Reconciliation and Social Cohesion

Reconciliation is critical to societies’ transitions to sustainable peace. While it strives to build or rebuild social cohesion eroded by the polarisation and division caused by violence, conflict, and exclusion, reconciliation entails complex cultural, political, and social nuances and means very different things in different contexts and cultures.

How do we understand reconciliation and social cohesion?

At Inclusive Peace, we understand reconciliation as an essential component of peacebuilding and political change that deals with the past, present, and future. This can be defined as happening in processes of acknowledging the past, establishing new norms and relationships, and developing a peaceful and inclusive society. While it is tempting to look at these processes as unfolding sequentially, in reality they are non-linear, parallel, and co-dependent. Reconciliation is experienced on a number of different levels: individual; interpersonal; communal; institutional; and socio-political. When reconciliation is integrated effectively into peacebuilding, all of these levels are taken into account.

How we work with reconciliation

At Inclusive Peace, we strive to encourage and support inclusive locally-led reconciliation efforts, and we work with local, regional, and international partners to support global efforts for making reconciliation part of the international mediation and peacebuilding agenda.

We aim to advance reconciliation practice, policy, and thinking. We do this by linking practical reconciliation process support and in-country accompaniment with research and lessons learned from past and present experiences.

Who we work with

In the framework of our #Reconciliation project, funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, we work with the Helsinki Deaconess Institute (Finland), Felm (Finland), the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation (George Mason University, Washington DC), and the Al Amana Centre (Sultanate of Oman). In our reconciliation and social cohesion work we also collaborate with the United States Institute of Peace and the Centre for Religion, Reconciliation and Peace at Winchester University (UK).