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Religion and Mediation: The Role of Faith-Based Actors in International Conflict Resolution

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Religion has often been thought of as playing a crucial role in generating conflicts, particularly internal ones. While it may often be a source of conflict, its role in the overall peace process has all too often been overlooked. In this paper we emphasize the importance of religion and religious actors in the process of mediation. We examine the general conditions that facilitate mediation in international relations and assess how much these hold true in the case of faith-based mediation. We find that aspects such as legitimacy and leverage have a major impact on the success or failure of mediation. We examine how these factors manifest themselves in the case of religious mediators, and we show that legitimacy and leverage are still crucial to successful mediation but have a very different meaning and content in the case of religious actors. We explore the consequences of these differences and explain how religious mediation may work best in tandem with the more traditional forms of mediation.

Affiliations: 1: School of Political Science, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8020, New Zealand;, Email: jacob.bercovitch@canterbury.ac.nz; 2: School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C., USA;, Email: aysekadayifci@yahoo.com

10.1163/157180609X406562
/content/journals/10.1163/157180609x406562
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/content/journals/10.1163/157180609x406562
2009-02-01
2016-12-04

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