Projekt Projekt
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Ambassadors of Peace? Intergroup Contact and Conflict Resolution in Israel

Migration, Integration und interkulturelle Konflikte
Cyrus Samii (New York University, USA)
USAID, USIP (through New York University, USA)

Theoretical background and objectives

Every year governments, non-governmental organizations and companies spend millions of dollars on "people-to-people" peace-building programs or intergroup contact interventions in conflict-ridden societies (e.g. Football for hope). The assumption behind many of these programs is that they will help transform conflict-ridden into peaceful societies. Yet, little is known as to whether effects of these programs ever go beyond improving the out-group attitudes held by immediate program beneficiaries and contribute to mitigating hostility in their in-group communities. The "ambassadors of peace" project tries to address this latter question. We examine if and how a peace and contact program in Israel affects the way participants relate to their in-group peers.

If peace-building programs are effective in transforming participants,
these participants will likely deviate from their in-group community in a number of important ways. In this situation, behaviors focused on dissent or deviance towards fellow in-group members can be more relevant and effective than cooperation, at least in the long run (Cikara & Paluck, 2013). We thus ask can peace-building programs cause individuals to dissent from their in-group and take positions vis-à-vis their in-group peers that promote harmony and non-violence towards the out-group?

We focus on a range of outcomes, including in-group mobilization and
in-group censuring, individual willingness to mitigate inter-group
hostility by censuring aggressive actions of in-group peers toward
out-group individuals. In-group focused strategies include standing up to extremist's violent provocation (although that is difficult to measure

Research design, data and methodology

Methodologically, we combine three strategies: A difference in differences pilot study, an innovative randomized controlled trial  (to be completed spring 2016), a cross-sectional survey including current and former participants in the program (data collection ongoing, to be completed November 2015).

  • Ditlmann, Ruth/Samii, Cyrus (2016): "Can Intergroup Contact Affect Ingroup Dynamics? Insights from a Field Study with Jewish and Arab-Palestinian Youth in Israel". In: Peace and Conflict - Journal of Peace Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 4, S. 380-392.