Berghof Glossary on Conflict Transformation

The Berghof Glossary on Conflict Transformation presents 20 of the main principles and approaches that we use in our work. For a second time, the team at Berghof Foundation has embarked on a joint exploration of what it takes to create “space for conflict transformation” and what is essential to our work.

We hope that this booklet will entice our partners, friends and colleagues to reflect and discuss the 20 notions further.

  • You may download the glossary (PDF)  that is also translated into German.
  • If you are interested in a hardcopy, you can order in our shop (€10 plus shipping).
  • Curious? Learn more about the glossary and how it developed over the years.
  • If you wish to join the discussion, we are looking forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact us.

It's been seven years....

We first published this small and compact booklet as a guide to our interpretation of the cornerstones of peacebuilding and conflict transformation in 2012 (glossary 2012 edition).

The organisation, and the world around us, has changed considerably since 2012 (compare, for example, our Annual Reports 2013 and 2017). Nationally and internationally, the space for inclusive and constructive peacebuilding has begun to shrink measurably. The use of force, polarization and oppression are gaining ground again.

Yet, neither power politics nor exclusion will ever lead to sustainable peace. Inclusive and participatory spaces for conflict transformation have become even more important in preventing fragile peace processes from losing momentum or from breaking down. So to us, these developments are a call to analysis and action.

You may ask: why another glossary?

First, we believe that the concept of “conflict transformation” is still relatively unknown, disputed and by no means clearly understood. Hence it remains important to make explicit what we mean when we speak of conflict transformation. Second, we believe that language and terminology are fluid and keep developing. Hence it is necessary to revisit terms and keep discussing them within and between organisations, rather than taking a once-understood interpretation for granted. Third, it was a welcome oportunity for our staff to engage their subject matter jointly and systematically.

Previous editions

The first Berghof glosssary was published in 2004 as part of the first print edition of the Berghof Handbook. It was revised and expanded for Russian, Sinhala and Tamil, creating expanded further glossaries in their own right, rather than literal translations. Due to its intitial success, it was greatly sought after and soon translated, revised and expanded into several other languages (see Translations). Then, in 2012, the Berghof Foundation published a new glossary, in which we further investiged the terms that mark our endeavours in conflict transformation. This was revised and updated in 2019.

You can also download the full PDF of a previous version or browse its individual chapters (2012 version).


The current glossary is also available in German. The short glossary from the 2004 Berghof Handbook is also available in extended versions in Russian, Sinhala and Tamil. The Sinhala and Tamil translations are gathered into a single trilingual glossary. A Turkish version (Berghof Çatışma Dönüşümü Kavram Dizini) was published in 2018.