The 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI)—released by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank—has ranked Switzerland the seventh most peaceful nation in the world.
The preeminent measure of global peacefulness, the GPI comprises 23 qualitative and quantitative
indicators from highly respected sources and now ranks 163 independent states and territories, covering 99.7 percent of the world’s population. The index assesses global peace using three broad themes: the level of
safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarization.
Switzerland is one of just 11 nations characterized as having a “very high” state of peace. The permanently neutral nation of 8.4 million people ranked first and second in the world in two of the three domains—the level of safety and security in society, and the extent of domestic or international conflict—and only fell to #7 in the overall rankings because of a comparatively low score in the degree of militarization. (Switzerland is the world's oldest continuously existing republic, and in 725 years it has only been successfully invaded once—by Napoleon in the 1790s. As a civic, military republic, the nation continues to take military defense very seriously, a policy that has served it well.)
Europe continues to be the most peaceful region in the world, accounting for six of the top seven places in the global rankings. Iceland (1), Denmark (2), Austria (3), Portugal (5), and the Czech Republic (6) join Switzerland near the top while New Zealand (4), Canada (8), Japan (9), and Slovenia (10) round out the top ten. The United States has tumbled all the way to 103.
The tenth edition of the GPI concludes that Switzerland has become more peaceful over the past year while the world as a whole has grown more dangerous. This continues a trend that has been tracked over the past decade, which has seen global levels of peace decline and the gap between the most and least peaceful countries widen.
The GPI determines that the world has become 2.44 percent less peaceful since 2008, with the historic ten-year deterioration in peace largely driven by intensifying conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Terrorism has reached an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict are at a 25-year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people are at their highest level in 60 years.
Dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress, the Institute for Economics and Peace concludes: “There is a strong consensus that even though the world has become much less violent since the end of the Second World War, the last decade has seen an increase in conflict and violence, although whether this is a temporary reversal or the start of a new longer-term trend remains to be seen.
Additional emphasis on safety at TASIS
While everyone at TASIS feels very fortunate to work and live in such a peaceful location, and our campus has remained very safe throughout our 60-year history, we also recognize that the world has become more volatile and have taken additional measures to stay a step ahead and ensure that our students and staff remain as safe as possible. Although it is not possible or even desirable to turn our campus into a fortress, we have made a number of reasonable changes to help keep our entire community secure.
Over the course of the past year, we have installed fencing around the perimeter of the campus so that visitors may only enter the school through the main entrance, which is monitored by security guards 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. All guests must be reported to the guards in advance, and they must check in with the guard on duty before being admitted to campus. We have also installed additional lighting and surveillance cameras throughout the campus. The cameras are used to provide for the safety of students, staff, and visitors and to protect school property against theft or vandalism.
We are saddened to see global levels of peace deteriorate, and it is our hope that TASIS will forever serve as a sanctuary for students from all over the world. The dream of our founder, M. Crist Fleming, now seems more important than ever: “I dreamed of a school that by bringing young people closely together in their young and formative tender years we might be able to bond the world together in such a way that ties of understanding, compassion, love, and a sense of reality would create a saner, safer, better world.”