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January-February 2003 — PRINT EDITION
Upfront / People Table of contents     Printer friendly
Profit of peace
By Anna Maria Greene

There is no higher calling than the pursuit of peace. When Bob Stewart heard this message at the Rotary International Conference on peace in 1996, he took it to heart. “Violence is the most pressing issue facing us,” says Stewart, 51, former president of the NWT’s institute of CAs. “I decided it was time to make a difference.”

The first thing the Yellowknife-based management consultant did was scan the bookstore for Peace for Dummies. “Of course, it didn’t exist,” he says. Instead, he uncovered an ocean of material on the subject, leading him to found The Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace, a virtual organization and one of the most comprehensive websites in the world on peace education (www.peace.ca). It addresses the root causes of violence at all levels (world, community, family and individual) and outlines approaches to problems impacting peace, such as poverty, greed and racism.

“Selling the peace message is a tremendous marketing challenge,” says Stewart, who received the YMCA Peace Medal in 2000. “People’s minds cloud over when they hear the word.” To help convey the meaning, he facilitates the work of other peace centres and websites, developing programs and workshops ranging from teaching conflict resolution at schools, to training peace leaders and activists. In November, Hamilton’s McMaster University held a major peace conference, which he coordinated and will sponsor annually. It’s an opportunity for educators and activists worldwide to network, engage in workshops and map out an action plan for peace education.

Stewart stresses that greedy businesses can be part of the problem, by putting the bottom line over ethical and other considerations. Therefore, he calls on kindred CAs to foster a culture of peace in business, beginning with social accountability. “We are well positioned. We have the skills and the goodwill,” he says. “If I can do this as one person, imagine what the entire Canadian CA profession could do.”