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Speaking Freely, Listening Deeply


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Beyond Conflict, 20 Years of Putting Experience to Work for Peace


Why are some societies capable of peaceful political transitions while others descend into violence? In this compelling narrative, Tim Phillips draws from 20 years experience on the front lines of peace negotiations around the world to offer lessons for our current foreign policy challenges. The book features stories from six experienced leaders, each from a different country: former Czechoslovakia, South Africa, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and Chile. They were asked a simple yet critical question: What does it take to make peace with your enemy and reconcile your society? Students and practitioners alike will learn valuable lessons from these leaders who were directly involved in peace processes.


Finding Peace in Northern Ireland

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Beyond Conflict, 20 Years of Putting Experience to Work for Peace


“By bringing leaders together who can share their own experiences of crossing the divide of hatred and entrenched conflict with politicians and fighters still struggling to find peace, Beyond Conflict has lit a path of hope and possibility out of rage, violence, and despair… valuable for practitioners, teachers, activists, and engaged citizens.”– Dr. Anne Marie Slaughter, former Princeton University dean of the Woodrow Wilson school of Public and International Affairs.
– Dr. Anne Marie Slaughter, former Princeton University dean of the Woodrow Wilson school of Public and International Affairs.
“Beyond Conflict is hopeful and pragmatic as it presents creative solutions, and honest in its acknowledgment of the difficulties in implementing them. An engaging book from an organization with an important, hopeful story to share.”— Kirkus Reviews
“Beyond Conflict: 20 Years of Putting Experience to Work For Peace is a critically important and highly advised addition to both community and academic library collections.” — Midwest Book Review
“In wonderful often first-person stories (and gorgeous photography) documenting its inspiring twenty year journey, Beyond Conflict overflows with both unfailing optimism that the most difficult global conflicts can be resolved, and hard-nosed, cool-headed realism about specifically what it takes to actually do so. The book gives me hope that peace is possible even in the most seemingly intractable struggles.” – Marty Linsky, Faculty, Harvard Kennedy School and Co-Founder/Principal, Cambridge Leadership Associates
“Illuminating. As a war correspondent who has covered many of the conflicts described in this book, I can attest that BEYOND CONFLICT offers a deeply insightful, accurate, grounded and inspiring account of conflict resolution. A must read for journalists, students and anyone working on international issues.” – Janine DiGiovanni, Middle East Editor of Newsweek and author of Ghosts by Daylight (Knopf)
“Remarkably, leaders in Eastern Europe and the Middle East have been able to find parallels in the pathways toward peace taken by former leaders from South Africa, Argentina, and many other countries. This book tells the story, with gorgeous photographs and compelling narrative.” – Jessica Stern, author of Denial: A Memoir of Terror and fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.
“A quiet, gentle, yet epic gathering of facts and thought and ideas and pleas about the equality of mankind and how we sill never find peace if we forego the ability to truly communicate.” – Grady Harp, Hall of Fame/top 50 reviewer
“This fascinating and beautifully produced book is a fitting tribute to the outstanding programs of Beyond Conflict. It captures the essence of twenty years of great achievement. I recommend it for anyone with an interest in foreign policy and especially in assisting nations in transition to democracy.” – Richard Goldstone, former South African judge and first chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda
“Beyond Conflict is an NGO animated by a simple and brilliant premise: seemingly intractable hatreds can be alleviated when adversaries are exposed to other former enemies who were able to emerge from war. Tim Phillips and his partners have been arranging such dramatic meetings for twenty years in some of the most violent and desperate corners of the globe. The remarkable results of these efforts are beautifully documented in this book, which contains essays by a variety of senior peacemakers. The essays are moving, the photography breathtaking, and most importantly, the idea actually works. The book is a must for anyone interested in the theory or practice of Conflict Resolution.” – Nir Eisikovits Ph.D., LLB
“As a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project, with three decades of working in conflicts in the former Soviet Union, Middle East and Africa, I have had experience in using the shared experience methodology detailed in this inspiring book. This book documents how Tim Phillips and his colleagues have pioneered and developed the shared experience methodology as a distinctive approach with proven results and great promise for current and future conflicts. I believe this approach should be taught in conflict resolution and negotiation courses alongside the currently dominant interest-based and needs-based approaches.
This book is based on the premise that, on a biological, emotional and psychological level, humans have many of the same response mechanisms to trauma and threat, specifically to the humiliating, dehumanizing and terrifying experience of life in conditions of dictatorship and violent conflict. Based on this premise of how humans are wired, the book gives an inspiring and compelling account of the power of two core principles in dealing with the world’s most challenging conflicts. First, people can learn by listening first-hand to the deeply personal experience of others who have successfully moved through fear, repression and violent conflict and, second, that this can help them change—it can speed the process of both internal and societal change.
This book addresses the human dimension of conflict directly in remarkable depth—how to convene the right people and ask the right questions to facilitate the “psychological shifts” that are critical to conflict transformation. The dozens of dialogues organized by Beyond Conflict have helped leaders in current conflicts rise to their own leadership challenge by creating the opportunity for them to meet and listen to individuals who took the personal and political risks necessary for peace, stability and national reconciliation. The six leaders profiled in the book all took those risks. Beyond Conflict’s board has included individuals who are emblematic of courageous risk-taking for nonviolent, inclusive conflict transformation: Mandela, Havel, Gorbachev and many others.
Beyond Conflict continues to study and test its basic premise, leading some fascinating groundbreaking work on how our brain processes conflict, showing that—given all our very real differences in culture, politics, race, ethnicity and religion—we all still process fear, threat and exclusion in the same way. I have been deeply inspired by this book.” – Bruce J. Allen, Harvard Law School