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.
Because the United Nations (UN) places higher value in the career advancement process on professional skills like business management than on local knowledge, and the career trajectory of peacebuilders often includes rotations through various UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the broader field of peacebuilding is discouraged from valuing and integrating local knowledge.
A Western ideal of “the local” can be a site of exclusion where local actors have different levels of power, enabling some locals to govern the conduct and participation of other, less powerful locals.
We are pleased to present our special issue on the relationship between local, national, and international peacebuilding in partnership with Peace Direct. The recent reorientation towards local peacebuilding represents a radical shift in whose voices are centered in the work of creating a more peaceful and just world. The grievances that lead to war are rarely, if ever, addressed through violence. Instead, after war these grievances persist, joined by the immeasurable loss of human life and the all-encompassing trauma, fear, polarization, and neglect that violence begets. When countries emerge from war, the very act of peacebuilding constitutes a rethinking of the social and political problems that gave rise to these grievances. It matters, therefore, that decision-making power in peacebuilding rest with those directly affected by these problems and their potential solutions.
Countries with UN peacekeeping operations have more nonviolent protests than countries without UN peacekeepers, particularly if those peacekeeping missions include UN police (UNPOL)
In Yemen, absence of trust has been a serious impediment to the success of national dialogue processes in the past; therefore, any future process must include a “slow start” to establish basic levels of trust among involved parties.
While partisan commemoration can certainly “harden boundaries” between hostile groups, its potent symbolic resources can also be adapted to maintain community cohesion, legitimize shifts to peaceful politics by providing ideological continuity, and signal a newfound openness to previous adversaries, all in the service of peace.
Both travel and philanthropy, in their distinct ways, entail encounters between people from different cultures, backgrounds, and/or life experiences. Given the right conditions, these encounters can serve as a catalyst for positive social change.
Lack of local ownership and elite interference in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and International Criminal Court (ICC) transitional justice initiatives constrained the peacebuilding agenda because victims of electoral violence were not able to achieve justice, a critical element of reconciliation.
This special issue—the final issue of Volume 4—focuses on peacebuilders: Who are they? How do they work? What are their unique needs and capacities? What challenges do they face?