Reconciliation Part 1: What Is Reconciliation?

Charles (Chip) Hauss

May 10, 2021 

Note: Chip Hauss wrote this with Antti Pentikäinen1 but Chip did the last draft, and Antti hasn't had a chance to read through it yet.  So for now, we are listing Chip as sole author.  However, the text still refers, frequently, to "we" which means Antti and Chip.


Hauss wrote the original essay on reconciliation for the Beyond Intractability knowledge base in 2003. In the seventeen years since then, the editors periodically added new material to update it. However, by the end of 2020, the original essay had become too convoluted and too dated because we have learned a lot about why reconciliation matters and why it is so hard to achieve. So we decided to rewrite the whole article.

In the meantime, Hauss had begun working with Antti Pentikainen of the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation at George Mason’s Carter School of Peace and Conflict Studies. And, since Pentikäinen is responsible for some of the recent breakthroughs in our understanding of reconciliation, we decided to write the new version together.

At first, we thought it would be easy to write. As you’ll see here, the basic principles underlying reconciliation have not changed.  However, once we sat down at our respective keyboards, we realized that we had taken on a daunting task, especially if we wanted to stay within the two to four thousand word limit Hauss had in 2003.

The difficulty is not because our understanding of what reconciliation is has changed. As you will also see here, the core goals and principles in the 2003 essay found their way into this one.

What’s new is our experience using reconciliation. At the turn of the century, we were just beginning to see how and why it matters. Today, it is at the heart of any peacebuilding project that seeks what academics refer to as large scale social change or even a paradigm shift.

As a result, one fairly short entry turned into two much longer ones.

  • Part I will explore what reconciliation is and why it is so important, given the issues we will be facing for the rest of the 2020s and beyond.
  • Part II will focus on what we learned about turning those often abstract ideas into reality.

Together, they introduce one of the most important concepts in peace and conflict studies today.

We were in the middle of writing the penultimate draft of this article when what can only be called a coup  attempt took place in Washington DC. Once the shock wore off, it became clear to us that  reconciliation was not and could not be on our immediate agenda—or at any other similar historical moment anywhere. The United States will have to heal its wounds. Reconciliation will have become part of the equation, and we hope it does so sooner rather than later. However, as you will see in this two-part essay, some things have to happen as part of any reconciliation process:

  • People have to be held accountable for their actions.
  • The truth about what happened has to be explored and the overwhelming majority of the population on all sides of the dispute has to accept that “narrative.”
  • Individuals and organizations who committed abuses have to acknowledge and apologize for their actions.
  • Significant cultural and public policy changes have to be made that address the issues at stake.
  • Only then can a community or country even think of forgiveness and reconciliation

As you read, keep one caveat in mind. Reconciliation is not the answer for intractable conflicts. At most, it has to be a part of any answer.  

To see that, consider the box on this page. We wrote this essay in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election in the United States when there was a lot of talk about healing our country’s divisions. Although not every politician or pundit used the term reconciliation, the ideas you are about to read about got more public attention than they have at any point in American history—even after the Civil War.

Much of that discussion glossed over just how difficult reconciliation is to achieve. When done well, it is anything but performative. It takes hard work, self-awareness, and personal integrity the likes of which one rarely sees in social and political life anywhere or any time. It calls on everyone to seek the truth, hold themselves accountable, and commit themselves to seeking solutions for enduring problems that will not be found overnight.

A Brief Overview

Reconciliation is a complicated idea with several overlapping meanings as the word cloud  on the next page suggests. As is often the case, online dictionaries don’t clarify matters much when it comes to the way a concept is used in a given field. In this case, though, the Cambridge Online Content Dictionary does go a long way toward getting us started for the purposes of this article:

The process of making two people or groups of people friendly again after they have argued seriously or fought and kept apart from each other.

Reconciliation is also an old term. Its first use in English dates from the fourteenth century; its Latin origins can be traced back another thousand years or more.

As you will also see time and again in these two essays, the term often has religious connotations. Something like reconciliation can be found in all of the world’s major faith traditions. However, the fact that the English-language word has deep roots in evangelical Christian thought has contributed to some of the confusion and criticism that surround reconciliation today.

The underlying idea behind reconciliation is actually quite simple, which you can see if we take a brief detour from peace and conflict studies and consider some basic accounting principles. People of our generation should have engaged in a form of reconciliation each month when our banks sent us a monthly statement about activity in our checking accounts. If we were good financial citizens, we made certain that our records matched the bank’s. Once we did so, we were said to have reconciled our account, because the balance in our checkbook now agreed with the one on our bank statement.

Reconciliation in peacebuilding is never as simple as determining that two versions of one’s bank balance are identical. However, they are alike in the sense that reconciliation in peacebuilding leads to the creation of interpersonal rather than arithmetic harmony, something that theologians and psychologists often refer to as the creation of “right relationships” between two individuals, a community, or an entire society.

There is also growing agreement among practitioners that reconciliation is a necessary, but not sufficient, precondition for reaching a lasting peace because it leads the parties to a dispute to dig deeply into the roots of conflicts that are often decades or even centuries old. It is necessary because it leads the conflicting parties to overcome the kinds of differences that the dictionary’s authors had in mind when they used terms like “argued over,” ”kept apart,” and “fought over.”  Yet, as you will see toward the end of Part I and more fully in Part II, when seen simply as talking over our differences, reconciliation alone is never enough. “Sufficient” change toward a lasting peace requires substantive change as well, something most observers today think has to be included in reconciliation processes themselves.

Still, the absence of reconciliation can doom any peace agreement. Two quick examples should illustrate that point.

Years of effort went into reaching agreements like the Oslo Accords that led to Israel’s recognition of the PLO and vice versa and seemingly opened the door to stable peace between them. Those hopes, of course, have largely been dashed in the quarter century since the agreements were signed on the White House lawn. There are many reasons why that’s the case, including the fact that the Israeli and Palestinian populations remain fearful of and angry toward each other. In the dictionary definition’s terms again, they have not come close to being friendly. If anything, most of their actions toward each other at the governmental and grassroots levels alike have driven them farther apart.

The same holds for significant, but still partial, reforms such as the U.S. civil rights acts of the 1960s. No one can deny the progress that was made as a result of their passage. However, as the events following the murder of George Floyd have shown us, even major reforms can only take us so far. Put simply, it is hard to imagine achieving anything that resembles stable peace without reconciliation—whether that is between Israelis and Palestinians, Whites and Blacks in the United States, or a couple trying to rebuild a relationship after a separation.

Creating Harmony

Return for a second to the overly simplistic account of reconciling one’s bank account. Both financial and political reconciliation have a similar goal—creating balance or harmony, whether in one’s financial dealings or one’s social relationships.

From that perspective, reconciliation involves more than just conflict resolution, if by that you mean more than reaching a win/win outcome or any such deal. To be reconciled, two parties have to reach something akin to closure and mutual satisfaction on whatever it was that divided them. And that rarely can happen with a single deal because the kinds of conflict we are interested in—like racism in the United States—are complicated issues that have been years (or longer) in the making and are embedded deeply into everything from people’s value systems to their country’s public policies.

Thus, think of reconciliation as an end product that is only reached after the members of a family or community or country have developed harmonious relationships—itself not exactly a precisely defined term! They almost certainly will not have solved all of their divisive problems, but they would have made significant progress toward solving them, some of which would be all but irreversible.

In such a society, people will still disagree because there will always be conflict. However, they have “conciliated” enough that those differences cannot take us to the brink of “war” at everything from the interpersonal to the international levels.

Reconciliation evokes a world that is anchored in something like the Golden Rule, a version of which exists in all of the world’s great spiritual and religious traditions. If I treat you with dignity and respect, you will do the same to me. And that can happen only if we work through the issues that have divided us in both substantive and emotional terms.

Reconciliation is needed the most in the most divided societies whose intractable conflicts are hard to solve because the antagonisms that gave rise to them are deeply rooted and generations old. These are the societies and communities who have experienced genocide and other traumas and where dehumanization and other social maladies have been taken to an extreme.

In short, reconciliation leaves us with a paradox. The societies that need it the most are also those that need to change the most. Therefore, as you continue reading, remember that reconciliation cannot be achieved quickly or easily. Ironically, patience is needed in addressing problems in societies and communities in which patience is most likely to be in short supply.

And to complicate matters further, our methodologist friends would tell us that reconciliation is not a binary. You cannot say that one-time adversaries are ever fully reconciled. Instead, think in terms of the degree to which the parties to a dispute are reconciled which could be measured by points on a continuum with a harmonious society that can settle its differences without resort to violence of any kind at its more hopeful end.

Reconciliation in  the 2020s

Peacebuilders were just beginning to see the importance of reconciliation when Hauss wrote the first version of this essay in 2003. Since then, it have moved onto center stage in both our academic and practical work for at two main reasons:

  • If anything, the conflicts we face are even more intractable than those of a generation ago. Many have grown out of what social scientists call “wicked problems” whose causes and consequences are so inextricably intertwined that they cannot be solved quickly, easily, or separately—if they can be solved at all.
  • Peace and conflict professionals have learned that they have to pay attention to disputes in their own countries and communities. Even mediators who worked in countries like the United States or in Western Europe were expected to act as impartials who were often referred to as “third party neutrals.” We can no longer hope to maintain that kind of distance from the conflicts we face because  we all have a good bit of “skin in the game” on the issues that threaten to tear our countries apart.

Reconciliation alone will not bring these disputes to an end. However, as you will see especially in Part II, it is hard to imagine making much progress on them unless we include reconciliation in the mix.

To see why, just consider one of those enduring problems that never seems to go away— race relations in the United States. As events keep reminding us, racism remains what Gunnar and Alva Myrdal called the “American Dilemma” eighty years ago. The centrality of race in American life is, of course, far older, stretching back at least to the initial “discovery,” settling, and conquest of the Americas.

We have made progress since the Myrdals wrote their seminal book. However, there is still plenty of progress to be made, as the recent discussion of and pushback against claims about systemic racism will attest.

If we want to make the kind of progress that could eventually end the pernicious impact of systemic racism, we will have to adopt public policies that address the economic, social, environmental, and other consequences of systemic racism, many of which were on center stage in 2020. However, the public policies we adopt can only go so far, unless and until the American people adopt cultural norms that embrace a deracialized United States. And we know that is hard to do given the evidence we all saw on our television screens in the months surrounding the 2020 election that showed how progress toward racial progress can get in the way of deeper reconciliation because even incremental public policies produce resentment on 6 all sides. Members of the social groups that seem to be losing out often lash out against (in this case) people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. Meanwhile, many of the supposed beneficiaries of those policy reforms have grown frustrated by the slow pace of change in dealing with systemic racism and other long-standing inequities.

That is where reconciliation comes into play. When done right, it helps us overcome the emotional and other wounds that are an inevitable byproduct of systemic racism or any other deep social division. In the end, it is what makes progress toward dramatic and non-incremental public policy changes and their public acceptance possible.

But, as we also saw amid the agonies of 2020, it is never easy to reach reconciliation, because it requires touching the hearts and minds of millions of people. It’s not just the overtly racist practices and the attitudes that underlie them that have to change. We all have to question our core values and actions, including many of us who think that we are on “the right side of history.”

Even more importantly, reconciliation can only happen when people on all sides decide to talk with each other so that they can overcome the problems that divide them. No one has put this better than the most famous supporter of reconciliation in the world today, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was co-Chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the 1990s, whose remarkable accomplishments will be covered in the second of these essays.

Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones is not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.

While we will deal with the qualms some observers have about reconciliation in some detail in the second half of this essay, it is important to at least mention one here. Both in 1990s South Africa and in the post-Trump United States, critics have argued reconciliation’s emphasis on forgiveness and restorative justice amounts to the equivalent of a “get out of jail free” card in some board game.

Nothing cold be further from the truth. The South African TRC and other such initiatives were called truth and reconciliation commissions for a reason. Rather than sweeping our problems under the clichéd rug and “letting bygones be bygones,” true reconciling requires squarely facing those very problems and then working things out. Reconciliation means fully coming to grips with a traumatic past and its impact on all of our lives today. Both sides have to heal in ways that go far beyond putting a metaphorical band-aid over a wound. In the language used by many of today’s activists, reconciliation has to take us beyond virtue signaling so that people on all sides make non-incremental progress toward solving deep historical divisions.

That is only possible if progress is made in solving the substantive problems. What that entails obviously depends on the circumstances on the ground, but it always includes a mix of public policies that directly address the situation on the ground and social-psychological programs that help people overcome trauma and the emotional costs of being in a conflict.

Perhaps most importantly of all, reconciliation requires the participation of something approaching the entire population of the community or country involved. That includes people on both sides of the dispute, albeit with one important qualification. Those who have abused human rights or committed crimes against humanity have to be held accountable and publicly and sincerely acknowledge their actions before there is any hope of agreeing on what we will call a shared narrative, let alone taking active steps toward healing long-standing wounds.

Lederach’s Contribution

Reconciliation entered contemporary peacebuilding primarily through the work of a single and remarkable scholar practitioner. John Paul Lederach has spent his career working for reconciliation in much of the Global South and helped train other practitioners first at Eastern Mennonite University and later at the University of Notre Dame. With the publication of Building Peace by the United States Institute of Peace in 1998, he drew our attention to four components of reconciliation which are still at the heart of our work today.2

Peace. It is hard to imagine making much progress toward reconciliation while a conflict is still raging. That said, Israelis and Palestinian peacebuilders have been meeting and building ties across communal lines for half a century. Still, most peacebuilders are convinced that reconciliation work can only begin in earnest once the fighting has stopped. On one level, we disagree. Efforts toward reconciliation can take place at any time. What’s more, as the cliché has it, peace is more than the absence of war, and reconciliation is central to any process that takes a community beyond the tensions that accompany many agreements. Still, the basic point is well taken. Even an armed stand off helps make deeper and more long-lasting progress possible.

Truth. Those of us who just lived through the 2020 U.S. presidential election and its aftermath know that it is possible for people who live in the same place to have all but totally different understandings of what the world is like. As long as that is the case, it is hard to imagine overcoming the divisions we face in the United States today. That’s one of the reasons why so many countries and, now, communities, have experimented with truth and reconciliation commissions. Put simply, until there is widespread agreement about what happened and who is responsible for past actions, it is also hard to imagine a community truly overcoming divisions.

Mercy. The two final criteria take us its to the heart of reconciliation and, in as we will discuss in Part II, to the controversies that surround it.

Lederach's use of the term "mercy" should let you know (if you hadn’t figured it out already) that the ideas behind reconciliation have religious roots. It is a critical theological notion in all the Abrahamic faiths and is particularly important to Evangelical Christians and defines part of their personal relationship with God. For those who ask, "what would Jesus do," reconciliation is often not just an important issue, but the most important one in any conflict.  In recent years, reconciliation has also become an important matter for people who approach conflict resolution from a secular perspective. For them, the need for reconciliation grows out of the pragmatic, political realities of any conflict resolution process (see the next section).

Whatever your inspiration, mercy calls on people to shy away from all actions that smack of vengeance, a point we will return to later on when we explore the ways peacebuilders have tried to implement these often abstract ideas. For now, it is enough to see that it is hard to reconcile when and if victors gloat or losers plot revenge.

Justice. It is also hard to imagine how we can hope to heal the kinds of deep divisions we have been alluding to in the absence of steps to create a more just society in two overlapping ways, neither of which is easy to achieve.

First, reconciliation has to be anchored in what is known as restorative justice that seeks to create or recreate social harmony rather than in more traditional notions in which the emphasis is placed on punishing wrongdoers. Don’t get us wrong. Restorative justice does hold them accountable; it just does so in ways other than punishment. And, perpetrators who do not accept the new narrative and issue sincere apologies for what they have done are still subject to traditional forms of punitive justice.

Still, even though the South African TRC had not yet issued its report when Lederach wrote, its willingness to grant amnesty to people on both sides who apologized for the political crimes they committed during the apartheid years were part and parcel of what Lederach had in mind by including justice. Others go even farther and point to the need for at least some of the perpetrators to commit themselves to taking part in redressing the wrongs that they had a part in committing. That may strike some readers as implausible. Nonetheless, it is something that many leaders of the former white-controlled regime in South Africa have done.

Second, we can’t hope to make much progress toward reconciliation without addressing the problems that gave rise to the dispute in the first place. Longstanding or intractable conflicts have deep historical roots and invariably involve the long-term inequalities that led to what Johan Galtung called “structural violence” and is now encapsulated in such terms as “systemic racism.” To use the terminology of the 2020s rather than the 1990s, it requires being on the “right side of history” in ways that allow the previously powerless to obtain “justice,” by having their grievances met, especially when they involve identity- and other emotionally-laden issues. At the same time, the interests of those who used to be “on top” can’t be ignored either. If stable or lasting peace is ever to take hold, all parties have to (at least eventually) be satisfied with the outcome. 

As a result, reconciliation cannot be value neutral and privilege the positions of each and every party to a dispute. To the degree that a society has to deal with injustices perpetrated by one side over an another (e.g., racism in the United States, anti-Catholic sentiment in Northern Ireland, hostility toward immigrants in Western Europe, the legacy of apartheid in South Africa), reconciliation requires ending those injustices while leading the individuals and social groups that used to hold power to accept the new, more equal reality.

It Takes a Lot of Time

Lederach is already responsible for one of the few memorable one liners in the reconciliation canon. It is also one of the most discouraging.

As the story goes, he was leading a workshop on reconciliation in Northern Ireland in the early 1990s. One of the participants asked him how long it would take before the province’s Protestant and Catholic populations could reconcile once a peace agreement was reached. Lederach asked when the conflict began. When the workshop participant replied with the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, Lederach told him that they should plan on another three centuries, suggesting that it takes just as long to get out of a conflict as it has been going on.

Even when Lederach uttered these lines, we had learned enough about reconciliation to speed things up enough to make reconciliation a product of a few generations, rather than a few centuries, of work. That said, Lederach’s comment was on target then and is still on target now. Reconciliation takes hard work. And it takes a lot of time.

Twenty-First Century Insights

As important as Lederach’s ideas were and still are, our understanding has continued to grow to the point that it is now an integral part of the world’s most promising peacebuilding projects that are themselves far more holistic and ambitious. In the rest of this first essay, we will focus on three key new conceptual insights and defer discussing how practitioners have tried to implement them on the ground until the Part II.

A Single Anecdote

To see where we are heading in the rest of this essay and in the second one, consider a single example.

In 2019, Alpaslan Özerdem, the new Dean of the Carter School of Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University gave testimony about reconciliation at the opening session of that term’s meetings of the United Nations Security Council.

As he often does, Özerdem used the example of the famous footbridge linking the two sides of the Danube in the Bosnian city of Mostar as an example of a missed opportunity for reconciliation. The centuries-old bridge connected mostly Muslim and Christian neighborhoods that had been destroyed in the fighting that racked Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s. Once the fighting finally ended, the international community simply rebuilt the bridge on the assumption that it was simply a physical structure connecting two parts of town. In so doing, they did not give the residents of Mostar the opportunity to begin rebuilding their social and emotional community, while they rebuilt their physical bridge.

He contrasted Mostar’s experience with that of Coventry in the United Kingdom, where he had lived and taught before he joined us at George Mason. After the end of World War II, the citizens of that heavily-bombed city decided to rebuild it in a way that included reconciliation-- both in the way they physically rebuilt their badly-damaged cathedral, and in the ways that they reached out to the residents of other bombed out cities, including Dresden, Belgrade, and Warsaw, which all found themselves on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

How, he wondered, could the United Nations foster projects that produced results that had the effects symbolized more by Coventry’s rebuilt cathedral and its reconciling mission, than the mere functionality of Mostar rebuilt Stari most (which literally means old bridge)?

The very fact that he was invited to speak before the Security Council is itself a testament to how far the field has come. As far as we know, it marks the first time the Security Council has given serious attention to reconciliation and the broader peacebuilding issues that eddy around it. Like national governments in the Global North, the UN has not made much progress in integrating reconciliation into the peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations under its jurisdiction. While we would love to have seen them go farther along that path by now, the fact is that we welcome these first steps and will be actively encouraging all global decision makers to go farther in the years to come.

Insider Reconciliers and Local Peacebuilding

We are fortunate to be part of one those efforts at the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University.  The center was founded in 2019 by Pentikainen, who had spent the previous twenty years working in conflict zones around the world. He had seen what happens when reconciliation efforts at the local level fall short or are missing altogether.  So he decided to form a center to determine and promote “best practices” in reconciliation.  The two of us met as the center was being created, and Hauss realized that he wanted to be part of it, especially once it became clear that it would become involved in reconciliation initiatives in the United States.

The Mary Hoch Center’s team follows one of the many bottom-up paths that Özerdem (who arrived at GMU at the same time that we did) referred to in his U.N. talk—promoting the efforts of people Pentikainen refers to as “insider reconcilers.” Insider reconcilers are rarely members of national elites who typically staff truth and reconciliation commissions. Rather, they are individuals who are in the midst of the conflict themselves and have made a conscious decision to heal the wounds the conflict has produced, even while they are engaged on one side or the other of the dispute itself. Insider reconcilers come in many forms, but they share one thing in common. They have decided to build better relationships with everyone in their society, including those who have been their adversaries.

Even though we may be the only ones to use the term “insider reconciler,” the Mary Hoch Center is by no means unique in this respect. Build Up, which organizes the annual Build Peace conference that combines peacebuilding, technology, and the arts, anchors all of its programs on the need to be both non-neutral (i.e., take stands on the “right side of history”) and non-polarizing. Peace Direct supports and trains local peacebuilders around the world, many of whom explicitly anchor their work in reconciliation. Earlier this year, Chad Ford of Brigham Young University-Hawaii’ published Dangerous Love which focuses on the power individuals and organizations gain when they “turn toward” the people they disagree with and thereby take the first step in settling a dispute. Ford himself is an accomplished mediator who has a decade-long engagement with Peace Players International which uses basketball as a tool to bring young people in divided societies together through projects in the Middle East, the Balkans, South Africa, and, now, American cities. Ford also serves as a consultant for the Arbinger Institute which helps individuals see how they place themselves in psychological “boxes” that keep them from being able to take creative initiatives in their lives, including in (but not limited to) periods of conflict.

Toward Positive Peace

The interest in reconciliation reflects a broader shift in the entire field. While we still analyze the problems we face, we are less guilty of engaging in what Notre Dame’s George Lopez called “Gloom and Doom 101” in describing our work a generation ago. Instead, we have focused more on reconciliation and other concepts that point toward constructive solution to the problems that gave rise to the conflict in the first place.

Critical here has been the work on positive peace which the Institute for Economics and Peace has been promoting for the last decade. As this diagram suggests, its scholars usually refer to reconciliation in passing, which means we can only do the same here.

However, it is implicit in what they mean by peace. And, more importantly for our purposes, they understand that reconciliation and peace in general cannot be sustained unless a country or community makes progress on each of the eight elements depicted in this diagram. 


A Systems Perspective and Right Relationships

Lederach, the Institute for Economics and Peace, and most of the people we work with at the Alliance for Peacebuilding and George Mason University have also come to anchor their work in systems theory, which we can also only touch on here. Basically, systems theory is based on the assumption that everything and everyone is somehow interconnected and, therefore, that what I do affects everyone else and vice versa.

To illustrate what that means in action, we intentionally made the next diagram too small to read, even on a large screen, because there is no need to read any of the entries to see the basic point. Because a system consists of a number of interconnected feedback loops, what goes around literally comes around.

This is important for reconciliation because it gives empirical support for the Golden Rule. If I don’t “do unto you as you would do unto me,” it tend to breed resentment, a desire for revenge, and more. That often puts supporters of reconciliation in a hard-to-resolve dilemma, as was certainly the case when we had to deal with the insurrection in Washington that was taking place while we were finishing this essay.

To be sure, President Trump and the other perpetrators had to be held accountable for their actions. On the other hand, because we now know that our actions toward them will have future repercussions, we also knew that we would be best off if we could seek restorative justice solutions that could also open the door to discussions that could help Americans overcome their divisions—however you choose to define “overcome.”

On to Action

That is also a fitting way to end Part I of this essay because we have gone about as far as we can go by considering reconciliation primarily as an abstract concept. The time has come to explore how peacebuilders have tried to implement it on the ground in the years since Lederach first brought reconciliation to our attention. We will talk about that in Reconciliation - Part 2: Making Reconciliation Happen.


1. Charles Hauss is Senior Fellow for Innovaton and Board Member Emeritus at th Alliance for Peacebuilding. Antti Pentikäinen is founder of the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. Chip can be reached at chip@charleshaussinfo.

2. John Paul Lederach. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1998.