Unofficial peace diplomacy

Private peace entrepreneurs in conflict resolution processes

Author:
Lior Lehrs
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Can private citizens serve as self-appointed peacemakers and influence diplomatic relations between parties to a conflict? The book analyzes the international phenomenon of private peace entrepreneurs (PPEs) – private citizens with no official authority who initiate channels of communication with official representatives from the other side of a conflict in order to promote a conflict resolution process. It combines theoretical discussion with historical analysis, examining four cases from different conflicts: Norman Cousins and Suzanne Massie in the Cold War, Brendan Duddy in the Northern Ireland conflict, and Uri Avnery in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The book defines the phenomenon, examines the resources and activities of private peace entrepreneurs and their impact on the official diplomacy, and explores the conditions under which they can play an effective role in peacemaking processes.

The book highlights the ability of private individual citizens – who are not politicians, diplomats, or military leaders – to operate as influential actors in international politics in general, and in peace processes in particular. Although the history of internal and international conflicts reveals many cases of private peace entrepreneurs, some of whom played a critical role in conflict resolution efforts, the literature has yet to give this important phenomenon the attention it deserves. The book aims to fill this gap, contributing to the scholarship on conflict and peace, diplomacy, and civil society. It also makes a historiographical contribution by shedding light on figures excluded from the history textbooks, and it offers an alternative perspective to traditional narratives concerning the diplomatic history of the conflicts.

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