Our approach to peace
- The latin term « pax », peace, refers on a first level to a state of tranquility, serenity, harmony, calm. Hence the expression « living in peace ». Peace in this sense refers to an internal state : we speak of peace of mind or peace of heart.
- Negative versus positive peace: the word peace in this context is used to indicate « the absence of war or violent conflict between or within States». Because peace is difficultly palpable, because it is perceived as an ideal, it is often defined in opposition to war. However this approach is too simplistic, it does not allow to grasp peace in all its complexity. The importance to distinct positive and negative peace has been introduced and conceptualized by Johan Galtung for the first time, a Norwegian political scientist and founder of « irenology ». By « positive peace » we do not only understand the absence of war or violent conflict, but also a state of equity, social justice and development.
- The multidimensional character of peace requires that we take into account that a set of practices, of knowledge and methods cannot be improvised. It is not enough to « simply » think peace in the beginning of the 21st century, we need to apprehend it in all its dimensions, adopting an innovative approach by opening the theoretical field of peace to the diversity of today’s conflicts.
- Peace is a dynamic process that starts prior to the outright resolution of conflict and continues after it (Arnaud Blin) ; it is a permanent process that requires a constant engagement (Luis Alberto Cordero).
- The successes of peace deserve to be highlighted: the majority of the questions associated with peace are treated from a security perspective and deal with conflicts. Irenees’ approach consists of demonstrating the achievements in the domain of peace.