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Year 2015 x
Article

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

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2015
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.
News

The Online Court

Misunderstandings and Misconceptions when Delivering a Vision for the Future of Justice

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords online courts, online judges, civil justice, Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediation
Authors Graham Ross
AbstractAuthor's information

    An ODR Advisory Group set up in 2014 by the Civil Justice Council of England and Wales to research and advise on the opportunities for introducing ODR into the justice system has produced a Report (<https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Online-Dispute-Resolution-Final-Web-Version1.pdf>) that recommends an extensive online dimension to the court system in England and Wales. The Report raises the novel perspective of a court being seen more as a service rather than as a physical venue, seeking to place its primary focus on informing and assisting the public in containing and resolving, if not avoiding in the first place, disputes and to do so with less intervention by a judge. When judges do become involved they also will be encouraged to work more online than in a courtroom. The Report, therefore, does not look simply at ODR as aiding ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), as may have been the case hitherto for most applications of ODR, but as its being integral to the court process itself. The twin benefits the Group sees as being achieved are to both significantly widen access to the courts while, at the same time, reducing the burden of public cost incurred in operating and maintaining the court system.
    It is becoming clear from comments on the Report published online that there is a significant level of misunderstanding over certain aspects of the Report. This is to be expected to a degree, especially given the wide publicity for the Report. Indeed, the early comments are welcomed as they give the opportunity to all proponents of the Report to advance the debate by minimizing such misunderstandings.
    The website (<https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/reviews/online-dispute-resolution/>) accompanying the Report provides a suitable venue to continue the debate.


Graham Ross
Head of the European Advisory Board to Modria.com Inc and, Member of the Civil Justice Council’s ODR Advisory Group.
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