Building Trust Through Dialogue in Divided Societies Role of Encounter Programs in Georgian-Abkhazian Peacebuilding Processes
Date of Award
Campus Access Thesis
Master of Arts (MA)
The following thesis analyzes dialogue projects conducted by the two non-governmental organizations in Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, aiming to reconcile divided societies. How successful each of them is and how they contributed to rebuilding trust and relations among the people.
From 2012 Caucasian House and Berghof Foundation are implementing projects inspired by the work of Dan Bar-On in Georgian Abkhazian context. "History, Memory and Identity" is the project implemented by the Berghof foundation that represents the hope for future cooperation and peaceful cohabitation between societies. The program aims to create the basis for building peaceful relationships and prevent further escalation of the conflict. The encounter program gives the floor for the civil society actors and people from these regions to peacefully interact and share stories that enhance tolerant interactions. The encounter program's approach combines a balance of different aspects of life and brings both negative and positive life experiences that connect different facets of living together authentically. The core principles of the project are to make individual narratives central and use collective narratives as background information. To make people and topics heard or left out of the official discourse. To challenge dominant narratives by the younger generation by creating Mono-communal intergenerational Dialogue.
As the conflict in Georgia contains elements of ethnonationalism to address the differences, build trust and reconciliation, intergroup encounters represent one way to address the conflicts in Georgia. The thesis follows the theories from the social psychology: Contact hypothesis developed by the Allport and Pettigrew and Social Identity theory.
The study is the pioneer of the micro-level analysis of such encounter programs in the Georgian Abkhazian conflict. Through the generational transition, new methods and innovative approaches are needed to respond to the needs and challenges of the current Georgian and Abkhazian Societies. Research opens up the whole horizon for the next generation of peace researchers to study the phenomena with myriads of angles and creates new opportunities for innovative approaches to conflict transformation.
Davlashelidze, Mariam, "Building Trust Through Dialogue in Divided Societies Role of Encounter Programs in Georgian-Abkhazian Peacebuilding Processes" (2021). Graduate Masters Theses. 703.
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