Feature: National Dialogue

“National Dialogues” are often created to unite countries after a civil war or other violent traumatic experiences. Based on a broad mandate, National Dialogues bring together all relevant national stakeholders and actors (state and non-state) on key conflict issues, such as state reform and state-building. Ideally serving as common platforms for trust-building, learning, reflection and decision-making, they aim to develop a new social contract and nation-wide ownership. Set up as a temporary and a time-bound initiative, they may precede, complement or accompany formal negotiations over, for example, constitutional matters or support the implementation of the latter.

Having gained prominence during the Arab uprisings, National Dialogues hold the promise of serving as a model for achieving durable peace in transitioning societies.

Key Features of National Dialogues

  • Serve to bring in the various and diverging interests of all stakeholders during processes of political transition,
  • Can be understood as a kind of “creative space” within which ideas of national unity, reconciliation and peacebuilding can prosper,
  • Cannot replace the need for democratic elections and an effective constitution, but can provide a normative and practical framework conducive to building trust and enhancing confidence in the conflict-stricken state.

The National Dialogue Handbook

Only few resources exist to offer guidance  and  practical  support  for  those  who  are  exploring  National  Dialogue  as  a  possible  way  to  move  beyond  political  deadlocks,  divisive  conflict scenarios, or tumultuous periods of transition.

The increasingly wide array of needs expressed by an equally broad range of actors prompted the development of this comprehensive guidance grounded in the most in-depth collection of case studies to date.

Download full pdf >     Case Studies and Conceptual Papers >       News Launch Event >

Training Opportunity on National Dialogue 2018

A training course on National Dialogue & Peace Mediation will be offered by the Berghof Foundation and swisspeace in 2018 in Basel, Switzerland. more >

Related Berghof Publications

Resources From Our Partners

  • Supporting a  national dialogue. Dilemmas & options for third parties. Jonathan Harlander. MEDIATION PRACTICE SERIES No. 6. (Dec. 2016) >
  • National Dialogue and Legitimate Change. H. Siebert. Accord >
  • Yemen - National Dialogue Conferene: Managing Peaceful Change? A. Saif Hassan. Accord >