The Lost Art of Peacemaking

Paris Peace Forum
4 min readNov 2, 2020

By David Harland

For 20 years after the Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988, most armed conflicts were resolved by agreement — with life-saving results. No longer. The United Nations, in particular, has almost lost an art it once mastered.

The UN led the way ending wars from Lebanon to Liberia, Croatia to Cambodia. Its diplomacy was personalised, discreet, neutral and deeply informed. Others played a role too: the US brokered peace in Bosnia (1995) and Northern Ireland (1998); the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) mediated an end to violence in Aceh, Indonesia…