Dr. Carmela Lutmar of the University of Haifa, Israel, was the guest speaker at the first lecture of the Mabini Dialogue Series for 2015 entitled Peace Agreements and Leadership Changes. The event was held last 13 January at the Benedicto Room, Carlos P. Romulo Library, FSI.
In her presentation on “Peace Process Obstacles and Prospects: the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict with the Cyprus Problem,” Dr. Lutmar discussed some similarities between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the political tension on a Cyprus divided between its Greek and Turkish populations. According to the professor, both are “intractable conflicts” with little hope of being solved in the near future. She listed several causes of political deadlocks and suggested a number of ways to overcome them.
She then proceeded to the important issue of determining the right time to talk peace in any conflict management issue, citing “ripeness” theories, most significantly a change in leadership and thus policy direction for a given party to the conflict. She gave some examples from her own country as well as the swift passage of the Philippines’ Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (2012) following the election of the new Aquino administration back in 2010.
Dr. Lutmar concluded with a sobering assessment, admitting that intractable conflicts are extremely difficult to solve. Often, changes in leadership only provide the initial impetus to reboot negotiations which may not always lead to lasting comprehensive agreements.
In attendance were officers and staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs, some members of the Philippine military, as well as Philippine embassy officials from Jakarta who joined through FSI live webcast.