2014 Annual International Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
For our First Annual International Conference, we have chosen the theme: The Advantages of Ethnic & Religious Identity in Conflict Mediation and Peacebuilding. Too often, differences in ethnicity and faith traditions are seen as a drawback to the peace process. It is time to turn these assumptions around and rediscover the benefits that these differences offer. It is our contention that societies made up of an amalgamation of ethnicities and faith traditions offer largely unexploited assets to the policy makers, donor & humanitarian agencies, and mediation practitioners working to assist them.
It is the purpose of this conference to inspire new thinking, stimulate ideas, inquiry, and dialogue & share anecdotal and empirical accounts, which will introduce and support evidence of the numerous advantages that multi-ethnic & multi-faith populations offer to facilitate peace and advance social/economic well-being.
All peoples have within their histories and customs practices designed to improve the health and cohesion of the community. All have rites, rituals and beliefs that shore up and maintain adaptive social relationships that include mutual obligations and responsibilities. All have tenets, ethics and boundaries establishing what is right, what is just, and what is honorable, which govern interpersonal and business relations. Throughout time, it has been these personal and shared doctrines that have cultivated the cooperation and collaboration necessary to have a better quality of life, promote innovation, build economies, nurture the arts, as well as foster advances in science, medicine, technology, civil society, and law.
How can we identify and utilize the most beneficial aspects of these shared and individual beliefs, doctrines, principles and codes of conduct to mediate and mitigate conflict, stabilize relations, and move toward reconciliation between cultures and across borders?
Which practices offer the greatest promise of success, and how/where/when/ under what circumstances are they best applied? What are the advantages of diversity in ethnicity, religion and culture to improving & sustaining of economies? How do/can these contributions become tools for compromise, cooperation & reconciliation?