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Pathways to Peace: The Sixth Principle

Jordan Ryan is vice president, peace programs, at The Carter Center.

The Carter Center’s motto is “Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope.” In these times, the task for peacemakers is urgent.

President Carter leveraged a health crisis to persuade warring parties in Sudan to accept a temporary truce to treat Guinea worm disease in 1995.

President Carter leveraged a health crisis to persuade warring parties in Sudan to accept a temporary truce to treat Guinea worm disease in 1995. (Photo: The Carter Center/ P. Emerson)

In this series of posts, I have been sharing some of the approaches to waging peace that that The Carter Center and its founder, former President Jimmy Carter, have developed or learned over many years.

Principle No. 6: Think outside the box.

The sixth and final principle in this series is one that applies to every kind of problem-solving, and you’ve heard it before: Think outside the box.

Use every opportunity to forge peace. Think creatively. Brainstorm unusual approaches to solve an issue.

For example, The Carter Center has pioneered an innovative path to peace by concentrating on health. President Carter negotiated a temporary halt to the civil war in Sudan to permit Guinea worm disease eradication activities to accelerate in all affected areas of the country. That truce is still known as the “Guinea Worm Cease-fire.”

A final resolution of the conflict would not come for many years, but The Carter Center earned the trust of the warring parties and remained at the heart of the peace effort.

President Carter believes parties in conflict need a chance to choose an honorable alternative to war; we try to create opportunities to do that.

Next time: Final thoughts.

Previous principles: 

Pathways to Peace | Principle No. 5: You Have to Deal with the Bad Guys »

Pathways to Peace | Principle No. 4: Be Both Pragmatic and Principled »

Pathways to Peace | Principle No. 3: Patience and Persistence Pay Off »

Pathways to Peace | Principle No. 2: One Size Does Not Fit All »

Pathways to Peace | Principle No. 1: Gain Perspective »

Posted in Peace, Sudan

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