Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts

September 1996
176 Pages
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Can power sharing prevent violent ethnic conflict? And if so, how can the international community best promote that outcome?

In this concise volume, Timothy Sisk defines power sharing as practices and institutions that result in broad-based governing coalitions generally inclusive of all major ethnic groups. He identifies the principal approaches to power sharing, including autonomy, federations, and proportional electoral systems.

In addition, Sisk highlights the problems with various power-sharing approaches and practices that have been raised by scholars and practitioners alike, and the instances where power-sharing experiments have succeeded and where they have failed. Finally, he offers some guidance to policymakers as they ponder power-sharing arrangements.

A useful survey of the burgeoning academic field of ethnic studies and the dynamics of ethnic conflicts. It offers practical advice regarding approaches which might or might not work in attenuating ethnic disputes. It is also realistic in seeking to apply various principles and techniques to the real world.

Herbert Okun, former U.S. ambassador

Timothy D. Sisk

Dr. Timothy Sisk is Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Dr. Sisk is presently chairperson of the University of Denver’s Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Protection, a review body that oversees research for compliance with federal regulation and advancement of contemporary best practices in human-subjects research. His research has focused on the management of conflict in deeply divided societies, especially those emerging from civil war. He has conducted extensive research on the role of international and regional organizations, particularly the United Nations, in peace operations, peacemaking, and peacebuilding with particular attention to the role of democracy and governance and electoral processes in conflict-affected countries. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Geneva Switzerland. Prior to joining the University of Denver in 1998, Dr. Sisk was a Program Officer and Research Scholar in the Grant Program of the United States Institute of Peace in Washington.

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