TORRENS TALK A Peace College would be beneficial
By VAL TORRENS
Central Kitsap Reporter Writer
November 12, 2009 · Updated 3:32 PM
This past Wednesday was Veterans Day and there were numerous events honoring those who have served this country. This is as it should be. Defending America is something that deserves recognition and respect.
That said, it brought to mind an idea I heard proposed years ago by local resident Wally Giedt, a well-known person in diplomatic circles at that time. There needed to be a counterpoint to the military war college. There needed to be a Peace College.
The Peace College would be a place that would educate our leaders in the issues and ways of resolving conflict and establishing peace. It would teach and develop means and methods of achieving a sustainable, peaceful way of life. The focus would be on creation, not destruction.
I found this to be an intriguing idea and one that made eminent sense. It seems like it would be a good thing to have an alternative to war. A way to approach and resolve problems that do not result in armed combat. A way to achieve a sustainable lifestyle that honors all those involved.
As Wally pointed out, we spend much money to train our military leaders to understand and conduct the strategies and tactics of war. It is a necessary and important task, but why not do the same for the alternative?
Unlike peace, war is destructive and expensive. There is the loss of life and property and irreparable damage to a way of life. It creates instability and ruins a nation’s economy. It does nothing to advance civilization and everything to reinforce ill will.
During peacetime, the economy grows. Production and innovation come alive as the focus shifts from defensive behaviors to engagement, from security and safety to creativity and outreach. People and society function at a higher order of thinking as less energy is spent on survival and more is spent on living.
We say we want to “win the hearts and minds” of the people in the places we currently wage war. We already know we get much further with people by building schools and hospitals, setting up utility and transportation infrastructure than we do by killing. A Peace College would be the place to study and develop those processes that show promise for altering the way the world conducts its business. It would provide us with leaders who know how to turn around a bad situation and make it positive.
This may sound like pie in the sky, but the proof is already on the ground in places like Bangladesh and Pakistan. There have been numerous schools built, mainly for girls, and in every place where that has occurred, the ability for a group like the Taliban to take hold has been diminished.
It is because the local people see how the schools help them and their families. They do not tolerate people trying to take that away from them.
The United States has always been known for its generosity and willingness to help others. Why not formalize this approach and create the Peace College? We can show the world we mean what we say and are willing to put our money behind it. This is certainly an idea worthy of support from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.