The sophistication of peace operations and complex humanitarian missions has increased in recent decades, resulting in increased international capacity to mitigate organized violence and provide relief to suffering populations. With respect to other indicators of success, however, international peace strategies still leave much to be desired. By their very nature, externally driven efforts tend to leave local actors feeling marginalized and disempowered, and unable to fulfill aspirations for cumulative and sustainable transformations in the quality of life. The peace that local populations genuinely hope for may fail to take root, and dynamics associated with interventionism may replace one set of problems with another. To address such problems within existing peace processes and to provide a framework for broader preventive action, this paper identifies “localizing peace” as a central challenge for twenty-first century peacebuilding efforts. International and cross-cultural cooperation remain vital for tackling border-spanning problems and structural inequalities, yet the advancement of global peace depends in no small part on the enhancement of local peace capacities. Ultimately, peace must be defined and constructed locally, and peacebuilding efforts become energetic and sustainable only to the extent that they tap local resources, empower local constituencies, and achieve legitimacy within particular cultural and religious contexts. By appreciating these realities, international actors can discover more effective means of partnering with local organizations and movements, while also deriving new insights into the unity and diversity of peacemaking.
cross-cultural cooperation, grassroots mobilization, indigenous practices, international peace strategies, interventionism, local-international partnership, localizing peace, non-Western cultures, sustainable peacebuilding
Funk, Nathan C. and Said, Abdul Aziz
"Localizing Peace: An Agenda for Sustainable Peacebuilding,"
Peace and Conflict Studies: Vol. 17:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/pcs/vol17/iss1/4