When I retired from the world of business in 2001, I decided to see whether I could somehow contribute to reducing the amount of war in the world. With armed conflict causing the suffering of well over 100 million people and costing around $14 trillion per year, it was clear that we needed to find better ways to promote peace. Unlikely as it was, I thought that maybe I could help.
After spending about two years looking for evidence as to where my effort might do the most good, I found none. Following the advice of some senior people in the peacebuilding field, I decided to encourage and to support local citizens to prevent the violence that threatened their communities. Eventually, that led to the formation of the Purdue Peace Project, which has successfully supported locally-led peacebuilding in nearly 20 situations in Africa and Central America. It is now applying what it has learned abroad to address a gun violence problem in an American city.
The combined efforts of government and non-government organizations have not been effective enough to prevent wars from inflicting appalling human and economic costs on mankind. What is needed is:
More resources devoted to reducing armed conflict
Better allocation of those resources based on research to determine which peacebuilding activities produce the most results relative to resources expended.
Collaboration to establish priorities, to promote cooperation, and to attract more support for peacebuilding action.
An integrated, cooperative program to promote peace, including an overall strategy, priorities, and plans.
I have arranged to provide funding to the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego to help fill those needs.