Dr Scherto Gill, Senior Research Fellow at the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace, spoke with Jim Paymar to look at peace, conflict and connectedness.

“We see peace as a holistic concept, our work covers research in dialogue, how to build relationship within a community and how to innovate education so that is about educating the human being”

JP – We want peace, how do we achieve it when there is so much conflict in the world?

SG – One way to see peace is that it is relational. When peace is relational, conflict is therefore part of peace. Peace is our capacity, our collective capacity and intention to ensure conflict does not turn into violence. Conflict drives dialogue, it is part of the ebs and flow of life, is the reason for innovation. When conflict is not addressed, when there is injustice, dehumanisation, that is when conflict erupts into violence.

But to do or to be or make peace, we have to start with ourselves, and how should we be peaceful within ourselves and in our relationship with each other.

JP – Why is the Forum like SOH important in trying to make peace?

SG – We all know the challenges that confront us in the world today and a lot of it is to do with the lack of care for the environment, for each other and even for ourselves. What the Forum is stressing at the moment is that a sense of human spirit as our collective strength, and if this is the collective strength we need to explore what it is to be human together.

JP – All the people here get on airplanes in four days and go off in lots of different directions. What do you hope they take with them from the Forum?

SG – The aim is to plant a seed. A seed that will trigger the shift in our consciousness. It is not so much about what we do. Whenever there is conflict or violence, we relinquish our responsibility to the politician, but this is the place now where we think ‘what can I do, what can we do?’.

JP – And the we is important…

SG – Yes. Because the we in this context, humans together with other beings on the planet, and this is the we.

JP – Do you see a time of peace in the world? Given the fact we have been at war and conflict since the beginning of time?

SG – The limit is our dream, so can we dream that? I just spoke and didn’t say anything about the violence, because this is only the symptom of lacking peace. One of the things, if we see each other and I look at you, you are not all of the identity labels. If I remove all the labels that you carry and all the stories that you tell, what I do is encounter you as a mystery. Each of us is a mystery. Why? Because it cannot be torn apart, analysed into the units or the functions, the roles. We are a living spirit. If we encounter each other, and we know deep in our heart we can be open to that mystery.

Photo: © GNNSJ 2017, Gurdev Singh Deogon