The must-read book for 2020.

The world is in reset mode. Could peace provide us with a blueprint for a post-COVID recovery and long-term sustainability? Download Chapter 2 of Steve Killelea’s debut book, 'Peace in the Age of Chaos' now.

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ne of the more profound aspects of peace is being able to account for different cultural perspectives. Diversity is a much-celebrated phrase today, but often means accepting a narrow set of Western progressive values. This was something I encountered again and again in development, eventually leading to the realisation that for peace to take root it’s important to work with the existing values of a society, slowly shaping them and moving towards a mutually agreed vision. I would later realise that this was the concept of path dependency in systems thinking.

I once visited a remote village in Myanmar where we were putting in pumps to give access to clean water. The chief and his daughter greeted us some 3 kilometres from the village; my daughter Jennayah had come with me. It was impossible for our four-wheel drive to get in over the last stretch of road, so we came in on a bullock wagon.

When we reached the village I was met by the local people, and as had happened many times before, I asked them what they needed most. ‘Electricity,’ said the chief. From a development perspective this was a great answer, and my eyes lit up. I imagined electricity would allow students to continue studying after they come in from the fields at dusk; it would help women to supplement their income with sewing machines; farmers could pump water up from their wells during drought.

But I had been tripped up by my Western views again. ‘If we had electricity then we could put lights around the pagoda and that would be very good for our merit,’ he said.


An important piece of work.

"The book and the ideas in it are both inspirational and foundational.  The author demonstrates an infectious passion for humanity and the world we live in, a developed understanding of how individuals and societies function and a clear direction of travel to a better and more sustainable future."


Steve Killelea is a businessman, philanthropist and founder of think tank, Institute for Economics & Peace.

Over the last two decades, Steve has applied his business skills to his many global philanthropic activities, established an internationally renowned global think tank, the Institute for Economics & Peace and a private family foundation, The Charitable Foundation, which now has over three million direct beneficiaries.