Even as news accounts focus on bloody scenes of ethnic tension around the world, there are quieter, less well reported stories of ethnic peace. In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, Karl Meyer and Shareen Brysac highlighted several examples and delved into why they have worked when others have not. Why did the diverse ethnic population of Marseille remain calm as riots spread through France in 2005? In this and other cases, they argued, there is a common ingredient: a willingness to confront and deal fairly with a tangled history. Meyer and Brysac also discussed Flensburg, once an epicenter of a notorious German-Danish struggle, now an example of trading land for peace; and cases from Australia, Russia, and Queens, NY.
Karl Meyer and Shareen Brysac are co-authors of Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Mastery in Central Asia (1999); and Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East (2008). Their most recent book, just published, is Pax Ethnica: Where and How Diversity Succeeds (2012). Meyer served on the New York Times editorial board and previously was a foreign correspondent and editorial writer for the Washington Post. Brysac, formerly a prize-winning documentary producer for CBS News, is author of Resisting Hitler: Mildred Fish Harnack and the Red Orchestra (2002).
A webcast and podcast of their seminar are available at Peaceful Resolution of Ethnic Tensions.