Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today
<xTITLE>John Paul Lederach: A Peacebuilder Bibliography</xTITLE>

John Paul Lederach: A Peacebuilder Bibliography

by Walter A. Wright
September 2004 Walter A. Wright
I. Introduction.

John Paul Lederach (Lederach?E is an important author and practitioner in the fields of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. The purpose of this article is to familiarize readers with Lederach’s writings in his fields of interest. The article highlights Lederach’s four English-language books that focus on conflict transformation and peacemaking: Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation across Cultures (1995), Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (1997), The Journey toward Reconciliation (1999), and The Little Book of Conflict Transformation (2003). In addition, it examines two English-language books that Lederach co-edited: From the Ground Up: Mennonite Contributions to International Peacebuilding (2000, edited with Cynthia Sampson) and A Handbook of International Peacebuilding: Into the Eye of the Storm (2002, edited with Janice Moomaw Jenner). Finally, it briefly identifies some of Lederach’s Spanish-language writings.

II. Lederach’s Background.

Lederach was born in Indiana and grew up as a Mennonite PK (“preacher’s kid?E in Oregon and Kansas. He received a B.A. in History and Peace Studies from Bethel College in 1980 and a Ph.D. in Sociology (with a concentration in the Social Conflict Program) from the University of Colorado in 1988. From 1975 to 1996, he held various posts at the Mennonite Central Committee, including Director of the Mennonite Conciliation Service (U.S.) and Director of the International Conciliation Service. From 1990 to 2001, he was a Professor of Conflict Studies and Sociology at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he founded the Conflict Transformation Program and the Institute for Peacebuilding. Since 2001, Lederach has been a Professor of International Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University and a Distinguished Scholar for the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University. He has authored, co-authored, and co-edited at least twelve books, plus numerous articles, monographs, and scholarly papers. Much of his writing relates to his experiences as a trainer and supporter of peacemaking efforts around the world.

III. First Book: Preparing for Peace.

Lederach definitively establishes his authority on cultural issues in conflict transformation and training in Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation across Cultures (hereinafter Preparing for Peace). [1]Drawing on his experiences conducting mediation training workshops in other countries, particularly in Central America, he argues that North American cultural assumptions about conflict and how to resolve it are embedded in mediation models emanating from the United States. [2]He also argues that trainers engage in a “residue of imperialism?Ewhen they attempt to transfer their mediation models to other cultures as “the right way?Eto resolve conflict. [3]This book’s thesis is that trainers should explore “both the content and the approach to conflict resolution training and its relationship to culture.?E [4]

Lederach compares and contrasts two approaches to cross-cultural training: prescriptive and elicitive. [5] The prescriptive approach, he argues, views training as a transfer of information and the trainer as an expert, model, and facilitator. The primary resources in prescriptive training are the mediation model and the knowledge of the trainer. Prescriptive training is content-oriented, and the participants?Ejob is to master the prescribed mediation model and the trainer’s technique. The trainer empowers the participants by teaching them new strategies for facing conflict. In prescriptive training, culture is treated as an “additional level of sophistication and expertise added to the repertoire of the already trained.?E [6] The elicitive approach, on the other hand, views training as the discovery and creation of conflict-resolution models. The elicitive trainer, a catalyst and facilitator of the process of discovery and creation, empowers the participants by guiding them in the creation of their own conflict-resolution models. The participants?Eculture is the foundation of the models they create. Lederach concludes that “most trainings provided in diverse cultural settings would benefit from a combination of the two approaches.?E [7]

Reasoning that most readers of his book will be more familiar with the prescriptive approach than the elicitive approach to training, Lederach completes the book by suggesting specific elicitive techniques. His suggestions include (1) analyzing the participants?Euse of language and metaphors to describe conflict situations, (2) using storyboards of local conflicts as a method for developing conflict-resolution models, and (3) asking the participants to develop their own role plays based on situations arising in their local settings. [8]

IV. Second Book: Building Peace.

The “modest thesis?Eof Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (hereinafter Building Peace) [9] is that “the nature and characteristics of contemporary conflict suggest the need for a set of concepts and approaches that go beyond traditional statist diplomacy.?E [10]Lederach’s ambitious response to the need stated in his thesis is to propose a comprehensive conceptual framework for building peace in divided societies, accompanied by specific strategies that peacemakers can use to implement the concept.

In the post-Cold War era, Lederach observes, most armed conflicts are located in poor, developing parts of the world. [11] Many of the conflicts are “internal and internationalized,?Emeaning they are fought between groups located within the boundaries of one state, but other states are affected by opposition movements located within their states, refugees fleeing to their states, or weapons and other resources flowing from their states to the state where the conflict is located. [12] The conflicts often are “characterized by deep-rooted and long-standing animosities that are reinforced by high levels of violence and direct experiences of atrocities.?E [13] The peacemaker’s challenge is to devise strategies for ending violence and sustaining reconciliation in these divided societies.

Lederach begins constructing his conceptual framework for building peace by asserting that genuine peacebuilding is more than the post-conflict support of a peace agreement. Rather, it “involves a wide range of activities and functions that both precede and follow formal peace accords,?E [14]including “processes, approaches, and stages needed to transform conflict toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships.?E [15]

Relationships, Lederach asserts, are built through reconciliation, which balances four concepts: truth, mercy, justice, and peace. Truth represents “the longing for acknowledgement of wrong and the validation of painful loss and experiences.?E [16] Mercy “articulates the need for acceptance, letting go, and a new beginning.?E [17] Justice seeks vindication of individual and group rights while advocating for restitution and social restructuring. [18]Peace “underscores the need for interdependence, well-being, and security.?E [19]Reconciliation, in Lederach’s view, is both the process of balancing the four concepts and the social space where parties encounter each other and engage in the process. [20]

To provide a structure for reconciliation, Lederach recommends coordinating the peacemaking efforts of a society’s top-level, middle-range, and grassroots leaders. [21] The top-level political and military leaders generally negotiate cease-fires and peace accords. Middle-range leaders (e.g., leaders of academic, religious, business, professional, agricultural, and nongovernmental organizations who have ties to upper-level and grassroots leaders) conduct problem-solving workshops, train people in conflict-resolution skills, and lead peace commissions. Grassroots leaders (e.g., community and refugee-camp leaders, health officials, and members of indigenous nongovernmental organizations) achieve agreements to end fighting, implement policies made at higher levels, and set the stage for a movement toward peace.

As an additional approach to providing structure for reconciliation, Lederach adopts the “nested paradigm?Econcept, proposed by peace worker and theorist Maire Dugan, which views a specific incident of conflict as part of a relationship between the parties. Their relationship, in turn, is part of a subsystem to which the parties belong, which in turn is part of a larger social system. [22]Dugan and Lederach recommend using middle-range leaders, acting at the relationship and subsystem levels, to connect short-term “issue?Econcerns with long-term “systemic?Econcerns. As an example, Lederach describes a situation in which armed gangs of young men in Mogadishu, Somalia carried guns for a variety of reasons, including supporting themselves financially. The challenge was to connect the “issue?Eof gun-carrying youths with the “system?Ethat provided jobs and accompanying social status to those gun-carrying youths. The proposed solution was to create a trade-school “subsystem?Ethat would provide the youth with marketable job skills and tools for entering their new trades. The proposed solution included opportunities for the youth to interact with their counterparts from other clans, thereby improving their relationships with those other clan members. [23]

In describing conflict as a process, Lederach adopts Quaker conciliator Adam Curle’s concept that “conflict moves along a continuum from unpeaceful to peaceful relationships.?E [24]At the beginning of the continuum, conflict arises when people believe some type of injustice affects their lives and they decide to confront the injustice. In a peacebuilder’s ideal world, the confrontation leads to negotiations, which in turn lead to social change and sustainable peace. Peacebuilding, Lederach asserts, is a process made up of interdependent roles, functions, and activities that accompany the conflict continuum on the road to social change and sustainable peace. [25]

Building sustainable peace is a dynamic process that often requires decades, and Lederach adopts another nested paradigm to explain the types of activities required at each stage of the process. [26]The first stage, crisis intervention, usually takes two to six months. The second stage, preparation and training, involves short-range planning that takes one to two years. The third stage, design of social change, is akin to dispute-resolution system design and takes five to ten years. The fourth stage, desired future, involves articulating and planning for social change over decades.

Having explained his two nested paradigms—one for locations and levels of conflict intervention and the other for time frames for peacebuilding activities—Lederach links the two in a matrix that creates an integrated framework for peacebuilding. [27]At one intersection of the two paradigms is a place for peacemakers to consider the past and determine the root causes of the conflict. At a second intersection, peacemakers resolve immediate issues through crisis management. At a third intersection, peacemakers absorb the lessons of the conflict and devise short-term strategies to prevent the conflict’s recurrence. At a fourth intersection, peacemakers envision the distant future and the social changes necessary to build peaceful relationships between the conflicting parties. At the fifth intersection, peacemakers design the strategies necessary to transform the existing conflict to the desired future.

Peacebuilding, Lederach asserts, requires two types of resources: socioeconomic and sociocultural. [28] As to Lederach’s concept of socioeconomic resources, he recommends that peacemakers encourage funding agencies to develop categories of funding related to peacebuilding, lobby governments and other agencies to raise and allocate funds for defraying the social and material costs of weapons use, and encourage administrators of peacebuilding funds to allocate those funds to the types of activities that are most cost-effective. As to sociocultural resources, Lederach deems it essential to build a “peace constituency?Ewithin the conflict setting by using the cultural resources available in the setting.

Resources are most effective when they are coordinated. [29]To achieve coordination, Lederach recommends that peacebuilders develop a “peace inventory?E(i.e., a list of the people and organizations performing various types of peacemaking activities), improve communications between top-level and mid-level leaders, engage in conferences among donors of peacebuilding resources, create broad-based resource groups that participate in the design of the peace process, and coordinate the work of “internal?Epeacemakers (i.e., those working within the conflict area) with the work of “external?Epeacemakers (i.e., those working outside the conflict area).

Because the integrated peacebuilding framework requires numerous and specific capacities (e.g., violence prediction, dispute system design, cultural resource analysis, and strategic social futures design), Lederach foresees that many people will require training to acquire those capacities. [30]As to training, Lederach reiterates the theories he espouses in Preparing for Peace, including the idea that training should include a combination of prescriptive and elicitive approaches.

In the final chapter of Building Peace, Lederach examines how to evaluate peacebuilding success or failure. [31]He suggests that peacebuilding can be evaluated with methods that are both strategic and responsive, but because peacebuilding is a unique enterprise, it requires unique evaluation tools. He concludes with suggestions about how those tools can be designed.

V. Third Book: The Journey toward Reconciliation.

Lederach’s purpose in The Journey toward Reconciliation [32] is “to explore the spiritual foundations that undergird [Lederach’s] work as a peacebuilding professional and academic.?E [33]Although he addresses the book primarily to his own Anabaptist/Mennonite community, and though lengthy passages of the book address that community’s specific concerns, Lederach explicitly connects his spirituality to his work.

Peacebuilding work, Lederach relates, sometimes generates hostility in and against the presumed peacebuilder. While acting as an intermediary in a conflict in Central America in the 1980s, Lederach suffered a kidnapping threat against his daughter, an experience that caused him, for the first time, to feel hatred for an enemy. In addition to the threat against his daughter, within a single year, he was accused of being a Communist Sandinista spy, he received multiple assassination threats, he was called a dog of the CIA, and he was stoned. He experienced hatred from his own heart, and he was the object of such hatred. [34]

As someone who has experienced hatred, Lederach explores the process of reconciling oneself to one’s enemies. He analyzes Biblical passages, particularly verse 10 of Psalm 85, [35]to explain and reiterate his belief that reconciliation is a journey toward a place where truth, mercy, justice and peace meet. [36] “On this journey?Ehe declares, “we encounter God, others, and ourselves. Such a journey, I believe, is the essence of the gospel.?E [37]When enemies reconcile, they see God in each other’s faces. [38]

Lederach believes that his ministry, and the ministry of his church, is to walk the path of reconciliation. “God is working to bring all things together. The purpose is to heal and to reconcile people with each other and with God. God’s mission is also ours. We have been given the same ministry of reconciliation . . . .?E [39]

VI. Fourth Book: Conflict Transformation.

In his most recent book, The Little Book of Conflict Transformation, [40]Lederach defines the term “conflict transformation?Eand distinguishes it from “conflict resolution.?ELederach begins by acknowledging that his ideas are influenced by an Anabaptist/Mennonite religious framework that “understands peace as embedded in justice. It emphasizes the importance of building right relationships and social structures through a radical respect for human rights and life. It advocates nonviolence as a way of life and work.?E [41]Because his vocation is closely tied to his religious beliefs, he seeks language and perspectives that describe his work more accurately than the language and perspectives of conflict resolution.

Conflict transformation, according to Lederach, is “to envision and respond to the ebb and flow of social conflict as life-giving opportunities for creating constructive change processes that reduce violence, increase justice in direct interaction and social structures, and respond to real-life problems in human relationships.?E [42]The goals of conflict transformation include personal, relational, structural, and cultural changes. [43]Transformation focuses beyond the resolution of an episode of conflict (i.e., a narrowly defined problem) and examines the epicenter of conflict (i.e., the relational patterns from which episodes emerge). Transformation, which views an episode of conflict as an opportunity to address its epicenter, [44]negotiates both solutions to episodes of conflict and initiatives for social change. [45]

Conflict resolution, in Lederach’s view, focuses on episodes of conflict, examines the substance and content of the problems presented, and seeks immediate solutions to those problems. [46]As defined, conflict resolution “does not automatically raise the questions and inquiries necessary to spark the potential for broader change.?E [47]Because of conflict resolution’s relatively narrow focus, the people with whom Lederach works sometimes suspect it carries with it “a danger of co-optation, an attempt to get rid of conflict when people [are] raising important and legitimate issues.?E [48]

While Lederach defines himself as a conflict transformer, he recognizes the value of conflict resolution. Disputes that require rapid, final solutions to problems, and where pre-dispute or post-resolution relationships are not involved, may be appropriate for conflict resolution. On the other hand, where past and future relationships are involved in episodes of conflict, Lederach prefers the transformative approach. [49]

VII. Fifth Book: From the Ground Up.

From the Ground Up: Mennonite Contributions to International Peacebuilding [50] places Lederach’s work in the context of Mennonite history [51] and the recent international initiatives of his fellow Mennonites. The sixteen authors of this book describe and evaluate Mennonite peacebuilding efforts outside the United States since World War II.

Mennonite peacebuilding overseas is a relatively recent phenomenon, as Joseph S. Miller points out in this book’s first chapter. [52] Throughout most of their history in the United States, Mennonites generally “practiced a self-protective withdrawal from the world around them . . . .?E [53] Quietism, being the “quiet [people] in the land,?E [54] remained the dominant Mennonite practice at the beginning of the twentieth century. Because of another practice known as nonresistance, which reflected a strong commitment to peace and nonviolence, Mennonites traditionally renounced violence as a way to protect themselves and their neighbors. Miller asserts that many Mennonites?Eviews of their place in the world began to shift in the mid-twentieth century. During World War II, Mennonite conscientious objectors provided alternative service as firefighters, aides in mental health hospitals, and human subjects in medical research. Their wartime service inspired them to become more involved in the world, and they prompted other Mennonites to contribute more substantially to domestic and international relief efforts. Over time, Mennonites began to focus on the root causes of violence, and they looked for ways to become involved in peacemaking. To many Mennonites, mediation and conciliation appeared to be activities that were consistent with Mennonite beliefs. In 1979, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a Mennonite relief and development agency, established the Mennonite Conciliation Service (MCS) to provide conflict-resolution services in the United States. In 1989, MCC initiated the International Conciliation Service (ICS) to provide dispute-resolution services internationally. Lederach became ICS’s first director, a position that he held until 1996.

The next chapters of this book detail the peacebuilding activities of various Mennonite individuals and groups throughout the world. In two chapters, Lederach describes his activities in Central America, Somalia, and Somaliland, and he describes the evolution of his thinking about conflict transformation and peacebuilding. [55] Other chapters describe the contributions of Lederach’s colleagues throughout the world, including the following:

  • Ron Kraybill, the first MCS director, left his MCS post in 1988. Beginning in 1989, he and his family spent more than six years in South Africa. In a chapter of this book, he describes his service there as a trainer in mediation and other conflict-resolution skills. [56]
  • In another chapter that focuses on South Africa, Robert Herr and Judy Zimmerman Herr describe their own and other Mennonites?Eactivities in that country from the 1970s through the 1990s. The activities included working with rural economic and development programs, supporting dependents of political prisoners, arranging for sabbaticals outside of South Africa for peace activists, providing conflict-resolution trainers, and funding specialized programs.
  • Since 1980, Joseph Liechty and his family have lived in Ireland, home to only a small number of Mennonites. In his chapter, Liechty describes a peacebuilding approach in Northern Ireland that focuses on establishing relationships and supporting peacemaking efforts of other churches and organizations, rather than building a Mennonite church and integrating that church into the local setting. [57]
  • In a separate chapter about Northern Ireland, Joseph Campbell, a Presbyterian minister from Belfast, describes partnering with Mennonites to introduce mediation to Northern Ireland and to develop appropriate mediation models for Northern Irish people. [58]
  • Mark Chupp describes the Peace Portfolio Project in Central America, especially that project’s work in Nicaragua. [59]
  • Ricardo Esquivia is a native of Colombia and the director of Justapaz, a peacebuilding initiative of the Colombian Mennonite Church. With the help of Paul Stucky, a colleague and native of the United States, he describes the numerous Justapaz initiatives in Colombia. Esquivia’s chapter [60] is of particular interest because Justapaz originated as an idea of Colombian Mennonites, and the organization has gained widespread recognition in Colombia as a leader in peacebuilding efforts.
  • Bonnie Bergey went to Somalia in 1990 to teach English for three years with Eastern Mennonite Missions. Five months after she arrived in Mogadishu, the government collapsed. Thereafter, for over four years from a base in Nairobi, Kenya, she periodically visited Somalia. During that time, she also represented Eastern Mennonite Missions and MCC in distributing funds for peacebuilding efforts in Somalia. Her chapter [61]provides an excellent model for discovering and supporting indigenous methods of resolving conflicts and making peace.
  • Barry Hart describes the trauma-healing and reconciliation workshops he conducted in Liberia from 1991 to 1993. [62]
  • Kathleen Kern describes the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPTs) in Haiti and Hebron. [63]Rather than identify themselves as intermediaries in conflict situations, CPTs make conscious decisions to live in solidarity with people they perceive to be victims of institutionalized violence. For example, in Haiti, Kern was part of a CPT that documented human rights abuses. The CPT that Kern worked with in Hebron assisted Palestinians in driving a water truck past Israeli military checkpoints and in opening the gates of Hebron University that had been closed by the Israeli military.
The last four chapters of this book, all written by non-Mennonites, provide useful evaluations of the Mennonites?Einternational initiatives. Each chapter provides valuable reflections and insights. The following are highlights of each chapter:

  • Sally Engle Merry, an anthropology professor at Wellesley College, identifies key terms that Mennonites use in describing their work (i.e., peacebuilding, witness, presence, vulnerability, discernment, and nonviolence), and she explains what those terms mean in the Mennonite context. She identifies the key practices used in Mennonite peacemaking efforts (i.e., not taking charge, being there for a long time, working with the poor and vulnerable, confronting social inequality, and entering conflicts through existing relationships), each of which adds to the distinctive character of those efforts. Merry identifies Mennonites?Ekey peacebuilding activities as networking and building relationships within which significant conversations and change can occur; witnessing or “standing with?Epeople facing dangerous or threatening situations; training in conflict resolution and trauma healing; facilitating meetings; providing funds for numerous initiatives; and building a theoretical framework about peace and conflict transformation. Finally, she identifies four dilemmas that often confront Mennonite peacebuilders (i.e., standing with the oppressed versus neutrality; “standing with?Eand the North American identity; cultural sensitivity and the peace mission; and outsider/insider relationships) and how Mennonites have dealt with those dilemmas. [64]
  • Christopher Mitchell, a professor of conflict analysis at George Mason University, compares Mennonite approaches to peacebuilding with the approaches of “track two?Epractitioners of nonofficial conflict resolution. He concludes that the two approaches have significant similarities and differences but ultimately are complementary rather than rivals. [65]
  • Marc Gopin, an adjunct assistant professor of diplomacy at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy and a practicing rabbi, considers the religious component of Mennonite peacebuilding and its global implications. [66] He describes the ambivalence that many Mennonite peacebuilders express about the word “mission?Ewhen used in connection with their work; the ambivalence centers on the extent to which their work is or should be a kind of proselytizing. Gopin recommends that Mennonites accelerate the process of defining mission as it relates to peacebuilding so they can clarify for themselves and others what mission means to them. He concludes that while Mennonite peacebuilding methods are the product of their distinct history and religious values, the methods have “enormous transformative potential for the future interactions of the global community.?E [67]
  • Cynthia Samson, president of Peace Discovery Initiatives and an associate of the Institute for Justice and Peacebuilding of Eastern Mennonite University, co-edited this book with Lederach. In the book’s last chapter, she provides local assessments of Mennonite peacebuilding initiatives derived from Irish and Colombian people who have experienced those initiatives. She finds that building capacities among local people, setting a strategic framework for building peace over the long term, and “being with others?Ein a quiet, gentle, sincere way are the characteristics of Mennonites that non-Mennonites tend to recognize and appreciate. [68]
A reader of From the Ground Up: Mennonite Contributions to International Peacebuilding cannot fail to be impressed with the breadth, depth, and potential of Mennonite peace work overseas.

VIII. Sixth Book: A Handbook of International Peacebuilding.

People who are considering accepting an assignment in international peacebuilding are the target audience of A Handbook of International Peacebuilding: Into the Eye of the Storm. [69]The purpose of the book is “to raise a set of questions and provide advice useful across the board for those moving internationally into settings of complex, protracted, and often violent conflict.?E [70]The editors organize the book into seven parts, and each part contains chapters whose titles often are questions about a specific aspect of overseas peacebuilding work. The authors of each chapter provide advice on each of the questions; many times, the advice is to ask more questions.

Part I of the book, entitled “The Invitation: Get a Sense of the Big Picture,?Eencourages the reader to ask:

  • Who is requesting that you go to the conflict area, and how does that person or organization fit into the overall situation? [71]
  • What is the person or organization asking you to do, and how will your activities fit into the overall situation? [72]
  • Who else is working there, and how will your work relate to the others?Ework? [73]
  • Will your work fit into the larger picture of what is needed? [74]

Part II, entitled “The Context: The Geography of Protracted Conflict,?Erecommends that a reader ask:

    How much do you need to know about yourself, the area, and the conflict? [75]
  • How can you get good information about the area and the conflict in a short time? [76]
  • What do you need to know about culture? [77]
  • What do you need to know about religious influences in the conflict area? [78]
  • Will you be safe if you travel to the conflict area? [79]

In Part III, entitled “So Are You Coming to Help Us? Advice from the Ground,?Eauthors who have worked in four areas of protracted conflict—Northern Ireland, [80]the Balkans, [81]the Middle East, [82]and West Africa [83]—provide readers with valuable insider perspectives about the relative effectiveness of different types of outsider interventions. These authors appear to agree that outsiders have a greater chance of earning the respect and cooperation of people in the conflict situation and achieving a degree of success if they arrive with a clear understanding of their own values and limitations, a commitment to long-term involvement, an interest in building relationships, and a disposition to treat local people as equals from whom the outsiders can learn. On the other hand, outsiders are less likely to earn respect and cooperation—and may even cause harm—if they arrive in a foreign setting as self-designated experts who believe they already know how to resolve the conflict but have only a short amount of time to reveal their truth to the local people before moving on to the next conflict.

Part IV, entitled “Intervention Matters: From Money to Ethics,?Efocuses the reader on the necessary questions of money, accountability, and ethics. The first chapter in this part encourages the reader to consider who will fund the intervener’s work and how decisions about money will be made. [84]The next two chapters suggest ways to cultivate relationships with funding sources [85]and to clarify the extent of the intervener’s accountability to the funding source, the organization that requests the intervention, and the people that the intervention affects. [86]The final three chapters of this part provide the reader with a framework for making ethical decisions, [87]approaches to avoiding or minimizing any negative impacts of the intervention, [88]and suggestions for evaluating the results of an intervention. [89]

Part V, entitled “The Decision,?Efocuses on the intervener’s ultimate decision to accept or decline the work. Suggested questions in this part are:

  • If you go, how will you balance your role as an “outside expert?Ewith a commitment to respect local people and resources? [90]
  • How long will it take? [91]
  • How will you sustain yourself? [92]

Part VI, entitled “Good Advice from Gray Hair Hard Won,?Esuggests that an intervener who decides to accept the work should “embody peace,?E [93] “commit to people, and commit to time,?E [94]and “practice love and sustain hope.?E [95]An interview with Quaker peacemaker Adam Curle, [96]yields advice to “be open, proceed very gradually, and wait for the development of relationships.?E [97]Curle also advises interveners to try to understand the conflict situations in which they become involved.

Part VII, entitled “Conclusions and Summary,?E [98]leaves prospective peacebuilders with the following advice:

  • Know yourself.
  • Be clear about your relationships.
  • Learn about the context.
  • Consult, consult, consult.
  • Be realistic about what you can bring.
  • Be humble.
  • Be bold.

After reading this book, a prospective peacebuilder will be sobered by the complexity of peace work. At the same time, a reader who decides to proceed with the work presumably will be much wiser for having read the book.

IX. Lederach’s Spanish-Language Books.

Lederach has written at least six Spanish-language books: Educar para la Paz, [9]La Regulación del Conflicto Social (with Ron Kraybill and Alice Price), [100]Enredos, Pleitos y Problemas: Una Guú} Práctica para Resolver Problemas, [101]Seguir a Jesús: El Camino de la Etica Cristiana, [102]El Conflicto y la Violencia: En Búsqueda de Alternativas Creativas (with Mark Chupp), [103]and El ABC de la Paz y los Conflictos. [104]His book, Building Peace: Sustainable Peace in Divided Societies, also has been translated to Spanish. [105]These books, most of which focus on conflict resolution and conflict transformation, have enhanced Lederach’s reputation in Spanish-speaking countries as an authority in those fields.

X. Conclusion.

Lederach is an outstanding representative of a religious group —the Mennonites—committed to enhancing the prospects for peace in the world. As his books illustrate, Lederach, like his Mennonite colleagues, possesses many of the characteristics necessary for his life’s work: humility, dedication, patience, generosity, trust in others?Ecapabilities, appreciation of complexity, willingness to experiment, and identification with the poor and oppressed. He has dedicated over twenty years of his life to the judicious exercise of his gifts, and his exemplary service has generated widespread attention and respect—not only for himself, but also for his fellow Mennonite peacebuilders.

While he clearly is grounded in the Mennonite community, Lederach also has demonstrated an admirable capacity for reaching out to people from other religions and cultures. He teaches at a Catholic university, participates actively in initiatives of the Catholic Church, and works collaboratively with members of the Jewish and Islamic faiths. He has been willing to learn and share ideas with people from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

Lederach’s experiences in conflict transformation and peacebuilding can benefit mediators in several ways. For example, Lederach is a leading authority on cultural issues in mediation, and his ideas are backed by years of active practice in countries around the world. He also is an experienced mediation trainer who can share valuable ideas about how to impart information to—and learn from—others. Mediators who are interested in conflict transformation can use Lederach’s books and work as points of reference. And any mediators who wish to make a more explicit connection between their work and their spirituality can use Lederach as a role model.

End Notes


2Id. at 37-39.

3Id. at 38.

4Id. at 6.

5Id. at 63-70. Lederach presented the two approaches as “extreme ends of a spectrum and not exact descriptions of actual training practice. In real life, any given training inevitably has some elements of both.?E Id. at 64.

6 Id. at 51.

7Id. at 69-70.

8Id. at 71-107.


10Id. at xvi.

11Id. at 4-10 (adopting definitions of types of “armed conflict?Eproposed in Peter Wallensteen & Karin Axell, Armed Conflict at the End of the Cold War, 1989-1992, 30 J. PEACE RES. 331-46 (1993)).

12Id. at 11-12.

13Id. at 18.

14Id. at 20.


16Id. at 29.



19 Id.

20Id. at 24-31.

21Id. at 37-55.

22Id. at 55-58 (citing Maire Dugan, A Nested Theory of Conflict, 1 WOMEN LEADERSHIP 9-20 (1996)).

23Id. at 58-59.

24Id. at 64 (citing ADAM CURLE, MAKING PEACE (1971)).

25Id. at 66-71.

26Id. at 73-79.

27Id. at 79-84.

28Id. at 87-97.

29Id. at 99-106.

30Id. at 107-27.

31Id. at 129-48.

33Id. at 15.

34Id. at 29-38.

35Lederach uses the Spanish-language version of this Biblical text, which states (in translation) “Truth and mercy have met together; justice and peace have kissed.?E Id. at 53.

36Id. at 51-61.

37Id. at 159.

38Id. at 25.

39Id. at 165.


41Id. at 4.

42Id. at 14.

43Id. at 23-27.

44Id. at 28-33.

45Id. at 34-39.

46Id. at 30.

47Id. at 68.

48Id. at 3.

49Id. at 69.

50From the Ground Up: Mennonite Contributions to International Peacebuilding (Cynthia Sampson & John Paul Lederach eds., 2000).

51As Joseph S. Miller explains in a useful appendix to this book, “Who are the Mennonites??E the Mennonites are descendants of the Reformation radicals known as Anabaptists, who in 1525 initiated the practice of re-baptizing adult believers in Jesus Christ. Mennonites derived their name from Menno Simons, a Dutch Catholic priest who joined the Anabaptist movement and wrote prolifically about it. Mennonites first arrived in North America in 1683. North American Mennonites began missionary work overseas in the late nineteenth century. They initiated the Mennonite Central Committee, an international relief and development agency, in the 1920s. Today, the three primary Mennonite denominations in the United States are the Mennonite Church U.S.A., Mennonite Brethren, and Old Order Mennonites. Id. at 275-80.

52Id. at 3-29.

53Id. at 4.

54Id. at 10.

55Id. at 45-55, 141-48.

56 Id. at 30-44.

57Id. at 77-96.

58Id. at 97-103.

59Id. at 104-21.

60Id. at 122-40.

61Id. at 149-64.

62Id. at 165-82.

63Id. at 183-200.

64Id. at 203-17.

65Id. at 218-32.

66Id. at 233-55.

67Id. at 255.

69A Handbook of International Peacebuilding: Into the Eye of the Storm (John Paul Lederach & Janice Moomaw Jenner eds., 2002).

70Id. at xvi-xvii.

71 Id. at 3-13 (chapter entitled “Who is Calling??Eby Sue K. Williams, an independent consultant based in Derry, Northern Ireland).

72Id. at 15-23 (chapter entitled “What Do They Want Me to Do??Eby Susan Collin Marks and John Marks, who work at Search for Common Ground in Washington, D.C).

73Id. at 25-35 (chapter entitled “Who Else is Working There??Eby Louise Diamond, President Emeritus of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy).

74Id. at 37-46 (chapter entitled “Where Do I Fit In??Eby Lederach).

75Id. at 49-58 (chapter entitled “How Much Do I Need to Know??Eby Christopher Mitchell, a professor at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution).

76Id. at 59-73 (chapter entitled “How Do I Get Good Information in a Short Time??Eby Heidi Burgess and Guy Burgess, co-directors of the Conflict Research Consortium at the University of Colorado).

77Id. at 75-87 (chapter entitled “What Do I Need to Know About Culture? A Researcher Says . . .?Eby Kevin Avruch, a professor of anthropology at George Mason University); id. at 89-105 (chapter entitled “What Do I Need to Know About Culture? Practitioners Suggest . . .?Eby Peter Woodrow and Christopher Moore, both of whom work with CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado).

78Id. at 107-13 (chapter entitled “What Do I Need to Know About Religion and Conflict??Eby Rabbi Marc Gopin, a professor of conflict resolution at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University).

79Id. at 115-23 (chapter entitled “Is It Safe? Lessons from the Humanitarian Aid Community?Eby Larissa A. Fast, a professor at Conrad Grebel University College who also works for Project Ploughshares in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada); id. at 125-30 (chapter entitled “Is It Safe? Practitioner Advice?Eby Janice Moomaw Jenner, director of the Institute of Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, and Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, a Kenyan peace worker).

80Id. at 133-42 (chapter entitled “A View from Northern Ireland?Eby Mari Fitzduff, director of the Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity, a resource center of the United Nations).

81Id. at 143-49 (chapter entitled “A View from the Balkans?Eby Katarina Kruhonja, who works with the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights).

82Id. at 151-58 (chapter entitled “A View from the Middle East?Eby Zoughbi Elias Zoughbi, director of Wi’am, a center for conflict resolution in Bethlehem).

83 Id. at 159-70 (chapter entitled “A View from West Africa?Eby Sam Gbaydee Doe and Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, who work with the Wet Africa Network for Peacebuilding). 84 Id. at 173-89 (chapter entitled “Who Pays? Money Matters from a Practitioner’s Perspective?Eby Bernard Mayer, who works with CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado).

85Id. at 191-99 (chapter entitled “Providing Resources for Peace: Money Matters from a Funder’s Perspective?Eby John Tirman, program director for Global Security and Cooperation at the Social Science Research Council).

86Id. at 201-11 (chapter entitled “To Whom Am I Accountable??Eby Howard Zehr, a professor in the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University, and Clement M. Aapengnuo, coordinator of the Northern Ghana Peace Project).

87Id. at 213-23 (chapter entitled “Is This the Right Thing to Do? A Practical Framework for Ethical Decisions?Eby Wallace Warfield, professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University).

88 Id. at 225-33 (chapter entitled “Can My Good Intentions Make Things Worse??Eby Mary B. Anderson, president of Collaborative for Development Action).

89Id. at 235-47 (chapter entitled “How Can I Evaluate My Work??Eby Harry Mika, a professor at Central Michigan University).

90Id. at 251-59 (chapter entitled “Do I Go??Eby Ronald S. Kraybill, a professor in the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University).

91Id. at 261-70 (chapter entitled “How Long Will It Take??Eby Lederach).

92Id. at 271-80 (chapter entitled “How Will I Sustain Myself??Eby Amy C. Potter, Ronald S. Kraybill, Louise Diamond, and Joe Campbell).

93Id. at 283-90 (chapter entitled “Embody Peace?Eby Hizkias Assefa, a mediator, trainer, and educator based in Nairobi, Kenya who also teaches courses at Eastern Mennonite University and George Mason University).

94Id. at 291-97 (chapter entitled “Commit to People, and Commit to Time?Eby Harold H. Saunders, director of international affairs for the Kettering Foundation).

95 Id. at 299-311 (chapter entitled “Practice Love and Embody Peace?Eby Elise Boulding, a retired professor who taught at Colorado University and Dartmouth College).

96Id. at 305-11 (chapter entitled “The Simplicity of Peacebuilding: An Interview with Adam Curle?Eby Muzna Al-Masri, a peacebuilder from Lebanon, and Lederach; interview transcribed and edited by Rita Ann Litwiller and Lederach).

97Id. at 311.

98 Id. at 315-19 (chapter entitled “So What Have We Learned??Eby co-editors Lederach and Jenner).

99 John Paul Lederach, Educar para la Paz (La Magrana, Barcelona, Spain, 3d ed. 2000) (1st & 2d eds. 1983).

100 John Paul Lederach et al., La Regulación del Conflicto Social (Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pennsylvania, 1986).

101 John Paul Lederach, Enredos, Pleitos y Problemas: Una Guú} Práctica para Resolver Problemas (Ediciones Semilla, Guatemala City, Guatemala (1996) (1st ed. 1992).

102 John Paul Lederach, Seguir a Jesús: El Camino de la Etica Cristiana (Publicaciones El Faro, Mexico City, Mexico 1993).

103 John Paul Lederach & Mark Chupp, El Conflicto y la Violencia: En Búsqueda de Alternativas Creativas (Ediciones Semilla, Guatemala City, Guatemala (1997) (1st ed. 1994).

104 John Paul Lederach, El ABC de la Paz y Los Conflictos (Editorial Cataratas, Barcelona, Spain 2001).

105 John Paul Lederach, Construyendo la Paz: Reconciliación Sostenible en Sociedades Divididas (Bakeaz y Gernika Gogoratuz, Bilbao, Spain 1997).


Walter A. Wright is a mediator based in Texas, USA.


Walter A. Wright es un Profesor de Derecho y Métodos Alternos de Resolución de Conflictos en Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, EE. UU. Estudia, investiga, y escribe sobre la utilización de la mediación en los EE. UU. y América Latina. Un abogado, mediador, y árbitro, el Dr. Wright es presidente de Levey & Wright, P.C., un estudio jurídico en Austin, Texas. Ha sido el presidente de la Asociación de Mediadores de Texas y de la Asociación de Abogados-Mediadores, una organización de categoría nacional en los EE. UU. Actualmente integra la junta directiva de la Asociación de Mediadores de Texas y es el editor de Alternative Resolutions¸ la revista cuatrimestral de la Sección de Resolución Alterna de Conflictos del Colegio de Abogados de Texas.

Email Author
Additional articles by Walter A. Wright