I chose world peace as the topic for the first week of the year as January the first is considered by some to be World Day of Peace. World Peace is something I have always hoped will happen some day, but it has been more a vague concept rather than something I understand on a practical or academic level.
What I have discovered
There are different definitions of peace (e.g. the negative one which is the absence of violence, and the positive one which is a state of co-operation for mutual and equal benefits) and there are different factors to consider when trying to measure ‘peace’.
I read about the Global Peace Index, which is an attempt to measure the relative peacefulness of countries around the world, and that currently there are only 11 countries at the moment that can be considered free from internal or external conflict (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/world-peace-these-are-the-only-11-countries-in-the-world-that-are-actually-free-from-conflict-9669623.html).
The Vision of Humanity website has information and interactive maps surrounding global peace and conflict (http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#/page/indexes/global-peace-index).
I haven’t found ‘the answer’ as to why world peace has remained elusive until now, but nor did I find a reason that it could not become reality one day. What I did find was a beautiful essay on the website of the 14th Dalai Lama that explained his understanding of how peace works and how world peace can happen: http://www.dalailama.com/messages/world-peace/a-human-approach-to-peace.
I shared the link from the Independent (the one about the 11 conflict-free countries) on my Facebook page.
I also purchased a peace awareness poster and stickers from the Peace Pledge Union (http://www.ppu.org.uk), which is a pacifist NGO that works to promote peace internationally. My plan is to distribute the stickers throughout the year, and especially around ANZAC Day (the New Zealand and Australian Remembrance Day), when war and its terrible effects are at the forefront of many people’s minds.