Breakout session on ‘Grassroots Peacebuilding – and linking it to national and international levels’, second talk: Dr Rama Mani, Centre for International Studies, Oxford University.
This presentation addresses two issues. First, it analyses why we have largely failed to stem the tide of violence and political conflict despite significant international attention and resources devoted to conflict prevention, peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding since 1989. Second, it proposes an alternative approach to prevent violent conflict and build peace, based on equity, inclusion and creativity.
The presentation argues that a reinvigorated two-step approach is required to prevent violent conflict and build peace. The first step is to heal the wounds that cause/d and were aggravated by war, and the second subsequent step is to create anew, to build an integrated, equitable, and inclusive society that does not allow the re-emergence of exclusive and divisive policies and attitudes. International actors have a 'responsibility to protect' but must reflect on why they are often perceived as intervening based on self interest rather than humanitarian values. Crafting and building peace cannot be entrusted to external experts, or to national technocrats and politicians alone: it is a profound cultural, philosophical, artistic and spiritual endeavour that can only be undertaken from within, with the full participation of all sectors of grassroots civil society. Inclusion, integrity and unfettered creativity are the sources of lasting peace.