A Professor and Writer Finds Ways for Peacebuilding

By Allen, Josh | The Christian Science Monitor, May 26, 2010 | Go to article overview

A Professor and Writer Finds Ways for Peacebuilding


Allen, Josh, The Christian Science Monitor


Conflict negotiator and writer John Paul Lederach has spent decades seeking new paths to peacebuilding.

When John Paul Lederach was a student looking for a college that offered peace studies, he found only a handful of programs in the United States. That was more than 30 years ago.

Today, almost 100 US graduate schools and dozens of undergraduate colleges offer degrees or certificates in conflict resolution and peace studies. And Dr. Lederach's writings now are a frequent part of the study of peacemaking.

Some of Lederach's ideas draw on his views as a Mennonite Christian and an academic, first at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., and since 2001 as professor of international peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Yet much of his perspective is based on his experiences as a mediator and trainer of peace workers in more than 25 countries, places of conflict where Lederach has tried to help people resolve their differences without violence - despite decades of unrest, injustice, or war.

He has pursued his career - peace building - with unchanging inspiration. "[This work] is the only thing I've ever done," he says.

He works with people "who have taken extraordinary risks and have suffered the consequences of violent situations," he says. But they also have kept their hope that they can defeat "violence in a nonviolent way," he says.

Lederach's first peace-building experience came in Nicaragua in the 1980s, when he helped mediate between the Sandinista government and a local movement on the country's east coast.

Since then, he's worked both with villagers caught in local rebellions and high-level government officials.

In the 1990s he served as a consultant to churches and peace groups in the Philippines as the country struggled with communist and Islamic insurgency and indigenous violence. In 2003, the Carter Center, a nonprofit foundation founded by former President Jimmy Carter, invited him to Venezuela to speak to groups seeking to maintain peace in the wake of a coup attempt on the government of President Hugo Chavez.

When Lederach himself isn't on hand to resolve a conflict, his influential writings often are there to represent him, sometimes at historic moments.

In Kenya in Jan-uary 2008, George Wachira, a senior adviser of the Nairobi Peace Initiative - Africa, was working with former military leaders as violence raged in the wake of controversial national elections. Mr. Wachira had partnered with Lederach throughout Africa in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Wachira's group involved the news media in calls for peace and consulted with Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary- general, who finally brokered a power-sharing deal between President Mwai Kib-aki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

"John Paul's ideas are about providing space and connecting, recognizing opportunities, all guided by a broad, yet clear, picture of where you want things to go," Wachira says. "These elements were directly present in our work during the postelection crisis in Kenya."

In February, Lederach visited Colombia as part of an effort to help reintegrate former paramilitary groups, who had used violence to traumatize the population, back into society.

In Colombia, "Many ... people have lost family members or experienced massacres," Lederach says. The challenge is, "How do we tell the truth about this violence when some may want to move quickly past that? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Professor and Writer Finds Ways for Peacebuilding
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.