Truth and reconciliation commissions have served as a forum in conflict resolution processes since the 1970s, with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the 1990s as its best-known example.
Today, reconciliation has increasingly become a key element of conflict resolution. Although the idea of reconciliation can be misused by former elites to exonerate themselves or claim new beginnings without dealing with the past, the concept can be productively and legitimately applied to acknowledge claims by survivors of human rights violations while ‘coming to terms with their painful past’.
The ReCo publication series addresses constructively the dynamic relationship between reconciliation and conflict resolution, reconciliation being understood as a driver of conflict resolution. Given that legal, political, and religious dimensions of reconciliation necessarily include moral components – i. e. the acknowledgment of suffering, the development of interreligious tolerance, and the analysis of entrenched narratives – the series is conceived of as a forum for interdisciplinary scholarship that regards reconciliation (intra- and interpersonal as well as national) an essential component in social conflict resolution strategies. Without law and truthfulness, there can be no reconciliation based on principles of justice. Without a minimum of legal and material remedies, there can be no reconciliation within a society or between nations. Without truthfulness in its historical, social, and moral dimensions there can be no new beginnings.
By introducing and exploring terms like legal remedy, the search for truth, acknowledgement, and new beginnings the ReCo publication series will contribute to the international interdisciplinary discourse on transitional justice.
In practical terms, the ReCo series is connected to the trilateral, interdisciplinary, and interreligious European Wasatia Graduate School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Flensburg (Europa-Universität) and Berlin (Maecenata Foundation). Doctoral students from Israel, Palestine, Germany and elsewhere will study the conditions of reconciliation in the Middle East from a comparative transnational perspective, bearing in mind that whatever diplomatic solutions are pursued in the future, they will only be sustainable in the context of a reconciliation process between Israelis and Palestinians. Beyond this project, the publication series also serves to disseminate reconciliation-oriented research on other pressing conflict areas around the globe.