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International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution

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Issue 2, 2015 Expand all abstracts
Article

Hybrid Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties

The Impact of the International Fund for Ireland and the European Union’s Peace III Fund

Keywords Northern Ireland, economic aid, elicitive approach, liberal peace, grass-roots everyday peacemakers
Authors Julie Hyde and Sean Byrne
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article draws upon a wide qualitative study of the experiences and perceptions held by 107 community group leaders and 13 funding agency development officers within the liminal context of Northern Ireland and the Border Counties. These organizations received funding from the European Union’s Peace III Program and/or the International Fund for Ireland. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key figures in these groups and agencies during the summer of 2010. This data is explored in relation to the concept of hybrid peacebuilding so as to better identify and articulate the potentialities and challenges associated with grass-roots macro-level interactions. The empirical findings indicate the necessity of flexibility in empowering local decision makers in a hybridized peacebuilding process. Local people should be involved with the funders and the governments in constructing and in implementing these processes. The theoretical findings are consistent with previous research that favors elicitive and local rather than top-down bureaucratic and technocratic processes. More attention needs to be paid to how local people see conflict and how they build peace. The prescriptive/practical implications are that policymakers must include the grass roots in devising and implementing peacebuilding; the grass roots need to ensure their local practices and knowledge are included; and external funders must include local people’s needs and visions in more heterogeneous hybrid peacebuilding approaches. The article is original, providing grass-roots evidence of the need to develop the hybrid peacebuilding model.


Julie Hyde
Julie Hyde is a Ph.D. Candidate in peace and conflict studies at the University of Manitoba. Her research focuses on critical approaches to peacebuilding, peace education, and indigenous/non-indigenous relationships.

Sean Byrne
Sean Byrne is professor of peace and conflict studies and director of the Arthur V Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba. He has published extensively in the area of critical and emancipatory peace building. He was a consultant to the special advisor to the Irish Taoiseach on arms decommissioning. He is a consultant on the Northern Ireland peace process to the senior advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee. His research was funded by SSHRC and the USIP.
Article

Tracing the Long-Term Impacts of a Generation of Israeli–Palestinian Youth Encounters

Keywords encounters, Israel-Palestine, impact, peace building, dialogue
Authors Karen Ross and Ned Lazarus
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the 1980s, thousands of Israeli Jews, Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) have participated in intergroup dialogues, often referred to as ‘encounter programmes’. In the same historical span, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has proved thoroughly intractable. Given this political reality, what has been the impact of such initiatives, on direct participants and the conflict context? This article assesses the long-term impact by tracing the post-encounter peacebuilding activity and the evolving perspectives of former participants in three prominent encounter programmes – Seeds of Peace (SOP), Sadaka Reut (SR) and Peace Child Israel (PC) – over periods ranging from a few years to over two decades. Data is drawn from parallel studies conducted by each of the individual authors, encompassing research on 899 programme alumni. The article presents the results of complementary qualitative and quantitative analyses of the long-term peacebuilding engagement of graduates of these three programmes. The organizations profiled employ distinct methodologies, allowing for comparative analysis of interpersonal contact, social identity and critical theoretical approaches. The studies found 183 alumni – approximately one in five surveyed – active in peacebuilding and social change efforts as adults, often 10 or more years after initial participation in encounters. Crucially, long-term peacebuilding engagement was more common among alumni of programmes that explicitly address issues of intergroup conflict and social justice, as opposed to a ‘non-political’ cultural approach. Findings illustrate the potential of intergroup encounters to inspire sustained peacebuilding engagement at the individual level – even in a context of ongoing violent conflict – while highlighting dilemmas imposed by asymmetrical social contexts, and the limitations of micro-level strategies in effecting broader political change.


Karen Ross
Karen Ross is an Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and a Senior Fellow at the UMASS Boston Center for Peace, Democracy and Development.

Ned Lazarus
Ned Lazarus is a Research Fellow at the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland and a Program Officer at the Israel Institute.
Article

Redefining Success in Arab–Jewish Dialogue Groups

Learning to Live in Both Worlds

Keywords peace building, shift, interethnic dialogue, success in dialogue, dialogue groups
Authors Nurete Brenner and Victor Friedman
AbstractAuthor's information

    Despite the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of intergroup dialogue for conflict resolution, there is surprisingly little conceptualization of what constitutes successful dialogue. On the basis of a qualitative analysis of three US-based Arab–Jewish dialogue groups, using phenomenological methods and a comparison of case studies, this article presents three main dimensions of success: (1) a shift among group members to ‘living in both worlds’, which means that participants learn to accept the others’ views while still maintaining their own; (2) expansion beyond the group boundaries to include people outside the group such as family members, the larger community members and others and (3) resilience, which means being able to stay in relationship with rival group members without necessarily resolving the conflict. These three dimensions, which are linked together, provide potential criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of dialogue groups. The concept of shift is discussed and refined and contrasted with the more general concept of change. Ideas around generalizability are discussed, and the concept of expansion or ‘rippling out’ is suggested instead. Finally, resilience rather than resolution is offered as one of the main objectives of a successful dialogue.


Nurete Brenner
PhD, Ursuline College, Cleveland, Ohio.

Victor Friedman
EdD, Action Research Center for Social Justice, Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Yezreel Valley, Israel.
Article

Transformative Experience, Conflict Resolution and Sustained Dialogue

Keywords conflict resolution, transformation, attitude change, adult learning, sustained dialogue
Authors Philip D. Stewart and Nissa Shamsi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The roots of conflict, whether international, community or interpersonal, are most often expressed in antagonistic attitudes or perspectives towards ‘the other’. Such attitudes frequently are deeply embedded and resistant to change. Yet lasting resolution of conflict is difficult, if not impossible, unless such attitudes of hatred, mistrust and anger can be addressed. This article begins with insights from science that shows that transformation of such perceptions under certain circumstances can occur. We then describe a well-tested but little known approach to conflict resolution whose design embodies these insights to transform conflicted relationships into more constructive ones. It is only through such transformation of perceptions, attitudes and relationships that the parties themselves become capable of constructively dealing with the economic, social and political issues in the conflict. This approach is called Sustained Dialogue. Sustained Dialogue has its roots in a high-level, U.S.–Soviet, now U.S.–Russia, dialogue, known as the Dartmouth Conference, which first met at Dartmouth College in 1960 and held its 137th session in October 2015. Its focus on transformation of relationships enables Sustained Dialogue to be effective in addressing a very wide range of conflicts, from a civil war in Tajikistan, to tensions between Israeli Arabs and Jews, to ethnic and racial tensions on 60 college campuses around the world and to intracommunity and intrainstitutional conflicts. Sustained Dialogue identifies five components of relationship: identity, interests, power, perceptions, misperceptions and stereotypes, as well as patterns of interaction. Moderators use these five elements not only to understand the nature of a conflict but also to guide the dialogue in ways that encourage transformative experiences. This takes time and occurs throughout the five stages of the process: deciding to engage, mapping relationships and naming problems, probing problems and relationships, scenario building as well as acting and learning together. The Sustained Dialogue Institute in Washington DC trains and encourages the use of this method. To provide the reader with a fuller sense of what this transformation process looks like and some of the results achieved, this article concludes with several illustrations from various kinds of conflicts.


Philip D. Stewart
Philip D. Stewart is Professor (Emeritus) at the Ohio State University.

Nissa Shamsi
Nissa Shamsi is a recent college graduate and former research assistant at the Sustained Dialogue Institute.
Article

Indigenous Cultural Resources for Peacebuilding

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s Philosophy and Conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan

Keywords Islam, Khudai Khidmatghar, Taliban, Pakhtuns, liberal peacebuilding
Authors Saira Bano Orakzai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Indigenous peacebuilding has introduced numerous challenges to the approach of liberal peacebuilding that is well advocated around the world. The conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan presents one such challenge for the local peacebuilders – whereas the implementation of the liberal peacebuilding has failed. Adopting a subaltern perspective, this article examines indigenous cultural peacebuilding resources for this conflict. Prominent among these resources is the philosophy of non-violence and self-restraint of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his Khudai Khidmatgar non-violent movement. The article discusses Khan’s philosophy and the movement it inspired, while making a case for the value of such indigenous resources in the development of culturally appropriate responses for countering militancy and violence in FATA. The article uses the writings of Ghaffar Khan together with secondary resources to suggest measures to counter the contemporary violent extremism by the Taliban and draw upon indigenous approaches to make peacebuilding more effective in FATA.


Saira Bano Orakzai
Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, University of Free State, South Africa.