Connecting those dedicated to coexistence

On July 20, 2005, coexistence scholars and practitioners representing different organizations and regions gathered at Brandeis House for an evening of conversation about the field. The music of Gina Breedlove and Robin Macatangy provided an inspiring introduction for the dialogue about collective hopes and visions for a thriving, effective coexistence field. The gathering, planned to coincide with the major conference taking place at the United Nations, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, will inform the strategic plan developed by Coexistence International.

The coexistence field includes all of the individuals and institutions that work to strengthen intergroup relations, including policy-makers, practitioners, advocates, researchers and funders; those working at local, regional, national and international levels; and those who define their work in terms such as peacebuilding, diversity work, multiculturalism, dialogue, reconciliation, non-violence, conflict resolution and conflict transformation. The field also includes those from related disciplines such as human rights, democracy and governance, refugee assistance, humanitarian aid and transitional justice, among others.

Participants at the Brandeis House event included a peace activist from Palestine, a playwright committed to using theatre as a means for creating dialogue in conflict areas, an experienced negotiator of international conflicts and researchers of conflict resolution, among others. Those present articulated a need for the varied disciplines working on issues of difference, peace and equality to feel connected in their work and to join together in addressing conflicts in a holistic approach. Bridging local activism with regional and international policy was also deemed a priority. Peace activists highlighted the importance of creating a space for practitioners from different regions to come together and reflect on their work.

Coexistence International is a new program of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life whose mission is to strengthen the field of policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, advocates, organizations and networks promoting coexistence at local, national and international levels.

The event at Brandeis House was the first gathering organized by Coexistence International, which plans to hold five international gatherings each year in addition to creating information-sharing tools useful to coexistence practitioners.

Coexistence International is funded by a gift from the Alan B. Slifka Foundation.

For more information on Coexistence International please write to:
coexistenceintl@brandeis.edu