Imagine Coexistence

By PON Staffon / News, Reviews of Books

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School celebrates the release of a new book…

Imagine Coexistence

Restoring Humanity After Violent Ethnic Conflict

edited byAntonia Chayes & Martha Minow

In the last decade, the world has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of violent ethnic conflicts worldwide. Imagine Coexistence seeks to explore answers to the questions: What do nations that have been in bloody conflicts do when the shooting stops? How can people who have been engaged in terrorist genocidal wars ever return to a situation of peaceful coexistence?

Imagine Coexistence grew out of the groundbreaking Imagine Coexistence Project, sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Harvard University, and the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, which seeks to enhance prospects for coexistence and break the destructive cycles of intergroup violence. The book offers a unique perspective that vividly describes lessons learned from numerous war-torn societies. The authors address common problems that people of these devastated nations face when conflict subsides, and examine how initiatives in education, the arts, sports, and economic development can offer refugees, returnees, and other survivors of group conflict reasons to work together and create a base for relating constructively over time.

Imagine Coexistence is filled with illustrative examples from violent ethnic conflicts, such as those that occurred in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which present the scope of actual efforts undertaken by the Imagine Coexistence Project. The compiled essays from multidisciplinary authors — including scholars Eileen Babbitt, Sara Cobb, Marc Gopin, Michael Ignatieff, and co-editors Chayes and Minow, among others — provide concrete examples of how coexistence efforts can be mainstreamed in rebuilding a war-torn society.

Antonia Chayes is adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In addition, Chayes is senior advisor and vice chair of Conflict Management Group. She also serves as director of the Project on International Compliance and Conflict Management at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Martha Minow is a professor at Harvard Law School, senior fellow and acting director of the Harvard Center on Ethics and the Professions, and commissioner of the Independent Commission on Kosovo.

Imagine Coexistence is a joint publication of the Program on Negotiation and Jossey-Bass.


Praise for Imagine Coexistence:

“An extremely useful review of an innovative approach to postconflict situations. Many humanitarian agencies would benefit from a careful reading of this book.”

— Rudd Lubbers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
“In this seminal edited volume, Chayes and Minow bring to the challenge of rebuilding communities torn apart by conflict a wealth of experience and practical solutions. With examples from a variety of political and cultural settings, their case for a holistic approach to postconflict restoration is both timely and compelling.”

— Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, United Nations


Imagine Coexistence is available at the Program on Negotiation Clearinghouse.