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Document Type

Article

Abstract

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service ("FMCS"), an independent agency of the U.S. government with over a half-century of conflict management and institutional-development experience, is a valuable resource in U.S. efforts to prevent armed conflict and build the foundations for lasting security in the U.S. and around the world. Given the urgency and complexity of this challenge, the United States should identify, support, and leverage all appropriate resources for preventive diplomacy, including short-term operational prevention and long-term structural prevention. Through its International Program, FMCS has already made important contributions to both types of prevention, drawing on three strategic assets that uniquely position it to support and complement the work of other governmental and non-governmental organizations. These are: its expertise in conflict management and institutional development, including helping other countries build their capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts at the organizational, community, societal, and regional levels; the access, credibility, and flexibility associated with its status as an independent agency; and the relationships it has built with governmental and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and overseas. FMCS's track record demonstrates the value and potential of its International Program. To fulfill this potential, however, the agency's preventive diplomacy work must be recognized, supported, and connected to other complementary efforts. The article has four sections: 1) an explanation of the need to draw on and integrate diverse resources for prevention; 2) an overview of FMCS, its historical evolution, and its international experience; 3) a strategic analysis of FMCS, including an overview of its strategic assets, a vision for the agency's evolving role in preventive diplomacy, and recommendations for next steps to achieve that vision; and 4) a conclusion, highlighting the value of a more active, supported, and integrated role for FMCS in international conflict prevention.