Designing and Supporting Dialogue and Mediation Processes

May 20–27, 2017, Sandö, Sweden

The UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the FBA, the Swedish government agency for peace, security and development, have collaborated on dialogue and mediation trainings since 2006. Following a request by DPA for assistance in enhancing the mediation capacities of the organization, this joint venture has developed into a bespoke training course for UN staff and selected individuals from regional partner organizations in the categories of P2-P5.

In 2013, mediation support was identified as one of the four DPA core mandated areas that all DPA staff should be trained in. The course has since been one of the key courses offered to the DPA’s staff. The course aims to:

  • Enhance dialogue and mediation skills and provide practical methods for DPA staff and partners including regional organizations to support such processes;
  • Promote uniformity in the UN’s understanding of and approach to dialogue and mediation, while strengthening DPA’s PMD support of mediation and dialogue in the UN system;
  • Encourage reflection on dialogue and mediation in the UN within a values-based framework and provide an opportunity to meet, reflect and share on the existing practice and knowledge;
  • Contribute to more effective dialogue and mediation by deepening the knowledge and enhancing the skills of the participants through simulation exercises, expert inputs and collective sharing of experiences and lessons using tested pedagogical approaches;
  • Inspire participants to promote change in their organizations’ approach to and practice on dialogue and mediation.

Concrete learning objectives

Learning objectives reflect identified learning needs and help participants focus their efforts in order to effectively achieve knowledge and skills deemed necessary for improved performance. The FBA measures the success of training in relation to how well the stated learning objectives are met. In the case of this course, it has been identified that the participant, at the end of the week, will be able to:

  • Describe in own words the most important features needed in order to design or support a sustainable dialogue or mediation process;
  • Discuss, within a values-based framework, the importance of promoting uniformity in the UN and its partners’ understanding of and approach to dialogue and mediation;
  • Advice her/his organization on process design and/or dialogue and mediation facilitation, based on an increased understanding of mindful communication, conflict systems analysis, and dialogue and mediation techniques;
  • Actively engage in the development of her/his organizations’ approach to and practice of dialogue and mediation.

Methodology

The training is interactive in its character, focusing on skills-building. It highlights themes such as conflict analysis, basic communication and facilitation skills, frameworks of dialogue and mediation, and process design. During the training a number of different learning methods are used, including experience-sharing, theoretical input, plenary discussions, group work, reflection, and, not at least, simulation exercises and role play. The conflict dynamics and peace process in Mali will be used as a case study throughout the 2017 course. However, participants do not need to have any specific knowledge of the country.

Resource team

During the training, a team of experts from FBA, DPA and external consultants will guide the participants through the different training modules. These are (at the time of writing the DPA resource person is yet to be confirmed):

Chris Spies, an independent conflict transformation consultant based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, who was involved in the anti-apartheid movement and peacebuilding in South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s. Chris has been a Peace and Development Adviser in Guyana, and has gained extensive experience in mediation, dialogue, facilitation and training over many years in various international and UN settings. Chris is currently facilitating intergenerational dialogues in South Africa and in 2013 he co-facilitated the “Finding Ways to Walk Together” dialogues in South Africa. He initiated the reflective practice “Unyoke Retreats for Peacebuilders” for international peacebuilders in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Emmanuel Bombande, a peacebuilding practitioner with vast experience, including as a lead mediator in several intra-communal mediation efforts in West Africa. He most recently served as the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ghana. Previous positions include being the Special Assistant to the Head of the UN Office for West Africa as well as member of the Advisory Board of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana. Emmanuel is also a co-founder and former Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP).

Dr. Emma Leslie, who has worked on conflict transformation and peacebuilding throughout Asia since 1993. In 2008, she founded the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Cambodia, in which she holds the position of Executive Director. Emma actively supports peace processes across the region, particularly in Myanmar, and in the Philippines, as a consultant for Conciliation Resources and as a member of the International Contact Group for the peace talks between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In 2016, Emma was awarded the Order of Australia, for significant service to international relations through the facilitation of a network of conflict transformation and peace practitioners in the Asia Pacific region.

Tobias Petrelius, the course director and project leader within the Conflict prevention in practice programme at FBA. Before joining FBA, Tobias worked three years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with conflict transformation, first as Technical Adviser, embedded in a local Congolese NGO, and later as Conflict Analysis and Mediation Specialist for the DPKO Mission MONUSCO.

Practical information

The training will take place at the FBA training center at Sandö. Sandö is a small island on the river Ångermanälven, some 500 kilometers north of Stockholm. In order to reach the facility, all participants will take the train from Stockholm Arlanda airport to the city of Sundsvall, where they will be picked up by bus (catered by the FBA) and driven to the training center.

In order to be able to catch the train from Stockholm Arlanda airport and arrive in Sandö in the afternoon, all participants need to arrive in Stockholm, at latest, during the morning of May 20. All participants will depart from Sandö to Stockholm Arlanda airport during the morning hours of May 27.

During the training, all participants will be accommodated at the Sandö training campus. FBA will provide participants with more information once the participants have been confirmed.

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