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Simon Fisher, Dekha lbrahim Abdi, Jawed Ludin, Richard Smith, Steve Williams & Sue Williams, 'Working with Conflict: Skills and Strategies for Action'

Zed Books, London, in association with Responding to Conflict, Birmingham, 2000. ISBN 1 85649 837 9. 185 pp

The organisation Responding to Conflict, based in Birmingham, Britain, which produced this excel-lent resource-guide, recently had its tenth anniversary celebration.

This book is based on what all the people coming to their courses over the years have learned. As described by Simon Fisher, founder and director of Responding to Conflict, the aim of the organisation and of this book is to help people solve their own problems, and in that it succeeds very well.

It is mainly oriented toward people working in “middle-level” organisations - people in such work as human rights, development, education and health. Thinking in terms of a “peacemaking pyramid”, they reach the middle level, but aim to make links with the tip of the pyramid (government policy-makers) as well as the broad base of grassroots peacemakers.

Case studies illustrate how to use the analytical tools and activities presented in the book, and other sections give overviews of such topics as “intervening directly in conflict”; “influencing policy; postwar reconstruction” and “working on the social fabric”.

This book comes from an orientation of “conflict transformation”, and because much of it is drawn from experiences of people from the South it can be of great value not only to practitioners, but also to Peace Studies faculty and students who are looking to deepen their understanding of peacemaking as it is being practised today.

Topics: Strategy | Activism