On the occasion of the 2019 Oslo Forum, which took place in Norway on 18-19 June, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) asked seasoned peacemaking practitioners and experts to suggest relevant publications which they would like to recommend to others within the community.

HD is pleased to now share those recommendations and hopes that they will usefully inspire the peacemaking community’s summer readings. There will be a total of six suggestions which will be disclosed on this page in the coming weeks.

Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers
by Richard E. Neustadt and Ernest R. May

Dr Richard N. Hass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes:

“I would recommend Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers by Richard Neustadt and Ernest May. It is full of examples of how decision-makers have used and sometimes misused historical context in high-stakes moments, from General George Marshall’s attempt to end the Chinese Civil War to the discovery of the Soviet brigade in Cuba in 1979 and the subsequent response by the Carter administration. This book reminds negotiators not only of the importance of history when attempting to mediate conflicts, but also how best to use it.”

Kissinger the Negotiator: Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level
by James K. Sebenius

Dr Joanne Liu, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières, writes:

“This book revisits some of the well-known, and less known, cases of how Kissinger negotiated, and identifies what pearls in the art of negotiating emerge from them. It falls under two pillars, “zooming out” and “zooming in.” The former relates to the ecosystem in which the negotiation takes place whereas the latter focuses more on the interpersonal aspect and investment of negotiation. But, despite all that can be said and written about negotiation, as Kissinger rightly states: «As a general negotiating rule, I think it is very dangerous for Heads of State to meet unless they know the outcome pretty well, because they are people of strong egos and there’s nobody to appeal to if it fails.»”

The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace
by John Paul Lederach

The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, writes:

“We live in a world that seems ever more aware of division and conflict, and of the way these threaten security and well-being; much less often do we hear discussions of what makes for dynamic and resilient reconciliation. In The Moral Imagination, John-Paul Lederach redresses that balance, inviting us on a journey with him into ‘the art and soul of building peace.’ What particularly strikes me is the way he captures two often-neglected aspects of true reconciliation: risk and beauty. Lederach draws on stories, anecdotes and theories from his extensive experience as an international mediation practitioner and academic to challenge us to understand our fundamental interconnection as humans and our need to surrender control. Peace can only last if we recognise that ‘the well-being of our grandchildren is directly tied to the well-being of our enemies’ grandchildren’ and if we take the risk ‘to step into the unknown without any guarantee of success or even safety.’ He also challenges us to see the fundamental creativity of peacemaking – a practice that calls us to imagine new spaces, new pictures and new realities, responding to the uncertainties of our world with ‘messy innovation.’ Lederach shows us the beauty of this endeavour, communicating with infectious passion.”

Navigating inclusion in peace processes
edited by Andy Carl

Professor Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Senior Mediation Adviser at the Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisers of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, writes:

“Some two decades ago, inclusion in peace processes was a norm-building agenda. Thanks to the global push, somehow it has become a buzzword among peace practitioners, if not yet among political decision-makers. But what does it really mean? How has it been put into practice? What are its intended and unintended consequences? Mediators would need to grapple with these questions every step of the way – from the process design to the substantive discussions and implementation. This Conciliation Resources publication condenses several studies and discussions done in partnership with the Political Settlements Research Programme to address and re-examine the framework, elements and actual practice of inclusion in countries like Nepal, Colombia, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and Afghanistan. Compact, easy-reading, and downloadable, it is a very handy resource to take along.”

Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How To Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts
by Daniel Shapiro

Ms Mina Al-Oraibi, Editor in Chief of The National, writes:

“Dan Shapiro’s Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How To Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts brings into focus the challenge of negotiating on what any of us holds as ‘sacred’. Each person has his or her own ‘sacred’ issue, cause or event that can at first appear impossible to broach (all the more difficult in times of conflict). Shapiro outlines how best to approach the ‘sacred’, both for individuals and among groups. While the book is written to be accessible to regular readers and, at times, management executives, it is intended to equip any reader with the understanding of the complexity of negotiating in emotionally charged situations and how to handle them. Societies in wars and conflicts ultimately need those with the negotiating skills to defuse charged situations and who can appreciate the emotional and societal complications that arise out of them. This book is essential to harness those skills.”

When The Walking Defeats You – One Man’s Journey as Joseph Kony’s Bodyguard
by Ledio Cakaj

Mr Barney Afako, Senior Mediation Adviser at the Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisers of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, writes:

“The diligent mediator will delve into books for analysis and insights into the history and politics of a conflict. But history and politics will illuminate only a part of the picture; the rest, including the mindset, motivations and methods of armed groups can often remain shrouded in mystery. For years, Joseph Kony and his brutal and enigmatic Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) inevitably attracted caricatured representation. In this engrossing book, Ledio Cakaj helps us to peer into the secret world of the LRA through the eyes of an ensnared but resilient young man, ‘George’, whose shocking story reveals the cold method behind the apparent madness of the LRA. However disturbing that experience might be, endeavouring to understand the workings of groups like the LRA, the experiences of their members, and the destructive impacts of their actions is indispensable for effective engagement and mediation; otherwise, the talking might continue to defeat us.”