A Somali master poet reconnects citizens to their government. A Lebanese filmmaker collects fighters' stories to dramatize the cost of war. Police in Northern Ireland adopt symbols of peace to signal a new ethos. In places simmering with long-standing social tensions and alienation, common cultural understandings can help ease hostility, suggesting a potentially powerful role for a mechanism still under-used in peacebuilding: the arts.
Apology. Confession. Truth-telling. Forgiveness. These are elements of reconciliation, perhaps the most important underpinning for turning a violent conflict into durable peace. Yet building peace is complicated by a reality that human cultures have no agreed definition of reconciliation. Indeed many may resist it as an imposed Western value, USIP scholars said.
Following Ireland’s constitutional referendum to legalize same-sex marriage, the newly appointed senior U.S. diplomat on human rights for gender minorities said he is “incredibly optimistic” about the prospects for the global campaign to guarantee such protections. Still, U.S. Special Envoy Randy Berry and an international group of activists said May 26 that gender-rights movements in many countries face tougher political landscapes than in Ireland and must rely heavily on more legalistic app...