Fundamentals Seminar 20: Peace Processes

Conflict experts who work abroad to help stop wars or to deal with the aftermath of wars or other large-scale violence usually refer to themselves as "peacebuilders" or "peacekeepers" or "diplomats." Diplomats, among other activities, engage in negotiaton or mediation which, in this context, is commonly referred to as "peacemaking."  In addition to those three fundamental concepts there are many more processes that are undertaken under the general rubric of "peace processes."  They relate to alternative dispute resolution processes, but are frequently done on a larger scale.  Descriptions of some of these are given below.

Posts in this Seminar Include:

  • Theories of Change -- Theories of change are theories that explain how particular interventions (such as dialogues or problem-solving workshops) influence people and change their behavior enough to change the character of the entire conflict in which they are involved. All interventions should have a theory of change, and should assess its validity by outcome evaluations as much as possible.
  • Preventive Diplomacy and Violence Prevention  -- Violence prevention has evolved from being focused almost exclusively on short-term interventions. It now refers to long-term initiatives that target the root causes of conflict.
  • Peacemaking -- Peacemaking is the term often used to refer to negotiating the resolution of a conflict between people, groups, or nations. It goes beyond peacekeeping to actually deal with the issues involved in the dispute, but falls short of peace building, which aims toward reconciliation and normalization of relations between ordinary people, not just the formal resolution that is written on paper.
  • Track I Diplomacy -- Track I diplomacy involves the actions of official government representatives.
  • Track II Diplomacy  -- Track II or citizen diplomacy are peacebuilding efforts undertaken by unofficial (usually non-govermental) people who try to build cross-group understanding and even develop ideas for conflict resolution that have not been broaded in official channels.
  • Track I - Track II Cooperation -- The prevention and resolution of complex conflicts depends on a the efforts of both officials (track one) and non-officials (track two). This essay discusses the importance of cooperation between these two tracks.
  • Peacekeeping -- Peacekeeping is the prevention or ending of violence within or between nation-states through the intervention of an outside third party that keeps the warring parties apart. Unlike peacemaking, which involves negotiating a resolution to the issues in conflict, the goal of peacekeeping is simply preventing further violence. Peacekeeping can also happen at lower levels of conflict, in families, communities, or organizations.
  • Peacebuilding -- Peacebuilding is a long-term process that occurs after violent conflict has stopped. It is the phase of the peace process that takes place after peacemaking and peacekeeping.
  • Conflict Transformation Training as Intervention -- This essay discusses the use of training as a means of conflict intervention, focusing especially on the author's work with both an external and local NGO in Manipur, India.
  • Peace Education  -- Peace education involves practical and philosophical training that uses empowerment and nonviolence to build a more democratic, harmonious community.
  • Dialogue  -- In dialogue, the intention is not to advocate but to inquire; not to argue but to explore; not to convince but to discover. This essay introduces the concept of dialogue, discusses why it is needed, and suggests ways to do it effectively.
  • Analytical Problem Solving/Problem-Solving Workshops
  • Trauma Healing  -- When conflict results in physical or psychological abuse, people can become traumatized. Trauma causes victims to continue to suffer, to be almost frozen in time.This essay details the effects of trauma and offer suggestions for healing.
  • Narratives and Story-Telling -- Stories have been vital to all cultures throughout history. Recently, they have been purposefully employed as tools to promote empathy between adversaries and to help people heal from past trauma.
  • Disarmament, Demobilization, and Re-Integration -- Disarming and demobilizing military forces (especially militias) and successfully reintegrating the former warriors into a peaceful society is one of the major challenges of a post-violence or "post-conflict" peacebuilding stage of a violent conflict.
  • Nation Building -- The general public sees nation-building programs as those in which dysfunctional or "failed states" are given assistance. This essay looks at the history of nation building and how it has been interpreted differently over the years.
  • Transitional Justice
  • Election Reform and Monitoring - Elections are a cornerstone of democracy and, hence, figure prominently in democratization efforts around the world. This essay explores different electoral systems, elections in post-conflict situations, and the role of the international community in election monitoring.
  • Evaluation and Assessment of Interventions  -- Winston Churchill said, "True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information." This essay explains how evaluation can make interventions into intractable conflict more effective.
  • Evaluation as a Tool for Reflection--This essay argues that evaluation and systematic reflection provides for the learning and knowledge necessary for effective dispute resolution processes. At the same time, it poses significant difficulties.
  • ​​Inclusion of Women in the Peacebuilding Process -- This article looks at the difficulties, but also the benefits of including women in peacebuilding, with a particular focus on Sudan and Darfur