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Imagine Coexistence: Restoring Humanity After Violent Ethnic Conflict

Antonia Chayes (Editor), Martha L. Minow (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-7879-6577-8
384 pages
April 2003, Jossey-Bass
Imagine Coexistence: Restoring Humanity After Violent Ethnic Conflict  (0787965774) cover image


In the last decade, the world has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of ethnic conflicts worldwide. But what do nations that have been in bloody conflicts do when the shooting stops? How can people who have been engaged in terrorist genocidal wars ever return to a situation of peaceful coexistence?
Imagine Coexistence is a groundbreaking program that grew from the joint initiative and conference sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Harvard University, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Imagine Coexistence seeks to enhance prospects for coexistence and break the destructive cycles of intergroup violence. This important book, Imagine Coexistence— which was named for the program— offers a unique perspective grounded in research and outlines the invaluable lessons learned from numerous war-torn societies. The authors address the common problems that the people of these devastated nations face when the conflict subsides and examine how initiatives in education, the arts, sports, and economic development can offer refugees, returnees, and other survivors of group conflict reasons to work together and can create a base for relating constructively over time.
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Table of Contents


Imagining Coexistence in Conflict Communities (Sadako Ogata).

Introduction (Antonia Chayes and Martha Minow).

Part One: Concepts.

1.onstructing Coexistence.

A Survey of Coexistence Projects in Areas of Ethnic Conflict (Aneelah Afzali and Laura Colleton).

2.The Process Toward Reconciliation (Carlos E. Sluzki).

Part Two: Practice.

3. On Hidden Ground.

One Coexistence Strategy in Central Africa (Marc Sommers and Elizabeth McClintock).

4. Grand Visions and Small Projects.

Coexistence Efforts in Southeastern Europe (Diana Chigas and Brian Ganson).

5. Imagine Coexistence Pilot Projects in Rwanda and Bosnia (Cynthia Burns, Laura McGrew, and Ilija Todorovic).

6. Evaluating Coexistence.

Insights and Challenges (Eileen F. Babbitt).

Part Three: Obstacles.

7 Freedom’s Hidden Price.

Framing the Obstacles to Economic Coexistence (Sven M. Spengemann).

8 Bureaucratic Obstacles to Imagining Coexistence (Antonia Chayes).

9. The Culture of Corruption in the Postconflict and Developing World (Glenn T. Ware and Gregory P. Noone).

Part Four: Approaches.

10. Education for Coexistence (Martha Minow).

11. Coexistence and Repair (Elizabeth V. Spelman).

12. Religion as an Aid and a Hindrance to Postconflict Coexistence Work (Marc Gopin).

13. Engaging with the Arts to Promote Coexistence (Cynthia Cohen).

14. Fostering Coexistence in Identity-Based Conflicts.

Toward a Narrative Approach (Sara Cobb).

15. The Art of the Possible.

Parallelism as an Approach to Promoting Coexistence (Lauren Elizabeth Guth).


Reflections on Coexistence (Michael Ignatieff).

About the Editors.

About the Contributors.


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Author Information

Antonia Chayes is adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and senior advisor and vice chair of Conflict Management Group. She also serves as director of the Project on International Compliance and Conflict Management at the Program for Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Martha Minow is a professor at Harvard Law School, senior fellow and acting director of the Harvard Center on Ethics and the Professions, and commissioner of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo.

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"An extremely useful review of an innovative approach to post-conflict situations. Many humanitarian agencies would benefit from a careful reading of this book."
— Ruud Lubbers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

"In this seminal edited volume, Chayes and Minow bring to the challenge of rebuilding communities torn apart by conflict a wealth of experience and practical solutions. With examples from a variety of political and cultural settings, their case for a holistic approach to post-conflict restoration is both timely and compelling."
— Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public, Information, United Nations

"Peaceful coexistence was once only a project for nations. The premise of this book is that it is a project for people, a project that requires first and foremost a leap of imagination by individual members of divided and brutalized communities. How to achieve that leap in the context of rebuilding societies devastated materially and psychologically by conflict is a complex but essential task. But for all those enga ged in post-conflict reconstruction and the even more ambitious goal of nation-building, the essays in this book are essential reading."
— Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

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