New and recurrent conflicts continue to plague many communities across the world. International and domestic conflicts all around the world continue to cause tremendous suffering, damage communities and infrastructure, and hamper economic and social development. The ongoing costs of the threat or outbreak of violent conflict have enormous long-term social, psychological, political, economic, and environmental costs. Causes of conflicts and factors contributing to their escalation are often varied and complex. Historical grievances, discrimination, marginalization along ethnic, gender, religious, cultural and racial divisions, poverty, underdevelopment, competition over natural resources, authoritarian and undemocratic regimes, and inability to resolve differences constructively are among the factors that often lead to violent conflicts.
Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding are fast growing fields. A wide range of actors, such as governments, international and regional governmental organizations, local and international civil society organizations, women, religious leaders, and conflict resolution specialists are undertaking initiatives to find constructive ways to respond to conflicts and foster sustainable peace.
As part of its mandate, JWF seeks to support individuals and organizations that strive to prevent or respond to conflicts and establish enduring peace. JWF recognizes that peace is a dynamic process that requires both a long-term vision and addressing immediate needs of the communities impacted by conflicts. For peace to be sustainable, it needs to rest on principles of human security, good governance, respect for rule of law and human rights, gender empowerment, and social and economic development. In order to be effective and long lasting, peacebuilding and conflict resolution strategies must be supported by society in general, involve all relevant stakeholders, and must address the social, economic, political, psychological, and environmental needs of the parties, build local capacities, and empower community members. Some of the critical factors of this process include engaging different segments of the community (including but not limited to women, youth, religious leaders, business community, and media among others); fostering respect for human rights, good governance, environmental responsibility, and dialogue among parties; and establishing conditions promoting justice and reconciliation.
Acknowledging the critical importance of supporting peacebuilding and conflict resolution initiatives, JWF is soliciting creative and innovative projects that aim to prevent and respond to conflicts around the world; promote peaceful coexistence through dialogue; and foster pluralism, good governance, freedom of belief, justice and reconciliation, social and economic development, respect for human rights, and gender equality and empowerment.
While the evaluation process has been rather taxing on me, I must say that I have gained a good amount of knowledge in regards to the current 'market place' of ideas held in high esteem by the professional practitioners of peace. I think it has been an invaluable experience for me.