Peace Through Commerce is honored to announce that we co-facilitated and co-presented at this summer’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum.
PTC President Philomena Blees introduced our proprietary Matrix of Peace Systems Model as a tool for solving the problem of child trafficking — the theme of the Forum. Miss Blees, together with PTC’s Joyce Beck, focused in particular on trafficking in Nigeria. And they introduced singer-songwriter Rocky Peter to tell his own story of being enslaved as a child in that country.
We also worked behind the scenes with the Nobel team to bring CEOs from multinational companies to join the Forum’s featured Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi (2014), in high-level dialogues on the role of business in human trafficking — the issue that earned Mr. Satyarthi the peace prize for his work of the last 30 years. We are honored to have played such an integral role in the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and are reminded of how fortunate we are to be inspired by generous donors and advocates like you, who advance our mission with your philanthropy and your investments in PTC.
PTC delegates — Don Larson (CEO and co-founder of the Sunshine Nut Company, based in Mozambique), Louis D’Amore (founder of the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism), Stephen Portner (former president of JMJ Associates), and PTC board members Michael Strong and Lara Himber Ewing — joined in plenary sessions on leadership and compassion in business, talking and thinking together with politicians, civil servants, activists, and fellow businesspeople. Each let PTC know how strategic and resourceful the Matrix of Peace model is for framing the issues of trafficking.
Michael Strong, Nitanee Paris Lawson, Ken Beck, Joyce Beck, Rocky Peter, Lara Ewing Himber, Carla Lidner, Eileen McPhillips-Portner, and Steve Portner on our way into the Forum
Steve Portner repeatedly told us, “I wish the Matrix of Peace Systems Model had been posted in all the discussion rooms , so we could know where we were in the problem, be aware of areas that needed more attention, and understand the intersections in such a complex global problem.”
A confidential Chatham House discussion provided an opportunity for the Peace Through Commerce invitees and board members to discuss how the business community can address supply chain issues in trafficking in an intimate environment with Mr. Satyarthi
Perhaps the most inspirational, eye-opening moments of the whole Forum came from Rocky Peter’s songs and stories. As a boy, Rocky escaped slavery on his uncle’s farm in Nigeria, and then worked as a domestic laborer to pay for his own food and education through middle and high school. Amazingly, Rocky is now an American musician, recently invited to perform for the Rio Olympics. Think how thrilling it was when Rocky was invited to close this year’s Forum with his songs! Watch his performance here.
PTC opened each of our daily dialogue sessions on trafficking by asking Rocky to tell his own story of hard work and human dignity in some of the world’s toughest economic and social conditions.
Moving forward from this grounding in the real-life experience of a child laborer, our sessions then introduced Forum attendees to the Matrix of PeaceTM as a new way of asking questions about and seeking answers to the challenges of conflict and poverty. Our activities and group discussions highlighted the importance of bringing together a healthy market economy, a smart legal framework, and a compassionate civil society for the sake of human peace and economic uplift.
The most frequent comment from delegates about our seminars?
They wanted more time to discuss the ideas with us!
And indeed, the conversations that went on in the official Forum sessions, in the hallways, and still continued over lunches and into evenings prompted new insights and new connections in practically every hour.
Special thanks are due to 2016 NPPF Executive Director Gina Torry and her team, and to Augsburg College for initiating this amazing event. Thanks also go to Rock Against Trafficking, which helped Rocky to attend, Conscious Capitalism, Inc. for assisting our outreach to CEOs, and Richard Barrett for contributing a consciousnessfa-level evaluation for Nigeria using Barrett Value Centre’s proprietary research tools. Thank you also to our dialogue session assistants Dr. Nina Jo Muse, Terry McGeehan, Betsy Sanders, Eileen McPhillips Portner, Stephen Portner, Ken Beck, Michael Strong, Lara Ewing Himber, Erin Martin, Brian McGinley, and Rocky Peter.
And most importantly, thank you to our supporters — you make it possible for us to share the message of Peace Through Commerce on the global stage.