Reconciliation as Policy: A capacity-building proposal for renewing leadership and development

Recent events in a post 9/11 world and continued conflict in many parts of the world underscore the need for parties to break the cycle of violence and humiliation that otherwise may be perpetual. In our view, the increased call for United Nations reform such as in the Secretary General’s report, “In Larger Freedom, Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All,” requires new competencies to handle the high levels of conflict and emotions so prevalent at this time from the local to the global. A multilateral approach is needed to reconcile the divisions of society, as well as sharing power differently. This paper recommends that reconciliation be considered as a policy option under the oversight of the Good Offices of the Secretary General. It suggests training in Reconciliation Leadership, a new approach to peace and development based on personal transformation, vocational service beyond self-interest, new competencies in conflict and emotional challenges, and decision making based on a “200-year present” (Boulding). As a result of the training, emerging and seasoned leaders in the Secretariat, international civil servants, and diplomats will improve their ability to share power, address, root causes of conflicts and underlying emotional imbalances. Trained leaders will also be invited to join a Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service (GMRS) that would help actualize General Assembly Resolution 39/11, “The peoples of our planet having a sacred right to peace.” We present the previous success of reconciliation approaches, such as Ackerman’s discussion of post-war relations between France and Germany, as well as current applications. Reconciliation Leadership™ has been practiced and taught in the United Nations since 1992. We also evoke Dag Hammarskjold’s 100th birthday year commemoration as a fitting occasion to further integrate this work into the United Nations and implement the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010) and support the Millennium Development Goals.