Support for mediation and dialogue using a variety of methods, at all levels of society and during all phases of conflict
For more than 30 years, the ASPR has been a meeting place where peace negotiations are organised and accompanied. However, it is also active in mediating between conflict parties in the crisis regions themselves. A specific approach has been developed for this purpose, which also makes it possible to work alone with each conflict party, thus preparing them for genuine negotiations with the other conflict parties.
To increase its effectiveness in this field, the ASPR has a strategic partnership with the Herbert C. Kelman Institute for Interactive Conflict Transformation (HKI).
The ASPR's working method is characterised by an integrative approach to conflict transformation. This is defined by a focus on the interdependence of conflict transformation, peacebuilding, reconciliation processes and empowerment for social transformation and intercultural dialogue.
The approach combines interdisciplinary research findings from peace and conflict studies, critical systems theory, critical realism, cultural studies, political psychology and group psychology, among others.
The aim of the efforts is to create a safe space through innovative and interactive methods. The ASPR does not only mediate between conflicting parties, but also tries to integrate the perspectives of potential veto groups as an essential part of the process. "Insider mediators" are supported in preparing conflict actors for constructive talks with opponents, and also accompany dialogue processes within a conflict party. The approach of shared basic human needs is used to develop common ideas of justice and to reflect on existing power asymmetries.
ASPR's expertise in conflict transformation covers following regions: Western Balkans, Central Asia, Caucasus, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Middle East (especially Israel/Palestine and Iraq), Sudan, Tunisia, and the African Great Lakes Region.
There is no successful mediation. But every mediation, and especially because of its failure, opens the path to the next mediation, which will go beyond the first attempt, but will also fail again. The dauntless narrative of human kind is composed of these never-ending concatenations… And still the mediator inside me never resigns. The hope… might be subject to eclipses… ten days, ten years, a century…. My most existential decision is to remain the herald of a constantly renewed equilibrium.
Stéphane Hessel in “Danse avec le Siecle” (Danse with the Century), first published 1997