Today, there is a greater appreciation of local, indigenous and insider methods of dealing with conflict – methods that are owned and driven by actors ‘intrinsic’ to the conflict system. Especially in the field of mediation, conflict stakeholders seek in a mediator rather the virtue of interpersonal trust and relational aspects (which local actors exhibit) than neutrality and impartiality (which outsider/ international mediators offer). Although ethnically, religiously, or in other ways affiliated to one of the conflict parties (thereby expected to be ‘partial’), insider mediators are still respected and trusted across divides, because of the credibility they draw from proven and demonstrated ‘fairness’ in mediating. Among other things, it is insider mediators’ innate drive for peaceful coexistence that makes them apply and promote alternatives to violence. In many conflicts it is them who de-escalate conflict, build bridges, and engage in peace advocacy.
The Berghof Foundation has long been observing and accompanying the conflict transformation efforts of insiders. In practical peace support worldwide, we have engaged closely with insiders, for example by providing process-related and technical support as per need. We have also been reflecting conceptually on our engagement with insider mediators and on best practices for insider-outsider collaboration in conflict transformation processes. The following provides a snapshot of these concepts and praxis.
Religious and traditional actors are increasingly recognised as peacemakers and peacebuilders in many conflicts around the world. To better understand these actors, Berghof Foundation has conceptualised them as a specific sub-set of insider mediators for whom values and practices of religion, faith, spirituality, culture and tradition serve as guidance and strategy for their efforts towards conflict transformation. 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 >
A Georgian-Abkhaz-South Ossetian ‘Young Facilitators Group’ was trained, coached and empowered to evolve a new generation of facilitators capable of engaging in constructive dialogue. Today, they manage projects that cut across conflict lines, with little to no foreign, third-party involvement. more>
Rooted in the experiences and requirements of indigenous organisations and community leaders in social change, this project set off a capacity-development process to transform their individual approaches to conflict, sensitise their communities and organisations and enable them to successfully act as internal dialogue facilitators and mediators on behalf of their organisations. more>
Following up on the recent United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security, Finn Church Aid and Berghof reflect on the characteristics, dimensions, challenges and potential of youth in insider mediation – the particularities of the youth approach to/in dialogue and mediation and on how this situates itself in the broader dialogue and mediation context involving other non-youth actors. more >