The Role of Leadership and Change in Conflict Transformation: Durable Peace, Fragile Peace, Intractable Conflict
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Sponsored by: The Project on Justice in Times of Transition, the Institute for Global Leadership, the Experimental College, and the Peace and Justice Studies Department of Tufts University
Instructors: Tim Phillips, Ina Breuer and Prof. Bruce Hitchner
Spring Semester 2009, Tufts University
The Politics of Radicalization
Peter Neumann, Director of the Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence at Kings College, UK
Dr. Neumann engaged the class in a discussion on his “four ingredients” that lead to radicalization –grievances, ideology, mobilization, and trigger situations that create action. He provided a succinct and holistic analysis on how an understanding of these ingredients is key to developing effective de-radicalization programs. In discussing counter-radicalization efforts, Dr. Neumann addressed the significant challenge of balancing short-term and long-term approaches to reducing terrorism and violent radicalization. Lastly, Dr. Neumann applied his theory to current efforts to de-radicalize movements such as Al-Qaeda as well as to the conflicts in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the current crisis in Gaza.
Click on the play button below to listen to Dr. Neumanns’ full presentation:
Dr. Donna Hicks, Associate, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
After giving a short overview of conflict resolution approaches, Dr. Donna Hicks presented the class with her Dignity model – one which she developed based on her work with track two negotiations in Sri Lanka, Colombia, and Northern Ireland. Two key themes relating to Dr. Hick’s Dignity model and how it is applied in conflict resolution/negotiation efforts resonated with the class in particular: 1) That dignity is not easily given, but that it must be learned. For this reason Dr. Hicks speaks of it as an educational enterprise, one that can be applied for example in negotiation efforts to establish a new relationship among once warring leaders. 2) That all people must be treated with dignity in these settings regardless of past crimes or action in order for genuine reconciliation to take place.
Click HERE for a more in-depth overview of Dr. Hicks’ Dignity Model.
Dr. Howard Wolpe, Director of the Africa Program and the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Dr. Wolpe challenged the class to rethink the conventional practices for peace building and democracy promotion. In his presentation he talked about how there is often too much emphasis on the institutions of a democracy (elections, rule of law, media) and not enough on the leaders that champion and lead them. As he pointed out, in many post conflict settings leaders remain divided and compete for resources even if they are colleagues with similar aims. There is no lack of democrats or competition, what is often missing is a culture of collaboration and trust as well as a common definition and narrative of the nation. The end of Dr Wolpe’s presentation focused on his work with military, political, and business leaders in Burundi to foster a stronger tradition of cooperation and trust, which are necessary for a durable and stable democracy in any society.
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Arturo Cruz, Nicaraguan Ambassador to the US
After providing an overview of Nicaragua’s transition, Ambassador Cruz focused his comments on why Nicaragua has had a relatively stable transition despite its high levels of poverty and the rising regional crime rates in Central America. He identified several key elements that contributed to stability in Nicaragua, among them, the role leaders from across the political divide have played in managing the population’s needs, the demobilization process in Nicaragua with specific attention to the land redistribution component, and how international aid has been managed to stimulate economic growth.
Paul Arthur, University of Ulster
Professor Arthur provided the class with an overview of the conflict in Northern Ireland while at the same time identifying key moments and events that helped shape a durable peace after many years of conflict. He described how for many years a sense of fatalism permeated many of the actors and that there was a general perception that tensions in Northern Ireland would never end. This changed once a process began to unfold. Building on the theme of leadership, he described specific individuals who moved the peace process forward especially in regard to de-constructing perceptions of the other and facilitating joint governance in the Northern Irish Assembly. Prof. Arthur emphasized the role that the international community – the United States, EU and South Africa in particular – played in shaping the peace process in Northern Ireland. A final theme Paul Arthur elaborated on was the importance of humanization – and the need for people to understand each others perspectives and stories in order for a stable peace to emerge.
Click on the play button below to listen to Paul Arthur’s full presentation:
President José Ramos Horta of East Timor, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
President Ramos Horta gave an overview of the types of challenges East Timor faces today and in the course of this discussion underscored the fragility of the peace they have. In his presentation he also addressed the important role of leadership in facilitating reconciliation and explained why he has opposed appeals for an international tribunal to try the perpetrators in Indonesia. Finally, President Ramos Horta spoke about the current situation in Myanmar and appealed for the initiation of a dialogue with military leaders there in order to lay the seeds for an eventual peace.
Click on the play button below to listen to President Ramos Hortas’ presentation:
Sead Numanovic, reporter with Dnevi Avaz; Jan Urban, former Czech dissident and journalist, New York University/Prague
Sead Numanovic centered his lecture on the absence of rule of law in Bosnia and how this lies at the core of many of the region’s problems. Also addressing Bosnia’s current problems, Jan Urban provided a stark criticism of the Dayton Peace Accords and the role of the international community in Bosnia. A number of important themes came out in the course of the discussion including: how power vacuums in post conflict settings lead to a culture of corruption that is very hard to reverse, the need for dignity and Justice in post conflict settings and the “civilizing” role the EU can and has to play in shaping a future for the region.
Click on the play button below to listen to Jan Urban and Sead Numanovic’s presentation:
Veton Surroi, Member of the Kosovar Unity Team that negotiated with the UN and Serbia
Veton Surroi gave a succinct summary of Kosovo’s political developments since the early 1990s and described the choices and challenges leaders faced as they sought to bring the world’s attention to the plight of the Kosovar Albanians. In his talk he described the non-violent resistance movement toward Serb occupation in the early 1990s and the movement’s efforts to create a unified voice among the people of this region. Mr. Surroi also discussed how and why violent resistance emerged after Kosovo was left out of the Dayton Agreement. He stressed the important role that track two efforts played in shaping the framework of later negotiation efforts in Rambouillet and beyond. Mr. Surroi ended his presentation by laying out potential future scenarios for Kosovo and the Balkans as a whole.
Click on the play button below to listen to Veton Surrois’ presentation:
Ram Manikkalingam, former advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on the Peace Process
In his presentation to the class, Ram Manikkalingam discussed origins of the Sri Lankan conflict as well as the current situation there, with particular emphasis on the factors that have made it so difficult to achieve peace. He posited that there are really three conflicts occurring simultaneously on the island: an ethnic conflict, an armed conflict and a political party conflict. In his opinion, all three need to be addressed and resolved if sustainable peace is to be achieved. Mr. Manikkalingam also shared some lessons learned from negotiation efforts with the Tamil Tigers during in the Kumaratunga administration and applied these lessons to attempts to foster a negotiated peace elsewhere in the world.
Click on the play button below to listen to Ram Manikkalingams’ presentation:
Naomi Chazan, former member of Israeli Knesset
Dr. Naomi Chazan spoke to the class about the urgent need for the international community to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Beginning with the Oslo Accords leading all the way through the most recent Annapolis conference, Dr. Chazan believes that these attempts at a peace process have been unsuccessful. She opted for a new process, one that may even have to be imposed on the feuding parties because neither has been able to think outside the current approach. Chazan also addressed the critical role grassroots organizations play in humanizing the conflict, influencing a peace process and providing a strategic vision with their actions. People have been trying to change each other’s narratives instead of accepting and acknowledging the other. Lastly, Chazan again stressed the regional urgency to address the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, because it is such a recruiting and rallying call for extremist groups across the region and would lead to more destabilization.
Click on the play button below to listen to Naomi Chazan’s presentation:
Ambassador Nick Burns addressed the human dimension of the conflict, the symbolism of actions, and the United States’ priorities in the region. He began with the yearly symbolism of Israel’s independence, which represents liberation for some and dispersal for others. Ambassador Burns saw President Obama’s first three months in office as very optimistic especially with the early appointments of George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke as regional envoys. However, pragmatically, Ambassador Burns mentioned that the president has many competing domestic priorities to address before directly addressing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. However, it was clear that the Middle East is where the United State is at war, so it must key part of US engagement.
Click on the play button below to listen to Ambassador Burn’s presentation: