Many people ask us, “Why didn’t you include so-and-so in your book?” For us, one of the most interesting and challenging parts of writing Great Peacemakers was choosing who to include in it. To begin, we built a database of more than 250 candidates. In it, we listed people who had won honors such as the Nobel Peace Prize and Right Livelihood Award, plus humanitarians, environmentalists, animal protection advocates, and so-called “ordinary” people making a positive difference in the world.
For each candidate, we noted whether he/she had a strong commitment to nonviolence, was born after 1800, had enough information available about him/her in English, and had a book (preferably an autobiography), documentary, or organization we could consult for more information about his/her life. We also had an eye for diversity of ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, age, level of fame, and approaches to peacemaking.
When we studied our database, we noticed that 5 paths to peace emerged. We named them choosing nonviolence, living peace (peace with yourself), honoring diversity (peace with other people), valuing all life (peace with the animal kingdom), and caring for the planet (peace with nature.) Finally, we chose 4 people for each path to peace.
Sometimes, it was painful to have to leave out an amazing person because there simply was not enough room (we wanted the book to be concise and not overwhelming). But, that is a happy problem to have, isn’t it? We’d rather have too many peacemakers to choose from than not enough! So, one day we might write a sequel showcasing 20 more peacemakers.
Who would you like to see in it?