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The Role of an International Facilitating Service for Conflict Resolution

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The large numbers of deadly conflicts between ethnic and other identity groups around the world call for more extensive and systematic applications of interactive problem-solving methods of conflict resolution. This article urges the conflict-resolution community to explore the necessity, value, and feasibility of establishing a new international and largely non-governmental organization or consortium devoted to monitoring such conflicts as they evolve and ready to help prevent, de-escalate, and resolve them through the use of interactive problem-solving techniques. The approach to conflict resolution envisaged by the author for this organization is based on direct communication, in a non-official context, between politically influential members of the communities in conflict. The article presents a model of the organization and its three components and concludes with a series of research questions to help determine (1) whether the proposed concept of an international facilitating service ought to be pursued and, if so, (2) how best to define its structure and functions so that it can make a unique contribution to international conflict resolution in constructive interaction with other non-governmental, governmental, and intergovernmental organizations devoted to peacemaking, peacekeeping, developmental aid, humanitarian assistance, human rights, and reconciliation.


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