What do you think is the MOST EFFECTIVE AND PRACTICAL way to resolve ethnic conflict and promote peace?
A-By focusing on the larger picture.. like holding peace marches, having a signature campaign, petition etc.
B-by focusing on educating a small section of the conflict ridden communities and teaching them effective skills to resolve conflict in their immediate surroundings..hoping that it will percolate further from them.
Of course doing both would be ideal..but since non profits have limited resources and time..what would be your choice if you had to opt for the most effective among the two.
At the moment I feel that peace marches, protests and the symbolic campaigns have failed often in the past ..i.e they are successful on paper but come action time and the guys with the actual power roll in ( think bush govt, israeli govt) and do exactly what they want. So perhaps the intensive skill building of a smaller group will have more practical use?
As I think most effective way to resolve a conflict is structural treatments are important. Because of structural issues such as economic, culture and socio cultural fictions can be a conflict rooted facts. So marching, strikes, petitions, problem solving workshops are not a durable solution for conflict rooted facts, some times that kind of activities have potentials to ripe a conflict while giving knowledge on some topics.
When we consider a fact that poverty, solution for that issue is not a conducting picketing or awareness program for them, there should be a sustainable development program for them as instance loan systems, provide knowledge on self help employment techniques.
All conflict rooted facts has a structural cause, so it is important to identify it and treat.
Ethnic conflicts appear to be harder to resolve because we have sought bad approaches to deal with them. An ethnic conflict erupted in the Eastern DRC where I am from in the 90's between the Tutsi community Banyamulenge, and other local easterner tribes. The failure to deal with this particular conflict like it happens in most societies was to see local leaders getting involved by consultation without involving the actual populations who were directly affected by the conflict.
I agree that "focusing on educating a small section of the conflict ridden communities" can be effective. Also, in places where most people are not educated enough to comprehend basic knowledge of resolving conflicts, different programs of reintegration can be implemented such as providing mutual incentives to women from different ethnic groups to work together, engage youth in cultural or training programs that can be beneficial to reconcile the different ethnic groups which happen to be in conflict. This can reduce tension and could ultimately bring people together rather than having just leaders from both ethnic groups sign a peace or reconciliation agreement which can be broken in the future.
I think that it depends mainly on the context and the ability of the advocates to penetrate into the society and to positively (that is, towards peace) transform it or parts within it. If the society is deeply engaged in the conflict, peace marches and petitions can be helpful to convince third parties to act in a certain way, or to show support for peace, but if these activities have a clear agenda and they are carried out against one of the sides, in support for the other side, it will definitely not be constructive for peace. In order for these activities to be successful they must support both sides on the road to peace, and aim at convincing both sides (at the leadership and the grassroots level) to go in that direction.
I can give two examples from the recent Israel-Hamas war in Gaza - mass anti-Israeli demonstrations in Europe nad in the Arab world, in my opinion, didn't contribute anything neither to the Palestinians in Gaza nor to changing the policies of Israel and Hamas. On the other hand, a few peace initiatives, like the one that called "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies", can be atractive to people both both sides who want peace. This will probably not bring to positive peace (since the conflict is still there), but such activities can at least make people in both societies understand that peace is essential and violence won't bring any good.
In any case, I am a big fan of peace education, as long as it doesn't cross the border and becomes "political education" (again, the issue with biases in peace activies, as you can see from many of my posts here, is very problematic in my opinion). The problem with educational interventions is that many societies in conflict are not democratic or are just too much into the conflict, and therefore it is impossible to conduct successful and meaninful educational interventions. From my experience in the Israeli-Palestinian case, peace education is so prevalent that I think that there are hardly any (secular) Israelis and Palestinians who don't take part in such activities in school setting. Is this helpful? that's the real question, and I'm still not very passimistic, even if despite these enormous efforts so far, the two nations still talk mainly through guns.
re: From my experience in the Israeli-Palestinian case, peace education is so prevalent that I think that there are hardly any (secular) Israelis and Palestinians who don't take part in such activities in school setting. Is this helpful?
Thats interesting Maori. what kind of 'peace education' is this? and from which grade to which grade is it adminitered?
These are seldom official programs of the ministry of education in the country, but mostly educational interventions of NGOs, either in uni-national or bi-national setting (encounters), and there are really many programs with different focuses, for different ages (even pre-school activities), using different models.
It will be hard to detail everything here, but if you're interested, here are some sources (I hope it's fine that I'm posting it here, maybe it will be useful also for others):
Adwan, S. and Bar-On, D. 2000. The role of Non-Governmental Organizations in peace building between Palestinians and Israelis. Jerusalem: Peace Research Institute in the Middle East
Albeck, J. H., Adwan, S. and Bar-On, D. 2002. “Dialogue groups: TRT’s guidelines for working through intractable conflicts by personal storytelling in encounter groups”. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, Vol. 8: 301-322
Bard, M.G. 1998. “The variety of coexistence efforts in Israel: Lessons for the United States”. In: E. Weiner (Ed.) The Handbook of interethnic coexistence (pp. 468-489), New York: Continuum Press
Baskin, G., Al-Qaq, Z. and Yes, P. M. 2004. “Years of experience in strategies for peacemaking - Israeli-Palestinian people-to-people activities 1993-2002”. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Vol. 17(3): 543-562
Chaitin, J., Obeidi, F., Adwan, S. and Bar-On, D. 2002. “Environmental work and peace work: The Palestinian-Israeli Case”. Peace and Conflict Studies, Vol. 9: 64-94
Maoz, I. 1997. “A decade of structured educational encounters between Jews and Arabs in Israel”. In: D.S. Halperin (Ed.) To live together: Shaping new attitudes to peace through education (pp. 47–56). Geneva University and Paris, UNESCO International Bureau of Education, Geneva
Maoz, I. 2000. “An experiment in peace: Reconciliation-aimed workshops of Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian youth”. Journal of Peace Research. Vol. 37(6): 721-736
Maoz, I. 2004. “Peace building in violent conflict: Israeli-Palestinian post-Oslo people-to-people activities”. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Vol. 17(3): 563-574
thanks for the info. :). but i thought that perhaps the having peace education was an official govr policy for schoolkids and that it would be interesting to see what kind of differece/non difference that kind of policy made.
In order to resolve a conflict:
1. Never point a weapon at some one while shouting "We want peace".
2. Never let misunderstandings hit the media.
3. While holding peace marches make sure to avoid the corruption of violence.
4. Listen to the children and youth, because they know things doctors don't.
5. Education is a must, people will never listen to an uneducated person (Arthur Miller: The Crucible: Rebecca Nurse) .
6. Speak up whenever any religion is being attacked, because who knows maybe they'll attack you next.
7. Never jump to conclusions, or assume.
8. Teach this generation of the past to prevent history from repeating itself.
Hi again Meha :)
I guess (or hope) that most countries, at least democracies, have some sort of "peace education" in school, to increase tolerance and reduce violence, especially in elementry school curricula. This is of course taking place also in Israeli schools (I don't know much about it), but the main activities in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (and not just general peace education) in Israel are conducted by NGOs, with cooperation of schools. I think this way has many advantages.There were some particular peace education programs led by the ministry of education, but I couldn't find much research about it nor strict evaluation... only this general one:
Bar-Tal, D. 2004. “Nature, rationale, and effectiveness of education for coexistence”. Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 60(2): 253-271
From a Sudanese point of view, I think good governance is the best way to resolve conflicts. For instance, to get out of the mess Sudan is in right now, we desperately need a concrete political resolution.
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