The goal is to promote and study
problem-solving relations in conflict zones. The focus is
on the conflict between Georgians and Abkhaz in the Southern
Caucasus. The participants are Abkhaz and Georgian
academics and nongovernmental organizations. They engage
in joint research and action to overcome the obstacles to
peace, prevent resumption of military action, and contribute to theory on conflict transformation.
Outside facilitation is necessary because of their
inability to travel to each other's cities.
The project has been funded by The William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation, the US Institute of Peace, the Winston Foundation for World Peace, and the University of California. Work is in the three
inter-related areas described on this web
About the Conflict and Dialogue
one of fifteen successor states of the Soviet Union. In 1992-1993, there was armed conflict
between the Georgians and the Abkhaz who sought independence
from Georgia. This war resulted in thousands of deaths, tens
of thousands of refugees, and ruined economies. To date a
resolution has not been found. Russian forces guard the ceasefire line
between the two sides.
The purpose of this project and its multi-year series of conferences and publications since 1998 is to facilitate dialogues to help the sides reach a mutually satisfactory peaceful resolution. The conferences help keep open channels of communication between civil society activists, academics, journalists and policy makers from the two communities, and give them access to their counterparts in Russia and various international organizations. Because of the project's dedication to full transparency, the conferences also involve many more people in the dialogues through these publications and post conference meetings in each community.
Civil Society Development
project facilitates a constructive dialogue and interaction
between Georgian and Abkhaz representatives of nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs). It promotes skills and structures in the
nongovernmental sectors, conducive to developing safe, civil
and stable society. Our assumption is that NGOs are crucial to
an effective process of reconciliation at the community level,
and are far more effective in promoting and maintaining
genuine peace than reliance on coercive, police-oriented
approaches. NGOs can be mini-models of self-governance and
peaceful negotiation for common interests.
Coordination of Multiple Initiatives
times a year this project initiates meetings with all
other international and indigenous organizations and
individuals working on peace initiatives in the
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. In addition we schedule
periodic virtual meetings by phone and through the
internet. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss the
general context of the conflict and to explore how we can be
supportive of each other's work and encourage complementarity
of our multiple efforts by establishing shared goals. At
these meetings we update each other on project developments
and coordinate plans; develop ways to combine our
resources to fund indigenous peacebuilding and democracy
building acitivities; share analyses of productive and
unproductive activities in the peace process; discuss
options for how to continue this kind of coordination--whether
as simple information sharing, resource sharing, joint
strategy development, joint projects, or as a
consortium; generate research together on the efficacy
of our coordinating actions.
Evaluation of Citizen Peacebuilding Initiatives
of the evaluation research is to go beyond assumptions
about the impact of citizen peacebuilding by
providing solid evidence about what does and does not work, in
order to guide more effective initiatives in conflict zones.
The research activities involve participant-observation,
in-depth and focus group interviewing, and surveys. We also
use Action Evaluation methodology within the project.
This method has been crucial to our successes. It has
helped us chart our goals and plans as we go along, kept us on
track, pushed us to keep our promises to each other, and
signaled us to switch gears when necessary. Action
Evaluation is more than an effective process to articulate
goals and gather data systematizing what is normally done in
the design and implementation of conflict resolution
processes. The methodology enables participants to
recognize the motivations, values and interests necessary to
negotiate consensus on shared goals so as to promote reflexive
evaluation among key stakeholders as they move forward.
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