Innovative Solutions on Conflict Resolution


Innovative Solutions on Conflict Resolution

Innovative Solutions on Conflict Resolution

May 3, 2024

Conclusion Countries of Balkan Peninsula remain as the ones with the most complex political contexts all around the globe. Years of conflicts, continuous fights for human and civic rights in Former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia that gathered 6 different Republics and many more nations in its constitution, highlighted needs for territorial independence and souveregnity, interethnic tensions, lack of political willingness to stimulate change, and many more, have all resulted in shaping the present of Balkans. This topic tends to tackle many international debates, but no one has yet found an answer that would be relevant to this situation, and thus successfully applied. 

After many years of conflicts in BiH, Serbia, Kosovo* and even other countries of the Balkans, we are still not able to move forward as in many aspects, although our collective potential to shift the reality into another, better dimension is high. Currently, civil society organizations and intergovernmental entities are investing great efforts in area of conflict resolution, through direct investments in youth, policy-making, peacebuilding and dialogue projects that are aiding the creation of new, healthy narrative, restraining use of any derogatory language, hatred perspectives and nationalism-based biases. Taking into account the example of Kosovo, we can conduct an constructive observation of how initiative and willingness of young people to change their communities, countries and the world is an vital innovative solution in dealing with conflict resolution. 

Kosovo, although small, has an impressive 80% of young people as part of its population coming across from diverse scope of ethnic and religious communities, as well as gender, sexual and other relevant backgrounds. This influences an rich ethnological, historical and traditional social relievo that can stimulate beautiful and remarkable happenings of great help to conflict resolution and conflict management itself. When given the funds, this 80% of total Kosovo’s population could immerse themselves into interesting educational experiences that could help them grow their own awareness on conflict issues that haven’t yet been handled. One of the common modules of activities used to foster understanding on importance of peacebuilding are cultural exchanges. Cultural exchanges, while they may not seem like that, can be very sensitive, sentimental and deep for those participating in them. In these type of activities, mainly designed for youth, participants are challenged to seek their inner truth - to reflect the way they feel towards reconciliation and if that is something that they would like to work on. Reflecting on this means that they are obliged to be honest, not to others, but to themselves. A good facilitator can make this work a long way. Cultural exchanges are typical, but demanding, as they influence change of opinions and feelings. However, this isn’t innovative solution towards conflict resolution, although it definitely brings progress to the current situation. What could be innovative is sparking change and revolutional spirit within young people as taking onto new, holistic approaches that could deal with past effectively.

Holistic approach would require taking a wide scope of emotions, opinions, perspectives, narratives and points of views accountable. By embracing a holistic approach to conflict resolution in the Balkans, we acknowledge the intricate web of emotions, opinions, perspectives, narratives, and points of view that contribute to the region's complex history and ongoing tensions. Rather than solely focusing on policy-making or traditional peacebuilding methods, a holistic approach recognizes the importance of addressing the emotional wounds and psychological barriers that hinder progress towards reconciliation. 

Dealing with the emotions of people affected by conflict is essential for sustainable peace. Trauma, anger, fear, and resentment linger long after the guns have fallen silent. Ignoring these emotions only perpetuates cycles of violence and division. Instead, innovative solutions must prioritize mental health support, counseling services, and trauma-informed interventions to help individuals and communities heal from past wounds. 

Moreover, a holistic approach emphasizes the need for inclusive dialogue and participatory decision-making processes. By giving voice to marginalized groups, especially youth who represent the future of the region, we ensure that diverse perspectives are heard and valued in the pursuit of peace. This inclusivity fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among those directly affected by conflict, making them active participants in shaping their collective future. 

Furthermore, innovative solutions in conflict resolution should leverage technology and digital platforms to facilitate communication, bridge divides, and promote empathy across communities. Virtual reality simulations, online forums, and social media campaigns can create virtual spaces for dialogue, education, and reconciliation, transcending physical boundaries and historical animosities. 

In essence, a holistic approach to conflict resolution in the Balkans recognizes that peace is not merely the absence of violence but the presence of justice, equality, and understanding. By addressing the emotional, social, and psychological dimensions of conflict, we can cultivate a culture of peace that transcends generations and paves the way for a more harmonious and prosperous future in the region. 

  *This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with Security Council Resolution 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Author: Mila Mihajlovic

*Youth, Peace and Security Agenda is all about mainstreaming youth opinion and participation in policy and peace dialogs. As a supporter of the YPS Agenda in the region, RYCO provides the space for youth to express their opinions and solutions for sustainable peace. However, views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the RYCO. Neither the RYCO nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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