War Prevention Works: 50 Stories of People Resolving Conflict
by Dylan Matthews
Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff
Citation: Dylan Matthews. War Prevention Works: 50 Stories of People Resolving Conflict. Oxford: Oxford Research Group, 2001, 127 pp.
War Prevention Works: 50 Stories of People Resolving Conflict is a collection of 50 briefly outlined case studies that describe local-level peacemaking and peace-building efforts in regions of violent conflict around the world. The majority of the cases involve some sort of non-governmental entity supporting local conflict resolution efforts. As is demonstrated in the book, a wide array of conflict resolution strategies exist, and NGOs help initiate and facilitate context-appropriate methods in various ways. At its core, however, the collection contains "stories of how ordinary people do extraordinary things" (p.8).
The purpose of the work is primarily to disseminate the stories within, so that people dealing with violent conflict around the world may gain insight into the types of things that are possible amidst extremely harsh conditions. Politicians, civic activists, peacebuilders, funders, and policy makers are all encouraged to study the cases presented in War Prevention Works: 50 Stories of People Resolving Conflict.
The work is divided into five main sections. Each section is based on a stage of conflict and contains stories correlating to the stage occurring at the time the initiatives discussed started. The sections are: before any violence; escalating violence; full blown violence; contained violence; and after the violence. Each case study has a brief background section, a story about what was done to intervene, and a discussion of the outcome. None of these sections are long -- each story only takes two pages, but the key ideas are presented. At the end of the work, a brief recap of the lessons to be learned from the stories is presented. Lastly, a list of all the organizations profiled in the book and their contact information, as well as a short list of relevant websites, is provided.
In an era when peace seems so elusive, and the work of peacebuilders so ineffectual, this book is a wonderful reminder that peacebuilding efforts really can make a difference. It is a heartening testament to the power of peace work and the difference it can make under the most difficult circumstances.