Coexistence International Hosts Meeting of Leading International Coexistence Scholars and Practitioners

On December 1-2, Coexistence International (CI) hosted a meeting of 15 leading international coexistence scholars and practitioners at Brandeis House in New York City. Individuals from the core of the coexistence field (e.g. conflict resolution practitioners, coexistence facilitators, mediators, etc.) met to consider the state of the field and engage in dialogue about CI's proposal for a more integrated approach to peacebuilding. Central topics for discussion included an initial exploration of the commonalities and differences within the coexistence field, the values underlying participants' coexistence work, and the relationship between those working at the core of the field and those working in related disciplines (e.g. development, relief work, democracy education, cultural work, etc).

CI recently completed a strategic plan, committing itself to advocating for a complementary, inter-disciplinary vision of the coexistence field that includes not only practitioners and theorists working directly on coexistence, but also those working in related disciplines. A summary of the Strategic Plan can be found here (Word / PDF).

This event was the first of a series of meetings that CI will convene in the context of its strand of work, Meta-level Networking. This strand of work focuses on networking coexistence scholars and practitioners thinking about the field at a meta-level. During the course of the next three years, CI's work in this strand will focus on facilitating thinking, reflection, and conversation between those whose work is dedicated to coexistence and those who work in related fields. It is expected that the thinking and reflection that emerges from the gathering will lead to common action on behalf of an integrated approach to achieving sustainable peace.

The meeting at Brandeis House created a space for frank conversation between practitioners and scholars who do not normally meet on a regular basis. The agenda for the recent meeting can be found here. Those participating in the meeting found it a useful opportunity to examine the commonalities and differences within their work and committed themselves to continuing the discussions with Coexistence International as it develops its programs.

Coexistence International is in the process of developing a website which is expected to go live in late January. In the meantime, please visit the Slifka Program homepage for additional information about CI and the larger program in which it is based.