While modern media is filled with stories of violence, conflict, and strife around the world, we rarely hear stories of peaceful endings, reconciliation and hope for the future. The Boston-based organization, Beyond Conflict, offers some hope to our bookshelves with its first book, simply titled Beyond Conflict.
Beyond Conflict is an organization that assists leaders in countries transitioning from conflict to peace. Its approach is simple but effective: Beyond Conflict brings experienced leaders who have successfully transitioned from periods of conflict and civil war, together with leaders currently struggling with conflict.
Its new book, written by Co-Founder Tim Phillips, draws from 20 years of experience in peace negotiations in some of our world’s most conflict-torn areas. Throughout its 20 years, Beyond Conflict has led over 70 initiatives involving hundreds of leaders from 50 countries worldwide. These initiatives have ranged from assisting leaders in South Africa faced with the realities of a post-Apartheid society, to working with leaders in Northern Ireland negotiating the Good Friday Peace Agreement. Its new book draws from six of Beyond Conflict’s numerous initiatives, focusing on key leaders the organization has worked with.
In Northern Ireland, where decades of tension and violence led to an overwhelming lack of trust between parties, Jeffrey Donaldson explains how Beyond Conflict’s initiatives had impacted him: “For the first time I recognized that although we were political opponents, although in the conflict we were enemies, we also had suffered loss, each of us. We needed to reach beyond the sense of being opponents and enemies to recognize that on both sides there had been suffering, on both sides there had been loss.”
With a successful history of bringing together leaders and practitioners in hopes of creating lasting peace, Beyond Conflict’s current initiatives bring great hope for our future. Today the focus of this organization lies within Bahrain, Cuba, Kosovo and Turkey.