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Understanding Peace Holistically

From the Spiritual to the Political

Scherto Gill and Garrett Thomson

Understanding Peace Holistically: From the Spiritual to the Political argues that spiritually rooted and morally oriented peacefulness is relevant to the socio-economic–political structures that provide the conditions for a culture of peace. As the authors build up a theory of peace from the spiritual to the relational and communal towards the socio-political, this book also identifies key principles that characterise international and institutional processes that nurture peace. The holistic conception of peace developed in this book may guide and inspire individuals, institutions, and international organisations with regards to how to make peace.

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The aim of this book is to rethink peacefulness from individual inner experience to global political systems. For this reason, it covers a wide range of different kinds of peacefulness: the spiritual, the relational and the structural. It focuses on the idea that these myriad themes can be explained in a unified manner that sheds new light on some old questions.

In many ways, this book has been long in the making. As part of a think-tank working for peace, we have for some time been perplexed by the field’s lack of a common understanding of what constitutes peacefulness. It has become a perennial topic amongst our colleagues at the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP). With our trustees, including Patrice Brodeur, Astuti Horthy, Sharif Horthy and Mohammad Ridwan, we have discussed holistic positive conceptions of peace. From conversations with Alexandra Asseily, another trustee of the GHFP, who generously shares her insights from many years’ experiences working for peace in the Middle East, we have begun to see how some of these themes might be integrated in specific contexts of building peace.

To broaden our understanding of peacefulness, in the last few years, we have brought together thinkers, researchers and practitioners for in-depth dialogues and sustained conversations around these relevant questions. Hence←vii | viii→ this book owes a tremendous amount to many friends and colleagues. Here we shall mention just some of them.

We have learned a huge amount from our conversations...

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