Reaching peace, from academics to practice
Thinking of ways to reach a peaceful environment in post-conflict situations, we will find numerous tools are being applied by governmental and non-governmental institutions. In other words, treating human rights abuses or seeking violence prevention and reduction are items that contain various sorts of strategies and procedures to execute.
However, the most difficult task regarding these issues is to know how and when to apply those specific tools. To manage this, it is necessary to create reflective spaces, where academic research (rigorous, objective, critical and methodical) plays an important role. These discussions must be pursued to treat the causes of a conflict and, through a transformative methodology, try to find the right processes to construct sustainable and reliable peace. The idea of process remains important, due to the fact that is not lineal: it confronts both advances and setbacks. Indeed, these processes must take into account the different actors who could play a relevant role in the solutions (civil society, government, international institutions, etc.) in order to confront different points of view and necessities, share and complement the potentialities of all these actors and obtain a holistic approach. Moreover, it is relevant and necessary to apply the best practices from other contexts, but, at the same time, to consider the specifics of the local context under review.
A recent example that followed this process occurred in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The Institut Català International per la Pau (ICIP), which is part of the Catalan public administration, held a seminar to study the conditions for peacebuilding in the African country. The main goal was to facilitate discussion amongst the different Ivorian actors (academics, practitioners and decision-makers), in order to review structural hindrances to peace and the ways to mitigate them in order to reach a peaceful environment.
To sum up, initiatives like this one have two general goals: 1. to search for solutions from the structural causes of a conflict; 2. to listen, discuss and confront the differing visions of the relevant actors seeking a solution. Only with this holistic approach we can implement the tools for building peace.
United Nations Officer and PhD candidate