Scilla Elworthy's inspirational yet practical talk explains why wars are still happening and shows a route to peace
At the Campfire Convention 2017 the keynote speaker was the celebrated peace activist Dr Scilla Elworthy, a peace builder, and the founder of the Oxford Research Group, a non-governmental organisation she set up in 1982 to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics, for which she was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. She served as its executive director from 1982 until 2003, when she left that role to set up Peace Direct, a charity supporting local peace-builders in conflict areas.
In 2003 she was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize. From 2005 she was adviser to Peter Gabriel, Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson in setting up The Elders. She is a member of the World Future Council and in 2012 co-founded Rising Women Rising World, a growing, vibrant community of women on all continents who take responsibility for building a world that works for all.
Her latest book is Pioneering the Possible: awakened leadership for a world that works (North Atlantic Books, 2014), and her TED talk on non violence has been viewed by over 1,100,000 people.
Her speech, based around what she terms "asphyxiating terror" had a profound effect on the Campfire members and it took her a full hour to get away from the stage area afterwards, such was the demand for her books and for direct conversation with her.
"So what we have to do is to shut-down, I call it asphyxiating terror, get the media not to put their pictures on the front page, build up a campaign to say this is not the way to treat terror, to minimise terror we have to shut down the airtime that it gets. I would suggest boycotting rich lists and celebrity rubbish, and replacing it with noble lists: people who have done really good things, responsible CEOs, people who are transformers. Get them profiled; insist on making known the achievements of people who have done what you are doing here; celebrate those who prevent armed conflict; make them heroes. The people that I've described: send them messages of support."
Gulalai Ismail, winner of the RAW in WAR 2017 Anna Politkovskaya Award © Dania Ali