Today is the International Day of Peace, a day set aside be the United Nations to commemorate those who act in favor of peace. This would be a day to remember people like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and popular figures who pursued peace through their work and life. But as we reflect on many of these larger than life characters and a day instated by an international governing body, we must ask ourselves two questions: How can we as communications professionals contribute to peace in our work and also how might we quantify peace?
The first question I think can be answered a number of ways. As a communications professional you may either be in public relations, outreach, news or any other capacity tasked with speaking to general public or targeted groups. Contributing to peace means making sure our words are truthful. If you’re in news it means providing a balanced approach to a story and if you are a public relations professional it means being as authentic as possible.
It also means being honest about the representations we create in our society. As a communications professional I have the power to create graphics, advertising, images and content that has the capacity to influence not just adult populations but adolescents and children alike. I must ask myself if the images and ideas I produce will increase the peace of the viewer. Will the images I create instigate body image insecurity in a young girl, poor food choices for an overweight teen or misinformation about health for an adult?
In addition to volunteering your skills and services to well-meaning nonprofits and social causes, communications professionals, journalists and writers must take the time to reflect on the services and the products we provide. Are our images and ideas reflective of the population we serve? Are our words and ideas going to help people make good decisions? Peace is something we all can contribute to in one way or another. Let us strive to make the work that we do contribute to peace as well.