The Challenge of Imaging Peace in Wartime
By Elise Boulding
This Article Summary written by: Mariya Yevsyukova, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: Boulding, Elise. "The Challenge of Imaging Peace in Wartime." Conflict Resolution Notes. April 1991. V. 8, No. 4. Pp. 34-36.
Elise Boulding has been organizing "Imaging a World Without Weapons Workshops" since 1980 (p. 35). The idea of imaging a better future as a method for empowering people to work for it was developed by Dutch historian and sociologist Fred Polak, after World War II. However, the Gulf conflict of 1991 demonstrates that the countries of the "North" attempt to create a better future for themselves, not taking into consideration the "South" and its images of a better life. Developed countries do not want to recognize that people from Arab and African countries might not hold the imposition of western values and the West's imperialistic tendencies as the image of their future. Elise Boulding believes that image of the future should become inclusive of the traditions and perceptions of people from other parts of the world. There is a need to engage in "cross-cultural imaging" and learn about views and values of the "South." Elise and her colleagues are redesigning the workshops to accommodate the new point of view. The workshops "imaging the world in 2025" will be conducted in non-European languages and countries (p. 36). What inspires Elise is that people from different times and cultures have common themes in their images: "a clean, green world of abundance, joyfully shared by men and women" (p. 36). Staying realistic but having the image of a better common world will help humanity in achieving a happier future.