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Definitions of Coexistence and Reconciliation

Coexistence is a term that means a minimal, least demanding way for people to relate to one another positively. Fundamentally, the concept is informed by an attitude of "live and let live." Coexistence is an ideal without illusions. It's objective is not the seamless union of opposites, but a practical relationship of mutual respect among these opposites. Coexistence does not deny distinctiveness; in fact, it encourages it, respecting the rich diversity in an ethnically rich global society.1 Examples of coexistence interventions are mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, peace studies, civic leadership, labor relations, organizational development, consensus building, search for common ground, transformation and problem solving.2

Reconciliation is a deeper, more time-consuming process than coexistence settlement. It is a widely-used reflective peacebuilding method which searches for positive, proactive solutions to disputes, bringing healing and closure to the past and revisioning the future, so that all actors from the interplay of governments, business, international agencies and transnational social movements can work together to achieve common goals. With reconciliation, psychological techniques and spiritual perspectives allow for accountability and forgiveness by reuniting victims and perpetrators across all the divisions; by building on the experience of the truth and reconciliation commissions by offering hope and healing for human immobilization, trauma, frustration, anger and hatred; by offering a new political process based on a felt experience of global citizenship beyond divisions to resolve common problems; and by honoring each ethnic group's traditional ways of resolving conflicts worldwide. Reconciliation is defined as calling and responding to one another in claiming each person's unique wisdom and talents and extending them to the world. In spite of humanity's woundedness, the essential self is always whole. With that wholeness comes a holiness for a needy world that we could bless with our presence. Humanity is re-invented. Soul force is a powerful alternative to armed force, as Gandhi so powerfully showed in his satya graha with the recognition of aspects of self.