The Tajikistan Peace-Building Initiative
THE TAJIKISTAN PEACE-BUILDING INITIATIVE
 
A joint project of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue and the Public Committee for Democratic Processes
 
Project Description
 
The Tajikistan peace-building initiative was launched in March 2000 in collaboration with the newly-established Public Committee for Democratic Processes (PCDP). A Dushanbe-based non-governmental organization, PCDP is an outgrowth of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue. The Inter-Tajik Dialogue (ITD) was initiated in March 1993 as an unofficial dialogue intervention to deal with the ongoing Tajik civil war.
 
ITD involved a core of ten to fourteen influential citizens of Tajikistan divided among the different political factions. A third-party team of 3 Americans and 3 Russians moderated the discussions. The meetings were alternatively chaired by the Russian and American co-chairs. In the beginning, the dialogue formed a unique channel of communication between the government and the opposition.
 
ITD played a significant part in the different phases of the peace-making process in Tajikistan:
 
*First, in paving the way for negotiations (1993-1994). This period ended in April 1994 with the launching of the official UN-mediated negotiations to which three ITD members were delegates
 
*Second, in providing a parallel venue to the official negotiations where ITD members focused on the elements of a political process of national reconciliation (1994-1997). A peace agreement was concluded and signed in 1997.
 
*Third, in a transitional period for establishing a process of national reconciliation (1997-2000): Four ITD members became members of the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) which was entrusted with overseeing the implementation of the peace accords.
 
With the completion of a series of elections in Tajikistan in February 2000 thus marking the end of the transitional period, ITD members formed the Public Committee for Democratic Processes (PCDP). In June 2000, PCDP launched a multi-track civic initiative in Tajikistan. The three tracks are:
 
·        Track One: Establish a network of regional dialogues inside Tajikistan building on their experience with the Inter-Tajik Dialogue. The regional dialogues focus on issues that lie at the center of the political debate in the country and if not tackled, might be a source of instability in the long-term.
 
·        Track Two: An educational program in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Tajikistan, for the purpose of designing an undergraduate university curriculum in the fields of conflict resolution and peace-building, completing a textbook on these topics to be used in the university classroom and training in these fields a cadre of 22 university professors from 8 Tajikistani universities
 
·        Track Three: A network of regional economic development committees (EDCs) for the purpose of testing and promoting a community-based dialogue process around local economic development issues
 
A network of regional dialogue groups has been established in seven regions of Tajikistan including Dushanbe. Each dialogue group involves a core group of local civic and religious leaders and government officials. The dialogue group meets once every other month for half-a-day. For the first two years of their work, they focused on the topic of the relationship between religion, state and society in Tajikistan.
 
The educational program is about to be completed. A joint Tajik-Western textbook in conflict resolution and peace-building has been published. Tajikistan’s Ministry of Education officially adopted the course curriculum and textbook. The textbook, a first for Tajikistan, will be a required reading for all first year university students majoring in economics, political science, sociology, international relations, law, and history. We have also produced a teacher’s guide and a companion website listing web-based supplemental readings. We have also established 5 regional resource centers in five different universities in Tajikistan. Each resource center will house a small library of textbooks in conflict resolution and peace-building, a computer and a printer.
 
There are now 10 economic development committees in operation in Tajikistan. Most focus on micro-credit activities while few have launched modest agricultural projects. PCDP is planning to launch a new set of 6 additional EDCs in May 2006.
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