Reconciliation Thematic Action Area

The Reconciliation Thematic Action Area on ConnexUs is an online space designed for reconciliation practitioners and researchers, as well as policymakers and funders, and also for users who are newer to the theory and practice of reconciliation. It serves as a knowledge hub on reconciliation, collating and signposting resources in a variety of formats; and as a platform for interaction, discussion, and exchange. It also explores a series of questions about reconciliation theory and practice, and the relationship between reconciliation and peacebuilding, transitional justice, and social cohesion.

The Reconciliation Thematic Action Area is a co-created initiative between Search for Common Ground’s ConnexUs team, Inclusive Peace, the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation, Humanity United, the United States Institute of Peace, the University of Winchester, and the Finnish MFA.

Reconciliation programmes of one sort or another are currently being pursued in at least 100 countries worldwide. There have now been almost 90 Truth Commissions (while not all truth commissions aspire to reconciliation, the two are often grouped together – especially by policymakers). Despite the increasing prominence of reconciliation, it remains a concept that is hard to pin down, as its meaning varies hugely across different places, cultures, faiths and languages, and depending on the level (principally state versus community) at which it is being sought.

Given that the notion of reconciliation has morphed into a nebulous – and even slightly unwieldy – whole, researchers and practitioners are increasingly convinced that clarity can be found by contextualising and locating reconciliation. There are numerous examples of local efforts to foster reconciliation, which appropriate challenges and employ an iterative approach, but there is little space for knowledge from this to be transmitted and scaled up. The importance of storytelling, rituals and education particularly stands out. Learning and exchange spaces like the Reconciliation Thematic Action Area are thus extremely important to harvest this potential.