Tough Choices Cluster: Dilemmas and Decisions in Peacemaking
Dr. Anne Holper (previously Kraus), Europa-Universität Viadrina
Owen Frazer, Berghof Foundation
Dr. Sara Hellmüller, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Dr. Anne Holper, Europa-Universität Viadrina
Prof. Dr. Lars Kirchhoff, Europa-Universität Viadrina
Dr. Tatiana Kyselova, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
Dr. Dana Landau, swisspeace / University of Basel
Dr. Simon Mason, ETH Zurich
Julia Palmiano Federer, Ottawa Dialogue
Valerie Sticher, ETH Zurich
Dr. Christian Hochmuth
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Neyer, Europa-Universität Viadrina
Viadrina B/ORDERS IN MOTION Seed Money, 2018-2019
What sacrifices are we ready to make in the name of peace? For instance, should peacemakers support local ceasefires in Syria to save thousands of lives in the short term, even if this might shift the battlefield to new places, producing many more victims in the long run? Should they bring radical religious leaders together who may agree to peace, but at the cost of gender equality? Should peacemakers engage with “terrorists” because they have the power to stop the violence, even if this indirectly endorses their violent tactics?
Torn between two imperatives that seem to be equally compulsory but mutually exclusive, peacemakers often face such tough choices between multiple options that – even with the best of intentions – all risk doing harm. Yet, despite the enormous responsibilities carried by mediators and the harm potentially caused by their decisions, the dilemmas they face receive scant attention in the academic and policy literature. There is also yet no hands-on guidance for peacemakers on how to practically manage these dilemmas.
The interdisciplinary Tough Choices Cluster aims to improve the way practitioners make decisions in such dilemma situations by developing a Tough Choices Framework for analyzing and guiding those decisions.
In 2018 and 2019, the prototype of framework was developed and tested in various empirical settings. As both interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners of the peacemaking field, the participating researchers built the framework on dilemma theories and methodologies from various disciplines as well as on first hand experiences and observations from Columbia, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Thailand and Ukraine.
The joint foci in this research process were: 1) the anatomy of peacemaking dilemmas; 2) the strategies that peacemaking actors already attempt and could additionally explore to deal with these dilemmas; 3) the normative, technical and political reference frames that shape the perception of the dilemma and decision-making process; and 4) the decisions made and their effects as seen from the perspectives of parties, other affected actors and peacemakers.
In addition to developing the framework, special emphasis was given to the blurred and dynamically shifting, but often highly contested normative boundaries of what is and what is not acceptable (´red lines`) when making trade-offs to overcome a dilemma.
In 2021, the prototype of the Tough Choices Framework will be finalized, published and disseminated in close cooperation with practitioners and policy makers.
The cluster follows an action research approach that bridges dilemma theory and methodology from various disciplines with peacemaking practice. The entire research process, from the initial testing of assumptions over the testing of dilemma strategies to the dissemination of outputs, is designed as a continuous feedback spiral between research and practice. This approach ensures the relevance, validity and usability of outputs and enables to close the gap between the rich experiential and theoretical knowledge that is available in the field and the actual decision-making of individual actors.
Publications & Resources
- Hellmüller (2021): The Challenge of Forging Consent to UN Mediation in Internationalized Civil Wars: The Case of Syria. In: International Negotiation. Advance online publication.
- Holper/Kirchhoff (2021): Rethinking the Professionalisation of Peace Mediation. In: Turner/Wählisch (eds.): Rethinking Peace Mediation. Challenges of Contemporary Peacemaking Practice. Bristol: The Bristol University Press, 355-372.
- Holper/Kyselova (2020): Inclusion Dilemmas in Peacebuilding and Dialogues in Ukraine. In: Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. Advance online publication.
- Holper/Kirchhoff (2020): (Dys-)Functions and Potentials of Norms as a Guidance System for Peace Mediators. In: Swiss Political Science Review, 26(4), Special Issue "Norms in International Peace Mediation", 466-488.
- Brockmeier/Holper (2020), Deutschland & Friedensmediation (Teil 2): Interview mit Niels Annen, PeacebyPeace Podcast S3E5.
- Brockmeier/Kirchhoff/von Dobeneck (2020), Deutschland & Friedensmediation (Teil 1): Zwischen Methodik, Macht und Politik. PeacebyPeace Podcast S3E4.
- Holper/Kirchhoff (eds.) (2020): Friedensmediation - Spannungsfeld aus Methodik, Macht und Politik. Interdisziplinäre Studien zu Mediation und Konfliktmanagement. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag.
- Kraus (now Holper)/Frazer/Kirchhoff/Kyselova/Mason/Palmiano Federer (2019): Dilemmas and Trade-Offs in Peacemaking: A Framework for Navigating Difficult Decisions, Vol. 7 (4), 331-342.
- Hellmüller (2019): Beyond Buzzwords: Civil Society Inclusion in Mediation, in: Ho-Won: Conflict Management and Transformation: Theory and Practice. Rowman & Littlefield.
- Kraus (now Holper)/Kirchhoff/Mason (2017): Safe Spaces: Mapping the Red Lines in Peacemakers`Trade-Offs. Research Outline for B/Orders in Motion Seed Money Project 2018-2019.
- Kraus (now Holper)/Frazer/Kirchhoff/Mason (2016): Poster for B/Orders in Motion Seed Money Application
- 19 Apr 21: Discussing Research Paper on "Red Lines in Peacemaking" in swisspeace Open Space
- 4 Feb 21: Panel Contribution "«This far and no further»? The Making and Shifting of Red Lines in Peacemaking" by Anne Holper and Dana Landau at Swiss Political Science Association Conference 2021
- 9 Nov 20: Online Peaceland Talk on Inclusion Dilemmas in Peacebuilding and Dialogue with Tatiana Kyselova, Anne Holper and Karina Korostelina in Ukraine, Mediation & Dialogue Research Center, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
- 27 Jan 20: Reflective Practice Workshop Dealing with Dilemmas in Peace Process Support with GIZ Syria Cluster
- 27 Nov 19: Workshop Dealing with Difficult Decisions and Dilemmas in Peace Mediation at Berghof Foundation
- 8-10 Sep 19: Research Paper Presentation Inclusion Dilemma Ukraine at Conflict Research Society Conference Brighton
- 2-6 Sep 19: Training & Coaching Peace Mediation & Crisis Diplomacy in Action "Managing Difficult Decisions and Dilemmas in Societal Transitions" at German Federal Foreign Office & Viadrina
- 6 Mar 19: Teaching Dilemma Management at MAS Mediation in Peace Processes at ETH Zurich
- 28 Nov 18: B/Orders in Motion Research Factory "Excluded Identities in Ukraine: What to do with ´the other Ukrainians`?" at Viadrina