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Religion Conflict CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: The Contested Power of Religious Narratives in Conflict

Image courtesy of Wikicommons. The standoff between armed members of the Branch Davidian group and the FBI in Waco, Texas, descends into violence.

Mediation Perspectives is a regular series of blog contributions by the CSS Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

To what extent do religious narratives shape conflict behavior? Many scholars agree that narratives are important: People get angry when they perceive injustice, they reach out for stories to help explain why that injustice exists, and then some of those stories propose or rationalize violence as a solution to the injustice. For this reason, peacebuilders should seek to understand religious narratives as possible framings of a given context of conflict.

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Religion Peace CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Trump, the Bible, and the Instrumentalization of Religion

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

In the evening of 1 June, one week into nationwide protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, US President Donald Trump left the White House and made his way to nearby St. John’s Church. He stopped in front of the church and posed for the media holding a Bible.

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Education Peace Coronavirus CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Moving Training from Room to Zoom

Image courtesy of Team Tumult

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

In the context of COVID-19-related discussions about moving mediation training online, this blog reflects on key strategic and operational questions one should ask to make this decision. Takeaways include: 1) online training is not better or worse than in-person training, but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses; 2) developing quality online training requires intentional design rather than just the “shoveling” of existing resources onto the web; and 3) any decision to develop online training courses should be part of a long-term strategic decision rather than a short-term improvisation.

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Peace CSS Blog

African Mediators Outperform Their Non-African Counterparts — Here’s Why

Image courtesy of World Economic Forum/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence at a Glance on 30 April 2020.

In 2013, during the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (now known as the African Union), African leaders solemnly declared their aim to “silence the guns” in Africa by the end of 2020. Consequently, silencing the guns—ending armed conflict—is the African Union’s theme for 2020, with high-level discussions on how to implement this goal throughout the year.

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Peace CSS Blog

Everyday Peacekeeping in the Central African Republic

Image courtesy of United Nations Photo/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence at a Glance on 13 April 2020.

Imagine this: You are a farmer in northwest Central African Republic. In 2013, several of your family members and friends were killed by the ex-Séléka, a predominately Muslim rebel group that briefly took control of a large part of the country. Your wife survived, but was violently raped by some ex-Séléka fighters. A loosely organized network of Christian militias, generally referred to as the anti-Balaka, managed to defeat the ex-Séléka. Subsequent retaliatory attacks by the anti-Balaka, and communal clashes between the Christian and Muslim populations, forced almost the entire Muslim population to flee from the area where you live.