As the holidays approach, 2012 hasn’t provided much hope for the seasonal wish of “Peace on Earth.” Not when the headlines reveal the savagery of the Syrian and Congolese civil wars, Hamas-Israel rocket barrages, insurrection in Mali, fighting in Afghanistan, violence in Egypt, and the heartbreaking nightmare of the death of innocent young children in Newtown, Conn. Precious few world leaders seem to be using their power boldly and courageously for peace. Instead, we see the Arab world in revolution without an Anwar Sadat to guide it, Congo without the moral leadership of a Desmond Tutu or Nelson Mandela, Israel without a Yitzhak Rabin who had the courage to talk to the enemy. But, if we look at this year more closely, it is possible to find people, thousands of them, who may not have the power of a state at their disposal but are pushing the cause of peace step by difficult step in every corner of the world. I asked my Harvard Kennedy School students to help me find champions of peace. Here are some whose dedication to peace at the village, national, and global level should inspire us.


Burns, Nicholas. "The Peacemakers of 2012." Boston Globe, December 20, 2012.