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Peacebuilding, Memory and Reconciliation by Genevieve Parent, Bruno Charbonneau

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Chapter 7

Governmental apologies and political reconciliation

Promise and pitfalls

Graham G. Dodds

This chapter examines the use of governmental apologies as a means of achieving political reconciliation, enhancing community, and facilitating peace. It considers some of the prominent examples of such apologies, discusses the scholarly literature on the topic, and analyses one case in detail, namely the apology from the United States to Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II. I argue that this one example demonstrates both the promise and pitfalls of using such apologies for political reconciliation.1

Mass media reports of apologies have been commonplace for some time now. Beyond the apologies of poorly behaved celebrities, ...

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