IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

(Even) In the Navy

Here is an interesting place:  The Center for Stabilization and Reconstruction Studies .  There “About” page explains:

“The Center for Stabilization and Reconstruction Studies (CSRS) is a practitioner-oriented teaching program located at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The purpose of the Center is to provide educational opportunities for the full-spectrum of actors that become involved in peacebuilding, peace & stability operations, and relief & development activities. CSRS accomplishes this purpose through a wide variety of short programs, including workshops, games/table top exercises, conferences and applied research initiatives. The Center also enriches the regular graduate degree programs at the university.

Contemporary stability and reconstruction operations are conducted by a wide assortment of international actors that have different purposes, motivations, organizational structures, and methods of operation. These differences make it extremely difficult for the actors to work effectively in the same space to strengthen the institutions of local government, provide for the basic needs of at risk populations, develop the elements of civil society necessary to keep governments responsive to their people, and foster conditions for societal healing and forgiveness….

CSRS programs are designed to be of value to all the diverse actors at the same time and involve representatives from each of the communities as participants. The notion is that greater cross-community understanding, collective problem-solving and professional networking will equip individuals to be more effective in their particular roles.”

You can learn much more about who they are and what they do on the site.  However, what I want to underline here is that this Center is not run by the Quakers, the Mennonites, the Catholics or lefty liberal Scandinavians (just having fun–I applaud the work of all the aforementioned, believe me).  It is run by the Naval Postgraduate School!  What are we to make of this?  Simply put, all sorts of “actors” are increasingly interested in peace and conflict resolution.  Inevitably, once you start to focus on “stabilization” and “reconstruction”, you have moved beyond “conflict management” into “peace building”, even if you are not entirely comfortable with the “P” word.

In fact, as someone who has taught military students, off and on, since 1985 I can tell you that military officers would almost always prefer to avoid conflict where possible and practical, since they have a high regard for their personnel and do not want to put them in harm’s way anymore than is absolutely necessary.  Also, military people find themselves more and more involved in post-conflict situations–situations which are extremely complicated and about which, until fairly recently, not much was known.  Hence, the need for programs like this.

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February 7, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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