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23 Moving Quotes About Peace from World Leaders

The world can be a scary place, filled with chaos and violence. These wise words remind us that goodness still exists—and it's up to us to spread peace in our communities, across our countries, and around the globe.

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Give peace a chance

In today’s chaotic, divided world, true “peace” can seem like a distant dream. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little reassurance that world leaders have been striving for and working toward peace for years—and continue to do so. Here are some of our favorite, most inspiring peace quotes from notable figures of yesterday and today. For more mood-boosting words, read these positive quotes to help you see the glass half full.


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On finding peace

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”—Gautama Buddha, founding figure of Buddhism. 

Nothing’s more powerful than personal wisdom; these wise quotes will enrich your life.

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On the power of peace

“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.”—Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States. This quotation is real, but be careful—these famous quotes attributed to presidents are completely fake.

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On education as a means for peace

“If you want to end the war, then instead of sending guns, send books. Instead of sending tanks, send pens. Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers.”—Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate

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On accepting others

“Not one of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves, until we end hatred and division.” —John Lewis, Congressman in the House of Representatives representing Georgia’s 5th District

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On stepping out of our comfort zones

“If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”—Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop

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On our obligation to others

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”—Mother Teresa, founder of the Order of the Sisters of Charity. If everyone lived by these powerful Mother Teresa quotes, the world would be a much more peaceful place.

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On achieving prosperity

“If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.”—Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

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On the dream of peace

“Of all our dreams today, there is none more important— or so hard to realize—than that of peace in the world.” —Lester B. Pearson, former Prime Minister of Canada

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On reaching agreements

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”—Indira Gandhi, the first female Prime Minister of India

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On resolving conflict

“Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”—Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist and Baptist minister. These Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes will restore your faith in humanity.

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On peace in action

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”—Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States

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On embracing differences

“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.”—Dalai Lama XIV

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On defining peace

“Peace is not just the absence of mass destruction, but a positive internal and external condition in which people are free so that they can grow to their full potential.” —Petra Karin Kelly, founding member of the German Green Party

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On universal peace

“A people’s peace (is) a peace without victory, a peace without conquests or indemnities.”—Helen Keller, political activist and first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. Check out more confidence-boosting quotes from the most awesome women in history.

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On persistence

“Peace is something we must all work for, every day, in every country.”—Ban Ki-moon, South Korean diplomat

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On reaching our fullest potential

“Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.”—Hafsat Abiola, Nigerian human rights activist

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On putting differences aside

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”—Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa. Nelson Mandela was definitely a master of peace quotes; read some more of his wisest words.

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On ending war

“The only alternative to war is peace and the only road to peace is negotiations.”—Golda Meir, fourth Prime Minister of Israel

elijah cummings illustration and quotePatrick Semansky/AP/Shutterstock

On our differences

“Many Americans yearn for the day when we stop fighting each other and realize that diversity is our promise—not our problem.” —Elijah Cummings, former Congressman in the House of Representatives representing Maryland’s 7th District. A lot of the sentiments in these peace quotes all come down to kindness; read these powerful quotes about kindness that will stay with you.

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On peace as a process

“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”—John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

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On attaining peace

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”—Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

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On the mission of peacemakers

“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”—Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minster of the United Kingdom. The inspiration doesn’t stop there—check out these powerful quotes that will inspire you to change the world.

thich nhat hanh illustration and quote textJulian Abram Wainwright/EPA/Shutterstock

On making the most of each moment

“Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world.” —Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk and global spiritual leader. These peace quotes definitely equate peace with happiness—read some more happiness quotes that help you look on the bright side.