Blog | Pathways to Peace: The Fourth Principle

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

In these times, the task for peacemakers is urgent.

People line the streets of Bogota, Colombia, to protest against the FARC in December 2011.

People line the streets of Bogota, Colombia, to protest against the FARC in December 2011. (Photo:

In a series of posts on this blog, I share 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. 4: Be both pragmatic and principled.

Whatever solutions are devised must be grounded in the values of human rights, freedom, and democracy, or they will not be sustainable. An unfair or inequitable peace will fail.

The armistice that ended World War I punished the Germans beyond what was wise. After World War II, Germany was given support for recovery.

In Colombia, where a civil war smoldered and flared for 50 years, the public voted to reject a peace agreement last year. It seems that people long victimized wanted those who committed gross human rights violations to be held accountable.

And “principled” means that women must be accorded an equal role.

Including women in peace negotiations and in rebuilding results in much greater success. This is because women are at the center of the community and have a deep knowledge of the causes of tensions as well as understanding how to weave together the social fabric that has been ruptured.

Women constituted 30 per cent of the participants in the Colombia talks. Approximately half of the participants in the national and regional consultations were women, and women constituted over 60 per cent of the experts and victims visiting the peace table.

Next principle: You have to deal with the bad guys.

Previous principles: 

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 »

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