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Peace Essay Contest

2015 Essay Contest Winners

First Prize:
My Mission for Peace
by Rebecca Pfeiffer

When I was five years old, I decided I wanted to be a spy. While I knew that real life as a spy would be hard, the Hollywood allure drew me in. For several years I was convinced that being a shadow, traveling the world, and taking down my country's enemies was the most exciting thing to do. It didn't occur to me what could be lost on those amazing missions; the lives of my adversaries and my own life. I would be ruining the peace of those connected to my assailant, and ruin peace in my own life by the deceitful actions I would be committing.

The value of one life should never outweigh that of another. I believe that collaboration between people to find common ground is better than arguing to have a higher position. To me, peace is being accepting and civil to all ideas. While a perfect peace with no war, weapons, opposition, or arguments is difficult to attain, it can come with time. I want to be a part of this movement. The work of global organizations and people who try to understand multiple cultures is what will bring people to peace. This is why I have moved from being a spy to a future in foreign embassies. I believe that if I can help countries accepts each other's ideals, we can move toward global unity. I dedicate myself to achieving this, so that the world can come to peace.

Second Prize:
How Peace Can Be Spread
by Colleen Lavoie

Peace is a place where love is transparent and we do everything in our power to help one another. Peace is having the knowledge and understanding to accept one another without regard to ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. We all have the ability to create and spread peace, but it is up to us to embrace the concept and employ the ideals in everyday life.

Think of a world without war, prejudices, and hate; a world where people can feel safe and accepted. To be peaceful means to be free of disturbance. However, it is not easy to impose our ideas of peace on others since we all perceive it differently. In his Fourth of July Oration, Adin Ballou states, “Let us early instill into their minds…respect for each other, and each other's natural rights.” If we are all taught at a young age to accept people for who they are and have the patience to understand our differences, peaceful solutions are attainable.

Providing this foundation in a peaceful life empowers individuals, ranging from siblings to world leaders, to seek solutions in nonviolent and passive ways. As John F. Kennedy wrote, “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process.” Peace is something that spreads gradually. To one day achieve universal peace, we must teach those who have the future of the world in their hands how to accept one another and to share these ideals with each other.

Third Prize:
Along With Peace Comes Unity
by Hannah Poe

In history, Martin Luther King Jr. is famous for bringing peace and helping unite blacks and white all across the country. During the same period of time, Robert F. Kennedy was running for president; he gave his famous speech to the citizens of Indianapolis, announcing the death of Dr. King.

Although all major cities had riots, Indianapolis remained calm after Robert F. Kennedy's speech. He brought unity by telling them that the country does not need hatred or violence, but love and compassion towards one another. He brought them together and gave them a sense of hope; he brought unity to the city of Indianapolis.

To me, peace is a state of nonviolence, serenity, and tranquility. It is a state of mind we all hope to achieve. Peace is a feeling of utter bliss that cannot be given to us directly, but we can be guided there. Peace is the freedom, equality, and acceptance of all people, but best of all, peace helps bring people together.
View Robert Kennedy's speech here

Honorable Mention:
Stepping Toward Peace
by Charlotte Burlingame

It is a pleasure to be at peace. To be comfortable sharing one's opinions, to know that opinion will be recognized, even if opposed, is tranquility. Peace finds its way to me when I have settled a dispute, when I have resolved any differences I had with a person. To me, it can mean the agreement to acknowledge one's opposition.

Peace, which I believe is not just a stalemate or an absence of war, in its simplest form, is a state of relaxation and is also the long strive for perfection. After beloved John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, after Dr. Martin Luther King was shot only a few years later, Lyndon B. Johnson, a president known for his importance in the Civil Rights Movement, emerged as a leader to settle the anguish that gripped America. In an address to the United Nations, Johnson said "Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time." Johnson emphasizes that the attempt at peace is one that may never be complete however it is better to try to achieve peace within the country, even in increments.

Perhaps peace is an ideal our nation and our world will never reach. It is idealistic and, at times, even naive. What is important is the attempt, the strive for harmony and understanding. I believe if one has stepped toward understanding one's opposition, one has stepped toward peace.

Honorable Mention:
My Perspective on Peace
by Juliette Carreiro

My father has always been a unique individual; he is from a foreign country. Born on the Portuguese Islands known as the Azores, he journeyed to America at the age of six. Throughout his youth, he struggled with making friends and fitting in among his peers. His distinct clothing and different language set him apart from the normalities of a typical American student. His classmates felt that because he was not American they were superior to him and that he was less intelligent. My father’s goals and ambitions were criticized because others did not believe someone of that background could be successful. He would often tell me, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding” (Albert Einstein).

My father’s life story has helped me to develop a better understanding about the meaning of peace. Peace is a life of serenity, safety, and good citizenry; it is a life devoid of war and hardships, where everyone is treated equally and racial discrimination is not acceptable. One may argue that absolute peace is unachievable because it would be impossible for everyone to agree and love one another, but as Jimi Hendrix states, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power then the whole will know peace.”

Throughout my life, I have seen horrible atrocities, such as 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, and ISIS. These appalling acts along with my father’s struggles as an immigrant have allowed me to comprehend the true meaning of peace and the tragedies that will occur if we do not commit ourselves to love and kindness every day of our lives.

Honorable Mention:
What Peace Means To Me
by Rebecca Rausch

In a world full of constant war, strife, and injustice, I often wonder what it would be like to live in peace. Although I often daydream about a utopian world, it is difficult to imagine what a life full of peace would be like. Unity, love, happiness, and laughter are all words that come to mind when I think of peace, and subsequently that's exactly what my definition of peace is. Peace is setting aside ones differences: whether it's someone's beliefs, skin color, religion, or past. When two children of completely different backgrounds can play together, that is peace. When two strangers can exchange a friendly wave at the store, that is peace. I find that peace is often lost or forgotten due to greed, jealousy, and anger. Mother Teresa once said "Peace begins with a smile." Can you believe that? A smile. According to Teresa, the act of squinting your eyes as both ends of your lips curve upward makes our world one step closer to achieving peace. I could not agree more with this woman. The smallest acts make the biggest differences in our current world. All the poverty and insecurity in our world today makes it evident we are all in desperate desire for this seemingly impossible yet incredibly simple concept; peace. The act of smiling is so simple that a new-born baby can help, yet we, as a human race, have yet to perfect it.