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A part from chocolate and beer, one of the major products exported from Belgium over the last two decades has been its constitutional model. It has not been copied elsewhere, at least not in its entirety (“Thank God,” some would say), but it has been studied in nearly every international circle concerned with institutional solutions for ethnically and linguistically complex societies, especially ones emerging from conflict. Bosniaks, Sri Lankans, Cypriots, Northern Irish, Sudanese, Israelis and Palestinians have all tried to understand how a society that is so profoundly divided, from a cultural and linguistic perspective, could replace the threat of violence with political dialogue and compromise.

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