Theme 3: What It Will Take To Manifest Peace Through Commerce

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A discussion moderated by Zoe Cooprider, Program Manager at Global Peace Index and Alliance for Peacebuilding

Visit Biographies for more about presenters

How do we take the lessons learned from business, government, and conflict to create models for fostering peace through commerce?
This session provides conceptual frameworks designed to aim toward that end as well as in discussing what future steps need to be taken by a variety of institutional actors.

Watch the videos and join the discussion with presenters below.

Louis D’Amore, President and Founder, International Institute of Peace Through Tourism

"What It Will Take To Foster Peace: The Tourism Experience"(10:27)

Timothy Fort, Executive Director, Institute for Corporate Responsibility, Lindner-Gambal Professor of Business Ethics, George Washington University Business School

"What It Will Take to Foster Peace: Education"(14:09)

Michael Strong, CEO and Chief Visionary Officer, FLOW Ltd.

"What It Will Take to Foster Peace: Liberating Economic Freedom - Part I" (3:00)

Michael Strong, CEO and Chief Visionary Officer, FLOW Ltd.

"What It Will Take to Foster Peace: Liberating Economic Freedom - Part II"(9:58)

Discussion: How to Manifest Peace Through Commerce: Thought Leaders' Views (40:10)
Carolyn Woo, Dean of the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame
Melissa Powell, United Nations Global Compact
with Michael Strong, Louis D'Amore, Timothy Fort, and Jeff Klein

Discussion: How to Manifest Peace Through Commerce: Open Discussion from Different Institutional Perspectives


Discussion: How do we take the lessons learned from business, government, and conflict to create models for fostering peace through commerce?

1. One of the main points of this week - and the conference as a whole - is the need for many different sectors to play a role in creating the atmosphere for business fostering peace. After viewing the videos, do we have the right ones in play? Are we missing sectors and how could we bring them into the discussion?
2. Several different frameworks are suggested for the work of various sectors and for the concept of peace through commerce as a whole. What can we do to improve them? Do they stand up well?
3. In this week we hear from various sectors developing frameworks for understanding the relationships between peace and commerce. Are there ways that collaboration between these sectors will strengthen their effectiveness and impact? If so, what mechanisms should be developed to foster collaboration?

Over the past couple of weeks, we have had some postings and some private emails asking if there were available some conceptual frameworks that would help to analyze the issues of business and peace. This week begins several weeks of presenting just those kinds of frameworks and more overarching conceptions of what might be possible.

Our moderator this week is Zoe Cooprider. Zoe comes to us from the Global Peace Index, established by Week 1 speaker Steve Killelea. Zoe is in charge of partnerships for the GPI; an ideal position from which to bring together the various ideas that address this topic.

I hope we continue to have such good discussion!

Timothy L. Fort, PhD, JD
Exec. Director, Institute for Corporate Responsibility
Lindner-Gambal Professor of Business Ethics
George Washington University School of Business
Professorial Lecturer, George Washington Law School

Louis D’Amore mentioned that as tourism began to increase so did the terrorism directed at these tourists. I believe that several of the frameworks he mentioned in his video are and have been helpful. Many of the frameworks are conferences including the World Peace Tours of 2009 which demonstrates the priniciples of peace through tourism. These informational conferences are exactly what we need as the world becomes a smaller and more global place.

One reason I think terrorism occurs is because people tend to fear the unknown. Now that the world is more global people are becoming aware of different cultures and the threats they might pose to their own culture. It is important that we all gain knowledge and understanding of each other’s cultures. The more aware we become the less we have to fear. Fear is one major factor that contributes to violence and terrorism. A solid understanding of foreign cultures will allow for business commerce to not only take place but to take place in a peaceful manner.

It is very important to launch world peace tours as Louis D’amore mentions. There needs to be promotion and demonstrations on how different cultures, food, traditions, religions, governments influence countries so that these tours can work as a way to sustaining peace through tourism. I have come to met people who don’t even know that certain countries exist or how different cultures influence the lives of people all around the world, and it is not a technology problem because I am sure that the people that have given me those types of answers have internet access and other resources available to them to engage and learn about different parts of the planet. In order to promote peace through tourism, and subsequently peace through commerce travelers have to collaborate and be aware of how different people relate to one another in different parts of the world.
We have entered into a knowledge era which is a term used in business that refers to using what is known in order to maximize the firm’s value. The same concept can be applied to manifest peace through commerce and tourism. We need to be more engaged with being informed and informing others about different parts of the world. By becoming more knowledgeable travelers can feel less worried about traveling. As Renee mentions, fear can be a major obstacle for business commerce to take place. Becoming more involved with what happens around the world will make travel much easier and therefore business commerce can occur peacefully and without conflict.

Dear E-Conference Participants,

I have had the opportunity to review some of the videos on site and although i cannot respond to all of them,please allow me to react to the first posting by Louis D’Amore.This video to me more or less summarizes the whole content and idea of peacebuilding through business with a particular focus on Tourism.

in terms of question 2 and 3, D’Amore dicusses a number of possibilities and initiatives These include:Travel tourism,Sustainable tourism,The possibility of International terrorists targeting the industry which is all the more distinct in the post 9/11 world,the aftermath of the Rio conference on Sustainable Development,The role of certain world leaders who are regarded as having a Global moral voice with the specifiic mention of The Late Pope John Paul II and also Former US president the late Ronald Reagan among others.

My sense of his presentation is that the Global sustainable tourism campaign is largely in the hands of global factors many beyond its control which is true.The implication therefore is that it cannot survive in a conflict world which again would be true.

For purposes of my contribution, i would however wish to zero in on two aspects:The Global threat of terrorismm which is the point of intersection between conflict and sustianable tourism and the concept of sustainable tourism itself.Sustainable tourism, by its very nature would mean that some resources like say marine resources are exploited but responsibly with regard to the survival of future generations.If this does not happen, then the possiblities of conflict are increased and those of peace concomitantly diminish.Why?Beacuse people are bound to fight over limited resources when they become scarce and the reports by reputable organizations like the International Crisis Group(ICG) and also the IPPCC,the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change have repeatdely warned that climate change and irresponsibile tourism all portend to a world of conflict a very good living example being the intractable Darfur conflict in western Sudan.

On its part, terrorism is the actual manifestation of the conflict and it affects tourism aspects, mostly negatively good examples being in the Egyptian, Indonesian,Thailand,Kenyan,Moroccan,Tunisian,Algerian and Saudi resorts which have suffered attacks in the recent past.Many others also remain vulnerable to such attacks including a number european and Asian destinations.

To foster collaboration therefore, what is needed is a strong cross sectoral patnerships with governments and private sectors and also strong Corporate Social Responsibility regimes that would ensure that the people have confidence and benefit from businesses as a way of guarenteeing their basic survival.For example what is going on in the Niger Delta is the direct opposite and can be avioded if there is more responsibility.If The oil MNCs mining oil there could respect the Human Rights of the locals, then the ethnic conflicts witnessed and the insurgency could well be avoided.

Solomon Mpapale.

My question is in regards to Professor Fort’s video. You mention that businesses should use specific
microlevel activities in order to implement trade. Can you give us an example of what those activities might consist of?

Sure Renee,

Thanks for the question. The thust of my research has been that the attributes of relatively non-violent societies (as determined by anthropologists and political economists) map pretty well onto consensus-based ethical business practices. Thus, when businesses practice ethical activity, they make a contribution - sometimes large, sometimes small - to the creation of a peaceful environment. For example, Cindy Schipani and I have shown that there is a clear correlation between corruption and violence, so while a company may be forced to engaged in bribery in a given country, to the extent they can lessen that bribery or eliminate it, that action will contribute to a more sustainably peaceful enviroment. That’s a concrete, micro-action companies can take.

Similarly, because poverty is linked to violence, job creation companies create are helpful. That’s particularly true if it can be outside of the extractive industries. That too, is a concrete, micro-activity cmpanies can do. Same is true with following to (or lobbying for) other rule of law concepts such as protection of contract and property rights.

Maybe the most intriguing one to me is that fostering voice of the oppressed or unheard is nearly always helpful. It’s a reason why democracies tend not to war with each other, why famine tends not to occur in democratic countries. Contemorary management practices require rank-and-file workers to speak up if there is a product defect. That’s an aspect of voice that contributes to a well-run company and I suspect (although I am still nudging some empirical scholars to try to chase this idea down) there could be spillover effects to the peaceful, democratic environment of the society. Again, a very practical, concrete, micro action.

These are all actions any business can take anywhere and I think even if the company does these things around the world from a conflict, it still makes a difference because of the way communications travel these days. It is even more important - and much harder - to do them in a conflict-sensitive zone. And in either one, it may be that a company can’t do all of these things at once, but I’m willing to nudge companies to take baby steps even if they can’t take giant steps.

Hope that helps. Happy to follow up too.


I have a question in regards to Professor Fort’s Video as well.

Through your research you said that you have found that there is a perfect correlation between corruption and violence, and I would have to agree with your findings from personal observation. Since corruption is an element of culture, especially in many African countries, it seems that it is ingrained within society influencing those associated.

Your example of the group of baboons was a perfect example of this influence, but I seek a little clarity as far as the time frame needed for businesses to have the ability to create the cultural changes needed to promote peace. You mention micro-actions and small steps, but how long would it take for a company go about this on such a small scale, especially given potential societal resistance? My guess would be that this is an on-going process rather than a specific end goal, but I just wanted to hear your ideas on this matter.



I just wanted to share my appreciation of the World Peace Tours.

I have always been skeptical about Tourism as a tool to build communication bridges between society, as a tool to create mutual understanding, and within the concept of this web conference as a tool to promote peace globally. Tourists only observe an excluded part of a society’s daily life. In fact, in many countries, when local people visit the touristic places, they feel more foreigner than the foreigners themselves.

However, with Mr. D’Amore’s World Peace Tours, this impression can be changed. Just like we expect all the businesses to take the community and their social responsibilities into consideration in business plans; we expect tourists to do more than just take photographs. This project of Mr. D’Amore also answers the first question. Are we missing sectors? Definitely yes. Until we start using all the sectors available, all business of all sizes, we will be missing sectors for fostering peace.

I still have doubts about the frameworks. For instance, Dr. Fort, while discussing the correlation between corruption and violence, admits that there might be a third factor. I have been amazed by all the presentations I have watched during the last three weeks, thus I will go ahead bluntly and claim that we should involve all the aspects which are related to communication (let it be communication between government and citizens, different societies or different governments) should be included to improve these framework. It is very difficult to create such a communication map but it is still not impossible.

Lastly, with respect to collaboration, I can say a shared understanding of responsibility would be enough. Even if there is no feasible business-based collaboration among different sectors, as long as there is an understanding of common responsibility, of burden-sharing, of creating a community of active people through different platforms like this e-conference; people will be more motivated.

I hope my points were clear. The main reason I am following this conference is in fact to get acquainted with more cases over the subjects. Personally, I would like to encourage anyone who is willing to share such local examples!



Professor you talk about creating jobs and differentiating markets beyond the extractive industries in order to reduce violence in different countries. Countries have diverse cultures and traditions. Sometimes it is difficult to develop a global mindset necessary to manage expectations, set objectives, and as you mention create jobs no matter what type of skills or abilities someone may have. It is particularly difficult to do so in a environment where corruption and violence is an element of culture as Justin mentions. Can you expand on this topic and perhaps recommend the type of mindset that people need to have in order to cause a impact in various industries and generate more jobs, and how would you apply that global mindset to countries all around the world.



It’s a good point and a good question Justin. One of the hardest things, I think, about the Peace Through Commmerce approach is measurement. We’re focusing on micro actions of business and any one business, no matter how big, is not going to create peace all by itself. In fact, if a business was so large and powerful that it could have that impact, I’d be kind of worried about the power that businesses has anyway. So, we’re talking about an incremental contribution to a societal issue that requires others to also participate in order create change. That can be discouraging, but I offer three thoughts. First, Margaret Mead once wrote that we should not be discouraged that a small group of committed people could create change in the world. In fact, she said, it’s the only thing that ever has changed the world. Second, my argument is that practicing regularly accepted business principles can contribute to peace, so by aiming for peace, one is more likely to practice ethics, knowing its potential impact. Being ethical itself could serve as an intermediate goal and a good one at that. Finally, I’ve always liked Camus’ interpretation of Sisyphus, who was condemned by the gods to pushing a rock up the side of a hill, knowing it would never reach the top. The Greeks thought this was punishment, but Camus thought that there was some value in Sisyphus knowing what his task was. And from my experience, those who commit to these ideals and ideas find the practice of them rewarding in their own right once they become part of your identity, regardless of the consequence.

I do want to get to your first comment too for a second. A colleague of mine at Wharton, Phil Nichols, did a study several years ago showing that bribery is outlawed in every country in the world and condemned by every major religion. So even where corruption does exist, it’s pretty likely that people in that country wish it weren’t the case. And that provides a lever to try to change the culture so that it accords more with their own values rather than the ones imposed upon them by those who do not respect the values of their own people.

Hope that helps.


Thanks Esteban,

A global mindset would be great, but I’m not sure it has to been that grand. Paul Collier has written that a good predictor of a civil war is when the main export product is an undifferentiated commodity - gold, oil, diamonds, timber etc. If that’s the case, the game is who controls that land and that resources.

Just to take some small examples, to the extent you see a business bringing in a service - financial services, hotels, telecommunications - the economy begins to differentiate. It’s not all about the oil that can get pumped out. These small, additional businesses create a more complex web of economic interdepedencies - as well as jobs - and there is real value to that. A global mindset that can link business around the world, of course, is great, but these small actions make a difference as well, particularly when they are conducted in a respectful, fair, lawful manner.

I don’t want to beat up on extractive too much though. There are extractives that have really worked to try to lessen the violent impact they have on a country. The Kimberly Protocol in the diamond industry is an example. Some oil companies commit themselves to conducting their work in a way that is more respectful of human rights and commit to improved standards of transparencies. So, I think extractives can play a more positive role too; it’s just that it seems they have some additional hurdles to overcome.

Hope that helps.


From a personal perspective, I believe that a major catalyst of Peace, whether among individuals, states, or the world at large, comes from the natural ability to understand. I genuinely believe that Tourism is a critical vehicle for understanding and perspective. Louis D’Amore’s discussion of Peace through Tourism shines light on how tourism is a valuable medium. The Peace through Tourism initiative almost seems to bring the concept of Peace to its basic level. To formally and sustainably engage in the exploration other cultures and gain a better understanding of the way other people live and think I feel is a legitimate first step. Understanding is respect. To be able to connect with another individual and formulate a mutual understanding is ignites dignity in each respective party. I agree that understanding and knowledge can combat fear so that people can open their minds and enable a connection.

Professor Fort,

You mentioned in your video in regards to peace, that desperate times leads to an increase in violence, especially those most affected by it such as the unemployed. Next you mentioned civil war and the need to have a “differentiated economy,” because when your exports rely on a non-differentiated good such as lumber or oil it leads to higher violence. I am curious why this is exactly.

Also, given the nature of America’s economy right now, one could argue it is becoming a “desperate time.” Do you think it is possible for corruption and increased violence may start to unfold here as well, or mainly in more of emerging market countries? I understand that our economy is highly differentiated, but it still comprised highly of a few major sectors such as industrial supplies and production machinery and equipment, which make up more than half of our exports. I understand that we are still a young nation, but as a 22 year old this is certainly the worst I have experienced.

I believe that the nature of America’s economy right now could lead to corruption and increased violence. We saw examples of this during the great depression. Hard times can evolve violence from individual crimes into large national protests and because of this, it is important that businesses do everything they can to prevent this violence from beginning. They should start by diversifying the job market, creating new jobs, and spending money in order to stimulate the economy, but they must to this in a peaceful manner. People are more likely to invest, support, or work for businesses when they conduct themselves in an ethical manner. It seems to me that businesses as well as the economy excel during times of peace.

Professor Fort,

I would like to know who you believe is responsible for making company’s more ethical. Do you believe the CEO, being the “alpha male” (or female), must start the company’s ethical practices? Or does the responsibility fall more on the government to encourage or force a company to practice ethically? If it is the government’s responsibility to help company’s become more ethically conscious, do you believe it is best done with sticks or carrots?

I too agree with both you and Louis D’ Amore’s discussion of Peace through Tourism. I believe the root of much conflict is simply ignorance. This ignorance results in the impossibility to adequately communicate with people from other cultures, and by adequately communicate I mean the ability to hear and be heard. When one is ignorant it is much easier to discredit foreign people; these individuals gain a sense of misguided superiority. This superiority is difficult to dismantle unless one engages with the unfamiliar. Tourism is a perfect way to expose people to other cultures, and through this exposure I am confident that people will learn that we are all very similar in many ways. Learning about other cultures will also help to reduce the fear that many have. Fear is a result of ignorance and this fear often leads to unethical, destructive behavior. Education through tourism will help to provoke a greater understanding and ultimate respect for others.

Thanks for the post Daniel. I am relying on the work of Paul Collier, who has done extensive study of the issues of poverty. I believe the explanation is that if a country’s main export product is a commodity, then control of that commodity is available efficienty through the use of force. A diamond mine or a oil well is property that can be controlled by force and done so very effectively. Violence is a less effective in a differentiated economy because there are simply too many people to control. Add to that the so-called “oil curse” which is that countries with great oil wealth specifically, also tend to be prone to corruption (and with that, again violence to keep the corruption in place) because it is so easy for government to extort bribes in exchange for assistance in protecting the vital oil field and companies for which it is worth paying the bribe. But then you have a government awash with money and frequently no structure to distribute to the needs of the people as determined by the people. So “selected” people get money furthering disparities and resentment. It becomes a viscious cycle.

I know there is another post on your second comment, so I’ll follow up on that reply.

Hope this helps.


Thanks Caroline,

Without any question, leadership at the top makes a huge difference. It’s hard for a company to move forward without that leadership.

My view is that multiple parties have responsibility. Government helps when it reigns in excessive behavior, but government can become very obtrusive and even anethetize moral sentiments of others because citizens think they can defer responsiblity to the government. So business leaders have a crucial role as does government, but I do think that it’s important for everyone to see that they can do something.

That’s true in the office. Regardless of what the CEO does, there are still individual choices people make about how to treat each other. Franz Kafka wrote a wonderful, bewildering book called

In addition to the internal workings of the business, people who work are still citizens outside of work and they can vote, lobbby, or create and contribute to new ideas of the way business is done through a forum exactly like this. Ideas matter and new ideas that come from what people do outside of work can have an impact on what happens at work too.


Thanks for both of these comments. The US has more than its share of violence already. We’re certainly not the most pacfic country on earth. Lots of reasons can be given by people who know this aspect better than me, but certainly the more stress - through increased poverty and unemployment - could result in more bloodshed, sad to say.