ESCWA hosted a roundtable discussion on the latest Accord publication of the UK-based Non-Governmental Organization, “Conciliation Resources,” entitled “Reconciliation, Reform and Resilience-Positive Peace for Lebanon,” on 17 July 2012 at the UN House, Beirut.
Ms. Maha Yahya, Chief of ESCWA Social Participatory Development Section of the Social Development Division (SDD), moderated the discussion while Mr. David Newton, Director of Policy, Practice and Communications at Conciliation Resources introduced the publication. Editorial advisors, including Mr. Sune Haugbǿlle, Assistant Professor in the Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Department for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen, Mrs. Elizabeth Picard, Director of Research at the Institut de Recherches sur le Moyen-Orient Contemporain in Beirut and Amman, and Ms. Marie-Joelle Zahar, Scientific Director of the Réseau Francophone de Recherche sur les Opérations De Paix in Montréal, presented the three main sections of the publication respectively.
The presentation dwelled on the relationship between reconciliation, state reform, sovereignty and self-determination, where each of the three authors presented some of the major findings encapsulated in the publication and reflected on few policy recommendations for the way forward. These recommendations included the need for a coordinated national education curriculum that helps accommodate different views and improve understanding of the “other”; the need to build constructive lessons for the future based on a framework of political decentralization and balanced reform “packages”; and the need to rehabilitate politics and bring to a halt external influence and interests.
The discussion concluded with a question-and-answer session that focused on the ways to achieve durable peace in Lebanon through a fundamentally different approach to politics, and by fostering a sense of responsibility and accountability among both politicians and citizens.