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Pathways to Peace: The Second Principle

Jordan Ryan is vice president, peace programs, at The Carter Center.

In today’s world, the task for peacemakers is urgent.

The Carter Center’s motto is “Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope.” A promise to wage peace acknowledges that true peace is more than just the absence of conflict. Peacebuilders know that conflicts will recur if underlying causes are not addressed.

President Carter was welcomed back to Beijing in 2009 for the 30th anniversary of his 1979 move to open full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.

President Carter was welcomed back to Beijing in 2009 for the 30th anniversary of his 1979 move to open full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. (Photo: The Carter Center/H. Saul) 

In a series of posts here, I share some of the approaches to waging peace that The Carter Center and its founder, former President Jimmy Carter, have developed or learned over many years.

Principle No. 2: One size does not fit all.

The approach to negotiations must vary, depending on the local facts, nationalities, and interests involved.

Peacemakers have to understand that different cultures have different negotiating styles. You may have a very good plan to offer, but if you present it in a way that offends one or more of the parties, they’ll never hear it, and they’ll certainly never accept it.

During his presidency, President Carter found that the Soviet Union used aggressive negotiating tactics and confrontation, while the Chinese were far more civil. Yet the Chinese negotiators could be difficult to persuade, while the Soviets could compromise. Because he understood substance mattered more than style, he completed historic deals with both.

Check back next month for the next principle: Patience and Persistence Pay Off

Pathways to Peace | Principle No. 2: One Size Does Not Fit All »

Pathways to Peace | Principle No. 1: Gain Perspective »


Related Resources

Learn more about the Center’s Peace Programs »

Learn more about the Center’s China Program »

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    fearlessregions on April 19, 2017 at 4:09 am

    You don’t link to the third principle.

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