The biggest road block to action on genocide and other human rights crimes is ignorance. Most people just don't know that such things are happening, and often, if they have a vague idea they are happening, there is a feeling that there is nothing that can be done to stop these crimes.
I see courage everywhere I go in Africa. Fearless human rights activists in Darfur. Women peace advocates in eastern Congo. Former child soldiers in Northern Uganda who now are helping other former child soldiers return to civilian life.
Africa is going through its own historical process of state formation just as Europe and America did. It is just happening much later than other continents because of the interruption of Africa's own historical development by the colonization of Africa by Europe.
When there are no gas chambers, no barbed wire, and no concentration camps, many don't recognize the perpetration of new genocides and other targeted mass atrocity crimes because they may not look the same.
In human rights and peacemaking, it's really about having a solid concrete goal - the reduction of human suffering somewhere in the world - and then doing what is required to get that goal achieved.
I'm probably a little too impatient with ensuring that the networks and organizations I'm part of are doing the right thing, and pushing the right thing the right way.
I spent a lot of time with President Mandela supporting his efforts in the peace process in Burundi. The thing that impressed me the most was his humility.
If you repress rather than unlock the potential of large groups of Americans, what's that going to do to our economy? It's going to contract, not expand.
I've had a number of near misses during my travels that in retrospect seem of greater concern than they did at the time. I guess that is what happens with age.
Africans are on the front lines of humanitarian efforts, distributing life-saving aid in dangerous environments. Africans comprise the vast majority of peacekeepers in civil conflict on that continent. Africans for the most part lead peace negotiations for the wars being fought in Africa.
It turns out, all the studies show you invest a little time in another person's life, often a younger person, and all of us have that capacity to do it, just an hour a week, an hour every couple of weeks, and you can make a tremendous difference in a kid's life over their lifetime.
Through my years of working on war and peace in Africa, I have learned that there are solutions to some of the greatest human rights challenges, and we all can be a part of those solutions.
There isn't one celebrity I've worked with who doesn't have major doubts about what impact they are having. I am glad when they question the impact, because it shows they are based firmly in the reality that peacemaking isn't the same as changing a streetlight or distributing mosquito nets.