Family arguments around the Thanksgiving dinner table are commonplace. “You support that football team?!” “You voted for who in the last election?!” Infused by local culture these arguments can get heated but don’t usually result in violence. Actually, no matter where you live in the world, culture—a combination of behavior, beliefs, values, and thought patterns—plays a significant role in how conflict is defined and resolved. And given the diversity of culture among societies, it is only logical that conflict resolution and peacebuilding strategies should not, and cannot, be confined to a single set of universally applicable principles. Nevertheless, we find traditional peacebuilding strategies—characterized by Western cultural notions of conflict resolution—continue to dominate efforts to resolve conflict and build peace.
Dive into this newsletter for a closer look at the innovative and impactful role of local populations applying home-grown cultural norms to facilitate peace as well as an overview of two organizations building peace by listening to local communities and following their lead. (Such a novel concept… 😉 All of these organizations are changing the game—just the way we like it!