(Contributing to Peacebuilding - Innovative
Approaches and Practices to Increase Effectiveness)」をテーマに約20名の出席を得て、JICA米国事務所にて開催されました。

冒頭、アメリカとブラッセルを拠点として活動するNGO、Search for Common Ground (SFCG)の シャミル・イドリス氏より、SFCGの紹介、また団体の平和構築活動における根本方針などついて説明と問題提起を頂いた後、それに基づき活発な議論が行われました。

冒頭プレゼンテーション及び出席者からの意見のうち、主要なものは次の通り です(順不同)。


I. Need for "Conflict Resolution"

1) Only 10% of casualties in today's conflicts are military personnel and 90% are civilian. This is the reverse of the situation 100 years ago, where 10% of the casualties were civilians and, 90% were military personnel. Global government spending on military-related expenditure is 170 times more than that on education.

2) These are natural results of an adversarial approach,which is based on the zero-sum concept that the best way to protect myself is to arm myself against you.

II. Search For Common Ground

1) Search For Common Ground (SFCG) is an international conflict transformation organization that is helping establish a new paradigm - one that promotes cooperative approaches to conflict rather than adversarial approaches.

2) SFCG was established in 1982 by the current president,Mr. John Marks. Its initial projects focused on 1)US-USSR conflict and 2) domestic conflicts in the US, such as gun control, abortion, bi-partisan relations. Today, SFCG has offices in 13 countries (the organization has activities/projects in other countries where it does
not have an office), 375 full-time staff, and 2 headquarters (Brussels and Washington, DC).

3) SFCG's mission is to change how we deal with conflicts, moving away from adversarial relations toward cooperative ones. 'Conflict' is not the same as violence. Conflict is natural. Differences in ethnicity, nationality, and religion, are natural and unavoidable.
Depending on how these are handled, however, they can enrich society or lead to violence.

4) The organization carries out a wide-range of programs, establishing inter-ethnic schools, sports teams, and radio studios in various places such as Burundi, the DRC, West Africa, Indonesia, the Middle East, the Balkans, Morocco,and Ukraine. In the US, SFCG works with both the Democratic and Republican parties to identify mutual interests and goals and on inter-racial relations in cities.

III. Six Principles of SFCG

Six Principals underlie all of SFCG's projects

1) Seek societal transformation and act as a social entrepreneur

While SFCG practices traditional conflict resolution techniques such as mediation and negotiation, these approaches make up a very small part of what it does, as they often focus on very specific dispute resolution. SFCG focuses more broadly at shifting how societies
understand, view, and deal with their differences. Specific dispute resolution is sometimes involved, but always within a much broader context of shifting societal attitudes and behavior more generally.

Ex. After the Iranian Revolution, when US and Iran had no diplomatic relations, SFCG lead an American wrestling team to Iran. Upon their return, the team was even visited to the White house by President Clinton. The images of this event were aired in Iran, providing the Iranian population positive attitudes toward US. Such an event can not solve the problems between the U.S. and Iran, but as the first public exchange between the two countries since the 1979 Iranian revolution, it made possible the hundreds of exchanges that have followed, organized by SFCG and others. The success of the wrestling approach lies in the fact that wrestling is a means of engagement that puts the US and Iran on a level-playing field (wrestling being the most popular Iranian sport), and that it was not explicitly political, and therefore feasible.

2) Model what you intend to bring about

It is important to set a successful example, no matter how small that may be, and simply do what you are trying to bring about. This is distinct from advocating for change in adversarial ways.

Ex. In Sierra Leon, SFCG hired a young boy, an ex-combatant, to interview other children affected by war for a radio show targeting the demobilized youth. His personal case set an example for other young audience members that someone like them was making a progress with his life and for the larger society that young people have a prominent role to play in rebuilding their communities
after war.

3) Make a long-term commitment

When one seeks to make a societal impact, one has to make a long-term commitment.

Ex. In Sierra Leone, there was no contact between the rebel held territory and the rest of the country. SFCG,with the help of local communities, found a charismatic singer who had popular support. The singer led the team into the rebel held territory, leading to the
first interviews of rebels and people living under rebel occupation to be broadcast on radio, bridging the two communities. You cannot identify this type of leader without engaging local staff in the long-term, without you being there locally.

4) Using high leverage, high impact venue such as media

When you want to make an impact on a broad society, the media can be a very effective tool.

Ex. In Macedonia, SFCG produced multiethnic TV program, targeting children. There was a particular episode where a boy of one ethnic group, against his parents will, goes to a party organized by another ethnic group. At the end of the episode, his parents, along with his children, learn that people can interact and enjoy each other's company across the ethnic divides. According to a survey, the percentage of the respondents who answered that they would invite people of other ethnic groups to a party raised from 30 % to 60% after the showing of these programs.

5) Work in a holistic way

It is important that you work not only with the targeted local population, but also with the government, local community leaders, and with NGOs. It is important to work with these groups in an integrated way, so that you have a broad impact.

Ex. In Burundi, taking advantage of the fact that people are dependent on radio, SFCG started the first independent radio outlet (with an inter-ethnic staff) in an attempt to prevent the escalation of further ethnic hatred and genocide. News reporting, documentary, and dramatic programs are produced by both Hutus and Tutsis, resulting in balanced and unbiased information dissemination. This has helped prevent further escalation of ethnic hatred and promote reconciliation. The radio studio has in the past received support from the Japanese government. The station also produces its own soap opera, which is the most popular radio program in the country, about Hutus and Tutsi neighbors and how they overcome problems that they encounter.

6) Work at multiple levels

You have to work at multiple levels, engaging different people from different levels at the same time.

IV. Three misperceptions about conflict resolution

Misperception 1: Conflict resolution is about compromising and agreeing on the lowest common denominator.

--> Conflict resolution is a process of CREATING a highest/greatest denominator, even if that means having to start with a seemingly unrelated event such as wrestling or radio soap operas.

Misperception 2. Conflict resolution is unrealistic and utopian.

--> In the US there are 600 university degreee and certificate programs in conflict resolution. Even high schools have started to offer peer mediation. Development organizations have started to get involved with peace building especially in the past ten years. This is a huge leap for conflict resolution.

Misperception 3. Conflict resolution is, in the end, hopeless. People often say about conflict, "Oh, they have been fighting for years, hundreds of years, thousands of years...There is nothing we can do."

--> Sixty years ago, there were no two countries on the earth that hated each other more than France and Germany. Now the two countries share the same currency, political ties, and are even trying to share the common military. Such a transformation is possible in any region. If you look for hope, you will find it, but if you approach
conflict cynically you will only recognize the hopeless aspects of it.

< Comments,Questions, and Answers>

Comment from a participant:
Conflict resolution is about searching for 'what
works.' Long-term commitment is very important. Programs
that SFCG started long-ago are starting to transform the societies only now. However, donors and foundations do not necessary understand this and look for short-term gains. At most, they may fund a project for two years, if not just one year. Since conflict resolution takes time and usually produce minimal short-term tangible results, the fact that NGOs have to show foundations and report to the foundations the incremental success/results of conflict resolution projects is difficult. Conflict resolution organizations sometimes become so focused on pleasing donors that their donors became their clients, not the actual people.

Comment from a participant:
The media played an important role in the Truce and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. It was the night after night of the media reporting cases from the court that helped the victims feel that justice has been done and help them reconcile with the crimes done to them and to their families.

Question: What is the definition of peace? How does
politics play into SFCG's activities? How do you resolve political conflict?

Answer: SFCG is not a peace organization. Rather, SFCG seeks creative ways to engage traditional adversaries to seek solutions to their shared problems. SFCG's success and advantage comes from the fact that the organization is viewed as a non-partisan organization. Therefore, while SFCG engages at the political level, it always strives to do so in a non partisan that advocates for political processes that are inclusive, rather than advocating for specific political outcomes or positions. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where everything is so politicized, the organization started TV programs to kick start a dialogue about the peace negotiation. The organization wants to engage people in non-partisan ways on political issues.

Question: How is the academic studies of conflict
resolution? Does SFCG have a link with academia?

Answer: Academic practice is still very weak. With some notable exceptions, studies of conflict resolution are often very theoretical. SFCG has started to engage GMU, Maryland (who have conflict resolution programs) and has started to engage academics more, but not systematically.

Question: Define 'success' in conflict resolution? How do you monitor?

Answer: SFCG carries out ongoing monitoring. SFCG defines success by measuring whether the program is affecting the attitude of people. SFCG is interested more in judging against the goal than measuring how much we had a part.

Question: Exit strategy?

Answer: Sustainability is confused for impact of sustainability. There are no radio stations for public good that survive without some kind of subsidy. There are some programs that are locally run but while us supporting it financially. Exit strategy is case by case.

Question:How far is the time horizon?

Answer: SFCG tried not to get caught by the time table.
Best way is to engage and to be prepared to meet the windows of opportunities whenever it comes, short-term or long-term.

Question: Is each model transferable to other regions?

Answer: Institutional learning and research at SFCG is conducting case studies to build a model and see whether a project done in one community/country is applicable to other regions.

Comment from a participant:
While conducting conflict resolution, we need to be
extremely sensitive about different value structures and absolute destructive situations in conflict areas. We need to understand that definition of peace may be different from people to people.


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