Dialogue, Mediation & Peace Support Structures

Inclusive peace processes will be strengthened if they are given process-related, conceptual and technical support. Peace support structures, when steered properly, can help build trust and serve as deadlock-breaking mechanisms and safety nets. Our work in this area, therefore, is to contribute to the design of innovative dialogue and mediation formats, to assist conflict actors in enhancing their negotiation and strategy-building skills and to help establish functional peace support structures. In addition, we provide cross-cutting expertise to various activities in the Berghof Foundation’s regional programmes.

Mediation Support

Collaborative support for mediation processes, mediators, and mediation-teams can contribute to the improvement of the conditions for long-term and sustainable peace. Our mediation support activities provide operational support for learning processes and assist the processing and dissemination of knowledge. They contribute to empowerment and development of competencies through workshops, trainings and coaching on methodology and practical mediation skills, and by offering support and advice on the setup or development of sustainable support structures, including the establishment of mediation at the political level. Our mediation support function is reinforced by our engagement in related networks like the Mediation Support Network (MSN) or the Initiative Mediation Support Germany. Additionally, we are active in constant conceptual innovation of dialogue and mediation formats.

These roundtables offer decision-makers and experts an informal platform to discuss topical challenges and innovations in the field of mediation and mediation support and develop policy recommendations. The Roundtables are attended by parliamentarians, staff members of relevant ministries, especially the Foreign Office, as well as renowned experts. To ensure a lively and open discussion, the Roundtables are held under the Chatham House Rule. more >

Negotiation Support

Negotiation is the most effective means of mitigating conflicts. Support for negotiation between conflict parties involves facilitating the process of structuring and analysing the conflict, understanding the power dynamics, interests and needs, fostering engagement and communication, and determining feasible and efficient alternatives. Our activities in this area focus on negotiation training and process support to resistance and liberation movements (RLMs) in transition. Our objective is to improve the framework conditions for political solutions to violent conflict by enhancing the negotiation capacities of these widely overlooked conflict actors.

This project offers negotiation training and process support to resistance and liberation movements (RLMs) in transition. Its objective is to improve conditions for political solutions to violent conflict by enhancing the negotiation capacities of these widely overlooked conflict actors. more >

Peace Support

Conflict transformation requires building up the organisational and structural capacities of conflict parties and stakeholders. Establishing peace infrastructure involves the development of mechanisms for cooperation among all relevant stakeholders, including the government, by promoting cooperative problem-solving, and institutionalising a response mechanism to violent conflict. The objective is to assist the parties (e.g. through the provision of knowledge or advice), the process (e.g. through mediation between the conflict parties, mediation support or facilitation of public participation), or the implementation of process results (e.g. through monitoring and support of agreement implementation).

In support of the Cyprus Peace Process, the Security Dialogue Project contributes to the identification of informed, innovative, and viable security options or solutions that could enable all communities in Cyprus to simultaneously feel secure. more >

Conceptual Development

Research and practice need to go hand in hand and inform one another. Our practical work in this programme is complemented by research to conceptualise, create new knowledge and inform policy-making on inclusive formats for dialogue, mediation, negotiation and infrastructures for peace. The current foci of this programme component are National Dialogues and Insider Peacebuilders/Mediators.

Over the last decade, the concept of National Dialogue has gained much popularity among conflict stakeholders, civil society and peacebuilding practitioners as an inclusive and participatory tool for conflict transformation. Still, there is barely any comparative and practice-oriented literature on this topic. The ‘National Dialogue Handbook. A Guide for Practitioners’ seeks to address this gap. more >

This three-year research project examines alternative forms of governance and insider peacebuilders in societies transitioning from war to peace. Case studies include Nepal, Aceh/Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma) and Sri Lanka. Guided by the question whether alternative forms of governance can be effective in the pursuit of accountability - especially in authoritarian, illiberal, weak forms of state in South and South-East Asia - this project aims to identify such forms of governance.  more >

Youth as peacebuilder’ is a theme that in recent times keep resounding in international and local peacebuilding agendas. To get a sense of this ‘youth space’ of mediation and dialogue, this study aims to gather evidence of the contribution and participation of youth in mediation-, dialogue- and peace- processes. The study will form the basis for rationalising further research and praxis on the topic. more >

This study explores opportunities for the OSCE to augment its mediation support structure for developing interfaces of mutual support that can strengthen collaboration and complementarity between the OSCE and actors involved in insider mediation processes. more >

Religious and traditional actors are increasingly recognised as peacemakers and peacebuilders in many conflicts around the world. To better understand these actors, Berghof Foundation is conceptualising them as a specific sub-set of insider mediators for whom values and practices of religion, faith, spirituality, culture and tradition serve as guidance for their efforts towards conflict transformation. more >

Completed Projects

  • Supporting Democracy Building Measures Across Turkey

From Other Programmes

  • The Insider Peacebuilders’ Platform in the Deep South of Thailand more >

  • Dialogue and Mediation for Insiders in Bolivia more >

Selected Publications

  • National Dialogue Handbook. A Guide for Practitioners. 2017. PDF >
  • Mir Mubashir & Luxshi Vimalarajah: BASELINE STUDY: Tradition- & Faith-Oriented Insider Mediators (TFIMs) as Crucial Actors in Conflict Transformation Potential, Constraints, & Opportunities for Collaborative Support. 2016. Full Report. PDF >
  • Germany as Mediator. Peace Mediation and Mediation Support in German Foreign Policy. 2015. Conference Report. PDF >
  • Vanessa Prinz, Luxshi Vimalarajah & Katrin Planta: Security Arrangements Before, During and After Negotiations. A Strategic Framework. 2013. PDF >
  • Luxshi Vimalarajah: Mapping German Development Cooperation in Peace Negotiations and Mediation. Experience, Potentials, Gaps and Areas for Strategic Support. 2012. PDF >
  • Barbara Unger, Stina Lundström, Katrin Planta & Beatrix Austin (Eds.): Peace Infrastructures. Assessing Concept and Practice. 2013. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 10 - complete. Hardcopy >

Strategic Frameworks