To some, the world may seem as if it’s in a dark place right now.
There are protests in China, fighting in Syria, Brexit still fresh in the minds of many in the European Union and the United Kingdom creating a bleak outlook for the future of our planet.
Many people have lost faith in state actors. According to a Pew Research study released earlier this month, 60% of people around the world believe that nothing changes no matter who wins an election.
But all is not lost, says Georgetown University professor Carla Koppell, former vice president of the United States Institute of Peace, among other titles.
In a lecure discussing the impact of globalization on global peacebuilding last Wednesday, Koppell said new trends in peacekeeping are having a major impact on the demographic mix of countries that are experiencing a high level of migration.
Koppell talked about “invisible people” that go unnoticed who are working toward peace, using the relationship between Israel and Palestine as an example. Invisible people are people who are formally unaccounted for by a state and thus disenfranchised.
Koppell says even though it may seem the two states are at a time of conflict, there’s a lot of mutual help and agreement from both states on most issues like storing and cleaning water, sharing power and energy and labor restrictions.
“We see risk of war goes down when we engage a wider cross-section of the population instead of just the winners,” Koppell said. “When more representatives from as many demographics are present, we see fewer things not get addressed.”
Conflict analysis and dispute resolution professor Dr. Brian Polkinghorn said Koppell really "hammered home her message" about the invisible people who are working toward peace while all the while shedding light on the very real migration crisis, which is the worst it has been since World War II.
Polkinghorn also said it’s such an amazing opportunity for our students to learn from someone like her who has so much conflict resolution experience.
“She was phenomenal; she really knows her stuff,” Polkinghorn said. “She’s not only highly educated, she’s been working with different agencies, and you can tell she has four different lenses on the same topic. Every question she answered was multidimensional.”
Salisbury University student Katie Quinn said it was such an educational experience. Quinn also said it was interesting hearing someone who has been in the thick of it give you her perspective of what is really going on out there.
Quinn said Koppell really "blew her mind" when Koppell told the crowd about how most causalities that come from conflict and migration are civilian, not military personnel, and happen in Latin American countries, not Middle Eastern countries.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned just listening to her,” Quinn said. “She gave me so much to think about and really helped me look at the real picture when it comes to globalization.”
By JORDAN FILDERMAN
Featured image: Jordan Filderman image.