Former New Zealand PM to Open Symposium of Peaceful Nations

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Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Program and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, will give the keynote address at the November 1-3 Global symposium of Peaceful Nations.

Our Symposium will serve as a pillar to support further peacebuilding efforts

Helen Clark, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, will give the keynote address at the Global Symposium of Peaceful Nations. The Symposium will be the first forum aimed at recognizing and honoring the most peaceful countries in the world and will take place on November 1-3, 2009 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Clark served as Prime Minister of New Zealand, the most peaceful country in the world as ranked by the Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2009, for three terms from 1999 through 2008. Under her leadership New Zealand achieved significant economic growth, low levels of unemployment, and high levels of investment in education and health. Former Prime Minister Clark's government prioritized reconciliation and the settlement of historical grievances with New Zealand's indigenous people and the development of an inclusive multicultural and multi-faith society. Clark is routinely ranked as one of the most powerful women of the world by Forbes Magazine, ranking as high as #20 in 2006.

Prime Minister Clark said, "I am pleased to be involved in this unique effort to learn more about peaceful nations around the globe. Perhaps by learning about the most peaceful countries individually and by comparing and contrasting the types of peace they each represent, we can begin to consider new methods to further peace globally."

Hosted by The J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center and the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Symposium will examine the nature and history of peacefulness and develop insights into the history, policies and characteristics of the most peaceful nations from around the world. The findings will be shared with governments, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations worldwide. The Symposium will consider existing peace, and hopefully lead to more deep and comprehensive understanding of the factors that make peace possible. "Our Symposium will serve as a pillar to support further peacebuilding efforts," said Chic Dambach, President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding.

The identification of the most peaceful nations is made possible by the work of the Global Peace Index (GPI). This innovative project, which has been ongoing for three years, establishes a ranking of countries based on their peacefulness and identifies the key drivers of peace. The GPI is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which combine internal and external factors. These indicators were selected by an international advisory panel of peace experts, and the data was collated and calculated by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The GPI is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank dedicated to the research and education about the relationship between economics, business and peace.

The Fulbright Center, established by Harriet Fulbright, widow of the late Senator J. William Fulbright, continues his work under the motto of "Peace through Education." At the end of World War II, Senator Fulbright established the world's largest international education program to give life to his thesis that better international understanding could help avoid future wars.

The Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) is a coalition of diverse organizations dedicated to building sustainable peace and security worldwide by reducing the frequency and severity of violent conflicts. AfP seeks to achieve this goal through initiating collaborative action, building an understanding of and support for peacebuilding, and increasing the effectiveness of the peacebuilding field.

Press Contact ● Sam Agger ● 202-744-9393 ● http://www.peacefulnations.org

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