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The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  413 ratings  ·  23 reviews
John Paul Lederach's work in the field of conciliation and mediation is internationally recognized. As founding Director of the Conflict Transformation Program and Institute of Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, he has provided consultation and direct mediation in a range of situations from the Miskito/Sandinista conflict in Nicaragua to Somalia, Northern Irela ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published January 20th 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 20th 2004)
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Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A friend here suggested I read this and I’d just recently read The Sociological Imagination and still didn’t make the connection. It is funny how obvious things need to be before I see them, sometimes.

There was a lot of this that I really liked, but also some things I found very problematic (that isn’t the right word or anything like the word I want – but I can’t think of the right word at the moment – we will get there).

Start positive. I really liked that this played with some ideas from what I
Jonathan Björk
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book for a current or future peace practitioner. It asks tough questions and force you to think in new imaginative and creative ways to solve complex issues. It also leaves time for self-reflection
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I would call this a foundational work that must be a required read for all those entering the peacebuilding world. Lederach is not wrong in seeking to push outside the box toward the creative and artistic. He provides countless stories, ideas, examples, and motivations to expand peacebuilding measures while looking at the past, present, and future and how a calm, collective, and appreciative mind can make the biggest and most pertinent changes.

As with any book, I do hold skepticism (though do no
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
While technically written for those in the professions of peace building in areas with protracted violence, I found many lessons for those of us in the field of education seeking to create schools where all students are engaged and achieving high standards.

I found many of the metaphors he presents to be richly resonant for my own work. I recommend this book.
Gordon Mckinlay
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant book. Although it looks as though it us for those involved in peace making or conflict resolution there are so many lessons for anyone interested in human nature and building relationships. I will need to go back and read it again as I am sure I have missed so much!
Pedro Limeira
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
'Insight after insight after insight' could be a synthesis of what the experience of reading this book was for me.

One of the first questions posed is: How do we transcend the cycles of violence that bewitch our human community while still living in them? I think this is pretty much the main issue in life, at least for me; to be counscious of my values and actions even when inside contexts that already have their well defined dynamics.

The moral imagination - the capacity to imagine something root
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lederach does a fantastic job setting up the preliminary ideas behind nonviolent peacebuilding and the necessary creativity that goes into such work. Not only does he successfully argue for the vital nature of creativity in such scenarios, but he inspires such thoughts in the reader throughout the book. I was particularly moved by his section on haikus and his discussion of poetry and the arts has realigned my focus with their importance within the academy. Lederach is clearly on who has thoroug ...more
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is THE most powerful book on peacebuilding I have ever read. Lederach uses beautiful language, sometimes close to poetry, to explore what it means to build peace. His basic argument is that peacebuilding is a continuous, simplistic but yet paradoxical, non-linear act of being that is rooted in the creative act of moral imagination. This is in contrast to perceiving of peacebuilding as a process of high-level rhetoric and peace accords among the powerful. Lederach uses beautiful metaphors to ...more
Jun 26, 2016 marked it as to-read
* 10 Mind-Blowing Books That People Who Love Thinking Can’t Miss
“Reconciliation is understood as both a place we are trying to reach and the journey that we take up with each other.”

John Paul Lederach is a leading voice in the international conciliation and mediation field. He has served as a consult and a direct mediator in conflicts all over the globe. In this book is explores the process of peace-building and reflects upon his experiences in the field. It is a remarkable text that will surely
Geoffrey Bateman
Excellent, thought provoking book. A superb blend of the theoretical with the practical, with a powerful call to rethink our work in this field in terms of artistry and creativity (although there's more to it than that, but that was one of the main lessons I'll be taking away from it). I haven't used it before in the classroom, but think it might make for a great text in our foundations course for our peace and justice studies students. ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it

Four stars for this poetic, thought-provoking book. It's not a novel; sometimes it can be a bit tangential and hard to follow. But it's one of the most inspiring textbooks I had in university. Lederach shares some of his reflections and tells stories that incorporate art and life into peacebuilding. The book itself is written artistically. It's worth reading.
Kate Miller
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
For a textbook, I found this entertaining and engaging. Lederach's use of his own personal anecdotes from his experiences in conflict resolution overseas improved my understanding of the importance of assuming skills in cultural competence before skills in resolving conflict. ...more
Jan 12, 2012 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Steve by: Krista Tippett On Being
Shelves: icpl, read-someday
John Paul Lederach's definition of Moral Imagination -- The capacity to imagine something rooted in the challenges of the real world yet capable of giving birth to that which does not yet exist. I

I didn't get around to reading this book but would like to someday.
Bjørn Peterson, PhD
In my top 5 books. Brilliant stuff.
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this for my Peacebuilding class. Hands down, this was the best book I've read all year. I recommend this book to everyone. ...more
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Charles Reilly. I will never forget "Haiku Moment". ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Another book read for my Reconciliation module. Quirky, original, insightful explorations by an experienced peacebuilder.
Alexandria Skinner
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it
After all the five star reviews, I guess I was expecting too much.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stoppedreading
I like this book. I just put it down to read about UFOs.
John Lussier
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-reads
A must read. Lederach's experience in working for peace is beyond exceptional, and his theories are wonderfully explained and very practical.

Sharon Campbell
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
John Paul is the benchmark we look to when looking to find a communication style that is effective in the conflicts we face in our own lives as well as on the world stage.
Meneer Schildpad
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An eloquent insight into the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation interwoven with beautiful metaphors and powerful anecdotes.
Carolyn Ross
rated it it was ok
Aug 17, 2017
Asma Yousaf
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Aug 22, 2020
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Sep 16, 2014
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Aldo Leal
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Dec 11, 2017
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John Paul Lederach is Professor of International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and concurrently Distinguished Scholar at Eastern Mennonite University. He has written widely on conflict resolution and mediation. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado. In 1994 he became the founding director for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at ...more

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“The turning point in our 200-year present is pregnant with enormous potential to constructively impact affect the fundamental well-being of the human community. However, contrary to the range of scientific and political projections, this turn in humanity's journey does not rotate on which specific forms of governing political, economic, or social structures we devise.” 0 likes
“The north of peacebuilding is best articulated as finding our way toward becoming and being local and global human communities characterized by respect, dignity, fairness, cooperation, and the nonviolent resolution of conflict. To understand this north, to read such a compass, requires that we recognize and develop our moral imagination far more intentionally.” 0 likes
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