Cross-Conflict Participation: Advice of Experts
Expert Advice Page 2


Expert Advice
Page 2

Peace-Culture Consciousness
Page 3

Role of Trainers
Page 4

The Actors
Page 5

Education and Information Campaigns
Pages 6

The Difficulties
Page 7

Resources and List of Specialists Consulted
Page 8


This discussion is based on a proposal drafted in response to Decision 5.4.2 of the 140th session of the UNESCO Executive Board and the replies from a number of international experts who were consulted in its preparation (see list below).

Cross-conflict participation is a "link between the fields of conflict resolution and international development", in the words of Canadian specialist Ron Fisher who has pioneered in developing the techniques of conflict resolution. It consists of cooperative projects of NGO's and teams of individuals who come from opposing sides of conflict in a country in order to work together on projects of human development. In each case project coordinators from UNESCO or another international agency and local trainers who have been trained and are skilled in conflict resolution play the role of a third party to help the actors develop peace culture consciousness in the course of working together.

The approach of cross-conflict participation is designed for peace-building, which is now on the agenda of history. As described by UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali in his report "An Agenda for Peace, peace-building is the process needed in countries where the United Nations has intervened to end violent conflicts. It involves the support of II structures that will tend to consolidate peace and advance a sense of confidence and well-being in people." As Robert Muller of the United Nations University for Peace indicates, "I believe that of the present 26 peace-keeping operations, the vast majority deal with internal conflicts...We have been doing pretty well on international conflicts, but we are novices in internal ones. The whole peace science, strategy, and methodology must therefore be extended down to the internal, even local level."

Cross-conflict participation is essential to peace- building. As Takeo Uchida of the United Nations University says, we need a prominent focus on "confidence building measures and resolution of ethnic and cultural conflicts." Fisher also emphasizes the necessity of "inter-group activities of reconciliation and cooperation" for which "the model of task-oriented, cross-conflict teams is highly appealing and I believe very appropriate.

Military peace-keeping is not enough by itself to bring peace. This is emphasized by Abelardo Morales of FLACSO (Costa Rica). Instead, he says, we must grant to the civil actors the means of mediation and conflict-prevention in the realization of their activities. In this regard an important role can be played by cross-conflict teams, especially among young people.

Conflict resolution is not enough by itself, but it needs to be combined with participation in tasks that can produce mutual benefits. This is pointed out by Yoshikazu Sakamoto of the International Peace Research Institute Meigaku. In addition to the dialogue of conflict resolution there needs to be a further step "to foster a future-oriented common hope. This cannot be done in the abstract culture; but it has to be achieved by bringing tangible benefits to the groups through cooperation." For that reason he fully endorses the proposal of task-oriented participation in projects of human development which bring concrete results to the participants. Morton Deutsch of the International Center for cooperation and Conflict Resolution makes the same point: "I would emphasize that the activities should be real activities which directly benefit the individual team members as well as their communities in the short as well as the long run."

Projects in human development are also not enough by themselves. To develop a culture of peace they must be accompanied by changes in consciousness and in the nature of relationships among people. This is emphasized by several of the specialists, including Felipe MacGregor of the Peruvian Association for the study and Investigation of Peace, Betty Reardon of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace, and Professor Thierno Bah of the University of Yaounde.

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