The Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization based out of Sydney, Australia with offices in the United Kingdom and the United States. According to its mission statement, the Global Peace Index (GPI) strives to continuously create new frameworks for registering peace in a tangible and understandable manner.
The index ranks 158 countries around the world on 23 different factors, including how well the countries get along with their neighbors, their military budget, acts of terrorism, and how they fare internally. The index rates countries using a scale of 1-5 for qualitative indicators and 1-9 for quantitative data.
The institute awarded Chile an average score of 1.62, firmly planting it in the position as the most peaceful country in Latin America and the 30th-most peaceful country in the world. The Andean nation moved up in the ranking by decreasing military spending and improving human rights within the country.
Peace rankings in Latin America and around the world
The index noted that in 2012 the world, as a whole, has become slightly more peaceful than previous years. Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada and Japan received the top five four slots, respectively.
Latin America as a region saw a general increase with 16 of 23 countries experiencing an upgrade in their GPI ranking. Uruguay – last year’s leading country in the region – ranked closely behind Chile at 33, followed by Costa Rica, at 36.
An up-close encounter with peace in Santiago
In Santiago, the former detention center Villa Grimaldi was converted into a park for peace in 1994, after the country restored democracy. Now, the park stands as a symbol for human rights all over the world, and is a popular site for students of regional history. In 2010, Villa Grimaldi received an honorable mention for the UNESCO-Bilbao award for their contribution to international human rights culture.
To visit the Villa Grimaldi peace park, take the metro to the Plaza Egaña station (line 4) in Ñuñoa. Transantiago buses 513 and D09 pass by the park, located on Av. José Arrieta 8401 in Peñalolén. The park is open every day of the year from 10am to 6pm, and entry is free.