“The world needs leaders made strong by vision,
sustained by ethics and
revealed by political courage
that looks to the longer term and future generations for whom the present is held in trust.”
— Independent Commission on Global Governance
At the Hague Appeal in 1999, Virginia Swain was invited to give a presentation that introduced the concept and practice of Reconciliation Leaders who facilitate a Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to develop Political Will for a Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service – a service of spiritually grounded people trained to develop ways for peaceful co-existence, so that family, community, national and global clients can free untapped potential for resolution of their challenges. Her approach, the Peacebuilding Process, has been applied to global and local challenges since 1999..
In his book Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies published by United States Institute of Peace Press (1997), John Paul Lederach writes:
“In dealing with the challenges posed by contemporary conflict, an important meeting point between realism and innovation is the idea of reconciliation. Reconciliation catalyzes and sustains divided societies.”
The Reconciliation Service draws on Lederach’s three starting points:
1. Relationship building as the focal point for both understanding the whole system and for sustained dialogue.
2. Encounter activities to express grief, loss and the anger that accompanies injustice.
3. Innovative reconciliation techniques that exist outside the mainstream.
Drawing on Lederach’s work, the Reconciliation Service awakens a vision for the United Nations, the international community, governments and people as a program that will not use force at any level to make peace by:
- Inviting the Sacred in partnership with Chapter 6 of the UN Charter, peaceful settlement;
- Custom designing preventive and post-conflict peacebuilding interventions in the wake of protracted conflict for nation building;
- Applying psychological techniques and spiritual perspectives for accountability and forgiveness;
- Reconciling victims and perpetrators across all the divisions of humanity;
- Building on the experience of the truth and reconciliation commissions;
- Offering hope and healing for human immobilization, trauma, frustration, anger and hatred;
- Offering a new political process based on a felt experience of global citizenship beyond divisions to resolve common problems;
- Honoring each ethnic group’s traditional ways of resolving conflict worldwide.
Develop essential personal, interpersonal, systemic and global competencies
The Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service (Reconciliation Service) has a mission to provide training and coaching for peaceful co-existence, so that family, community, national and global clients can free untapped potential for reconciliation of seemingly intractable challenges.
Reconciliation Service facilitators achieve this by intervening in resistant systems in times of personal and public stress in ways that spiritually transform both systems and people. We teach conflict and reconciliation perspectives to sustain change.
Reconciliation Leaders, the leadership that facilitates interventions in the Reconciliation Service model, write a foundational, mission statement upon which all tools and techniques are built, learn an agility approach, and access a toolbox of skills to facilitate reconciliation interventions in community, organizational, national and global settings.
Building on the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Global Compact, the Reconciliation Service and Peacebuilding Process enable participants to design frameworks tailored to build trust for planned change within communities while honoring their unique challenges.
Through the Institute, Virginia Swain developed the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to Develop Political Will for the Reconciliation Service to provide individuals and groups with the perspectives, tools and techniques for multilateral approaches to peaceful, multiethnic, sustainable development.
Custom-designed Reconciliation Service approaches include mediation, conflict transformation, reconciliation processes and frameworks which have evolved from experiences in the United Nations community since 1991, plus 25 years in family, team, community, institutional, national and global settings to provide coexistence, restoration or reconciliation interventions for an intractable dispute or challenge. Shifting demographics require particular sensitivity to immigrant and refugee issues in today’s world. Some of these implementations include:
- Celebration: Guidance and strategies suggested.
- Ombuds Services: Impartial, informal, confidential resolution.
- Dialogue: Engaging in a respectful exchange of views with many different opinions.
- Facilitation: Coordinating rather than leading an exercise so that all group members are encouraged to participate equally in the discussion or activity.
- Mediation: Negotiation to resolve differences conducted by an impartial party.
- Imaging: Providing access to envision a positive future outcome, with a timeline, concrete action steps to its resolution.
- Asking the People Inquiry Process: A facilitated process gathering all constituents of a crisis/challenge to decide together on a positive future.
- Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to Develop Political Will: A facilitated process that helps conflicted groups reconcile their past.
- Historicizing: A facilitated process developing awareness of tacit norms of a group/community to provide choices for positive changed behavior in institutions.
- America’s Soul Café, Global Soul Café, World Café: A facilitated, lively, interactive process where a group explores a common question together to develop positive relationships within a Sacred Container. [Link to subpage on this site on America’s Soul Café]
- A Global Liturgy: A Reconciliation Service after a religious or cultural conflict.
- Myers-Briggs Instrument for Team and Community Building.
- Open Space Technology (OST): An approach to purpose-driven leadership through hosting meetings, conflict-minded peacebuilding, conferences, corporate-style retreats, symposia, and community summit events focused on a specific and important purpose or task, without any formal agenda, beyond an overall purpose or theme.
- Parallel Development: Enables new directions and new initiatives to begin alongside older and more established approaches.
Want more information on how the Reconciliation Service can support your group? Connect with us!
Read more information about the Reconciliation Service dispute resolution services for family, community, institutional and global challenges.
The Institute has a rich history of presentations, consultations and training healing the cycle of violence (see below). For example, read about the Mindanao, Philippines Project, Refugees from ex-Yugoslavia Project, the Rwanda Project, and Celebration of the Children of the World: A Model for Building Global Community and the Global Liturgy.