Monday August 14, 2017

The Challenge of Peace

Lennon Wall in Prague, Czech Republic

Lennon Wall in Prague, Czech Republic (Adam Zivner/Wikipedia CC)

Listen to Full Episode 53:57

We have the best communications in history, except for the kind that matters — nations and states understanding each other. What values might we agree on? What ideas about society do we have in common? Has there been progress of any sort? Jennifer Welsh, Paul Heinbecker, Peter Boehm, Arne Kislenko and Daniel Eayrs in conversation from the Stratford Festival. **This episode originally aired February 8, 2017.


"Despair is criminal. It's easy to despair, and to say that these things are insurmountable, but we have to try — that's literally the shtick of being a democracy, that you have to keep trying no matter what the odds are." — Arne Kislenko

"Peace" is a tricky concept — everyone agrees that war is a bad idea, but when someone lays siege to you, it's hard not to resort to conflict. We'd all like to have peace, but in an unequal world, where resources are finite and unequally distributed, its hard to see how conflict can be avoided, and how peace can be maintained.

History can teach us a few things — how did wars and conflicts get resolved in the past, what can we learn that might help us with the conflicts of today? In our own time, the odds of finding the keys to making and sustaining peace would seem to be relatively good — the world is more interconnected than ever before. All of us have emotional, cultural and economic ties that run around the world — we're citizens of the planet, peace is in our own best interests. 

The search for permanent peace has escaped us for millennia — maybe permanent peace is not really possible, maybe conflicts, both large and small, are forever with us, and the best we can do is just manage the moments when conflict stops. But that's not to say we can't learn something about peace. 

Guests in the program:

  • Jennifer Welsh -- Professor of International Relations at the European University Institute and 2016 CBC Massey Lecturer.
  • Peter Boehm -- Deputy Minister of International Development and former diplomat.
  • Paul Heinbecker -- former diplomat and Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
  • Arne Kislenko -- Professor of History at Ryerson University and instructor in International Relations at the University of Toronto.
  • Daniel Eayrs -- former officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.

** This episode was produced by Philip Coulter. It was recorded at the the Stratford Festival, thanks to Melissa Renaud, David Campbell, Keira Loughran and Dian Marie Bridge. Special thanks to Ann Swerdfager and Antoni Cimolino.