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Charter

Presenting the Foundation

The Cordoba Foundation of Geneva (CFG) is a Swiss non-governmental non-profit organization working on peace promotion.

The CFG was established in Geneva in 2002 to foster research and dialogue on peace issues, and to promote exchange between cultures and civilizations in the spirit that prevailed in 10th-century Cordoba. The Andalusian city called the “Capital of the Spirit” remains an almost unique model for peaceful coexistence and for the cross-fertilisation of ideas.

The CFG focuses on tensions and polarisations in all societies where Muslims live, and aims to enhance theoretical and practical conflict transformation resources in Muslim majority countries.

Scope and purpose of this Charter

This Charter presents the CFG’s long-term vision and mission and explains the values and guidelines it has established for the work it carries out.

Our Vision

Our vision is of a peaceful world in which societies where Muslims live address conflict in a non-violent manner.

Our Mission

The CFG is dedicated to promoting dialogue and empowering people for the prevention of violence and for peaceful conflict transformation in societies where Muslims live.

Our Goals and Desired Outcomes

The work of the CFG is aimed at achieving five goals with the following outcomes:

Goal 1. Internal peace resources in societies where Muslims live are revived

  • Local theoretical resources and practical mechanisms for conflict transformation are known and valued.
  • Local approaches are enhanced and integrated into culturally sensitive conflict transformation initiatives.

Goal 2. Peace actors in Muslim-majority societies are empowered

  • Local peace actors have increased capacities to deal with conflict in a non-violent manner and strengthened expertise in conflict transformation.
  • Local peace actors take the lead in peace initiatives.

Goal 3. A community of conflict transformation practitioners is active and effective

  • Experience sharing and synergies among conflict transformation practitioners are developed.
  • Conflict transformation practitioners gain knowledge of a variety of relevant approaches and experiences.

Goal 4. Muslim-majority societies are inclusive socially, politically and culturally

  • Parties to social and political conflicts and other stakeholders engage in dialogue.
  • Parties to social and political conflicts and other stakeholders collaborate on practical issues.

Goal 5. Muslims and non-Muslims interact peacefully

  • Mutual understanding and respect between Muslims and non-Muslims is increased and prejudices are reduced.
  • Muslims and non-Muslims engage in common activities and joint projects.

Our Approach and Tools

In our approach, we use the following methodological tools:

1. Conflict transformation

We endeavour to transform the relationships between parties to conflict to minimize the use of violence. We encourage them to deal with direct, structural and cultural causes of conflict.

2. Collectively shared knowledge

In the reports and papers we produce, we ensure that the analyses, conclusions and recommendations issued are shared by a diverse panel of actors from different backgrounds.

3. Capacity-building

We empower parties to conflict and enhance their capacity to analyse conflicts and to master non-violent approaches to dealing with them.

4. Safe mediation space

We provide safe mediation spaces to enable parties to conflict to know each other and to dialogue in order to reach mutual respect. Our approach to mediation is to be fully involved and committed throughout the process.

5. Diapraxis

We promote joint projects between parties to conflict in order for them to build mutual confidence and to share expertise, knowledge and capacity.

Our Activities

In the context of our Mission and Goals, we carry out the following activities:

  1. Research aimed at guiding our work, with a focus on actionable outcomes.
  2. Training in conflict transformation theory and practice, tailored to specific needs.
  3. Interventions in peace promotion, facilitation and the creation of mediation spaces.
  4. Technical advice and support in conflict transformation initiatives.
  5. Network creation to promote the exchange of expertise at local and regional level.
  6. Production and dissemination of materials to promote a culture of non-violence.

We undertake these activities in collaboration with political and religious actors, civil society organisations and the media.

Our Core Values

1. Non-violence

  • We are engaged in conflict transformation by peaceful means.
  • We act and encourage others to act without the use of violence.

2. Inclusiveness

  • We deal with anyone willing to strive for peace.
  • We do not exclude or discriminate against any actors.

3. Impartiality

  • We adopt an impartial attitude towards all.
  • We treat people in a fair manner.

4. Empathy

  • We approach conflict transformation from a humane perspective.
  • We show empathy towards all parties and stakeholders involved in conflict.

5. Independence

  • We act independently from influence by parties to conflict, stakeholders, partners or donors.
  • We are not affiliated to any governmental agency, political organisation, security or military apparatus, religious denomination, doctrinal school, ideological current, or any other lobby, and do not determine our activities and beneficiaries under pressure from any such parties.

Our Guiding Principles

1. Operational agility

We maintain the flexibility required to respond swiftly to external solicitation or to redirect a program or a project when circumstances require.

2. Cooperation

We cooperate with other local, regional or international organisations for the sake of joining forces, maximising resources, collaborating, and exchanging experience and information. We work in the spirit of stimulating competition for the common good.

3. Local ownership

We build on existing local capacities for peace, designing and implementing peace initiatives jointly with local partners, and supporting local initiatives.

4. “Do no harm”

We design our programs and projects to meet the prerequisite conditions for doing no harm. We intervene in a conflict only when we are convinced that our intervention will bring added value and complement the efforts of other actors in a constructive way.

5. Cultural sensitivity

We respect local customs and norms and avoid transgressing them or imposing other external norms. In our training and conflict transformation approaches, we integrate the cultural and religious values and resources of the actors involved.

6. Transparency

Prior to any peace initiative, we explain to the parties to conflict our motivation, approach and the source of funding of the initiative, and we do not hide any information necessary for them to take an informed decision on whether to engage in the process. We report on our activities and fully adhere to our obligations as a Swiss foundation under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs.

7. Respect for fundamental human rights

We treat all people with respect and avoid any act, word or attitude that may injure their dignity or fundamental human rights.

Structure and Governance

The bodies of the CFG are:

1. The Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of the CFG. It has the responsibility to ensure compliance with the mission of the CFG and that the assets of the CFG are fully engaged in achieving its goal in line with international professional standards.

2. The Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee provides technical expertise and guidance, and ensures that the programs and projects of the CFG comply with its strategic objectives, core values, methodology and approach, and guiding principles.

3. The Executive Management

The Executive Management has the mandate to direct and manage the CFG according to the directives of the Board of Trustees and the recommendations of the Advisory Committee.

4. The Staff

The Staff carrying out the activities of the CFG are drawn from a variety of backgrounds, and we endeavour to ensure diversity and to provide equal opportunities for all.

Staff and associates adhere to the core values, guiding principles and operating procedures of the CFG, as outlined in this charter, the code of conduct and other internal guidelines.

5. The External Auditor

The External Auditor is appointed by the Board of Trustees to review and approve the accounts of the CFG. The audited accounts are reported every year with CFG’s annual report to the Supervisory Authority.

Funding

The sources of funding of the CFG are the income from its training activities, private donations, contributions from public institutions and agencies, and legacies.

The CFG verifies that donors comply with legal and ethical requirements, in particular for donations from private and public institutions. No funding is accepted if it is not compatible with the core values and the guiding principles of the CFG.

We refuse any funding from parties to conflict for mediation or facilitation, but accept funding for training from such parties where appropriate.

Oversight and Due Diligence

As a Swiss foundation with an international scope, the CFG is registered and operates under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs (the Supervisory Authority).

The CFG promotes professionalism, builds and consolidates its internal capacities, adopts established best practices in administration, finance and project management from planning to execution, establishes and applies ethical standards, develops internal procedures for quality assurance and accountability and submits to peer evaluation and to quality control and external audit.