Reconstruction and Peace Building in the Balkans

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Reconstruction and Peace Building in the Balkans: The Brčko Experience

“A no-holds-barred story of determination, leadership, ingenuity, and the realities of peace building described from the inside. Ambassador Bill Farrand holds nothing back.”
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (ret.) JAMES M. DUBIK, Senior Fellow, Institute for the Study of War

In the tense aftermath of the 1992–95 Bosnian War, U.S. diplomat Bill Farrand was assigned the daunting task of implementing the Dayton Peace Accords in the ethnically divided Balkan city of Brčko in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serb, Muslim, and Croat political leaders alike had blocked agreement over Brčko’s political status and threatened to derail U.S.-brokered peace talks at Dayton, Ohio, in late 1995. Over three tumultuous years, 1997–2000, Ambassador Farrand wielded wide authority in efforts to restore travel across former cease-fire lines, return thousands to their destroyed and confiscated homes, conduct free and fair elections, and reestablish multiethnic government bodies—all in a climate of obstruction and fear. In this book, Farrand highlights the complex challenges peace builders confront, especially the role of civilian leadership in a post-conflict zone rent by ethnic cleansing. Analytic and prescriptive, the book explains in vivid detail the groundbreaking roles of arbitration and of civilian peace workers living among the people. His story is rich in lessons for all those engaged in or studying peace building abroad.

ROBERT W. “BILL” FARRAND, a 34-year career Foreign Service officer, was Supervisor of Brčko and Deputy High Representative for the northern sector of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1997 to 2000. Before serving as ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, 1990–93, his posts included Malaysia, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia and in the State Department, inter alia, as principal deputy assistant secretary, Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (1987–90). In the U.S. Navy (1957–64), after serving on sea duty, he taught at Annapolis. A 1981 National War College graduate, he holds a B.S. (Mount St. Mary’s College) and an M.A. (Georgetown University) and is now a distinguished senior fellow and affiliate professor at the George Mason University School of Public Policy’s Peace Operations Policy Program, co-directed by Professor Allison Frendak-Blume, who collaborated on the book.