Preventing Pluralism Breakdown

Preventing Pluralism Breakdown: Lessons from African Peace Processes

Intra-state conflict is the ultimate expression of state failure. Divisions, often blamed on ethnic or religious differences, spiral into violent upheaval. But most societies are diverse in some way. Why are some able to live peaceably with diversity while others fail? How can divided societies pull back from the brink?


On December 6, 2012, over 90 guests joined the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa for its second annual Pluralism Forum, featuring Vasu Gounden, founder and Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) from Durban, South Africa, in conversation with Rita Abrahamsen and David Petrasek of the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

The significance of economic exclusion, the politicization of ethnicity for partisan ends, the role of leaders, and the challenge of creating civic cohesion in “states-nations” were emphasized. Whether good governance is a prerequisite for inclusion or inclusion produces good governance emerged as the salient theme.


Vasu Gounden


Rita Abrahamsen


David Petrasek - Moderator