True definition of peace hard to pin down

When asked what their definition of peace was, students at Oswego State had a hard time answering that question. Throughout life, we hear the word "peace," but do we ever really think about what the word means?

The Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines peace in many ways. The most basic definition is "freedom from war or a stopping of war." It’s also defined as "freedom from public disturbance and disorder." Another definition calls peace "an undisturbed state of mind; absence of mental conflict; serenity in full peace of mind, calm, quiet, tranquility, or to be or to become silent or quiet."

Some students were able to craft their own definitions. One student said, "Peace is the ability to realize that nothing is, has been, or ever will be perfectly harmonious, but one is able to realize that in order to survive one must compromise on all aspects of life in order that others may survive with you."

Another student defined it as, "Peace is coming. You have something to work for it, but it is always obtainable."

And a final student definition was, "[Peace is] when love and empathy are put first over anger and judgment."

Peace means several things, so it fits into different definitions. A universal idea of peace is that it is something desired. The evidence for that claim is found in the hundreds of NGOs and IGOs working toward peace.

There are many different organizations working toward peace deal with issues pertaining to the implementation of peace. On campus, the Pro-Peace Council focuses on domestic and foreign violations of peace and responses to those violations. In Syracuse, the Syracuse Peace Council works to organize discussions, public outreach and programs to spread information on peace.

National and international organizations and interest groups, such as Amnesty International and Oxfam International, work toward instilling peace in the lives of all humans. Oxfam even mentions on its Web site that peace and security are inherent rights of human beings, and those rights should not be ignored.

Students interested in getting involved in peace have a multitude of opportunities available. Whether they join a group on campus or an international group, they have the chance to become part of a global movement. Web sites of peace organizations include: http://amnesty.org, http://peacecouncil.net, http://oxfam.org and http://studentpeacealliance.org.

For further information, students and faculty can attend the Pro-Peace Council meetings at 5:45 p.m. on Mondays in the Chu Atrium of the Campus Center. The official Oswego State Peace Awareness day is all day on Nov. 18.