Dialogue projects have also been able to positively affect the broader sociopolitical context in BiH, largely through the work of affiliated alumni action groups who have engaged in joint action and activism to address societal problems, thereby demonstrating “that it is possible to bridge ethnic divides.”
Organizations that bring together people from multiple sides of a conflict can play an important role in motivating participants to become activists for social change.
In this issue, some of the articles focus on intractable conflicts, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or civil wars of the recent past, like Sierra Leone or Côte d’Ivoire. While conflict is persistent in these settings, there are examples of peacebuilding at the interpersonal and local levels. The choice between violence and nonviolence is highlighted in two other articles, though in quite different contexts. Research conducted in Iran finds that nonviolent resistance garners more support than violent resistance does even after the previous failure of a nonviolent movement. Other research reveals that the inclusion of armed groups in negotiations can move them away from the use of violence, while their exclusion makes a return to violence more likely. Additionally, national governments continue to play a powerful role in shaping outcomes for peace and security, from decisions about whether to participate in negotiations with armed groups to decisions about how much to allocate towards defense spending.