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Negotiating Peace: a Transformative Model

While I was studying for my LL.M at the Straus Institute (Pepperdine School of Law) I took a class in "Faith Based" (or Second Track) International Diplomacy from an extraordinary man named Brian Cox.

Because I am, at best, a material-spiritualist -- one who lets the material world lead them to spiritual apprehensions -- I'm afraid I was a thorn in Professor Cox's side.    

Despite the fact that religious faith is at the core of Cox's approach to international conflict resolution, the substance of his course was not at all difficult to reconcile with my own approach to conflict resolution.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I would not be the person I am today; nor have the same ability to cross religious and cultural divides, had I not been exposed to Cox's theory and practice.

So it is with great pleasure that I pass along the press release for the upcoming publication of Cox's new book,   Faith-Based Reconciliation -- A Moral Vision That Transforms People and Societies.

Press release below:   

Santa Barbara, CA – November 28, 2007 – As the bridge of hostility between East and West is broken, societies slowly emerge from an oppressive system and savor their first taste of genuine freedom. However, the absence of any compelling moral vision for these societies is preventing them from defining a stable way of life. Author Brian Cox proposes Faith-Based Reconciliation to build bridges across religions for people to realize that shared spiritual values can point the way forward to a more harmonious future.

Written by an experienced practitioner in the field of faith-based diplomacy who has worked in some of the world’s most troubled regions, Faith-Based Reconciliation begins with the premise that moral vision plays a key role in shaping individuals and communities. Its primary message is that the Abrahamic moral vision shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims, which is embodied as faith-based reconciliation, is a fresh approach to intractable identity-based conflict, an alternative to religious extremism, and an ancient paradigm needed for the twenty-first century.

This book focuses on eight core values that comprise a moral vision of faith-based reconciliation: pluralism, inclusion, peacemaking, social justice, forgiveness, healing wounds, sovereignty, and atonement. Each of these represents a principle. However, each forms the foundation for policy and program development that will heal and sustain societies. These eight core values are designed to be kept in dynamic tension with each other. They assume the centrality of relationships whether between two individuals or two nations. They assume a dynamic integration of transcendent faith with politics without imposing a particular sectarian or institutional perspective.

The Abrahamic tradition, moral vision, and mission began as a promise to one person. God promised Abraham that he would be a blessing to all nations and that it would take on the form of tikkun olam—to heal, to repair, and to transform the world. Abraham had the courage to take that first step on a long journey. The baton of faith-based reconciliation has been passed by people of faith from one generation to another.

This book is a must read for today’s policymakers and for political, religious and social leaders who wish to find an effective and innovative approach to ending conflict, whether in the national or international level.

About the Author

Canon Brian Cox is an ordained Episcopal Priest and a trained professional mediator who serves both as a pastor and as a senior official of a Washington, DC-based non-governmental organization devoted to faith-based diplomacy. He has been a pioneer and practitioner in integrating faith and politics in the international context. Over the course of his work in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East , he has developed the strategic paradigm of faith-based reconciliation as a fresh approach to identity-based conflict, as an alternative to religious extremism and as a moral vision for societies.

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