As one of the most visible and influential political leaders in the world, Israeli President Shimon Peres has evolved from a hawk on defensive issues to an ardent peace advocate. Born in what is now Belarus in 1923, Peres’ family immigrated to Tel Aviv in 1934. Throughout his career, he has held positions such as Minister of Defense, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister of Israel. In 2007, he was elected to a seven-year term as President of Israel.
As president, Peres has used his position to argue for communication, compassion, and leadership based on morality. Travelling the world as a voice of Israel and the larger international community, he has always kept the cause of peace in the forefront of conversations. During a recent trip to the United States, Peres told Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, “What you are doing is convincing people they don’t have reason to hate.” The technology that allows open communication, such as Facebook and Twitter, is helping to facilitate mass movements for change worldwide. Peres also noted that the transformation of national economies into one global economy is forcing global corporations to play a greater moral role, since “They must be multi-cultural and multi-national. Globalization opens eyes.”
He believes that women should play a strong role in bringing creating a more peaceful society, both in the Middle East and around the world. The more feminine style of leadership, emphasizing flexibility, humility, diversity of opinion and service, brings a perspective that promotes peace. As Peres noted, “Men will not stop warring. Women will not stop pacifying. They know that wars are unhealthy.”