Religion and Mediation
It is no doubt that religion has been perceived to play an important role in not only generating conflicts, but also in resolving them. Even though it has been a cause of conflict, its place in the whole peace process is sometimes overlooked. As such, the possible input of religion in the resolution of conflict or in facilitating a resolution is missed. Religious actors and religion have an important role to play in mediation and providing good grounds of facilitating mediation through faith-based negotiation and mediation. Aspects such as leverage and legitimacy have a huge impact on the failure or success of mediation. These factors tend to manifest themselves through religious mediators; since leverage and legitimacy factors are important in successful mediation, they have different content and meaning from different religious actors. This article, “Religion and Mediation: The Role of Faith-Based Actors in International Conflict Resolution” explains the role of religion and religious actors in mediation especially in international conflicts.
It is crucial to actively involve religious actors in explaining these differences and ensuring that all leverage and legitimacy issues are addressed and conflict resolution achieved in an amicable and effective manner. In a society where major religions are often associated with destruction and death, mediation facilitated by religious actors can be a significant tool of managing conflict. While the underlying values and assumptions informing mediation process vary considerably, different religious traditions can be integral in the efforts of building peace. Previous studies indicate that the relationship, nature, and history of actors involved in negotiation process determine significantly he outcome of the process. Faith-based actors and religious traditions have become increasingly involved in most conflict resolution processes, mainly the ethno-religious conflicts. Involvement of these actors is not a new phenomenon in conflict resolution. As a matter of fact, religious actors such as the clergy, religiously inspired leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, and religious organizations and movements have played key roles in conflict resolution.
This article has used qualitative research methodology; in particular, it has used secondary data in establishing the role of faith-based actors in conflict resolution. Using the secondary data, the article has discussed the factors contributing to mediation effectiveness, the identity of mediators, mediation resources, and motivation, for mediation, and mediation approaches and strategies. The article has considered these all aspects and related them to the role of religion and religious actors in conflict resolution.