Constructive Engagement in the Arab World


AC4 has led two projects that specifically focus on the more intractable conflicts in the Middle East, with an approach focused on gaining a more complex understanding of the fundamental dynamics of these conflicts and to develop new tools for enhancing local efforts towards sustainable solutions.

Handbook of Conflict Resolution

The first project was around the Arabic Translation of the Handbook of Conflict Resolution. For more information and to download the handbook, please visit here in the Resources section of our website.


A Study on the Dynamical Ethos of Peace and Conflict in Israel/Palestine

Led by AC4’s Peter T. Coleman, this study proposes to look mainly at conflict ethos in Israel/Palestine. Building upon the work of Daniel Bar-Tal, Dr. Coleman argues that under prolonged intractable conflict, societies develop a particular ethos which comes to provide a deceptively clear picture of the conflict, its goals, its conditions, its requirements, images of the own group and of the rival group.

Providing Insights for Effective Peace Building

This study seeks to understand the drivers for, and the constraints against, destructive conflict and sustainable peace within Israel and the Occupied Territories. Specifically, it aims to learn how we can mobilize people’s existing motivations to best inspire them to engage in peace-building activities.

Rule Development Experimentation: An Innovative Methodology

Employing the new methodology of Rule Development Experimentation (RDE) (Moskowitz & Gofman, 2007), researchers hope to identify distinct mindsets towards peace and conflict in both Israeli Jewish and Palestinian communities in the Middle East. Understanding motives to promote peace and prevent conflict with this new methodology will allow us to advance optimal policies and potentially boost grassroots engagement in peace building.

RDE is a unique online tool which allows for participants’ segmentation into groups. It is intended to identify naturally occurring segments of the population that show similar patterns of interest and motivation. Researchers expect RDE will reveal that some Israelis and Palestinians are motivated to see peace either as a legacy to be built and nurtured for the future or as vigilance against violent threats to peace in the region.

Using this practical and accessible tool, we can provide the most effective approach to motivating people to engage in peace-building and with one another. This is the first time that RDE methodology is being used in the realm of peace and conflict, bringing the understanding of fundamentals of motivation to the area of peace and conflict resolution.

(+) Expand to view a TED talk from Malcolm Gladwell about RDE

Insights Gained

We aim to support sustainable peace by engaging individuals based on the understanding of what motivates them. Starting from the inside out, we can better mobilize support and engagement in peace building activities. What emerged from studies conducted so far is two distinct motivations: one that focuses on peace as an ideal future outcome and one that is more concerned with warding off threats to peace.

Future studies will allow us to find optimal ways of engaging both motivations in order to mobilize the existing potential for peace-building.

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