The Role of Religion and Ethnicity in Contemporary Conflict

The Role of Religion and Ethnicity in Contemporary Conflict

Number of page: 70
Author: asil Ugorji, René Lemarchand, Ph.D., Jamie L. Hurst, Zarrín Caldwell, Erna Anjarwati, Allison Trimble, Lanhe S. Shan, David Silvera, Ph.D.
Publisher: International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation
Rating:
Category: Social Science

Welcome to the first edition of the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation’s Journal of Living Together. We were surprised and delighted to receive so many outstanding submissions, and see the resounding response to our very first call for papers as an appreciable indication of the connection people feel to our mission and our community. Through this journal it is our intention to inform, inspire, reveal and explore the intricate and complex nature of human interaction in the context of ethno-religious identity and the roles it plays in war and peace. By sharing theories, observations and valuable experiences we mean to open a broader, more inclusive dialogue between policymakers, academics, researchers, religious leaders, representatives of ethnic groups and indigenous peoples, and field practitioners around the world. Lasting peace stems from changes in thinking about what it is to be a part of the human family, who we are to one another, and what mutual obligations and responsibilities exist between us. It requires us to accept that we are each a resource, an advantage, an asset to the whole. It hinges on our ultimate acceptance of cultural identity, history, faith and tradition as simply vivid aspects of our overarching human kinship. The belief-based perspectives that influence these patterns of being however are among the most deeply ingrained of all individual and social mechanisms. Any efforts to reshape them are highly ambitious and fraught with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Yet, cultures and their societies are not static, and their adaptive nature requires that even within the most intractable of conflicts, there will be change; how they change will depend upon shifts in the environment, changes in human experience, and the availability of new information with which to make different choices.
The theme of this issue: The Role of Religion and Ethnicity in Contemporary Conflict: Related Emerging Tactics, Strategies and Methodologies of Mediation and Resolution looks at ways to influence these changes, improve interethnic and interfaith experiences, and offers information which can enlighten social discourse and reveal the possibility of previously unforeseen choices. We begin with “Words from the Board,” where Dr. David Silvera explains that mediation is at the very heart of democratic thought & lays out the value of mediation as a vital aspect of adult education in his commentary, Education for Democratic Citizenship and Intercultural Conflicts by Mediation. Dr. René Lemarchand’s cautionary discussion regarding the risks involved in mankind’s willingness and even propensity to ignore some of history’s worst atrocities follows in his article, Remembering Forgotten Genocides. Jamie L. Hurst’s paper, Holy Conflict: the Intersection of Religion and Mediation, explores the junction where religion and mediation meet, focusing on the unique challenges and opportunities this crossroads brings to bear. In her piece, Identity Reconsidered, Zarrín Caldwell describes the cost of “narrowly-construed identity formations” and puts forward the idea that the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith on nested identities might offer some new ways of approaching peacebuilding. Similarly, in their work Storytelling as a Means for Peace Education: Intercultural Dialogue in Southern Thailand, Erna Anjarwati & Allison Trimble describe their research conducting peace storytelling as a means to encourage social reconciliation between Thai-Buddhists and Malay-Muslims youth. And finally, Lanhe S. Shan presents an in-depth assessment of the long-term outcomes following the implementation of unfortunate conflict mitigation strategies and offers suggestions for improved results in Analysis of Tito’s Policies on Ethnic Conflict: the Case of Kosovo. This journal is not meant to be a bastion of declarative wisdom, rather it is intended to be a conduit, a medium for vibrant exchange, and discussion of its contents is vital to its purpose. We want your input, your ideas, your thoughts and your insights. You will find plenty to discuss every quarter in the articles, book reviews, Living Together Movement updates, social media buzz, and Photos from the Field here, and in the issues ahead. 

About The Author