Resolving conflicts: Diplomacy works

Two women in white clothing holding flags, hugging, among crowd on street (© Ivan Valencia/AP Images)
Colombians celebrate in 2016 after a peace pact was reached in their country. (© Ivan Valencia/AP Images)

Diplomacy has solved conflicts, prevented deaths and economic turmoil, and secured peace. Think negotiation doesn’t work? Here’s a look at some critical times when it did.

Colombia, 2016

 Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londoño shaking hands as other men look on (© Fernando Vergara/AP Images)
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, left, shakes hands with Rodrigo Londoño, the top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, after signing a revised peace pact November 24, 2016. (© Fernando Vergara/AP Images)

The 2016 peace accord ended five decades of conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and laid out a path to lasting peace.

Sierra Leone, 2002

Schoolboy holding pencil and pen, sitting at desk in classroom (© Belen B. Massieu/
A boy attends school in Kabala, Sierra Leone, on May 30, 2019. (© Belen B. Massieu/

In 2014, the United Nations hailed Sierra Leone as a success story due to its remarkable post-conflict transition following a brutal civil war (1991–2002). The end of the war allowed the country to rebuild its infrastructure and work on social and economic development.

Northern Ireland, 1998

Bertie Ahern, George Mitchell and Tony Blair posing for photo in large meeting room with others behind them (© AP Images)
From left: Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, U.S. Senator George Mitchell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair pose for a photo after signing the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement on April 10, 1998. (© AP Images)

The U.S.-brokered 1998 Belfast Agreement ended 30 years of civil strife in Northern Ireland. It is also known as the Good Friday Agreement because it was reached on April 10, 1998, which was the Friday before Easter that year.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1995

World leaders, including Bill Clinton, looking on as three presidents sign documents (© Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images)
The presidents of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia sign the Dayton Peace Accords at the Élysée Palace in Paris on December 14, 1995, as leaders of six other nations look on. (© Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images)

The 1992–95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina claimed more than 200,000 lives and forced 2 million people from their homes. The strife ended when the United States helped to negotiate a peace agreement. It is known as the Dayton Accords because the negotiations took place at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, outside Dayton, Ohio.

Reykjavík Summit, 1986

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev shaking hands at door of building (© Ron Edmonds/AP Images)(© Ron Edmonds/AP Images)
President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev shake hands at a leaders’ summit in Reykjavík, Iceland, on October 11, 1986. (© Ron Edmonds/AP Images)

A leaders’ summit in Reykjavík, Iceland, between the United States and the Soviet Union ultimately led to agreement on a wide range of arms control issues.

Camp David, 1978

Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter and Menachem Begin sitting outside with forest in background (© AP Images)
From left: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin meet for the first time at Camp David, Maryland, on September 6, 1978. (© AP Images)

President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed an agreement in September 1978 that established a framework for a historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979. It is known as the Camp David Accords because the negotiations took place at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland.