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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1998, Vol. 1 No. 1 .

Multi-Track Diplomacy: A Systems Approach to Peace
Louise Diamond & John McDonald.

(West Hartford, Conn: Kumarian Press, 1996).
182pp. Index. Bibl. Pb.:
ISBN 1-56549-057-6.

Joseph Monteville coined the phrase 'track-two diplomacy' in 1982 to refer to non- state, non-official interaction between members of adversarial groups or nations that aims to contribute towards the resolution of their conflict. Diamond & McDonald sub-divide Monteville's second track into eight inter-linked areas of activity: conflict resolution professionals, the business community, private citizens, education, activism, religion, funding, and the media. The emphasis of multi-track diplomacy is on peacebuilding efforts at the grassroots level. It is not intended to act as a substitute for official initiatives, rather it aims to supplement and feed into the official negotiation process.

Diamond & McDonald's book is a welcome addition to the spiralling theoretical framework of conflict transformation. It provides a well structured framework to analyse the contribution of grassroots peacebuilding to the resolution of conflict. It gives definition to John Paul Lederach's 'peace constituency' in a way that few authors have done.

The 'intrasystemic relationship' between the various tracks is well covered. Not enough attention, however, is paid as to how the 'system' can feed into the political process most effectively. The authors recognise that the main problem facing their approach is that 'it does not yet think of itself as a system'. The book will be of most use to peace activists seeking ways to wider their constituency.

Alan Morton, University of Limerick

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