Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey
Lessons Learnt from International Experiences of Conflict Resolution
Ankara, 28-30 September 2018
On 29 September, DPI held a roundtable meeting on ‘Lessons learnt from international experiences in conflict resolution’ in Ankara, Turkey. The meeting brought together a diverse group of more than 50 participants including politicians and policy-makers, civil society actors, academics and journalists, to discuss experiences from peace and transition processes around the world, which offer useful and relevant examples of principles, models and approaches that can guide conflict resolution and democratic advancement. The meeting provided a timely opportunity to review and refresh memories and understanding of the benefits of peace and the nature of peace-making processes. It also served as reminder of the importance of preserving the foundations for inclusive dialogue between different parties and different groups in society even in the most challenging times.
Participants had the opportunity to discuss challenges, opportunities and lessons learnt with prominent international experts who shared insights and valuable policy and civil society perspectives from their own direct experience of making and sustaining peace in international cases. The meeting drew in particular on the South African and Philippines examples, with an emphasis on identifying and addressing obstacles to the resumption of a process where it has stalled or is ‘parked’, as well as entry points for getting a process back on track.
Following an introductory session in which DPI’s Deputy Director outlined the aims of the meeting, our first speaker, Sir Kieran Prendergast former UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs and former British Ambassador to Turkey, highlighted some key principles and lessons of conflict management and resolution drawing on his own experience in a wide range of past and current conflict situations worldwide. There followed a session on the Mindanao peace process in the Philippines in which Mr David Gorman, Eurasia Director from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, shared invaluable insider knowledge of how to get a process back on track from a third-party perspective. Having served in Government as presidential advisor on the peace process and also been involved in every civil society effort to build peace in the Philippines since the 1980s, Ms Teresita Quintos-Deles then provided an invaluable dual perspective on the Philippines process, which stimulated a lively discussion on themes including public engagement, youth and women’s participation. The third and final session welcomed Mr Roelf Meyer who drew on his experience as Chief Negotiator for the South African Government in the process that eventually led to a new constitution and the end of apartheid in South Africa. Participants benefitted from a rich presentation which illustrated how behind the scenes talks between himself and Cyril Ramphosa (now South Africa’s President) saved the process following a breakdown in negotiations and resurgence in violence. In her concluding remarks Prof. Dr. Sevtap Yokus drew on lessons from the day to propose that participants: ‘Don’t wait for right time, rather be prepared for when the time comes.’
The roundtable was part of the project ‘Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey’, supported by the EU and the Irish, Dutch and Norwegian governments. A full transcript report of this visit is forthcoming and will be available on the website in due course. Please refer to the gallery section of the website for photos of the events and to ‘In the media’ for media coverage.