Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
This blog will take you on a journey. Its path starts from understanding the theoretical values and concepts of a conflict, and ends with exploring some potential solutions on how sustainable peace can be achieved in (post-)conflict environments. This journey from conflict to peace is underpinned by a strong belief that the world can be a better place, and that, as 23 peace fellows coming from 20 different countries around the world, we have the opportunity to positively impact our local communities and, in turn, improve the state of the world.
The journey is comprised of four paths which we call modules that the fellows have explored: Module 1 ‘The Concepts and Values of Peace and Conflict Studies‘, 2.’The Diagnosis and Analysis of Conflict’, 3. ‘Conflict Resolution Skills, Approaches and Strategies’ and, last but not least, Module 4 ‘Conflict Transformation and Building a Sustainable Peace‘. Over these modules, we have learned everything from active listening to mediation to positive thinking and different negotiation techniques, all of which have centered on the main objective of achieving sustainable peace in different conflict environments.
At the beginning of the week, we were introduced to the Peace Process Flowchart (kindly see below), which provides an overview of Multi-Track Peace Processes, including procedural topics such as preconditions for peace processes and parties that should be involved. This theoretical model was grounded in concrete conflicts (such as in Southern Thailand and Sri Lanka) to explain the framework in practice. We also discussed three key peace negotiations that changed the world: 1644-1648 ‘Peace of Westphalia’; 1918-1919 ‘Versailles Negotiations’; and 1945-1951 ‘Potsdam and San Francisco Negotiations’.
In the second half of the week, we focused on post-conflict reconstruction and peace, which led to the core question: ‘Is peace possible without justice?’ In particular, we explored three ongoing conflict scenarios in detail (Kosovo, Macedonia and Yemen). We analyzed the conflicts in small groups and proposed concrete ways to transform the conflicts. Four pillars emerged as a common set of requirements for peaceful post-conflict reconstruction: (1) Security, (2) Justice and Reconciliation, (3) Social/economic wellbeing, and (4) Governance/participation.
My main takeaway message from this week is that, regardless how difficult it may be to achieve (sustainable) peace, and regardless of whether we are – directly or indirectly – involved in the conflict, we should never give up. I learnt that achieving peace agreements and even a ceasefire in conflict situations is very energy-sapping and time-consuming. Nevertheless, as a peace practitioner and change maker, I should remain persistent, since peace is worth everything we can give. In this sense, struggling for sustainable peace is and will remain my lifelong journey.
Denis Nushi – Rotary Club Arthur Ruf, District 2000 in Adliswil, Switzerland
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 23