I don’t think that human beings are fundamentally evil anymore. I don’t think destruction of the world is inevitable. I think we can change things.
If you’re thinking about getting into the business of peace—of calling for an annual day of global nonviolence—why not go all in and attempt your tranquility experiment in the ultimate land of lawlessness, Afghanistan, where banditry, tribal rivalries, and drug-related bloodshed rule the day? This arduous route is the precise one Jeremy Gilley chose in 1999 when he founded Peace One Day, a nonprofit organization that documents its peace quest through film. After the United Nations recognized September 21 as the International Day of Peace in 2001, Gilley and actor Jude Law travelled to Afghanistan to garner support for the day. To their surprise, the Taliban agreed to abide by the one-day ceasefire. “Everybody said, ‘There’s a day of peace, but it will never really make any difference.’ ” How wrong they were. “Children were vaccinated, there was a 70 percent decrease in violence,” says Gilley. This win, hopes Gilley, will lead to a worldwide global ceasefire on September 21, 2012. “If you can reduce by 70 percent in Afghanistan, why can’t you reduce by 70 percent everywhere—from the playground to the poppy field?” says Gilley.
TakePart travelled to the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England, to pick the brains of the world’s biggest thinkers. These Innovators in Action are changing the face of the future with bold new ideas and profound enthusiasm. Motivated by personal experience and fueled by the hope that things can get better, these innovators—each of them true social entrepreneurs—are improving our world, one brilliant business idea at a time.