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Building Inclusive, Stronger Peace Processes

Elizabeth Snyder, PhD, at USIP headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Applied Culture Group was privileged to hear veterans of peace processes (Nepal, Philippines, Northern Ireland, Turkey, South Sudan) discuss lessons learned at the the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. (USIP).

The experts offered case studies on Sustainable Peacemaking. Specialists in peace processes emphasized inclusion as a vital element for ending or preventing warfare. Speakers highlighted that all sectors of society must have their voices heard and their critical concerns met. But what are we learning about how to do that, and do it better?

Speakers at the USIP forum have worked in areas of protracted conflict on several continents, building inclusive peace processes. Their experiences include working on national dialogue projects, such as those aimed at stopping the civil wars in South Sudan and Yemen. The case studies also included promoting dialogue and conciliation between the government and minority groups in Turkey, and building a public sense of legitimacy and confidence in a peace process in El Salvador that involved armed opposition groups.

USIP hosted another thought-provoking look inside peace processes and conflict from four seemingly different areas of the world. The Philippines' Moro insurrection may be the longest conflict resurging and splintering after every attempted peace process in the last century. The multi-layered issues in Northern Ireland came to peace but still require daily work and struggle to build relationships and continued hope. Follow this link to hear the full 90-minute session focusing on the four conflicts reported through the eyes of those working in the trenches for decades.

According to Mari Fitzduff, PhD, Founding Director, Master of Arts Program in Coexistence and Conflict, Brandeis University, looking for a “win win” compromise that ends in peace is unrealistic. Dr. Fitzduff stressed that true peace requires a “lose lose” solution. Her analysis strongly parallels my own experiences. I realized that for a deep sustainable peace to any of the conflicts I have been part of all parties are required to give up something. Everyone has to embrace losing in order to win the overall peace. Not easy for just two people, let alone the layers of families, clans, organizations and states that comprise many conflicts around the globe.

Pictured from left to right, Colette Rausch, Ulas Doga Eralp, Elizabeth Murray, Michael Shipler

Pictured from left to right, Colette Rausch, Ulas Doga Eralp, Elizabeth Murray, Michael Shipler. Click to watch video of this panel discussion.

This forum was part of the larger Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum, a consortium of seven Washington-area organizations, including USIP, that have worked since 1999 to share ideas from across disciplines to manage conflicts and prevent violence. USIP, established in 1984, is the country's only Congressionally-funded independent and nonpartisan peacebuilding institute. Despite talk of budget cuts, USIP continues its vital mission—strengthening U.S. security by reducing violent conflict. Applied Culture Group wholeheartedly endorses the work of USIP and other committed peacebuilders, who are needed now more than ever.

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