This chapter first discusses the range of international organizations involved in shaping the governance of ethnic diversity, including human rights bodies, development organizations, and conflict and peace-building organizations, and reviews some of the debates raised by this involvement. Many critics charge that the international community is bent on imposing (idealized versions of) Western models of liberal-democratic multiculturalism on parts of the world where they are inappropriate, while dismissing local modes of ethnic co-existence. Other critics argue that the international community is too willing to accept any settlement that avoids ethnic bloodshed, even at the expense of individual freedoms and democratic equality. These disagreements indicate the need for a more differentiated analysis of the role played by international actors. The chapter concludes with an overview of each of the subsequent chapters, noting how each helps to map the complex field of international involvement in the governing of ethnic diversity.
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