Master's Theses


Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)


Lebanon and Bosnia are quite possibly the most divided nations on earth with each having multiple ethnic and religious populations. Both nations have had disastrous civil wars that included some of the most brutal killing in the 20th century. With the intervention of foreign powers both nations were able to set aside their differences and come to a peace settlement. In both cases the peace settlements accomplished its ultimate goal of ending the violence. The subsequent scholarship however created unrealistically high expectations for these settlements to foster a democratic culture and build a national consensus. This paper seeks to understand the historical origins of the conflict and why Lebanon and Bosnia have yet to pull themselves from the past, through exploration of the civil wars, their aftermath and the current political systems. This will be achieved using primary source opinions and accounts from individuals today and during the peace negotiations. Sources will also include current patterns of voting and political rule as well as contemporary newspaper articles highlighting the stagnation in economic growth, the decision-making process and political reforms within both nations. We find that ultimately the root causes of these issues stem from outside interference and lingering tensions between rival factions. The paper will also include a brief overview of the impact of how nation building failed in Lebanon and Bosnia-Herzegovina and the lessons we can learn from it.


Dr. Jian Sun

Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type



© 2018 Zachary Ruch


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