Certificate (CAS) in National Dialogue & Peace Mediation

National Dialogues have become an increasingly important topic in international debates. They are seen as a promising approach to addressing and resolving the causes of violent political conflicts in an inclusive manner. National Dialogues can be set up before, during, or after peace negotiations.

Responding to this increased interest in the topic, the Berghof Foundation, in collaboration with swisspeace, offers this 5-day on-site course on Peace Mediation and National Dialogue. Aimed at conflict actors and practitioners, it provides:

  • Insights on how to understand, design, and support National Dialogue processes
  • Training in dialogue and mediation skills
  • Reflection on lessons that can be drawn from previous National Dialogue cases

Course methodologies include expert inputs, peer exchange, skills training, case studies, simulation exercises and reflection.


Annual training course; next training February 2019, Basel (Switzerland) Read more >


If National Dialogues are essentially nationally-led and driven processes, then the question arises: how can third-party actors support such processes? This necessitates a proper conceptual but also process-related understanding. Often, national and third-party actors are overwhelmed with the conceptual and process-related challenges: how does a National Dialogue process differ from conventional intra-party dialogues or multi-party negotiations? How can conflict parties be assisted in designing a National Dialogue process (i.e. agenda setting, criteria for participation, criteria for decision-making, establishing dead-lock breaking mechanisms and safety-nets etc.)? What types of processes/mechanisms are needed to support the joint learning, reflection and consensus-building of conflict parties in peace and negotiation processes? How might local, international and regional support structures look? Moreover, National Dialogues can take many forms, involve different stakeholders, and concern a vast range of subjects.

The annual 10-day course CAS on Peace Mediation and National Dialogue seeks to respond to the increased interest in National Dialogue processes. The idea is to reflect on the key conceptual and practical challenges, outlined above, with the aim of understanding, planning, implementing and learning from National Dialogue processes.

Aims and outcomes

The overall goal of the CAS is to enhance the skills of those involved in planning, supporting, implementing and researching National Dialogues. This objective will be met by enhancing the skills of the participants through simulation exercises, expert inputs and the sharing of experiences and lessons learned. Specific objectives are formulated as follows:

  • Provide options and strategies for designing National Dialogue processes: At the end of the CAS, participants will be familiar with the main elements of a National Dialogue, useful strategies for the various challenges involved in such an endeavour, as well as its place within the overall conflict resolution architecture.
  • Enhance conceptual clarity: The CAS will provide participants with a thorough understanding of the main concepts of National Dialogue, enabling them to analyse conflict situations more accurately and engage in National Dialogues in a more structured and strategic manner.
  • Refine key dialogue and mediation skills: The participants will practice various dialogue and mediation skills in a safe environment, giving them the opportunity to learn new methods of engagement and to assess their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Encourage exchange of experience amongst practitioners: The CAS provides a space for participants to share their critical reflections and to learn from senior practitioners. The participants will also become part of a larger “Community of Practice” on National Dialogue.

Successful participants are awarded a Certificate of Advanced Studies. This course (10 ECTS) can be taken as one module of the master programme Advanced Studies in Civilian Peacebuilding (60 ECTS) offered by swisspeace and the University of Basel.

 The course is offered jointly by the Berghof Foundation and swisspeace.

A pilot course was successfully conducted in January 2015.

Next training: February 2019, Basel (Switzerland) Read more >