working with various agencies to build peace around the world, Rob
Ricigliano has traveled to the most dangerous countries on the planet
— and experienced some decidedly unpeaceful situations.
"I was in
Iraq in March of 2006," Ricigliano recalls. "The Golden Dome
mosque, a holy site for Shiites, had just been bombed by Sunni
in a three-SUV convoy, wearing bullet proof vests. You could hear car
bombs and mortars go off in the Green Zone where I was staying, but in
a few days, you got accustomed to it."
has made multiple trips to Iraq, Afghanistan, South Africa, the Congo
and Colombia, is executive director of UW-Milwaukee’s Institute of
World Affairs and a former associate director of the Harvard
Negotiation project. He has seen both successful and unsuccessful
approaches to resolving conflict. He shares his insight in his new
book, "Making Peace Last: A Toolbox for Sustainable Peacebuilding."
peace is certainly among mankind’s loftiest goals but Ricigliano
says reaching that goal is closer than you might think.
important to redefine peace as something that is not a Utopian ideal
that no one can ever succeed in delivering," he says. "Peace
is a state of human existence characterized by sustainable levels of
human development and a healthy process of societal change. The
problem is less that we are unable to achieve peace, at least on a
limited scale, but that we lack the ability to make peace last."
outlines a path to "Peace Writ Large" (PWL), a state of
sustainable peace. The key is for peacebuilders to see "wholes
instead of isolated parts" in the process, and employ a systems
approach known as the "SAT model," which includes the
structural (systems in place to meet people’s needs), attitudinal
(shared norms or beliefs of a culture) and transactional (processes by
which key people manage critical issues) elements in any society.
The solution is
as simple and as complicated as getting people on opposing sides to
talk to each other, find common ground, be willing to agree on a plan,
and understand an ongoing need to adapt and compromise as the new
helping to mediate a border dispute between Peru and Ecuador,"
Ricigliano recalls. "There were delegates from each country at
the session. We had one delegate from each country interview a
delegate from the other country. It turned out that one delegate from
Peru and one delegate from Ecuador both had daughters who were
a common bond between the two men and opened the pathways for
communication. "It’s important for both parties to see their
similarities and establish a desire to work together for the common
good," he says.
there is enough money being allocated for global peacebuilding but the
funds are often wasted when different agencies working in the same
country don’t communicate, duplicating or eradicating each other’s
efforts. Those agencies frequently don’t listen to the local
residents and proceed with their own agendas, slapping together
instant infrastructure improvements which will satisfy organizations
who give out grants with quick, tangible evidence of what the grant
money is accomplishing, but often not lead to the lasting peace by
establishing a dialogue between opposing parties.
the communication strategies in "Making Peace Last" can also
be employed to break the partisan gridlock in Washington and in state
legislatures across America.
Fox Point resident and three-term member of the Maple Dale Indian Hill
School Board, says it’s hard to be away from his wife and family
(they stay in touch via Skype) but he will continue to travel when
called upon to resolve conflict wherever it arises, using his
methodology in which he has great confidence and in which others in
the halls of power are beginning to take notice.
peacebuilders look at certain scenarios and say ‘hand me the manual,’"
Ricigliano says. "But there has been no manual. ‘Making Peace
Last’ is the manual."