Sustainable conflict resolution requires substantial attention to processes of reconciliation. The breakdown of peace accords and the rise in hostility in various parts of the world, including in the Middle East and Northern Ireland, demonstrate the importance of transforming intergroup relations as a prerequisite to lasting peace. Negotiation scholars and practitioners have developed tools for suspending overt conflict but have been less successful at conceiving of methods to reconcile deeply fractured relations and to rebuild social cohesion.
To tackle this global problem, INP is building a novel method for promoting reconciliation within divided societies. Based in part upon the reconciliation frameworks Dr. Shapiro has developed in Negotiating the Nonnegotiable, this approach examines the psychological dynamics that pull groups toward tribalism and offers pathways for healing fractured relations. INP is converting this methodology into a practical program of implementation, and will convene a working group of political and social leaders from divided societies to learn the method, adapt it to their cultural context, apply it, and measure outcomes.
The multi-sectoral nature of this project is vital to its success; too much of academic research is misapplied or misinterpreted, and too many policy recommendations are not evidence-based. The group seeks to remedy that disconnect by building a research platform that incorporates practitioners from the outset.