Cultural Boundaries in Peacebuilding


Cultural barriers to women as peace builders

Evidence and experience suggest that female peace builders are extremely valuable during peace processes. However, we live in a world where, in most places, women are viewed as homemakers and not taken seriously when they attempt to do anything else. In general, the preservation of culture is considered extremely important. This article, written by Amy Choi, suggests the opposite. If we want to include women in peacemaking, we have to strike down traditional cultural stigmas against women that give them specific roles in society. Choi states that because we often try to be culturally sensitive and employ traditional systems of justice in peacemaking, we tend to exclude women from the process. Although this may lead to short term success, over half of all peace agreements fall through within five years. Choi suggests that in order to create stronger, long-standing peace agreements, it is necessary to include women and break cultural barriers and traditions.

Choi, Amy S. “Cultural barriers to women as peace builders.” Thomson Reuters Foundation. 6 October 2012. Web. October 2013. <>.


Barriers to Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Pgs. 15-27, 143-177)

This is a detailed report on the cultural and psychological barriers to peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although some of the discussed barriers are specific to Israel and Palestine, several are applicable to the cultural hurdles faced by many societies and nations. The introduction outlines the report’s objectives and defines the meaning of strategic, structural, and psychological barriers in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Chapter 4, “Barriers to Peace: Protected Values in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” discusses and categorizes specific cultural values and traditions that make peace extremely difficult in this case example.

Bar-Siman-Tov, Yaacov. “Barriers to Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung. 2010. Pgs. 15-27, 143-177. Web. October 2013. <>.


Sport as Opportunity for Community Development and Peace Building in South Africa

Sports have long been known as a universal form of connection and bonding, setting aside cultural and linguistic differences. This case study details the influence sports can have as a form of communal development in the South African peace process. Marion Keim, an associate professor from the University of the Western Cape, argues that sports have always been a crucial part of South African society, creating national bridges and communities even in the dark times of apartheid. However, South African people still face economic and social challenges. Keim does not argue that sports are a quick fix to conflict, but that they can serve as a supplement to peacebuilding activity. Sports have the potential to transcend cultural barriers and stigmas by connecting people through physical activity. This study compellingly argues that sports are much more than child’s play, and can be successfully used in the midst of peace processes.

Keim, Marion. “Sport as Opportunity for Community Development and Peace Building in South Africa.” University of the Western Cape South Africa. Web. October 2013. <>.

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