Montreux, 16 - 17 September 2013
Aiming to enhance peace and stability in a region characterized by a very fragile political transition, the workshop convened 18 participants from the region to develop skills in conflict transformation. It also provided a space for dialogue to discuss tensions and explore possible ways of peace mediation initiatives. The groups cross-region experience and knowledge and charity work networks, their local legitimacy and willingness to contribute to peace, a moral and religious incentive and obligation for them, offers peace promotion endeavours a solid foundation and advantageous starting points.
Date: 16 - 17 September 2013
Venue: Montreux, Switzerland
Organized by: The Cordoba Foundation of Geneva in partnership with the "Religion, Politics, Conflict" Desk of the "Human Security Division", Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
In 2011 and 2012 two workshops were held in Tunis and Istanbul respectively on the promotion of political participation of faith-based political actors and movements. Following these workshops, the participants expressed their willingness and readiness to contribute to peace promotion in the MENA region through their predication and networks of charity work. Another workshop was held on September 16th and 17th, 2013, in Montreux, Switzerland on peace promotion for religiously inspired actors under the NAWAT (North Africa and West Asia in Transformation) program. This workshop was organized by the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva and the FDFA's Human Security Division's desk Religion-Politics-Conflict (RPC). The main objective of the workshop was to contribute to enhancing peace and stability in the MENA and Sahel regions; this is to be done through supporting and equipping religiously inspired actors with conflict transformation tools that would complement their local legitimacy, cross-region networks, entry points and assets they are willing to put forward in the service of peace promotion.
This workshop, which convened 15 religiously inspired participants from Rabat to Yemen and Sahel affairs experts from Niger and Chad, was structured along two phases. The First phase consisted of the delivery of training on conflict transformation basics, approaches and analysis tools. The second phase was a space for exchanging experiences among participating actors and experts. Discussions focused also on the actors' networks and entry points that could be all mobilised to launch peace mediation initiatives in the MENA region.
In addition to deepening the trust built during the Tunis and Istanbul sessions, participants thought that in light of the training received the workshop offered them the opportunity to view conflicts through new lenses. Moreover, some participants who are involved in charity work stated that as a result of the training and exchange at the workshop they now think that the humanitarian work they deliver in the region cannot be separated from conflict transformation if sustainable development were to be attained. Furthermore, a number of participants suggested their readiness to set up a Sahel region forum of experts and actors in order to exchange experiences and ideas and to launch peace promotion initiatives.