The Role of Leaders in Peace Building

The Role of Leaders in Peace Building

Yusuf Cerit (Bolu Abant İzzet Baysal University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2827-3.ch007


Since the existence of humanity, there have been various conflicts and wars. Conflict and war setting causes people to lose their lives and deteriorate their living spaces and sociological environment. In order to prevent this kind of negativity, it can be stated that the disputes between people or societies must be solved before they turn into conflict or war. Leadership is vital to the success of efforts to create peace by ending the conflict or war. In this regard, it is important to identify community leaders who take actions to create peace. In the literature, the concept of peace leadership emerged as a relatively new phenomenon. Therefore, this chapter examines how leadership can be effective in creating and sustaining peace, the concept of peace leadership, and the characteristics, skills, and roles of peace leaders.
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Since the existence of humanity, various conflicts and wars have been experienced and millions of people have lost their lives (Asal, 2013). Conflict and war causes not only people to lose their lives, but also the deterioration of the living area and the sociological environment of people, such as the deterioration of the ecological balance of the environment. This situation leads to various negative effects such as causing people to live a stressful and nervous life. Although war or conflict adversely affect human life in many ways, why do people continue to fight in different ways. This can be seen as a question to be answered.

Since one of the most determinant characteristics of human beings is the tendency to use violence and force, it has been suggested that the tendency to violence is a feature of human nature (Çift & Canan, 2016). In fact, it can be observed that not only people, but also many other living creature tend to exhibit violence. Their desire to survive may cause violence against each other. Living creature have to struggle to get the food and drink what they need to survive. So scarce resources can be the main cause of conflict or war between people. The greed of people and the ambition to have more, that is, their dissatisfaction, may be another cause of war. Because people who are social entities live in a group and interact with other societies they are aware of the existence of different people. The fact that some people want others to think, live and behave like themselves can cause them to tend to exert pressure and violence to fulfill this desire. Therefore, human beings seem to be very skilled in finding justification for conflict and war. However, conflict and war are very costly for humanity.

War and conflict can produce various negative consequences, such as death and living in poor conditions, while peace can generate some positive outcomes for people such as prosperity and tranquility. For example, King (2010) stated that “Peace is a state of existence for a society within which conflicts are managed without violence, and result in the advancement of social, moral, economic and political aspects of society to the betterment of the people” (p. 172). Peace can not only prevent people from losing their lives due to conflict, but can also provide significant economic advantages. In the GPI 2018 report, peace was found to have a significant impact on macroeconomic performance. In the last 70 years, per capita growth has increased threefold in highly peaceful countries when compared to low peace level countries (IEP, 2018). In this report, per capita GDP growth has been found to be seven times higher in the last ten years in countries that have improved in peace than in countries that have deteriorated in peace. In the light of this information, it can be stated that peace has positive contributions for people and societies. Therefore, it may be better for people to prefer to live in peace rather than war or conflict.

Although people find various reasons for war or conflict, it is important to resolve conflict situations before they reach the level of war when people are considered rational beings. People can cognitively overcome the reasons for persecuting others and have the ability to develop an understanding that will see all people as brothers, regardless of color, religion, language and race. It is possible that people can live peacefully without fighting or clashing. To do this, people need to take action to end a war or conflict situation and to create a peaceful environment. The concept of leadership is one of the factors that are emphasized in attempts to prevent the formation of a conflict and war settings or to create a peaceful environment. Leaders can contribute to the creation of a peaceful environment by providing a reliable environment and sense of normality in situations of uncertainty and by ensuring the physical and social protection of people. In addition, by creating cooperation and harmony between people or communities, leaders can contribute to building and sustainability of peace. In short, it can be argued that the concept of leadership is important in ending war and creating peace. This article explains how leadership can be effective in creating and sustaining peace.

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