Enhancing capacity to effectively support dialogue and mediation processes in Africa.
Building and maintaining a culture of dialogue and peace is a key objective in the work of ACCORD. To this end, ACCORD participated in the International Training on Dialogue and Mediation (ITDM) Program which was held from 7-17 June 2017 in Uppsala, Sweden. The ITDM Program was organised and hosted by Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (DHF) and Department of Peace and Conflict Research (DPCR), Uppsala University. It brought together 20 peace practitioners, policy makers, researchers and experts from 17 different countries from all over the world.
The ITDM Program is an international program that is dedicated to building the capacity and skills on dialogue and mediation through a blend of lectures, experience sharing and study visits to institutions and organisations that are using practical approaches to solve peace and security challenges in the society. The following sessions were discussed and covered as part of the training: 1) the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP); 2) Mediation and Leadership; 3) Multi-Actor Dialogues: A Methodology; 4) Gender and Peace Operations; 5) Sustaining Peace through Ecological, Social and Political Sensitivity; 6) Peace Agreements: Solutions, Processes, Actors; 7) Ex-Combatants as a Challenge to Post-War Peacebuilding; 8) Bridging Policy and Research in Peace; 9) Policy Discussion on Sustaining Peace; 10) International mediation; and 11) Truth commissions after war: blessing or burden? Besides lectures and experience sharing, the program also included practical aspects on how to integrate the lessons learned from the training into the work of the participants’ organizations through the ITDM Cases. The ITDM Case sessions at the end of the training provided an opportunity to participants to look at the cases identified at the beginning of the program and reflect on the lessons learnt from the training that they can use to address the issues raised in their specific cases.The class room sessions were also complemented by study visits to institutions like Fryshuset (the largest youth centre in the world) and peace walks.
The programme provided a platform for the peace practitioners and experts to acquire practical tools to improve the effectiveness and impact of their work while deepening their understanding of dialogue and mediation. The discussions, critical reflection, inquiry and extensive sharing of experiences allowed participants to strengthen their capacity to engage and support mediation and dialogue processes in the contexts they work in. Some of the experiences shared during the program include from countries like Timor Leste, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Colombia, Ukraine, Sudan and South Sudan amongst others. The training also enhanced participants’ knowledge and facilitation skills in mediation and dialogue since they were also involved in facilitating the group discussions and plenary sessions during the Program.
Working towards sustainable peace in Africa and globally aligns with ACCORD’s strategic vision. Thus the knowledge, skills and lessons from the training will further contribute to the efforts to realise this objective, further enhancing the development of mediation capacities at the local, national, regional, continent and global level.