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Abstract

A state of near-war lasted for almost two decades between Georgia and the separatist region of Abkhazia. Localized violence plagued neighboring communities while United Nations agencies, humanitarian groups, and religious organizations worked with both sides to resolve the conflict’s underlying causes. Unfortunately, those diverse and long-standing efforts proved fruitless when the parties went to war in August 2008. This article examines the reasons for the conflict’s enduring nature and presents an example of grassroots peacemaking completed by university students focused on the plight of Georgia’s domestic refugees. An in-depth case study reveals the impact of their unilateral peacemaking efforts to present costly signals of benign intent.

Author Bio(s)

Spencer B. Meredith, III is a professor of political science at Regent University, a Fulbright Scholar, and has been a frequent lecturer for the US State Department on conflict resolution, democratization, and religion in international relations. He has conducted research in Eastern Europe, South and East Asia, the Middle East and Southern Africa, most recently as part of an edited volume on the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident (Lexington Books). Email: smeredith@regent.edu.

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