Peacebuilding: A Permanent Solution

Check out this great article from the Christian Science Monitor:

Peacebuilding is a new approach to ending war, and it’s becoming a global buzzword. It’s different from peacemaking, which brings politicians around a table to hammer out a peace deal. And it’s different from peacekeeping, which sends foreign soldiers to monitor peace agreements, separate warring parties, and protect civilians in conflict zones.

“Everybody understands peacemaking,” says Judy Cheng-Hopkins, the UN assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding. “And in a way we also understanding peacekeeping…. Peacebuilding goes beyond either [of these].”

Peacebuilding is about what comes next – the slow and thankless slog of building a country back up. For generations, that job has been piecemeal: a little emergency aid here, some development projects there. But those professionals are trained differently, rarely coordinate, and are sometimes outright antagonistic. Their projects, meanwhile, are not overtly about peace. Aid is about relief; development is about economic growth. But post-conflict states also have a host of other needs.

This is an interesting article and the concept of peacebuilding – that post-conflict nations need skilled negotiators and politically savvy people to come in and help the people of the country rebuild themselves and everyday life back up is sorely needed. That means rewiring people away from the conflict that has dominated; reworking old processes into new efforts and giving people practical things they need like a “reason to be,” and a place to go every day and be productive or a process by which to be heard and validated. This is not normally done or focused on. Quite frankly, I do believe peacebuilding can ultimately restore the validity to the UN which has been seen in the last ten to twenty years to cater strictly to peacemaking efforts centered on political leaders who often care little about rebuilding the country.

Another reason I like this concept is that it is applicable on a much smaller scale to state and local conflict all the way down to families, the workplace, and neighbor to neighbor conflict. In these situations peacemaking is key but I also think sometimes peacemaking can be better achieved through a concentrated focus on peacebuilding in restoring communication and rebuilding relationships. Working at the ground level and providing people avenues to be heard, establishing appropriate boundaries, encouraging dialogue, and giving people educational opportunities to enhance problem-solving skills helps take people out of themselves and shows them a bigger picture to be a part of which goes a long way in solidifying relationships both big and small.

Read the full article at – a great site for all mediators – and thank you so much for bringing this article to my attention.