The Peace Process
Note: This week you will have one Discussion that requires you to analyze the readings about the peace process and synthesize your thinking about it while relating it to a specific conflict. You will, as usual, read a sampling of posts from your colleagues and then respond to two of them rather than the usual one. You will also have a second, optional Discussion that is intended to allow for reflection and final thoughts about the course.
As you have likely discovered in reading the Web articles and the second half of Ury’s book, there is great variation in how the peace process is described from one reading to another. “Getting to peace,” as Ury calls it, is no simple matter. Like conflict resolution, the peace process is a somewhat “messy” business, for different meanings are attributed to the same terms and there is no one right or agreed upon way to view it. It is an iterative and recursive enterprise, rather than a linear one, there being no set of steps that will get you to peace. There are times, however, when you have to do one thing before you can do another. So, as noted in this week’s Introduction, you have come full circle, from a beginning that lacks consensus and precision of terms and processes to the same kind of end. Conflict resolution. Peace.
To prepare for this Discussion:
•Select a conflict to use for this Discussion. It may be one at any level, but you are encouraged to use one that is sufficiently “rich,” one to which you will be able to apply the many concepts and elements related to the peace process. You may wish to select the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is the subject of the Kelman article, or one of the conflicts listed at the United States Institute of Peace Web page, “On the Issues.” (Both can be found in this week’s listing of Optional Resources.) Or you may select another conflict that that interests you. Do research whatever conflict you select so that you are sufficiently familiar with it to do justice to your post.
•Review the following online articles, paying attention to the concepts, processes, and other information in each, looking for commonalities and patterns between and among them and thinking about how all of the ideas fit together. Keep the conflict that you selected in mind and note how the various concepts, processes, and information relate specifically to your conflict and how they have or might play out. Think about how a third party might contribute to the peace process and the bringing about of peace.
◦”Peace Processes” http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/peace_processes/
•Make connections between Ury’s thinking in the first half of The Third Side and the model he presents in the second half (remember that the book was originally titled Getting to Peace), and what you read in the Web articles. Think about how the terms and ideas used in the articles relate to what Ury proposes.
•Based on what you have read, and considering what has been presented in the other 11 weeks of this course, think about how you would explain the peace process, relating it specifically to your conflict. Provide examples that illustrate what you mean and what the process might look like if it were played out in a real conflict. Also consider the role of a third party in the conflict that you selected. (Note: You are not being asked to resolve Middle Eastern or any other conflicts, but to make connections between a somewhat abstract idea, the peace process, and reality.)
•Reflect on what has been presented in the course. Think about how you would characterize the relationship between conflict resolution and peace.
Post by Wednesday a brief description of the conflict that you selected, highlighting the main players in the conflict and the major issues around which it revolves. Then explain your “take” on the peace process, integrating terms and ideas from the readings and the course and relating them to your conflict. Be as complete and specific as you can, so that you account for the major concepts and processes that are consistent across readings, even if labeled differently, and provide examples that bring the ideas to life. Finally, explain how you would characterize the relationship between conflict resolution and peace and why.
Note: Include the conflict that you selected in the first line of your post.