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Beyond Violence: Conflict Resolution Process in Northern Ireland
Mari Fitzduff
UNU Policy Perspectives

After almost thirty years of bloody conflict, the opposing parties in Northern Ireland eventually signed an agreement about how to share power, thus bringing to an end the conflict that had claimed so many lives and caused such human suffering. But what brought the conflict to an end? And what were the processes of conflict resolution that enabled Northern Ireland to move beyond violence and agree to such a settlement?

Author Mari Fitzduff was involved in many of these processes and was a close observer of the others. Drawing on her extensive experience, she outlines the many strategic developments, arrived at slowly and with difficulty over the years, that enabled agreement to be reached. These include programs which successfully addressed the issue of inequalities between the Protestant and Catholic communities; work which enabled cultural and political diversity to be more positively addressed, thus significantly decreasing tension; work with the security forces to ensure that their contribution was positive and not counter-productive in the mitigation of violence; work by local communities to alleviate paramilitary violence; and the development of many hundreds of dialogue and mediation processes, at all levels of society, which were essential to the building of eventual political agreement. The author also examines the training and preparation necessary to increase people's capacity to undertake conflict resolution work, as well as addressing some of the lessons that have been learned about this kind of work, and how to successfully develop it.

Beyond Violence contains valuable, practical insights for those who are struggling to manage and resolve ethnic, religious, political or cultural conflicts in many regions of the world.

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