Board member Marc Gopin just published To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy. Rowman and Littlefield, 2009.
The book covers four main themes:
A. a critique of the field of conflict resolution and diplomacy that suggests the need to for social network theory and practice to revamp all of our work and evaluations,
B. the critical importance of citizen diplomacy to usher in a new stage of human and global development,
C. a five year case study of my citizen diplomacy work with partners between Syria and the United States, and finally
D. an exploration of the ethics of intervention in conflict zones, from the point of view of Western ethics and Eastern ethics.
To Make the Earth Whole studies the art of citizen diplomacy-a process that can address clashes of religion and culture across regional lines even when traditional negotiations between governments can fail. While faith and regional differences have been sources of division around the world in recent decades, millions of citizens are also creating bonds of friendship and collaboration that are forming the basis of a global community.
Drawing on the experiences gleaned from years practicing citizen diplomacy in some of the world’s most politically charged climates, scholar-practitioner of conflict resolution and rabbi Marc Gopin describes his work in Syria as a central case study of the book. The author outlines the strategic basis for creating community across lines of enmity, the social network theory to explain how this happens, and the long term vision required for a progressive but inclusive global community that respects religious communities even as it limits their coercive power over others. This powerful and practical book outlines an incremental and evolutionary strategy of positive change that stands a strong chance of success, even in today’s most conservative and repressive religious and political contexts.
Marc Gopin is the James H. Laue Professor of Religion, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution, and the director of the Center on Religion, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. He is also an ordained rabbi. For more information about this book and his work more generally, visit his website