New Kroc Insight Highlights the Value of Invisible Peace Negotiations
Tuesday, January 15, 2019TOPICS: Women Peacemakers
Where and how do peace negotiations occur? If you’re picturing a long, formal boardroom table surrounded by leather-wrapped chairs, then you’re thinking too narrowly.
In November 2018, the Kroc School’s Institute for Peace and Justice (Kroc IPJ) launched Kroc Insight, a powerful new publication series that focuses on a key idea or a key lesson learned that we believe is important to ending cycles of violence and building more peaceful societies. (In case you missed it, you can view the first Kroc Insight now.)
The second Kroc Insight installment, Negotiating at the Invisible Peace Table: Inclusion of Women in Informal Peace-building Processes, is hot off the press. Among much else, it suggests that “invisible peace negotiations make formal peace negotiations possible”.
This Kroc Insight was greatly informed by the work the Kroc IPJ did in the fall of 2018 with its Women PeaceMakers program. During this time, Women PeaceMakers fellow Mariam Yazdani and I spent two months learning from and with three other Women PeaceMakers who have operated in peace negotiations in a range of contexts and roles: subnational to national, track one to three, mediator to civil society activist, Colombia to Darfur, failed and still standing agreements. Together we explored how to build more effective and inclusive peace negotiations. What came out of these conversations was a need to share out an often under-documented space within peace negotiations, what we call “the invisible peace negotiation table”.
As co-author of this Kroc Insight and a Kroc IPJ Program Officer of the Women PeaceMakers program, one area in particular about the invisible table that struck me was the powerful role this table plays in shaping peace processes, and also how women are working to navigate it in order to build lasting peace and justice. However, despite the importance of the invisible peace table, this space is often overlooked when working to build more inclusive peace processes.
This Kroc Insight aims to bring greater emphasis to this space, especially because of the large number of peace talks occurring. In one of the most recent studies documenting the number of and trends in peace talks, the study found that in 2017 there were 43 peace processes. Additionally, given the current state of conflict globally, the demand for peace talks is not decreasing. Given these figures and trends, I find it is vital for us to continue to look at spaces within peace talks that can be made more effective.
As this Kroc Insight highlights, there is more to peace negotiations than what permeates the media, and although it’s behind the scenes, the invisible peace negotiation table is every bit as influential and critical to ending violence and building sustainable peace. We encourage you to learn more about this by reading the new Kroc Insight now.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to subscribe to receive future Kroc Insights as they are released.
This post was written by Jennifer Bradshaw, program officer of the Kroc School’s Institute for Peace and Justice, and co-author of the January 2019 Kroc Insight.