Author Offers Solutions for Negotiating Peace in Libya

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Professional mediator and author Douglas E. Noll offers advice for negotiating peace in Libya. "Spending money as a philosophical humanitarian gesture falls far short of solving that country's problems, and doesn't support either the US or Libya's ultimate goals. My book Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts, shows why we can no longer afford to allow political, diplomatic, or military leaders mediate peace accords. Effective mediation and peace making efforts require a set of highly trained skills," Noll explains.

Douglas Noll, professional mediator and author of Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts, offers advice for negotiating peace in Libya. “While the US has committed to spending more than $100 million a month in Libya since February 2011 for a military presence, attempts towards peace negotiations are clearly ineffective and have failed.”

“Spending money as a philosophical humanitarian gesture falls far short of solving that country’s problems, and doesn’t support either the US or Libya’s ultimate goals. The intricacies and nuances of negotiation through mediation is, once again, disregarded for an outdated rudimentary approach of trying to assert our influence through military exercises,” Noll explains.

“Political leaders, diplomats, special envoys, and retired generals are often appointed to a job for which they are not trained nor have sufficient aptitude. Elusive Peace shows why we can no longer afford to allow political, diplomatic, and military leaders mediate peace accords. They simply don’t know what they are doing,” Noll adds. “Effective mediation and peace making efforts require a set of highly trained skills.”

Deep- rooted cultural beliefs are at the crux of most International conflicts. Personal identities, pride, and values are closely tied to such beliefs. Dictators, leaders, and men in power are wired to win and ‘save face’. “The International Criminal Court’s intervention in Libya with it’s policies of not granting immunity from prosecution in exchange for peaceful resolution of conflict narrowed Gaddafi’s choices, and snuffed out his ability to go into the night with his head held high. Now, unfortunately with this strategy in place, his choices have been reduced to fighting for control or die trying. This policy is the antithesis of good mediation,” Noll says.

“We need a strategic plan where the US facilitates Libya and the Trans National council, and works on creating a post-conflict reconciliation and civil society rebuilding plan. If this is not in place, the country very well might disintegrate into a low level tribal civil war that we will have enabled and financed. Again, our military force and strong financial campaign is a poor substitute for a forward thinking policy and strategic thinking,” Noll advises.

Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts (Promethius, April 2011) presents mediation techniques, and explains in detail the psychological, social, emotional, and physiological reasons why people, countries, and governments cannot end conflict easily. “Tightly held dogma freezes the brain’s ability to think rationally. Once strong emotions tied to long-held beliefs are triggered, rational thinking goes out the window. In order for a civil discourse to occur, a skilled mediator must assist the differing ‘sides’ to create empathy for one another, so that they can relate to each other—something that is taught in school yards and elementary classrooms to help kids get along with one another, yet these communication skills elude the higher powers in charge of negotiations,” Noll adds.

Douglas E. Noll is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators, a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and on the American Arbitration Association panel of mediators and arbitrators. Doug was one of the first U.S. mediators certified under the international mediator standards established by the International Mediation Institute based in The Hague, Netherlands.

After 22 years as a successful trial lawyer, Doug decided that litigation was a wasteful way to resolve conflicts, and earned his Masters Degree in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies. Since then, he has dedicated his life to mediation and peacemaking. Today, Doug is a nationally recognized mediator, trainer, and speaker. He has hosted a weekly radio show dedicated to giving a voice to international peacemakers for five years. His current pro bono project is training murderers committed to life sentences in the largest women’s prison in the world to become peacemakers and mediators through his co-founded organization Prison of Peace.

Doug Noll is an author of the books Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts (Prometheus, Spring 2011), Sex, Politics & Religion at the Office: The New Competitive Advantage (Auberry Press 2006), with John Boogaert, and Peacemaking: Practicing at the Intersection of Law and Human Conflict (Cascadia Publishing House 2002), and numerous chapters and articles on peacemaking, restorative justice, conflict resolution and mediation. He is a sought after mediator trainer, lecturer, speaker, and continuing education teacher. Doug has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America by U.S. News & World Report and is a Northern California Super Lawyer in Alternative Dispute Resolution. He has mediated over 1,500 conflicts, including business disputes, clergy sexual abuse cases, victim-offender criminal cases, and large litigated cases. His particular interest is in deep, intractable conflicts where emotions are running high.

As Doug became interested in international mediation efforts he observed that international mediators, for the most part, were inexperienced in the science and art of mediation. Their rookie mistakes were making things worse, often leading to genocide or further war. Unfortunately, political leaders, diplomats, special envoys, and retired generals are often appointed to a job for which they are not trained nor have sufficient aptitude. Elusive Peace shows why we can no longer afford to allow political, diplomatic, and military leaders mediate peace accords. They simply don’t know what they are doing. For more information visit http://www.elusivepeace.com. For media inquiries contact Diane Dennis, Inspired Media Communications at 503-678-1356.

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