CBI and the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program have assisted leaders and influential organizations in developing countries around the world to develop new institutions and capacities for managing and resolving public conflicts. Based on this work, this article examines what it takes to set up an effective partnership for public conflict resolution in an emerging democracy, and ways to build both the demand for collaborative conflict resolution and the supply of qualified public conflict resolvers.
Across the developing world, political and civic leaders are experimenting with strategies for resolving public conflicts over major development challenges. The stakes are high. Though the rule of law and democratic elections reduce the risk of large-scale political violence, there remains a significant danger that unresolved conflicts will destabilize a new government, delay much-needed economic or social development, or worse, undermine the commitment to democracy among major political actors (e.g., the military, ethno-national movements, former revolutionaries).