Building just societies – reconciliation in transitional settings

TransConflict’s co-founder, Mirjana Kosic, participated in a two-day workshop at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana, on the topic of reconciliation in transitional settings.

Jointly organised and coordinated by the UN’s Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF), with support from the Quaker UN Office and Interpeace, the main objective of the workshop was to provide a forum for the exchange of experiences, good practice and lessons learned, and to enable practitioners from countries undertaking official reconciliation processes to broaden the conceptual notion of reconciliation and benefit from contextually different experiences.

Photographs courtesy of PBSO

The focus of the workshop, however, was not solely on initiatives and processes that are dealing with the past – due to a wealth of experiences at reconciliation from this perspective – but rather on exploring mechanisms and tools which can contribute to reconciliation processes by addressing current and future socio-political challenges. The workshop addresses a variety of comparative cases, including Burundi, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Yemen.

Photographs courtesy of PBSO

The workshop also served as an opportunity for discussions about a number of themes, such as frameworks and concepts of reconciliation, values and motivations for reconciliation work, trauma and healing, justice, notions of forgiveness in particular contexts, the gender lens of reconciliation, socio-economic aspects, the role of civil society and the role of international community in reconciliation.

Photographs courtesy of PBSO

The event gathered around forty participants from a variety of different backgrounds – including members of civil society, academia, government officials and UN staff members. Mirjana Kosić, co-founder and executive director of TransConflict Serbia, attended as a representative of an organisation dealing with conflict transformation in the Western Balkans. Amongst other participants were practitioners and representatives of organisations from Burundi, Colombia, Cote d’ Ivoirie, Croatia, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Liberia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and South Sudan, and internationally acclaimed experts from Interpeace, the International Conflict Research Institute, the Foundation for Human Rights, the International Centre for Transitional Justice and the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

TransConflict is committed to applying the lessons learned from comparative cases to improving the process of reconciliation in the Western Balkans and elsewhere.

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