrepreneurial initiatives for peace, topped by moving stories of impacted individuals’ now inspiring peace in their own communities. The concepts and ideas shared were more definitive then tentative in aspiring change that leads to peace.

One important concept that caught my personal attention was presented by Sandra Malone (Executive Vice President, Search for Common Ground). Sandra iterated the importance and need to create dialogue with the group creating unrest and destabilizing peace in a region.

The idea is challenging as emotions often precede sound judgment in societies that have experienced unrest at the hands of a certain group. I can understand the feeling, because as a Pakistani national I have witnessed trauma caused by a group of miscreants (Taliban) for over 15 years. A couple of years ago the Government decided to bring the Taliban to the discussion table in attempt to bring peace to the country. The decision was criticized strongly by the civil society and general population. Although the process did not work entirely and the forces ended up locking horns in the battle field after only a few rounds of discussions, but during the negotiations period the country did witness a few peaceful weeks. Similarly the neighboring Afghanistan has (also victim of the same group & its terrorism) is on course to establish a dialogue with the perpetrators. These are only two examples from the region I belong to, while more of this is being done across the troubled regions of the world, as it is a way forward to peace without causing irreparable losses caused by fighting.

To summarize the summit categorized education, empowerment, and equitable resource distribution as important factors towards creating and promoting peace in the world. The present situation of peace across the globe in general is far from ideal, but attending the summit did create hope that the future holds peace.