Most violent conflicts today are fought within states, and many are related to identity. They are, therefore, inextricably linked to how people perceive their history. How political leaders view and use history and historical narratives, often as the foundation for their claims, has a great impact on negotiations and can hold a peace process hostage.
In this lecture, Michael van Walt van Praag, Visiting Professor in the School of Historical Studies, offers a mediator’s perspective on ways to examine pertinent historical events and historiography in order to facilitate a change in the way negotiators relate to the other party’s history, as well as to their own. In so doing, he also considers the relation of modern international law and the nation-state concept to today’s conflicts.