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

I think that the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism is great because it helps people become more aware of the world around them. Tourism allows people to gain a better understanding of various cultures in different countries in which they can also learn of other people’s way of thinking. By becoming more aware and open to other cultures, understanding why people have certain ideas or think in a certain way, it can help create more global peace. Even having E-conferences such as this one are a great way to build peace because people from all around the world use this program to submit their input and ideas on different issues.

After watching the different presenters and thinking about this week’s subject, I think I completely agree with what Mr. Fort commented. I think the possibility that business can lead to peace is a case worth being heard. But the actions of different sectors of the economy are making this possible, fostering peace by economic means. Mr. D’Amore provides a good example by explaining how tourism is doing this.

In the past, business was seen as a source of greed and corruption by many people, by creating uneven opportinuties and enabling a few to make monew at the expense of the rest. Today, it can be proven that business can create peace and understanding. The challenge now is to educate these people on this new view.

That education, I believe, begins with the Government. By eliminating barriers to commerce they can help to foster the economic freedom, reducing discrepancies and unemployment and thus elliminating corruption. I think that this is an important pillar of peace through commerce.

Mindset in my own understanding is developed from what we see, hear or learn to believe. How do we change the mindset of people especially the youths of today when all that they see thier leaders and elders do is different from what they teach or preach? Of what use will it do us if we do not use a top bottom approach to effect change we all want to see? First our leaders need to have a change of mindset “cleansing” if you like that will be proven by thier actions. We need more practiable solutions or ideas not theoritical concepts!

Following up on understanding the relationship between peace and commerce and what mechanism should be developed to foster collaboration, i would suggetst the creation of informal periodic forums. Creating informal periodic forums for excahnge of views and discussion among all stakeholders (CSOs inclusive) and strengthening latent channels of communication where they already exist would go a long way in fostering collaboration and partnership for joint problem-solving.

I want to applaud the commenters and participants for a very interesting discussion during the past few days on this, our third week of the eConference on Peace Through Commerce.

First, thank you Tim for your thoughtful and thorough discussion about your work on how companies can take small actions and operate on philosophies that can affect the dynamics of peace. As you mentioned, these actions have the potential to affect workers’ and citizens’ financial stability, sense of dignity, and inclusion.

I have also noticed several comments on Lou D’Amore’s groundbreaking and commendable work the the International Institute for Peace through Tourism. Lou’s work set the stage in many ways - and I see this conference and conversation as one step along the way towards diversify the players! I encourage us to consider how we can expand and broaden the concept of what industries can promote - and have an interest in - peace. At the Global Peace Index, we talk about “Peace Industries” which are defined as those industries that thrive in peaceful environments. These industries thrive in peace because it enables them to have of larger markets, lower costs and greater profits. In addition to tourism, the Peace Industries include commercial aviation, retail, insurance, and financial services, just to name a few. (For a more thorough discussion of Peace Industries, I will try to attach the discussion paper below) Demonstrating common interest is one way to bring more sectors into the conversation.

Similarly, the UN Global Compact and the Center for International Private Enterprise are promoting and implementing programs that bring business together to act in concert to support, complement, or advocate for action in both the private and public sectors.

As this week’s title is “What It Will Take To Manifest Peace Through Commerce?” I propose that, over the next few days (and weeks) what next steps are needed in this field. As Tim mentioned, we have now what he considers a prima facie case - that is, there is now enough evidence for the case to be heard. What are the next steps - in research, advocacy, data collection, public awareness, or best practices? Are there fulcrum issues that require multilateral approaches?

2008 GPi Discussion Paper.pdf

I would like to express my thoughts on an interesting point that Louis D’Amore referenced in his video. It was interesting to hear him discuss the transition in the late 70’s from viewing the world through a North American lens to a global lens. Like Andrea, I also believe that cultural sensitivity and understanding is the foundation of peace. The lens in which we view the world incorporates our own cultural biases which blind us from seeing reality, and by removing it we are able to fully grasp the magnitude of the issues at hand. Bari’s view that ignorance leads to unethical and destructive behavior is something that resonates with me as well.

I feel that an understanding of cultural disparities would not only promote peaceful business, but also create a stronger global economy. This would in turn have the spill over effect as mention before creating more efficient capital markets opening the doors to new business expansions.

I may be getting ahead of myself, but like many others I feel that this is the quintessential way to achieve global peace and prosperity.

Regarding the discussion on How to Manifest Peace Through Commerce: the Open Discussion from Different Institutional Perspectives, various sectors involved are discussed as per their role in creating the proper and necessary atmosphere for business fostering peace. Many have discussed the tourism sector as a very effective vehicle for integrating cultures as a means to eliminate fear and ignorance involved too often within multi-cultural clashes. I agree and truly believe that the tourism industry is a key area to engage business and non-business social reporting and interaction as a major catalyst of peace. What are other sectors that might be just as effective or worthwhile to pursue as a means of creating and fostering peace across cultures in business and non-business settings?


I think that the necessary mindset here is one involving openness, patience, and dedication. These type of people with this type of mindset have the ability to expand jobs as well as thrive in new cultures, innovate and adapt to the diversity of new places, as well as pursue the global mindset we’ve heard in many discussions, which I think is truly an overall goal in this pursuit.


Professor Fort, I am very intrigued by the correlation between corruption and peace with regard to the travel industry that many of this discussion’s participants have been focusing on.
It seems to me that, as mentioned, many countries with high levels of corruption are inherently tough to start a business in and foster cultures, or are at least dominated by a controlling group, which where violence is often the most common means to resolving a conflict. However, many of these countries, be they African nations that have experienced civil wars, or simply developing nations with very unstable economic and political conditions, see levels of tourism that are substantially lower than more developed areas that are already peaceful to at least a moderate degree. This seems like a catch 22 to me. How do academics propose that tourism can be utilized as a peace inducing economic mechanism is areas that are more prone to violence and civil unrest if these areas are the least likely places tourist travel to. In essence, the theory is clearly sound but how can it feasibly be applied to the areas that need to benefit most from it?

As trade and cultural exchange increase so to do the chances for peace between nations. That important fact should underscore any discussion on international trade. As is stands the system is strong, but improvements for the future need to be made to ensure continued growth of international economic and cultural relations and the corresponding decrease in likelihood of global conflict. First off, countries need to continue to work to ensure the elimination of barriers to cultural and economic exchange. They can do this by encouraging a reduction in global tariffs and easing restrictions on visas so students, professionals and all sorts of people can benefit from experience living in foreign countries. The other important step to ensure maximizing peaceful relations between nations in an era of increased economic interdependence is to minimize inequalities in the system that allow for rich countries to prosper at the expense of their poorer trading partners. With these fundamentals forming the foundation of trade and international exchange policies the governments of individual countries will be able to benefit from globalization by making the world a more peaceful place.

Not only does tourism help individuals become educated on different cultures in different countries but it creates a stronger economy for those countries. By helping people become more informed of different cultures it creates less fear because people know about how and why different societies work. I agree with the responses that think that tourism should be more affordable especially for students and the younger generation who are still studying and learning about different cultures. If more students are informed then they can take such knowledge with them and use it in their careers, whether it be a career in business or not, it would create more peace through commerce.

Thanks for the note Alyssa,

I was talking to a guy in the military involved in trying to bring economic development in to stabilize the situation. He said that when a busines person comes in to the region, s/he asks three things: Does my cell phone work (now I can communicate with the outside world), does my ATM card work (now I can move capital), and is there a hotel to stay (so I can be there for awhile and get some work done). Although kind of a whimsical story, I thought it was helpful: telecommunications, financial services, and tourism. That’s a good place to start.

Steve Killelea’s Global Peace Index also has done some really good work in identifying industries most conducive to peace. You might check out some of the materials for more info.

Good question Joe,

My sense is that when you see Catch -22 situations, your main hope is to incrementally move each step forward until you reach a tipping point where you can have wholesale change. No company is going to come into a corrrupt zone and eliminate bribery generally, nor probably, the demands for bribes from their own company. But you can take small steps - stronger internal policies against bribing so you can give employees the chance to say that they would love to pay a bribe, but they will get fired if they do (in other words, helping give them some backbone-like support) or to encourage industry-wide resistance to corruption. As I said in an earlier post, people in countries where there is endemnic bribery still don’t like it, so there will be support for being able to do business without bribes. But it is going to require small steps until you reach a point where can be a true alternative.

There has been progress here. Through global standards, like from OECD, more countries are signing agreements to limit bribery in ways that weren’t there 20 years ago. There is still quite a ways to go, but these smaller steps are there and can be expanded upon.

Global inequalities are a really serious issue, you’re right, Connor and one that I think is at the heart of the Business Fights Poverty website. One reason it is so important is that telecommunciations and the Internet make the disparity more transparent. 60 years ago, there may have been disparities, but a person living in poverty wasn’t sitting in front of a computer screen seeing images of just how great the disparities are. Making those disparities visible makes addressing them all the more important.

Later themes of the conference are going to be looking at issues like this again and I look forward to further discussion on this issue.

I believe that Renee hit this spot on. I completely agree that the primary cause of violence in general, specifically terrorism is ignorance. Although the world is becoming more global, education about the spreading cultures is not growing. People tend to fear the unknown and this results in violent incidents. I agree with Louis D’Amore’s suggestion of conferences such as the World Tours of 2009 to help resolve some of these issues. As the world becomes more global, it is important to realize that although cultures can spread easily, acceptance will only come with education. In order to hope for increased peace, we must take initiatives such as the World Peace Tours to help educate people.

I believe Louis D’Amore says that every traveler is a traveler for peace. I find this true because of the fact that people travel to destinations because they are curious and interested in the culture, people, and location of that certain place. This cultivates peace between travelers and the local residents simply out of the fact that they will respect and admire the destinations they go to. However, many know that people also go to certain destinations without any regard for the culture or people (i.e. college students on spring break). Besides the economic impact that these people have, is it fair to label them as a traveler for peace?

I think what Professor Timothy Fort brought up relating to the virtue theory that we all have innate human capacities to do good is an interesting and complex idea. I agree with him in that we possess the ability to develop good habits of character. However, we also possess the ability to develop and utilize the innate bad that we all possess. Unfortunately, I feel that power-seekers, who often times are business leaders, are driven by greed and material rewards. Those who are good typically don’t seek power which is driven by which Freud would call the id.

Your comment Justin, that corruption is an element of culture, reminds me of Michelle Westermann-Behaylo working article, “Institutionalizing Peace Through Commerce: South African and Sudan Divestments,” that Professor Fort provided us on blackboard. She specifically discussed the influence and implications of divestment in South Africa and the necessity of divestment in Darfur. She noted the impact of how corporations who became socially responsible during apartheid greatly influenced The Anti- Apartheid Movement. For example, London lobbied the British government to enact sanctions against providing the South African government with arms, which were used against native Africans. The success of this effort created a world-wide movement. The importance of understanding how the anti-apartheid divestment effort positively impacted the South African economy and peoples is not only crucial to the current Divest for Darfur movement but it genuinely sets a clear example of ethical practices in the corporate world can be a vehicle of peace. It has been proven that divestment in conflict areas can certainly make an impact because it puts pressure on local governments.

In relation to the “microactivities,” Polaroid while in South Africa recognized how their operations where fueling the apartheid movement and proceeded to engage in these micro-activities by simply acknowledging the injustice of pay between the black and white Africans, eliminating profitability in South Africa as a justification to operate in South Africa, and listening to the citizens in the United States and their request for divestment. I truly agree that making these micro institutional changes from within eventually led peace because they promote a call to action and recognition of what is happening in the environment. In relation to Camus’ theory, I believe if people just recognize their task as being a person of the word more people would recognize their duty to act as a citizen in the world and adopt it in their everyday practices and ideologies. Understanding that adopting ethical behavior and respecting the rights of human beings should be engrained as an ideals for all mankind. Certainly if baboons can recognize a call to change, human beings certainly can too.