A bottom-up approach to authentic peace

The world’s violent conflicts often end with top-down solutions, such as diplomatic agreements or a peace imposed by military might. Yet nearly half of post-conflict places return to violence within a decade. Often overlooked are local, bottom-up attempts at peacemaking, the kind that can collectively lay the groundwork for permanent peace. Two examples came this week from Israel and Libya.

After a Palestinian assailant killed two of her children, Orthodox Jew Dvori Paley asked a large group of Israeli women, “What can we do so that we don’t experience this anymore?” The answer, arranged by a friend of hers, was to open the living rooms of 40 homes for women of all walks of life to do what Ms. Paley wished – expressions of gratitude for the good in daily life.

“The point is to show people that we are all part of something bigger,” said Ayellet Ben Zaken, a literature teacher.

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