Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict

Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict

Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict

Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict

Excerpt

I have had the pleasure of working in the peacebuilding field for over twenty years. During this time, the sector has grown from a small group of scholars, practitioners, and organizations on the margins of international affairs to a concept that is now beginning to influence official policy and practice in the halls of Washington, Paris, Addis Ababa, Geneva, and elsewhere.

I fell into this field in the early 1990s through working as a Fulbright Junior Scholar in Hungary. Although Hungary remained peaceful, unlike its neighbors in the former Yugoslavia, there were high levels of discrimination particularly between the Roma population and the Hungarian majority. To address these social tensions, a colleague and I founded a nonprofit organization, the TEAM Foundation, which was dedicated to improving relations among youth in the country. The more deeply I have become involved with the peacebuilding community since then, the more I am inspired by the rapid growth of the field in all sectors, and the innovative organizations, academic programs, and projects that are helping to foster sustainable peace around the globe. The idea that someone could have “peacebuilding” in their job title or job description seemed unfathomable twenty years ago, but now an increasing number of such positions are appearing across the globe, from multilateral institutions in Western capitals to grassroots organizations in conflict zones.

As will be explored in this book, a global infrastructure for peacebuilding is emerging, and with institutions and networks working on peacebuilding research, policy and practice in most regions. Local and international leaders are beginning to seek innovative ways of addressing conflict and fostering peace, and they are looking to the field for answers.

Despite the rapid growth in peacebuilding, it is important to emphasize that the world still tends to place a strong emphasis in terms of resources and policy on security-based approaches. Global military spending surpasses resources for international development by a ratio of more than 10 to 1, and for specific peacebuilding support the gap is even greater. The peacebuilding field is likely to continue to grow and hopefully increase its impact, but there is still a fundamental need to adjust global . . .

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