Integrating Track One and Track Two Approaches to International Conflict Resolution: What's Working? What's Not? How Can We Do Better?Ambassador Marc Grossman , Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Ambassador Donald K. Steinberg, Principal Deputy Director of Policy Planning; Mr. Alan Lang, Chairman of the Open Forum; and Conference Members
Remarks to the Open Forum
September 23, 2002
Mr. Alan Lang:
Mr. Alan Lang:Distinguished visitors, colleagues and friends, good morning. I am Alan Lang, Chairman of the Secretary's Open Forum. And I am very pleased to welcome all of you to today's "Conference on Integrating Track One and Track Two Approaches to International Conflict Resolution. What's Working, What's Not, How Can We Do Better?"
I would like to thank the American Foreign Service Association, the Applied Conflict Resolution Organizations Network, ACRON, and the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, for co-sponsoring this conference. I would like to thank Andrea Strimling, David Fairman and Peter Woodrow for their instrumental role in arranging this event. I would like also to thank Ambassador Donald K. Steinberg for his participation as a speaker and as conference moderator. Please give them all a warm round of applause.
The Open Forum, established 35 years ago by Secretary of State Dean Rusk, seeks to stimulate creative thinking about vital policy issues. This conference is very much in keeping with that mandate, since this morning we will examine ways to strengthen track one official and track two unofficial approaches to conflict resolution. T1-T2 coordination will be an important theme. Such coordination is broadly defined as any effort to increase the complementarity of official and unofficial parts of an overall peace process.
Today's conference brings together leaders in the conflict resolution, diplomatic and security communities for a timely examination of developments in international conflict resolution practice and theory. This is a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas, explore lessons learned, and expand our base of knowledge regarding best practices. And we thank all of you for taking time out of your schedules to participate in these proceedings.
Our first speaker has served the American people with great distinction. Marc Grossman was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 23rd, 2001, and sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs three days later on March 26th. Ambassador Grossman has been a career Foreign Service Officer since 1976. He has previously served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, United States Ambassador to Turkey, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State and Executive Secretary of the State Department, and Principal Deputy Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs. Other overseas assignments include tours as a political officer of the U.S. mission to NATO, and in Islamabad. Ambassador Grossman has earned degrees from the University of California-Santa Barbara, and from the London School of Economics and Political Science. We are honored to have him with us this morning. Won't you please join me in welcoming him. (Applause.)
Ambassador Marc Grossman: Thank you very much, Alan. I am very grateful to have this opportunity, and to be with all of you. I know some people are still coming in. There's plenty of seats, and plenty of time.
My purpose here today is to congratulate all of you and to thank you very much for your participation in what I consider to be two very important parts of our lives here at the State Department. First is your participation in the Secretary's Open Forum. As Alan said, this is a very important part of our lives here, now 35 years old, set up by Dean Rusk -- a place for people to come and talk about things that are of interest to them, and look to the future about what it is we are doing in our foreign policy. And I congratulate you, Alan, and all the people on the board of the Open Forum for the topics you've chosen and for the people who have come here to speak to you. And I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to come here today and talk about conflict resolution and track one and track two diplomacy. I believe that the topic that you have chosen will be an ever-increasing part of our diplomacy.
We at the State Department want to be always -- always -- open to learning new things -- open to partnerships. And that's why I join Alan in thanking all of the people who worked so hard to bring this together today, to the organizations, including the Applied Conflict Resolution Organization Network, and the other co-sponsors, because this is an important part of our diplomacy.
I'd say in fact that one of the biggest changes in my career in the time I have been in the Foreign Service is the work we now do with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs,) like the ones represented here; our work together in foreign policy. It is for me the very best of America.
I also want to thank you that so many of you would come down today. And I see so many friends and pioneers in this effort, like Joe Montville and others, and we are very glad that you are here as well.
I know that later this morning you all will be giving some awards, and I wanted to jump ahead and congratulate first Mary Carlin Yates on her wonderful award for her work in Burundi. But I want to make a personal note, if she would allow me, on your other awardee, Hal Saunders. I know he is not here at the moment, but many of you may have taken from that biography that Alan read that Hal Saunders was one of my first bosses in the Foreign Service. I was the staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs all during the Iran hostage crisis, and Hal was at that time not just a boss but a mentor and a guide. And the fact that after he left the State Department he has devoted his time, and his considerable intellect and effort, to track two diplomacy is a very important statement about our country, a very important statement about him, and I thank you very much for welcoming him here this afternoon to receive this award.
One of the things that I like the best is the time I spend recruiting new people to come to the State Department -- new Foreign Service Officers, new people in the civil service, people who want to work in foreign affairs. And you can imagine when I make a pitch to them one of the things they ask is, Well, what will I do? What is it that the State Department will do in the year 2002 and 2003 and the 20 years that I might have a career? What do I tell them? What do I tell them about diplomacy for the 21st century? I contrast what we are doing today with what I did when I came in the Foreign Service 26 or 27 years ago. At that time we were doing the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union. And no shame in that. I think we did that extremely well.
But if you look at the 17 or 18 things that the State Department is charged by the President and the American people with doing today, what do you see? You see a lot of conflict resolution. You see a lot of conflict prevention. You see work to stop conflicts inside and outside societies. You see efforts to stop organized crime, stop the trafficking of women and children, promote sustainable development, and promote democracy. We are going to have to change the way we do business at the State Department to get these accomplished, and work with all of you in public-private partnerships to get it done.
And so I think this focus that you have today on track one and track two, on all the ways that we can influence people around the world to head in the right direction, is an extremely important part of what we are doing now, and a very important part of future careers in the Foreign Service, and future careers in the civil service. In fact, I always end my presentation by saying that I am envious of them starting now, because they are going to be part of a diplomacy that we don't even know what it will be like, but it will be a very big and important part of what you are going to talk about today.
When I think about our work now, the entire foreign affairs system of this government, under the leadership of President Bush and Secretary Powell, is engaged every day in conflict resolution, conflict prevention and post conflict reconstruction. It's a vital part of our diplomacy, and indeed it is now taught to people we bring in the Foreign Service. We teach them again at the mid-career. And then when we send them out to be bosses and ambassadors, we talk to them again about these very important parts of our work.
If you think about Secretary Powell's day, what does Secretary Powell do? Secretary Powell spends his day working on these issues, whether it's working as he did all weekend to try to bring some conflict resolution to the Middle East, by talking on the telephone to leaders there; or whether the weekend some weeks ago that he spent trying to bring Morocco and Spain back from the brink of war over a small rock. That really is the essence in many ways of what it is that we do. And that's conflict prevention and conflict resolution -- and very important work as well in the third of those areas, which is reconstruction. Don Steinberg and I work a lot on Afghanistan, and we work a lot on it around the world, and you will hear from Don Steinberg, who I will say is one of the true leaders in this department in all pieces of this, but especially in the areas of conflict resolution.
This focus on track two diplomacy, this focus on conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and the work after conflict, also brings together for us so many strand about what is best about the United States and what's best about our vision as a nation for security and prosperity and democracy for people around the world. And I hope that you all might in your time -- maybe not today, but when you leave here today -- go back and take a look at President Bush's speech at Monterrey, Mexico, announcing the Millennium Challenge Account, where all of these pieces come together. Countries that invest in their people, that govern well and implement sound economic priorities free of corruption. Track two diplomacy supplements our efforts, are a key part of our efforts. And what makes them incredibly attractive is the public-private partnership that is involved in them.
I became a believer in track two diplomacy first by watching Hal work during the Iran hostage crisis, and then over the years I've had the small chance, the modest chance, to practice this, guided by David Phillips, earlier of Columbia University and now at the Council on Foreign Relations. I worked track two in Turkey first between Turks and Kurds, between Turks and Greeks, then between Turks and Armenians. The possibilities for this as part and parcel of our diplomacy seem endless.
So I welcome you today. I want you to know that this matters to this department, that what you are doing is important for our country, and that the more we can work together with you to build in tracks 1 and 2 together, to build in the kind of principles that we have as American diplomats, that we can not only change the lives of the people we are trying to work with, but change the way our country practices diplomacy in the 21st century.
So I thank you very much, and I very much look forward to your report. Thank you all. (Applause.)
Mr. Lang: Secretary Grossman, on behalf of the Open Forum, I would like to thank you for that insightful and passionate presentation. Please give him another round of applause. (Applause.)
At this time it is my pleasure to present our next speaker. Donald Steinberg serves as the Principal Deputy Director of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff. He served previously as United States Ambassador to Angola, deputy White House press secretary, special representative to the President and Secretary of State for Global Humanitarian De-mining, special Haiti coordinator, and senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. Other Foreign Service postings include South Africa, Malaysia, Brazil, and the Central African Republic.
He is a career senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of minister-counselor. He received the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award, the Robert C. Frasure Award, and four individual and group Superior Honor Awards, as well as the Presidential Meritorious Honor Award, and a Pulitzer Fellowship from Columbia University. He graduated from Reed College in 1974, and has master's degrees from the University of Toronto in political economy, and Columbia University in journalism. Please welcome Donald K. Steinberg. (Applause.)
Ambassador Steinberg: Thanks, Alan, and thank you for the opportunity to take part in this discussion on international conflict resolution and to honor the Applied Conflict Resolution Organizations Network, and the individual NGOs that make up that group.
I wanted to begin by picking up on some of the themes that Under Secretary Grossman touched upon, to give some background to the discussion that is going to take place here today.
Let me begin by saying that this program couldn't be more timely. There's a broad and growing recognition among practitioners and theorists alike that conflict prevention and resolution and post-conflict reconstruction form the bedrock of diplomacy and American national security interests around the world, and that the work here is too important to leave to governments alone.
It's impossible to achieve or even adequately address the basic goals outlined in President Bush's national security strategy promoting freedom, good governance, sustainable development and international stability and cooperation in the face of violence.
Conflicts are breeding grounds for threats such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, trafficking of women and children, illegal drugs, international crime and disease. They are also expensive. The United Nations has reported that the international community spent well more than $250 billion during the 1990s alone on eight international peacekeeping missions and humanitarian interventions. By contrast, the programs that we are going to be discussing here today, to build dialogues along or across ethnic and regional lines, to strengthen civil society, to create rule of law, and to address other underlying problems of conflicts, cost a fraction of that amount.
Regrettably, we seem as a nation and as an international community to be able to provide vast amounts of money for disaster assistance once conflict hits; and yet we struggle to find resources to prevent emergencies from occurring. Too often, to paraphrase General Pinckney, we seem to be saying billions for relief but very few pennies for prevention.
Thus there's an added imperative to know where to put our ounce of prevention. Looking back over the past decade, I constantly hear people say, "If we had only paid more attention to Rwanda, or Somalia, or Haiti, or the former Yugoslavia, we could have avoided so much suffering." Of course that's true, but it suggests a degree of prescience in anticipating conflicts that we don't yet have. Take Africa, for example. Most observers in 1990 would have told you that the transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa would be the primary source of conflict throughout the region, and indeed throughout all of Africa. And yet even with the tragic violence that occurred between Mandela's release and his election in 1994, the process marched ahead.
By contrast, if you were looking at Africa in 1995, how could you predict that former comrades-in-arms in Ethiopia and Eritrea would turn on each other; or that ethnically-united and resource-rich Botswana would be ravaged and potentially destabilized by HIV/AIDS; or that a single man, Jonas Savimbi, could defy the combined will of the international community and the people of Angola to take that country back into a senseless war?
In trying to predict where conflict will emerge, experts in our government have looked at scores of cases of conflict over the past decades, and we have identified associative, if not causative, factors. I would like to run through nine of these for you. First there is the degree of political participation, responsive governance and rule of law. Societies must have safety valves to permit the peaceful redress of grievances. Second is the nexus between urbanization, population pressure, and the state of the economy, including the extent of youth unemployment. Third, the condition of the educational system is vital. Investment in schools, and in particular in girls' education, is the most important factor in improving health, agriculture and other socioeconomic standards and avoiding conflict.
Next is the existence or the absence of institutions of civil society, including in particular women's organizations. Fifth is religious and ethnic homogeneity, or at least the extent to which difference is tolerated, and even celebrated. The sixth phrase that we often hear in a different context: "location, location, location." The role of neighbors in either mediating or fueling disputes is fundamental. Countries in bad neighborhoods risk spillover from armed combatants, refugees and arm flows. By contrast, those in good neighborhoods receive a powerful dampening effect on potential violence. Seventh is the role of the military and the security forces in the political structure. Is there a tradition of solving problems through military means and armed conflict? Eighth is international engagement, including the openness of the economy. Conflicts are like mushrooms: they grow best in darkness. Finally, has there been upheaval during the last 15 years? Contrary to the warning that you get on an investment prospectus, past performance is an indicator of future possibilities.
These are among the factors to monitor as indicators of potential conflict. And it's an area where governments are highly dependent on the work of civil society to provide ground truth.
We can't really do much about some of these factors -- nor can we stop natural disasters that often translate into conflict. Still, every drought doesn't have to become a famine. As Secretary Powell said in Johannesburg a couple of weeks ago, it's not the lack of rain alone that pushed three million Zimbabweans into South Africa and millions more towards starvation; it's the failed policies and the lack of respect for law and human rights of Robert Mugabe.
I am just returning from two weeks in Johannesburg at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, where governments, international organizations, civil society and businesses came together to strengthen the three pillars of sustainable development: economic growth, investment in people, and environmental stewardship. And I firmly believe that sustainable development is a vaccine against conflict.
Under President Bush's leadership, we unveiled in Johannesburg new partnerships to unite our talents, our energies, and our resources. For example, the "water for the poor initiative" leverages $1.6 billion to expand access to clean water and sanitation, and to improve watershed management around the world. The "clean energy initiative" will help families replace wood and dung with modern energy sources in indoor cooking, helping to eliminate indoor pollution that causes two million premature deaths each year from respiratory illnesses. Similar initiatives will promote sustainable agriculture, protect the Congo Basin ecosystem, combat HIV/AIDS, build low-cost housing, and expand education.
There was also a strong emphasis in Johannesburg on the role of women -- not just as victims of conflict and underdevelopment, but as a key to preventing and ending conflict. As Secretary Powell has often noted, women must have a seat at the table as planner, implementers and beneficiaries of development projects, private sector initiatives, distribution of humanitarian relief and, perhaps most important, peace processes themselves.
In all of these efforts we welcome our strong partnerships and division of labor with international organizations and NGOs, like those in ACRON. Your organizations have played key -- even dominant -- roles in building democracy and the rule of law, promoting economic development, reforming education, and strengthening civil society all around the world. You have provided expertise in electoral processes, investigations of human rights abuses, transnational justice arrangements, and dialogues across political, religious and cultural lines -- areas where the involvement of foreign governments, including our own, might be viewed as interference in internal affairs.
In the darkest corners of the world you have been the eyes, the ears and often the conscience of the international community. Within our own country you have been steadfast advocates for international engagement, especially in the face of those who would have had us pull back in the wake of the Cold War. On behalf of our government, I want to thank you for your efforts. I am very proud to share this panel with you, and I look forward to upcoming discussions of how we can expand our cooperation in pursuit of a more peaceful and prosperous world.
I wanted to finish with just one ad-lib comment, and that's about our chairman, Alan Lang. This is probably the last ceremony or organizational meeting that I will be participating in with him as chairman, and I just wanted to salute the remarkable job that he has done over the course of his chairmanship at the Secretary's Open Forum, in drawing together people from throughout government, civil society, Congress, the press and others, to encourage a discussion of the hottest and the most important issues of the day. He's done a remarkable job, and I am going to beat him to the punch, and ask for a round of applause for him. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.)
Mr. Lang: Thank you so much, Ambassador Steinberg, for that superb presentation, and for those remarks that you added at the end of your presentation.
At this time we will begin the next portion, the next segment of our program. We will hear a presentation on track two diplomacy and international conflict resolution, overview of theory and practice, from Robert Ricigliano -- is that the correct pronunciation? -- great -- of the Peace Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Mr. Ricigliano: Thank you, Alan. Ambassador Steinberg, Ambassador Grossman, it's wonderful to be here. I really want to thank you for this opportunity. Obviously this conversation has to go both ways, and you've made an incredible effort at reaching out to us, which we really appreciate very much.
I also should say before I get started that there's nothing more intimidating than talking about conflict resolution to a group of conflict resolution people. So forgive me for my shortcomings, which I know will be many.
Before we get going I want to say a few words about ACRON, what it is. One way to do that is if I can ask the representatives of the ACRON organizations that are here -- not all of them are here, but many of them are here -- it's useful to put faces with a very ugly acronym. So if you could all stand up and just wave hello. You know if you see them you want to talk more about ACRON, here many of them are. As you can see, we stick together. We travel in packs. (Laughter.)
Currently ACRON has 27 members. We got together originally in March of 1999, largely from the thought that here we are in the conflict resolution field, toiling away on our own special projects, and how much more we could do together if in fact we worked together and talked together more. So we decided to come together as a group. We've got non-governmental organizations as part of the group, academic centers as part of the group, even a federal agency that is a part of the group, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. When we came together we really did begin to see the potential for what we could do collectively and how much greater it was in terms of advancing the cause of conflict resolution on the international stage than what any one of us was capable of doing individually. Another main advantage or contribution of that group is a forum like this. It is very hard to have a session like this without a group like ACRON to pull various parts of the field together. And it helps us to facilitate cooperation with our natural allies outside the conflict resolution field, particularly those at the track one level. Why is it that I would say track one is a natural ally -- I think you have heard a lot already for why that's the case. Essentially, as I think Ambassador Grossman said, it's the complementarity between what we do, the track two level, and what is done at the track one level. We do different things in different ways, but we can do them in pursuit of common goals. And I think both Ambassador Steinberg and Ambassador Grossman laid out what several of those goals are.
Now, the other source of that complementarity is that the term "track two," as has been noted, is not foreign to the State Department. In fact, it was a State Department officer who wrote an article in Foreign Policy back in 1982 called, "Foreign Policy According to Freud," in which the term "track two" was first coined. We are lucky enough to have with us -- both with us in person but also as an ACRON member, Joe Montville. So, Joe, if you could stand up and we could appreciate you for coining this term which has stood the test of time. (Applause.)
In a later article that Joe published -- but it was published by FSI -- I want to read to you a definition that Joe put forth, because I think it's good place to spring off from. He says, "Track Two diplomacy is an unofficial, informal interaction between members of adversary groups or nations which aims to develop strategies, influence public opinion, and organize human and material resources in ways that might help resolve their conflict." That is a very good summary of where we began -- and of course the field began before even '82, when the original article was written, and has come a long way since then. It's been a real mushrooming of activity, both on the ground and in theory.
So what we'd like to do today -- and we have members of the panel which are seated here in the front -- is to help to take stock of where we have come up to this point as a jumping-off point for how we can continue this discussion between track one and track two, because, ultimately, that's how collaboration happens and the coordination happens. It doesn't happen unless we talk.
We want to do that mostly through giving you four case studies of things that are happening on the ground. The stories mean more than any concept or label we can put on it. Before we get to the specific cases, I want to talk a bit at the broader level, take a sort of horizontal view of the breadth of the field, because while we will hear four cases studies, there are hundreds of practitioners out there doing similar things in different ways and in different parts of the world. So we will get a selection, but there's many more.
In the blue packets are a series of one-page case studies of various interventions in different parts of the world, so there's more detail both in the ones that you are going to hear about, and a whole bunch that you are not going to hear about. And of course beyond those there are many, many more cases and case studies that could be written.
So when we talk about an overview of the field, which is again the unenviable part of this task, there's three things I want to talk about. One is a summary of the basic goals that we try to fulfill as track two conflict resolution people. Second are the services or tools that we use in pursuit of those goals. And, lastly, I talk briefly about who we work with as we deliver the services and as we try to pursue the goals.
Before we get to that, I want to put out a first principle though, which is that all of us are in favor of cooperation and cooperation that makes sense -- not cooperation for its own sake. The truth is, there are many times where cooperation is mutually beneficial to both, and many times that it doesn't make sense. . We are not saying every project has to be intimately coordinated between track one and track two. That's not the case. It doesn't really take advantage of the complementarity. But we do know that if there is going to be that complementarity, if there is going to be cooperation that makes sense, we have to do it in pursuit of some certain basic goals. And, again, I think these have already been laid out-- ones that concern the protection of U.S. national security, the promotion of U.S. national interests around -- especially around the managing of conflict; and the fostering of the basis for a long-term stability of democratic and peacefully functioning societies. So, again, all this is really aiming toward those general policy goals, which are generic to both the State Department and the work we do.
In that I think there are a couple of goals that we -- sort of sub-goals that we are particularly helpful at doing. And, again, you could slice this pie any number of ways. But the three ways that I want to throw out for this morning -- one is conflict prevention, as has been mentioned; conflict resolution and helping to foster reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. So there are three broad goals. They are met in many specific ways and in many places around the world.
In terms of the services, what we do to get there, they group around a few basic areas. And, for the sake of discussion, for having some common language here today, I want to lay out three types of services. One is situation assessment and strategy or policy development. Second, training and institution building. And, third, facilitation, mediation, and helping to produce dialogues and joint problem-solving. In the black type of the overhead, are some just very brief bullet points at what the results of that work might look like. So what does it do? When we do assessment and strategy development work, what are we talking about? In the case gathering information from a situation assessment, there is a high potential of complementarity between Track one and track two. NGOs and governmental organizations talk to different groups of people. We often talk to the same people who will tell us different things, depending on whether we are official or unofficial.
We add a lot to the pot of intelligence gathering, of assessment of what is happening in a situation. Based on that, we also bring in I think a lens that will help analyze threats, especially as related to conflict and how it is managed in society -- to expand options for intervention -- different things that could be done, track one or track two, and the potential outcomes of those interventions.
Lastly, we have hundreds of years of experience collectively, in thousands of projects, in many countries on every continent except for Antarctica. Correct me -- there may be others in the audience who do have experience in Antarctica, but I am assuming there's not a lot. That combined experience helps to suggest strategies that are particularly focused at specific ways to implement the conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and the reconstruction and development missions.
Down in the training and institution building category, we can help to equip parties with the skills and attitudes for effective cooperation. We all want that. But, you know, if that was easy it would have happened in these places. So it's not just a matter of setting up the structure; it's actually how do you infuse the skills, the attitudes, the ethos in the people and help them to build it up themselves through training and other types of intervention.
Also, programs and mechanisms can be established to address recurring conflict. So, yes, there is a structural need in societies to rehabilitate, resuscitate, foster the building of those structures so that in fact there is an ongoing bulwark against the slipping back into conflict in these areas.
And lastly in the facilitation mediation category, there we are talking about setting up processes, helping to ensure that processes have clear goals and ground rules that build on the wealth of experience. I have never seen a national peace process that couldn't be improved by experience of those who have been through it before, both at the track one or track two level. And yet we don't seem to learn those lessons enough. One thing we can bring is some fuller range of experience in that regard. Parties working productively together through facilitation and mediation, produce agreements that contain joint gains -- agreements that are better because the process was better. They are more durable. They satisfy interests and concerns more deeply. And, lastly, as conflicts arise during implementation, which always happens, there is a need to bring people together and actually work through these conflicts and the resources from the track two community can be on the ground to help do that.
I want to give a brief example. First, I should back up a second. Where we do these things or with whom we do these things, we have programs that work with people at the national political level, that work at the level of influentials in a society such as from business, academia, religious, and other places, and also at the grass roots. And, again that is critical to interweave those levels, because no peace process, no process of reconstruction and reconciliation can be effective without that interweaving. And in terms of how we interface with State, we do it in places like Washington at the headquarters level, at the policy level, at the country level and the regional level, and also in the field as we are down in the communities working on these projects, and involving track one folks in that. So it can happen at any of those levels.
I'll give you a brief example. I was asked to talk a little about the work that a group that I'm working with has been doing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A very brief background on that. We were asked by one of the belligerent parties to help facilitate an informal dialogue between the three belligerent parties. This was back when obviously the process was stuck. They were more at war than perhaps not at war. And there was now , with Joseph Kabila, a possibility that the Inter-Congolese dialogue would happen, which was the peace process they had all committed to participating in, but had been languishing for a couple of years. Our teams efforts were aimed at helping to foster and support conflict resolution, the peace settlement process. We did it initially through facilitating communication whether it was face-to-face or indirectly, and at times we were the only channel that was actually talking to all three belligerent parties, for various reasons, and some very important political reasons that frustrated or prevented track one actors from doing it. There was a complementarity where we were able to do it, given our unofficial status.
We also provided a lot of assessment and policy strategy development work, especially working with people here at State and at the UN, and in the OAU now, African Union facilitation team.
Now, that experience both I think gives you a little bit of sense of what those things might look like in terms of activities and the case studies you will hear about will go into even more depth. The other reason I want to present that, though, is it in fact has been, in my 14 years of doing this work, the best relationship between track one and track two I have ever experienced. And I should say congratulations to State. It's been a pleasure working with you on that. And, yes, there are particular factors about DRC that make it conducive to that. But what works well are a few things. One is that we communicate well and often. Second is that we contributed to each other's conflict assessments. We have different data. We put it on the table in a way that doesn't compromise either their channels or ours, or their position or our position in the conflict. Lastly, because of that we helped to better aim each other's efforts. No one told anybody what to do or not to do, and certainly we weren't telling track one what to do -- that doesn't happen very often. But we basically expanded the options for intervention, because we could do things again at the track two level, the unofficial level, that were either difficult or impossible for track one to do, and obviously when we don't have the same access to international leaders and international fora that obviously track one actors do.
So that leads me to think what I want to conclude with which is again while every project is not going to have that same relationship, there is that complementarity, there is that potential to reach a mutually-beneficial relationship and implementation. Both of our efforts I think were enriched. I think both were made more effective because of the collaboration. And while, you can't script out how it works in every case, the bottom line is that if we don't talk we don't get there. And that's -- if anything, that is what I would really want to press upon everybody in the room, is that we need to talk. Even in the situations where we may not think it will make sense for us to cooperate. ACRON can make that communication between track one and track two easier-- one of the reasons we were set up is to help facilitate that process. So rather than having 27 phone numbers in a Rolodex, you have one place that you can go and raise a question about, whether there might be any relevant expertise within the organization that might help in a particular situation or a particular problem? And that way I think we can help make track two another tray in the toolbox that people at State and other track one actors have. And if we can help bring that marriage together, we are obviously quite happy to.
I should say I am grateful to Ambassador Steinberg to raising the resource word or the "F" word, which is "funding." Of course that obviously has to happen in order for this work go well, and another thing obviously we do need to talk about in order to make that go. But if we are going to make the best use of those limited resources, the better the collaboration, the better the use of those resources is going to be from both of our perspectives.
To get us down into more of the specifics of what this work looks like on the ground now that we have had a little bit of a tour through the generalities of it, we want to now turn to the case studies. Alan, do you want me to kick it off, or do you want to? . So, as we go through these cases, again, please keep in mind that these are a few representative samples of a very broad sector of activities and actors. But they do illustrate some of the fundamental promise of the field.
I want to start with Chris Moore, from CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado. Chris may say more about –CDR, I am not going to say much more about the organizations, Chris. I'll leave it to presenters to do. Again, the primary goals for the work that Chris is going to talk about were prevention in a key region in Africa, using training. They did conflict assessment and facilitation in order to help build institutions as a critical part of controlling, managing, preventing conflict in that part of Africa. So, Chris…
Mr. Moore: Good morning. I’m glad to be here. I'd like to start off with a hypothetical illustration of a conflict, a hypothetical that is very plausible. This is a situation in southern Africa where there is a river. A river that is shared by three nations and is critical to the lifeblood in many ways for all of them. In the north it's shared by a country that has been involved in a long civil war. The area where the river originates is heavily mined. In fact, you can't even really get in to manage it. But with the end of the war, it's likely that water will be needed for agriculture, possibly mining or other resource needs.
Second, another country downstream, one of the driest countries in all of Africa, and certainly the driest in all of southern Africa. This country drastically needs water for agriculture, and also to meet the needs of its growing municipality.
The third country downstream, the one at the end of the river,, is quite unique, because the river actually never flows into an ocean. It flows into a desert. But at the base of that desert and at the base of the river is a world-class wildlife refuge critical for biodiversity and ecotourism. This country also needs water for mining and agriculture.
Now, what I like to imagine is that these countries have not had any way to coordinate how they are going to manage this river. Over the years, the war ends in the north, more and more water is drawn off for agricultural use, and a dam is built in the upstream country which is the source of the river. The middle country, which has been able to coordinate development with the other two nations, decides to build a pipeline and begin to draw off more water. The wetlands in the most downstream country begin to dry up, and ecotourism is adversely affected. Finally Africa is hit by a drought.
Gradually, each country escalates its independent development activities, and actions in opposition to measures taken by the others. Periodically, the pipeline is sabotaged. There are threats to blow up the dam, and tensions mount between these three countries that all need the water. Will they go to war, or take other coercive actions toward each other over water and water security?
Now, this is a hypothetical case, but it is one that is entirely possible in Africa. In fact, it's entirely possible in a number of countries around the world. More and more we see that conflicts happen in a context. And in this case it is the context of natural resources and water, and that this is a frequent and common cause of conflicts in many parts of the world. We see this over the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates in the Middle East, the Jordan River, the Letani in Lebanon, and in many other countries in Africa, South America, and between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Water security is critical to all countries. And it is critical not only for national security and regional security, but also critical for international security. So what needs to be done?
One of the problems is that water management requires two different significant pieces. First, it requires technological knowledge -- how you do it. But the critical part is often the second, social relations between people and the procedures that they use to reach agreements.
At this point, I'd like to return to the hypothetical case mentioned earlier. Actually it is a real situation, minus the escalating tension at the end. The river is the Okavango, one of the largest rivers in southern Africa. It flows between Angola, Namibia and Botswana. It provides major water resources for each of those three countries. In 1994, these nations decided that they would form a commission, the Okavango River Basin Commission (OKACOM). But not much has happened since 1994. There have been tensions within and between the countries that have made it much more difficult for them to achieve coordination. These tensions are not uncommon in a wide range of conflicts.
If we conduct a conflict analysis of this particular case, what we find is that there were a number of conditions, albeit not as serious as might be present in a hot or potentially violent dispute, that are present in many international conflicts. First, significant negative histories, dynamics and tensions between individuals involved in the commission, and the technical teams that were involved; second, minimal ongoing relationships and very limited contacts between the parties; third, mistrust between members regarding their future intentions and whether stalling -- in other words, doing nothing on this river basically means that one party wins; fourth, a low level of high quality communication and lack of information about the parties' real interest -- genuine plans and interests for this river; fifth, little understanding about how the different countries make decisions internally - it's the black box syndrome; sixth, no formal agreement on procedures about how decisions will actually be made by the commission; sixth, no clear dispute resolution procedures; seventh, lack of technical information about the river; and, finally, internal tensions between the political decision-makers and the technical decision-makers, both within the countries and between countries. Within the countries -- for example, Namibia having made an apartheid transition, the tension between the new African political leadership and Afrikaners who were in control before.
So what's needed? This case this is a classic example of collaboration between Track one and Track two. It is an initiative by the U.S. State Department led on the ground in Africa by Mario Merida, the State Department's regional environmental officer for southern Africa; the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation -- Dick Ives, the Director of the Office of International Affairs, and Zell Steever, the Coordinator of Reclamation’s Conflict Management Service, and an NGO, CDR Associates -- my firm - which works in the area of natural resources and ethnic conflict resolution, both domestically in the United States and abroad. We also had cooperation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the International Joint Commission, that works between the U.S. and Canada.
So what did we do? In this intervention we had to start off, if you remember the chart presented earlier that listed collaborative decision making and conflict management approaches, with the situation assessment. We went and talked with all of the different parties. In our initial assessment, we determined that the parties needed relationship building and opportunities to increase communications. Dick Ives put together an international study tour where commissioners and technical staff came to the U.S. for a period of time to look at how we had addressed water problems. At this time, we did not focus on how they could deal with their own problems. A focus on others’ problems and approaches allowed them to associate and build relationships, so that they could communicate in a very different way.
During the study tour in the U.S., they were exposed in a brief workshop to conflict management and collaborative decision-making procedures. Ultimately the commissioners decided that they wanted to pursue use of these tools in southern Africa. CDR and Reclamation moved ahead, and wrote a preliminary proposal that described a process for constructing an issue and river-specific workshop. The commissioners agreed with the proposal, and we moved forward to implement it. The first step involved a site-specific situation assessment for each of the countries. A team from CDR, Reclamation, and the State Department traveled to each nation. , We visited, and talked with commissioners, non-governmental organizations, power producers, agricultural folks who were involved in using the water, to determine what needed to be occur at the upcoming working session or workshop. Ultimately, at a series of joint meetings with prospective participants, we developed a mutually acceptable workshop agenda. The participants decided that they needed a joint collaborative planning workshop that focused on facilitated systems design, both decision-making systems that could be used both to make decisions and also resolve disputes; a capacity-building component that involved training in an interest-based negotiation approaches; and the development of an outline for future joint activities.
Ultimately 30 people attended the workshop. During the sessions a number of things happened – for example relationship building. I remember one of the participants learned to stop calling people "bloody buggers," which was blocking the development of positive relationships. There was also a session where participants conducted a joint identification of interests. It was the first time where the parties had really talked about what their interests and plans were. And I remember one quote. One person said, "This is the first time that I ever realized what each country wanted, and in order to achieve this we are going to have to manage the river together." I thought that was a particularly significant insight and change.
Change in negotiation procedures. During the workshop, participants learned an interest-based process that they would be able to apply to a wide variety of problems and issues. As part of the sessions, we took specific problems that they had been having resolving issues, and developed a process for how they would bring issues to joint meetings and make decisions. We looked at how this river basin commission would work on joint problems.
Some outcomes and lessons learned. I think it's pretty clear that there were improved relationships -- multiple reportbacks since the session, have indicated that. There was an increased understanding and acceptance of both individual and common needs, which I have already mentioned. There was also a greater awareness of the need to manage the river as an integrated system. The workshop also helped develop common procedural approaches to joint problem solving, so that both commissioners and technical staff have a common way to handle problems, the interest-based approaches. There were clearly new openings of communications, both between governments, but also between governments and NGOs. This was especially the case in Angola, which little NGO participation in water or other decisions has occurred because of the war. Finally, the workshop helped commissioners and their technical staff develop concrete jointly owned systems and procedures for making decisions and resolving future differences, and outlined some of the future issues that needed to be addressed.
Lastly, I think that CDR Associates’, the Bureau of Reclamation’s, and the State Department’s process assistance to the Okavango River Basin Commission is a terrific example of the integration of Track One and Track Two activities. The project was initiated by Track One, the State Department and Reclamation, and that opened the door. Collaboration between Track One and Two occurred during the early collaborative planning and conflict resolution presentation during the commissioner’s study tour in the U.S., during the situation assessment in each of the countries, and ultimately at the workshop. In this case Track One agencies, both in the U.S. and in Africa, recognized the value of using a professional collaborative planning and conflict resolution organization, of which there are many in ACRON, that could provide situation assessment, training and facilitation/mediation services in the context of international and regional negotiations.
So, with that, I will turn it over to our next speaker. (Applause.)
Mr. Ricigliano: I can't negotiate out of this job, so I'll continue. Our next speaker is Michael Hager, who is the executive director of the Conflict Management Group in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mike is going to talk about a project in central Africa, where the primary purpose again was around aiding reconstruction. But, as you might tell, when we talk about those three goals of prevention, resolution and reconstruction, they double-back on each other and they are reinforcing. So, again, it's one of the major bulwarks for conflict prevention was to actually foster reconstruction and resolution in society. So with that -- I'd also just mention most of the work was centered on training, but included much more. Mike?
Mr. Hager: Thanks, Rob. Mr. Ambassador, Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests. Security can begin at the grass roots, for example, with the poorest of the poor in rural Rwanda. Hutu and Tutsi, people who participated in the genocide, either as victims or as perpetrators -- illiterate people who had never set foot in a classroom. This is the target group in a project that began in Burundi in 1999 as a negotiation skills training for local non-governmental organizations. A project that has evolved into a proven vehicle for empowering marginalized youth and women in Rwanda, and a project which we expect to replicate nationwide through the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Conflict Management Group, my organization, has included in the project diagnostic assessment, especially designed curriculum and related training materials, a series of training workshops in rural communities on negotiation skills, and post-workshop evaluation by a social anthropologist. I should say that the training is an adapted version of the Harvard negotiation course that we deliver ordinarily to more sophisticated audiences around the world.
Distrust of one's neighbor pervades much of Central Africa, where there is an almost universal fear of poisoning. Against this background of ethnic animosity, distrust and extreme violence co-existence is an elusive challenge. Nevertheless, the project has shown that the local population, even at the most marginalized level, can learn and use new concepts. To date Conflict Management Group has trained almost 200 participants in Central Africa, including 15 trainers in Burundi. The curriculum and training materials have been produced in three local languages, as well as in French and English.
Many projects in the developing world emphasize women. Others target youth -- mostly young men. However, young women, often the most vulnerable members of a community, need identity and empowerment, as unmarried members of a household or as co-wives in competition with older women. An evaluation of the project through the end of last year revealed fundamental changes in how people resolve disputes. Whereas formerly they relied on community arbitrators, the Umuhuza , or locally-elected leaders, to issue a judgment, they now try to settle their differences by themselves. For example, one workshop participant said that a woman was accused of poisoning others at a local bar, and he entered the fray to resolve the conflict. People in the bar were all convinced that the woman was guilty. Acting on the ideas he learned in the workshop in trying to see both sides of the dispute, the participant questioned the two parties. He then concluded that the woman's actions had been misunderstood. His intervention reduced the tension and facilitated a mutually-agreed upon resolution. The evaluator noted that many former disputes between community members were only temporarily defused, and they often re-ignited. He reported that the negotiation skills of listening, communication and empathy helped achieve a more permanent resolution of disputes.
The Central Africa project has confirmed two basic hypotheses: first, that bringing people together in negotiation skills workshops or training is an effective way to prevent conflict; and, second, that negotiation skills empower marginalized people by helping them solve their day-to-day problems.
Some other findings worth mentioning. First, to achieve co-existence, the most marginalized citizens should be included in the training. Second, it is possible -- and in fact desirable -- to train in local conflict resolution without direct reference to the ethnic divisions or to recent genocide. Ongoing evaluation, the third point, permits mid-course corrections. And this was, as you can see, an evolving project.
To be effective training must happen to the participants' own experiences. It has to relate to something they know and their own life. And in that sense local proverbs and storytelling we found were effective ways to deliver the skills training. A favorite proverb was, for example, "Those who collect firewood together work together." With initial grants from the World Bank and a private foundation, McKnight Foundation, we expect shortly a new commitment from USAID Kigali. Its grant of $50,000 will provide a start, but only a start, in replicating the project. To institutionalize conflict resolution training on a nationwide basis will require at least another $450,000.
A brief word on the role of the U.S. government in all of this. Recognizing the security importance of rebuilding peace in post-genocide Central Africa, the embassies of Burundi and Rwanda were helpful in bringing conflict resolution skill training to the attention of local officials. An energetic political officer and an inspired head of mission, Ambassador Mary Yates in Burundi, helped bring together local actors. They provided access to resources and open doors to local officials.
At the same time, the Central Africa project reveals room for improvement in linking tracks one and two. Small conflict resolution organizations, such as CMG and those you see around the table, face inadequate, "bits and pieces" funding for their track two projects. And the resource constraint is often compounded by bureaucratic delays in disbursement. These are organizations that have very little in terms of cash reserves, I might add.
As we go forward, those of you from State and AID can help us find ways to work more effectively together. In building security at the grass roots we need each other. Thank you. (Applause.)
Mr. Ricigliano: Mike's remarks also helped me to uncover a major glaring omission in my presentation, which is that ACRON as an organization would not be here if it were not for the funding resources of the Hewlett Foundation, which has been very generous with us, and especially Melanie Greenberg. Melanie is in the audience -- hi, Melanie.
I want to introduce the next speaker, Paula Gutlove. Paula is from the Institute for Resource and Security Studies, also in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Paula's work also is focused mainly in the reconstruction area, but again as a major source of conflict prevention, also reconciliation. The work that she will talk about now is in the Balkans, and one where they did a lot of dialogue facilitation and training. So, to give you more of the smorgasbord of the menu there. Paula?
Dr. Gutlove: Thank you, Rob. Thank you, everyone, for being here. Stability and social integration in the Balkans are critical for U.S. national interests, because they lay the groundwork for the development of a healthy civil society and a sustainable democracy in the region.
Our institute has been working in the Balkans for over a decade, trying to promote and realize these goals. We call our approach "integrated action," being the deliberate integration of conflict management with other social functions, such as the delivery of health care, education, humanitarian assistance, and policing. Using an integrated-action approach actually opens many doors for us to work with a variety of partners. We have worked with OSCE, WHO, UNHCR, political leaders, community influentials, community groups, and the grass roots. It's been our experience that working in the health-care sector can provide significant opportunities for integrated action. So in 1996 we developed a project called the Health Bridges for Peace Project, to try to take advantage of these opportunities.
The first field program that we had in the Health Bridges For Peace program was in the former Yugoslavia, where we created a network of health-care professionals from all parts of the former Yugoslavia, to come together and to work jointly on health-care programs across the conflict divide.
We found very early on, as Rob said, that training was a very useful way of bringing people together, and we developed a training program featuring psychological and social assistance to populations who had been traumatized by the war.
We developed a methodology for trauma recovery and social reconstruction. The basis for this methodology is the belief that trauma recovery is closely related to social reconstruction and democracy building. For all three the goals include: individual and community empowerment; the restoration of healthy, human relationships; and the development of a productive, cooperative society. Trauma doesn't happen in a social vacuum, and it doesn't heal apart from social and political processes. Therefore, trauma healing needs to be integrated into a program of psychological and social assistance.
An important part of our methodology is training and activating large numbers of volunteers to engage in social-reconstruction programs. This includes rebuilding the social infrastructure of a violence-torn society, reintegration, resettlement, retraining and physical and psychological care.
Now I want to tell you a story about a social-reconstruction project that we did in the Balkans, and this is a project that expanded exponentially as more and more health professionals and local citizens became involved in it and inspired by it. In 1997, in a small town called Gracanica in Bosnia, we initiated a trauma recovery social reconstruction project. As you can see, Gracanica is in the northeast corner of Bosnia. It's an area where the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation sit side by side. It's also in the triangle of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.
We started with a trauma recovery training program for 15 local health providers -- physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, teachers. After the training, in the basement of a cinderblock apartment building, we helped the community to set up space for support groups. They started support groups for mothers of war-injured children, for bereaved parents, for teenagers. Soon a group of volunteers came in and fixed up this basement in the apartment building, and it became a lounge area, a community gathering place. There were always baked goods and coffee. People would come by to hang out, smoke cigarettes, talk, find out what was going on. In time the community gathering evolved into a local organization, and they call the organization Osmieh, which means "smile" in Bosnia.
A day-care center for children with disabilities was set up by their mothers, and I completely agree with Ambassador Steinberg that women have an enormous role to play in peace building. Bringing disabled children out into the open was a remarkable cultural change in this Bosnian community. The ethnic make-up of the children in the day-care center, was also a remarkable change, because we had Serb, Muslim and Croat children playing together. A Serb mother was nominated to be the leader of the day-care center, while a Muslim man, a returned soldier, became the director of Osmieh, the NGO. High school students, who were empowered by the recovery process and enlivened by the volunteer training program, came in and started to help out in the day care center. The mothers were then freed up to do other things, and they went out and found the abandoned elderly, and set up a meals-on-wheels program for the grandmothers and grandfathers who had been left behind when people evacuated during the war.
The abandoned elderly came into Osmijeh. They started a community garden. They also helped out in the day-care center. Soon, returned soldiers, who had nothing else to do with their time -- they were unemployed, they didn't know what to do -- came to Osmieh and started rebuilding. They paired themselves up with the teenagers and they rebuilt a day-care center in Osmijeh. Then they decided they were going to take their activities outside the center of Gracanica and they went to small villages, sometimes a Muslim village, sometimes a Croat village, sometimes a Serb village -- where they would rebuild small schools -- one room, two rooms. These buildings were also community centers, community gathering places.
From 1997 to 1999, the number of local people who were involved in social reconstruction projects grew from 15 to 800. We received support for these programs from the U.S. Institute of Peace, UNHCR, and foundations in Europe and the United States. We did this program in Gracanica with less than $150,000.
In June 1999, after the war in Kosovo, after the bombing of Serbia, we brought 80 health professionals from all parts of former Yugoslavia to Gracanica so they could see first hand what could be done. The group included a contingent from Kosovo, led by an influential health minister from Pristina. It also included a contingent from Serbia, with a dean from the medical faculty in Belgrade, who happened to be the former teacher of the health minister from Pristina. They weren't speaking to each other now. They hadn't been speaking for years. And I'll tell you, the atmosphere was really tense when they were in the same room together.
As a group we toured Gracanica. We looked at the rebuilt schools, we went to community health clinics. Then we went to the Osmjeh Day Care Center, and we were entertained by disabled children who were dressed up like flowers. We were seated on wooden chairs that were built to accommodate 4-year-olds, not 40-year-olds, and we watched the children -- Muslim, Serb, Croat -- we watched them dance, we listened to them sing. And I'll tell you there was not a dry eye in the room. And when they were finished, the health minister from Pristina stood up at one end of the room, and the dean of the faculty of medicine stood up at the other end of the room, and the dean said, "Children make the best soldiers for peace." And they walked to the center of the room and they shook hands, and they agreed on the spot to work together in a cooperative trauma-recovery/social reconstruction program.
From 1999 to 2002, the number of volunteers engaged in our programs in the network increased from 800 to 8,000. We are working in schools, we are working in clinics, we are working with police, with media. We are working in the Bosnia Federation, in the Serb Republic, in Serbia, in Kosovo and Macedonia and Montenegro, in Croatia and Slovenia. Our work has come to the attention of the U.S. embassies in Slovenia and in Bosnia, and they have provided some financial support. Support for our work has grown from other sources also, including the European Union, WHO, CARE International, UN agencies, and the Hewlett Foundation, which has been a wonderful supporter. But the support hasn't kept pace with the needs of the program. Nor has it been consistent. Nor has it been long term. But we are confident that, as we spread the news and demonstrate our results, support and cooperation will be forthcoming.
In closing, I want to make three points. The first is that integrated action, particularly within the health-care sector, can make a significant contribution to the prevention of conflict and the rebuilding of conflict-torn societies. Second, building health bridges for peace can serve both the local population and U.S. interests. Third, cooperation between Track One and Track Two can and does work. Thank you. (Applause.)
Mr. Ricigliano: As I said earlier, a story says more about this field than any of us could say without it.
Let me introduce Julia Pitner, who is from the Institute of World Affairs here in Washington, to talk about some of their reconstruction and reconciliation work in Lebanon, fostering both resolution of disputes, and promoting dialogue and training in Lebanon. Julie.
Ms. Pitner: Thank you very much. So we are moving across the world, from Africa, to Eastern Europe, and now we are in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon, and a particular part of Lebanon that is called Mount Lebanon, and the conflict between the Christians, both Maronite and Greek Orthodox and the Druse that live there. I'll give you just a brief history of this conflict. And for those of you who know a lot about this conflict, please bear with me, it's very brief and very simplistic.
This conflict between the Christian and the Druse was the first conflict that invited foreign intervention into Lebanon. That conflict was between the Christians and the Druse in Mount Lebanon. The intervention -- only the intervention of France and Russia and the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s put an end to that war, and gave Lebanon the sectarian form of government that it has today. As the civil war in Lebanon played out for 17 years in this century, old grievances also replayed themselves in the form of massacres of the Christians by the Druse and the Druse by the Christians in Mount Lebanon. Families fled their ancestral villages. And in fleeing these families not only left behind their homes and their land and their friends, whom they thought had been their friends, but they also left a piece of their identity and connection, because in Lebanon your family is identified with the village from whence you originate. And as these villages became mono-communal during the civil war, people moved in to fill in the spaces that were left behind by the others, thus adding to the list of grievances and wrongs done by one community to the other. And consequently for the potential of renewed and continued conflict.
So the work in Lebanon is both post conflict rebuilding and conflict prevention at the same time.
Now, the Institute of World Affairs began its program on community building in postwar Lebanon in 1989, in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry for the Displaced, in order to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation between these two communities, the Christians and the Druse in the southern Mount Lebanon region east of Beirut, in an effort to bring about a return of these villagers to their home village.
It was at this point in Lebanon, Mount Lebanon, that the convergence of interests came together, a convergence of interest of the Lebanese government through the Ministry of the Displaced, because they needed assistance with that return of the families to three villages in particular in Mount Lebanon that were very contentious because of the fear and the mistrust, because big and horrific massacres occurred in these villages; the United States, because of its strategic interests to keep Lebanon fairly stable in an otherwise what was said earlier, "bad neighborhood"; and, thirdly, the Institute of World Affairs, because this is at the heart of what we do: conflict resolution, reconciliation and community building.
The work of IWA in this project has primarily involved facilitation, mediation and negotiation, both within and between the various political groups, because as many of you probably know, there is very little distinction between religious and political identity in Lebanon. It has also involved the assessment of the various conflicts that exist. The training in conflict resolution techniques, particularly active listening -- because it just doesn't happen so much in Lebanon -- is definitely needed for any meaningful dialogue to take place, and as well as creative problem-solving.
To illustrate what I mean with one example of our work in Lebanon, a difficulty and a success at the same time, in one village, called the village of Salima-- now, the experiences in other villages have been somewhat similar, but also oftentimes more contentious than this particular village, and I'll explain why in a minute. IWA went in and first held a series of individual meetings with what were called the elders of Salima. It was important to get their implicit approval, if not the outright participation in any work that was going to go forward on this issue because of tradition, and especially on such an emotional topic as returning of the displaced. It was hoped that working with these elders a local council could be made up of both the Christians and the Druse, and they could have training in conflict resolution techniques and mediation and facilitation, so that eventually they could handle conflicts that came up within the village as the returnees came back.
It didn't happen that way. It was a good idea, but it was a little premature, because what we discovered along the way was that there were still ongoing conflicts within those communities. The Christians were split over the timing of the return, over certain concerns and demands that they felt needed to be met before they could even enter a discussion with the Druse. And the Druse community was split over the issue of return and property.
Now, although this particular village, unlike some of the others that IWA works with, has signed an official reconciliation agreement with the government, this document is required for any compensation to be paid out to the people who are returning and to the villagers that are there -- people were still reluctant to work together. You know, even the topic of how to use the compensation because a point of conflict. It brought up old grievances about property, and what property belongs to whom, et cetera.
And, just as an aside, after the conclusion of this civil war in Lebanon, there has been no truth or reconciliation committee, or any kind of work at all in Lebanon. In fact, the government is quite happy that the files of the civil war remain closed, because those who -- many of the leaders who were active in the civil war now sit in government.
So the community was reluctant to participate, even though this formal agreement had been signed. So we thought that perhaps we needed to bump up the level, just a little bit, from track two to track one within Lebanon, and went to the two leaders of the community in that area, Kamal Jumblat, who is the Druse leader, and Dori Shamon (ph), who is the Christian leader, and said to them, you've already signed this formal agreement -- please make public statements about the need for this reconciliation work to go forward, because we are running into obstacles in doing it. And they said, By all means. And they did.
And it did change the attitude, but not so much the behavior, because although they had this push at the official level, which gave them an umbrella of safety, they still had the fundamental fear and mistrust of the other. So they continued to put roadblocks. Simply they all remembered what happened and didn't trust each other.
During the course of these individual meetings, the youth of Salima, particularly the Christians, who had never known the village except through stories told to them by their parents, heard about what the Institute of World Affairs (IWA) was trying to do, and approached IWA's Lebanese staff that sits in our branch office there in the region, to work with them instead. So under IWA auspices, the Christian and the Druse youth came together for the first time. For the first time they met each other. And you know what? They discovered that the other one didn't have horns. And it was shocking for them. And they actually discovered that they had some things in common.
Now, IWA then trained this group, which began to slowly grow as the word got out, in the techniques of conflict resolution and facilitation -- things that they used or needed and used in the difficult discussions that they had, but also in life in general in dealing with the various issues that faced young people in Lebanon.
But they still had to meet outside the village, because they feared that their parents and the elders would be upset. But still, they were excited and wanted to come together. And I just want to tell a nice little story about one of the trips that this group took together, because they would meet and then go someplace. They were on a bus -- this was after they had been working together for some months. And every -- during the war every militia had its own radio station which had its own theme song, which sang the praises of the militia leader. So the youth, the Christians and the Druse each brought a tape which had that song, the Christians and the Druse. So they decided to play them for each other, and they did. And then, for example, the Druse would sing along with their song, and the Christians just sat there and looked and didn't know what to do. And then the Christians did the same thing. And then the Druse said, You know, it's interesting because we listen to your song, and for us your hero is our enemy, and for you it must be that our hero is your enemy. And they started to talk about it, and they started to talk about what those songs had meant for them, because they heard them all through growing up. And then they listened to what it meant for the other also. It was an incredible conversation.
So they got really excited about what they were doing, and they went back to their parents thinking, you know, and the elders, that they could get them involved in this discovery process of who the other was. But they still found a lot of skepticism. So then the youth came to IWA, this group of Christian and Druse youth came to IWA and said, You know, maybe if we work together we can have a conference and talk about the common history of Salima, and we can invite the minister to come, and we can invite the parents and the elders to come. At the time the youth were still a little bit afraid about this, so they said, IWA, we want you to put it under your auspices, but we will help you in the planning and preparation of it. And they did. And it was a huge success, because many of the Christian and Druse elders and naysayers attended the conference out of curiosity, but also because they could meet with the minister.
Now, the discussion was very honest, and sometimes brutally frank, because this was the first time that most of those villagers had had direct one-on-one with the minister. So through this conference IWA was also able to give the community a voice with the government in what they saw that their needs were and what the problems were in the returning of the displaced and in the reconciliation and compensation.
By the close of the conference, the attendees, the elders and the parents, both Christian and Druse, were planning events that they could do together, because they found it very exciting that they actually had common concerns and fears, which each of them heard tell the minister. And in this case too they decided to move the events into Salima, and the Christians came for these events for the first time in the village of Salima. It was their first time to actually do an event together with the Druse in the village of their ancestors.
Now, the youth of Salima -- this is very exciting -- the youth of Salima led the way on this -- led the way on this. Perhaps maybe it was easier for them because they didn't have the exact experiences of their parents. But they only had the stories that their parents had told them. So it was easier to get at the dehumanizing stereotypes of the other.
But it's also interesting to work with the youth, because they have become leaders, and they also have become partners, and thereby we have given them a voice also in participation with our government. There are several lessons to be learned, and I'll be very quick because I'm getting the time signal. First, these type of efforts aimed at attitudinal change take time. I mean, the abbreviated story I gave you of Salima actually took in real time about two years. And the original design for achieving this goal is not always the same throughout the life of the project, so there has to be some changes in direction and flexibility that goes along with that.
Second, the Office of the International Religious Freedom here at State Department has been extremely supportive and engaged in our work. And at a time when critics in U.S. Congress were demanding kind of unrealistic "short-term deliverables," quote/unquote, such as the quick return of the displaced, the IRF worked overtime to help us to champion the project and convey the importance of a long-term effort to Congress. Communication and cooperation was and is essential in that relationship.
Three, that the cooperation between track one and track two is sometimes essential in moving forward the goals of conflict resolution, whether it's through visible support like we've heard and others, or less visible support. The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, for example, we update them and brief them. And sometimes, when appropriate, they mention our work at the official levels. It can also be a hindrance, and has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
And, four, as my colleagues have said throughout, the long-term commitment to the project is also essential, whether it's with the organization the staff are particularly funding, because when you are trying to change attitudes and behaviors, and when emotions and resources are at stake, this kind of change takes time. Thank you. (Applause.)
Mr. Ricigliano: Thank you, Julie. I want to introduce the final member of the panel, Susan Allen Nan, Alliance for Conflict Transformation who will try to wrap up some lessons on the track one-track two relationship. Susan?
Dr. Nan: Thank you. I am really pleased to be here today, and to have the opportunity to focus on how unofficial components of U.S. foreign policy can better cooperate with the official bodies, when working together towards shared goals in support of our national security, and security and democracy worldwide.
U.S. strategic interests can be strengthened, both by the tools of official diplomacy, and also by the tools that NGOs can bring to the table. I'll be speaking specifically about how we can cooperate when cooperation does make sense. I have made this a focus of my research as well as my practical work, and it's a pleasure to be able to talk about it with you today.
My main message will be no surprise. It is that in order to cooperate we must talk. We must cooperate here in Washington, in U.S. embassies around the globe, and on the ground in remote regions of strategic interest.
First let me explain that cooperation or coordination comes in four basic types. In opening our session, our chairman, Alan Lang, defined coordination as efforts to increase the complementarity of our work. We do this in four basic ways: through information sharing; through logistical assistance; through joint assessment, planning and strategizing; and through concrete collaboration on joint activities.
Many examples of these types of coordination can be found in the packet of sample projects that have been distributed. For example, the Institute for Peace and Justice at University of San Diego describes helpful basic information briefings and contacts provided by the desk officer for Nepal. The work that Chris Moore described this morning, with the Okavango River Basin, illustrates an example of really concrete collaboration on joint activities. And logistical assistance should not be underestimated as a form of cooperation. Introductions to key players, convening meetings, getting parties to the table, providing technical expertise, arranging venues, ensuring long-term financial support, which has been mentioned other times today -- they are all valuable forms of assistance.
Lest I sound like I am arguing for one-way cooperation, I do want to be clear that those of us working unofficially in peace processes do have a lot to offer too. I was very pleased in May to be invited to share my expertise developed through years of traipsing through Abkhazia , South Ossetia, and Transdniestria at a jointly sponsored conference of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at State and the National Intelligence Council. And when ACRON groups engage in assessments, training and systems design, or facilitation and mediation of dialogues and joint problem-solving, we do strengthen stability in areas of strategic interest.
Track one and track two can engage in each type of cooperation more or less formally -- it can be formal or informal; and more or less comprehensively. We may choose to cooperate on all aspects of our work in a certain area, or simply on a few of those aspects.
I should note also of course that cooperation is important amongst different track one organizations and amongst different track two organizations, but today I am focusing specifically on public-private partnerships, the cooperation between officials and non-officials.
Within that focus I want to underline that cooperation can maintain important boundaries. Good cooperation should not break down the useful distinctions that exist between track one and track two. Cooperation can rather strengthen a two-track diplomacy system that allows for both the power and authority of official governmental activities, and also the flexibility and lower profile that non-governmental activities can bring. For example, PICAR, the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Harvard University, included a project description in the packet distributed here today –that shows how the U.S. Embassy's assistance with access to key players in Sri Lanka was instrumental for their work.
Even while coordinating some aspects of their work, track one and track two need not break confidentiality pledges nor reveal any information inappropriately–. Coordination does not mean becoming the same group and sharing all information.
We do have some challenges to overcome though in order to cooperate more effectively and efficiently. We have different organizational cultures. We occasionally have different analyses of and approaches to certain conflicts. An example of this could be in the last decade U .S.-based NGOs have taken a variety of approaches towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and at time have converged and at times diverged from official activities there. Too often we face a lack of time and resources for coordination. And we do have legitimate concerns about confidentiality that may make people nervous about finding the appropriate structures and mechanisms for coordination. And until roles are fully clarified, we may have questions about the leadership and responsibility for cooperative efforts.
The challenges to effective cooperation can be overcome if we keep in mind three keys to success. One is keeping in mind the benefits of cooperation. A second is making explicit commitments of time and resources for that cooperation. And, thirdly, communicate regularly. These keys to success are found in most of the case studies presented in the packets distributed today.
The first, considering the benefits of coordination as they apply to a specific conflict context: these may include building a stronger multi-faceted peace process in which ACRON members, for example, may contribute to the assessment to training and systems design, to facilitation and mediation. This also may include transferring progress at the leadership level down to civil society, or vice versa. Here I am reminded of Paula Gutlove's example of where a very successful civil society project then transferred and became an official program when the health minister and dean saw the success of that civil society project.By cooperating we can avoid forum shopping, where negotiating parties may say, No, we don't want you as a mediator, we want them and we want the other. We can also avoid mediation burn-out when parties get tired of too many different mediators coming through, and other failed -- other negative consequences of failed efforts.
The second key to success is successful coordination doesn't simply happen, and we need to make commitments of time and resources both by track one and track two. There are telecommunications costs, travel costs, distribution of information, time and energy -- the time for meetings and e-mails and so forth. We all know that well. We need structures and mechanisms for cooperation at the level of policy making, in countries, and on the ground in concrete projects.
And finally, the third key to success: clear communication. This allows the development of trust and mutual understanding, which enhances coordination and cooperation. We need the time and resources for that communication. Long-term work on a peace process can help. It gives us more time to get to know each other. There's also the long-standing Balkans Forum, and Great Lakes Policy Forum that Search for Common Ground and others are involved in. And I should emphasize yet again this does require long-term funding, as has been mentioned earlier today.
Informal discussions can be a very important part of that clear communication -- and clarifying roles. For example, Rob Ricigliano described the work in the DRC with the returned Peace Corps volunteers for peace in the Congo, and described how really productive and efficient cooperation came about using those three keys to success.
I hope what I've said sounds like common sense, that in order to cooperate we have got to talk. And while there may be times we don't want to cooperate, or at least not very closely, we should always have a channel for communication open, so that we know when we do want to talk and use that channel. It may be precisely because track one and track two are so different and have such different strengths that it is both challenging and also essential that we use the appropriate mechanisms to cooperate together. We at ACRON would welcome participation in building appropriate mechanisms and structures for cooperation between the official and the unofficial contributions to security and democracy around the world. Thank you. (Applause.)
Mr. Lang: Thank you so much for that informative and thoughtful presentation. Before presenting three joint Open Forum ACRON Awards, I'd like to give Ambassador Steinberg an opportunity to share a few parting thoughts.
Ambassador Steinberg: Thank you. I really just wanted to give a few reactions to some of the presentations and some of the lessons that I've taken from the forum so far. First of all, it is extremely impressive to see the wide variety of activities that are going on and the degree of cooperation between government and the non-governmental organizations. Rest assured that the U.S. State Department and USAID understand that there are times when we want to be very close together. There are times when you prefer to go on your own way.
In Angola as ambassador I often saw situations where a particular group wanted the U.S. flag around them to provide the degree of protection, a degree of support, a sense of official imprimatur. And there were other cases where they wanted to be as far away from the U.S. government as they possibly could. We understand that. We want to be supportive in ways that you will determine are best.
A second point I took from the discussion is the absolute importance of ownership of the various programs that we are talking about at the local level. It is clear that not one size fits all, that programs have to derive from the internal conditions within a country and its past history. They have to be homegrown.
A third point that comes clear is that you can't build peace in isolation. I went to journalism school and they frequently teach you there that you can't write writing. You have to write about something. And you can't build cooperation and collaboration in isolation. It may be a question of working on health projects, or traveling to the United States or other places together to get to know each other. In Angola, we worked a lot on land-mine issues, which everyone understood that this was a problem that affected all parts of the society. I know that when countries are in conflict very frequently they can do vaccination programs. At the height of the problems in Afghanistan in November, there was a nationwide immunization program against polio. We did the same thing in Angola. And so to the extent that you can identify actual issues to work on, it facilitates cooperation.
A fourth point, which goes back to one of the points that I made in my opening presentation, is the question of how to identify where intervention is needed. As you look through the packet of projects, as well as the presentations here, you get the Middle East, Sri Lanka, the former Yugoslavia, the Great Lakes, Nepal, et cetera -- areas where you could guess pretty easily that there was going to be conflict. And so I think the important point for us to be looking at right now is how to identify those areas where it isn't so obvious, where there hasn't been conflict in the last 15, 20 years. I remember in 1994 when we were faced with the trauma of Rwanda, immediately we turned to Burundi and said, We cannot afford another crisis like this. We were all very embarrassed, heart-broken and in a sense ashamed of the international community's inability to move in the case of Rwanda. And one of the reactions was to put greater emphasis on Burundi to prevent similar activities there. But we need to be looking beyond that. And this is where indeed ground truth is so important, because often the roots of conflict are not at the official level; it's in activities that go on, as I said before, in the deepest, darkest parts of countries.
A fifth point is how to get the programs that we are talking about truly rooted in the societies, because I am often concerned that all of the great relationships that are built and all of the great forums get swept aside when conflict emerges. I think we all know that in the former Yugoslavia there were very good relationships between the ethnic groups before conflict emerged, and then it was swept aside when leaders for their own particular reasons played up to those past animosities. So how do you indeed create the institutions of civil society and the modes of communication that will be able to overcome those problems?
Another point I wanted to stress was the importance of getting governments in the countries themselves to buy onto this concept of track one and track two. I remember in Angola trying to insist with the government and UNITA that there be elements of civil society in the peace room as we were sitting debating what the future was going to look like. And we had 30 people in the room, all of whom were government or UNITA or officials from the United Nations, or the United States, Russia or Portugal. I might add that there wasn't a single woman in the room, which obviously tainted a lot of what we were trying to do. And when we proposed that civil society be allowed to come in, there was universal, from the government and UNITA, reaction that that wasn't acceptable. And I remember that during the course of those negotiations we had 13 separate amnesties that were granted between the government and UNITA. They were amnestying each other for anything that they had done, and anything that they might do to the people of that country. There was even one amnesty that was adopted that said anything that is done for the next six months is amnestied -- sort of the opposite of a grandfather clause. And I just never would have believed that if the average Angolan citizen had been in that room that this would have been an acceptable behavior.
Finally, I wanted to say that I am always pleased when I come to these sessions and I don't bring my checkbook, because obviously there are so many outstanding programs here that deserve increased funding. One of the problems that we have within our government is that there is no bureau for conflict resolution. Just listening to the programs that you've described, and going through the packet here, you are involved in relationships with OFDA (ph), with the Office of Transition Initiatives, with the Bureau of Humanitarian Response, the Office of Religious Freedom, the Office of Women's Organizations, the bureau here for Population, Refugees and Migration, INL, et cetera. And I think one of the things that this prompts in my mind is the need within our own government to create an institution, a task force, a working group to deal in a far more cohesive pattern with the funding questions which you have raised here today.
Again, thank you so much for sharing those views with not only us but with your colleagues. It's been very informative for all of us. Thanks. (Applause.)
Mr. Lang: At this time it is my pleasure to present, on behalf of the Open Forum and ACRON, three awards. The first will be the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to International Conflict Resolution, presented to Elise Boulding, professor emeritus at Dartmouth College. Unfortunately, she is unable to be with us today, and I have received electronically -- the wonders of technology -- a statement that she has asked me to read to all of you:
"How I wish I could be with you at the September 23rd Open Forum on Integrating Track One and Track Two Approaches to International Conflict Resolution -- just what we have all been working on in the past few decades. I feel so honored to have my name brought forward, but I have done little compared to many of you. Now I am inspired to work as best I can within the limits of my 82-year-old energies on what I am increasingly thinking of as 'track three diplomacy,' the direct taking up of each of us as individuals, citizenship and responsibility for the United Nations itself, as expressed in the opening words of the UN Charter, 'We, the people.' Perhaps today's schoolchildren will have a better understanding of the possibilities of peace-building, from the local to the global level. Thank you for all that you do." Let's give her a round of applause. (Applause.)
And we are also pleased to present two Special Recognition Awards, the first of which goes to Hal Saunders, who is unfortunately unable to be with us as well. The final Special Recognition Award is presented to someone we have heard so much about this morning, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates. Could you please come forward? (Applause.)
Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, a native of Portland, Oregon, is a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of consular, who began her diplomatic career in 1980. Before serving as the United States ambassador to Burundi, she was previously assigned to the U.S. Embassy Paris as senior cultural attaché, preceded by a tour as press attaché for Ambassador Pamela Harriman. This award recognizes Ambassador Yates' bold and effective integration of track one and track two approaches to conflict resolution in Burundi from 1999 through 2002. As a strong believer of public diplomacy, Ambassador Yates consistently took a public stand in favor of peace and peacemakers during her term in Burundi. She took a leadership role within the diplomatic community at a time of uncertainty and political turmoil in the country, and consistently engaged and supported track two initiatives aimed at building bridges of understanding across ethnic lines. Congratulations. (Applause.)
Ambassador Yates: Thank you very much. Thank you, Alan Lang and the Forum for this occasion. Thank you very much to ACRON. It's an outstanding initiative to bring together a number of NGOs working in this field. Thank you also, Ambassador Steinberg, for your comments before and after. I took notes, and I will use those I am sure in the future. I know some of those conditions -- like location, location, location -- for Burundi.
Actually, I think probably my service in Zaire and being in the refugee camps probably gave me a bit more experience for my time in Burundi. But being a track one practitioner, I was sent out there with the knowledge that I was going to seek and work for an enduring peace in Burundi, and to try to alleviate the sufferings of the masses of Burundian people. But what I didn't realize when I got there, knowing the foreign policy and knowing my MPP, my mission program plan goal, was that of course the best work in conflict resolution and prevention was already going on with many of the NGOs in country. And day by day I got to know these partners. And we had four partners, I believe. One of them, Search for a Common Ground, was who nominated me for this award.
What I realized was on track one I could be effective both with our VIP visitors, the assistant secretary, the Senate staffers, the D-CINC who would come to town, to let them see what was really happening on the grass-roots level, but that the U.S. government was not involved on that grass-roots level except through our support of USAID. And I felt very proud that I could just be the connector between the two levels.
I accept this award today not for me but for the U.S. mission there in Burundi. It was an outstanding group of people working in a very difficult and dangerous situation, just as the NGOs in that country -- it's almost forgotten when you come back here and get involved in New York or Washington or Boston life -- we were dramatically reminded last week when whether the figure is 183 or 170 more people were massacred. That world is still going on. The civil war has gone on since '93. And I thank all of you for the work you've done in resolving conflicts around the world. I hope I have a chance to work with some of you in another place. And thank you again for this honor. (Applause.)
Mr. Lang: I would like to add that we have a certificate of appreciation for all of our speakers this afternoon, and I would be happy to distribute these items after the program. Thank you all very much. That concludes this session of the Secretary's Open Forum. (Applause.)
Released on October 15, 2002