The year 2000 not only marked the millennium in Western calendars but, as a sign of millennial optimism perhaps, was declared by the United Nations to be the International Year for a Culture of Peace, inaugurating an International Decade for Peace. UNESCO was selected as the focal UN agency for all related activities. In response to an approach from UNESCO Australia, both the Academy of Social Sciences and the Academy of Humanities focused their annual symposia on the question of peace. The ASSA Symposium on 5 November 2000 was organised under the rubric of ‘thinking peace, making peace’. Our aim was to combine the insights of scholars and practitioners – to connect the intellectual challenges of ‘thinking peace’ with the moral and political challenges of ‘making peace’ – in a world pervaded by violence and war.