What does peace mean to you? This was the first question I asked family, friends and colleagues after I had set Sunday 25 September as the date for the Hague Peace Challenge. Interesting enough, no one gave the same answer. Apparently the definition of peace is different for everyone.

What's your definition of peace?
What’s your definition of peace?

Peace: word association

Try. Try to give one solid definition of peace that explains the whole concept. It’s impossible. Even more difficult is when you only want to highlight the positive aspects. No mention of war, no horrific scenes of violence, crime, poverty, death. Just positive words. I asked my friends, family and colleagues for a definition of peace, or at least some positive words that are connected to peace. Respect is a word many used. Then came tolerance, acceptance, freedom.  Peace can also be celebrated, think of the Gay Pride in Amsterdam.  Words, celebrations that already make me feel warm inside, full of happiness and joy.

My positive words to make a definition of peace
My peace word cloud

Peace in all its dimensions

Then I visited the exhibitionAsylum Search Engine in the Humanity House and I found out there are many layers in the concept peace. Everyone has different thoughts about peace. Someone living in a conflict zone thinks differently of peace than a refugee. And a refugee has a different idea about peace than you. There are even many different types of peace. Inner peace, world peace, religious peace. Most importantly, peace is something you need to work on every day. And most of us do, although we aren’t really aware of it.


Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A daily act of peace

In the Hague Peace Challenge you are going to actively work on peace. On the route past the international organisations and local initiaves you’ll explore the different dimensions of peace and become aware of the many peaceful actions you already commit to in your daily life.

When I visualize The Hague Peace Challenge on Sunday, September 25 I  picture myself in front of this large group of people from different backgrounds and you are right there. After the instructions you and the other participants form teams of 4 people  and all these teams challenge each other.  Not compete, not fight, but challenge in order to get the best out of each individual. The best ideas, the most creative solutions. I see the teams come up with beautiful ideas to unite people and build and maintain peace.

Logo #PeaceisPossible campaign
Logo #PeaceisPossible campaign

To conclude I want to end with one beautiful definition of peace I found while trying to to define peace for myself. It is given by the Junior Chamber International ( JCI) , an organisation that has created a fantastic initiative: Peace is Possible. Their definition of peace is:

Peace is the ability to respect differences within our diverse global community, transcending the souvereignity of nations. Peace ensures human dignity and guarantees humanity is preserved for future nations. It’s not just the absence of conflict, but also the prevalence of justice.

You might be interested in:

Hague Peace Challenge: building Peace &; Justice

Vera ter Beest

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