Since relationships are so critical to peacebuilding processes and outcomes, peacebuilding practitioners should focus on building strong relationships with local partners and stakeholders informed by genuine dialogue, cultural sensitivity, and self-reflection.
In Bougainville and Timor-Leste, uncivil society groups were composed of ex-combatants and/or marginalized communities who felt that they were excluded from the peace and reconciliation process.
In this issue, we examine a set of articles with a great deal of regional diversity — two articles focus on peacebuilding or peacekeeping in Africa, one looks at resistance to exclusionary nationalism in Bosnia (Europe), another explores “uncivil society” in Bougainville and Timor-Leste (Asia-Pacific), and, finally, one considers military checkpoints in Iraq (Middle East). These articles heighten our awareness of the complexities and challenges involved in peacebuilding after war. All the more reason to avoid war in the first place.
In the case of Bougainville, women leaders emphasized their peacebuilding role in the conflict, drawing on both local customs and norms—like their “maternal responsibility”—and global norms enshrined in UNSCR 1325 to buttress their participation in peace work.