"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
From the Inside Flap
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.
Imagine Coexistence shows how creating situations for people from previously warring groups to work side by side or in parallel efforts toward common goals can be effective starting points for fostering coexistence. The book is filled with illustrative examples from violent ethnic conflicts such as those that occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda that show the scope of actual efforts undertaken by the Imagine Coexistence project. The essays included in this volume synthesize and assess the relevant approaches to coexistence and outline the obstacles that often thwart these efforts. The authors also provide concrete examples of how coexistence efforts can be mainstreamed in rebuilding a war-torn society.
Imagine Coexistence shows what is needed to sow the seeds of hope anywhere people have undergone the devastation of an ethnic conflict.