Building Peace with Insider Mediators
28 Nov 2023 - 10:11
Source: Building Peace with Insider Mediators. Clingendael

Each year, the Clingendael Academy, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organises a training programme for insider mediators. 

Insider mediators are trusted individuals who are internal to the conflict and therefore have thorough knowledge and understanding of the conflict dynamics at play, which makes them essential actors when building sustainable peace on a local level. However, they face several challenges, such as handling trust and impartiality. This years’ two-weeks training programme, which took place from 17 to 27 October in The Hague, offered the insider mediators skills and knowledge to handle such challenges. 

The first three days of the training focused on negotiation skills. This laid the foundation for the remaining five days of the training which focused on mediation. During these sessions, participants delved into essential tools for effective mediation, explored methods to enhance inclusivity in local mediation processes and gained insights into crafting conflict analyses. They also had the opportunity to speak with two representatives from the UNDP on their insider mediation framework. On the last day, the participants applied these skills and knowledge to their personal Back Home Action Plans which they worked on throughout the entire programme. In these plans, the participants sketched out concrete steps to implement the lessons learned once back in their own context. 

The participants appreciated our guidance on how to deal with the personal challenges that an insider mediator may encounter, such as maintaining impartiality. They also valued the models and simulations provided by Clingendael in combination with knowledge-sharing with each other. The participants experienced this during the training sessions and in informal settings, such as the boat tour in Amsterdam. The whole experience was not only enriching for the participants but also provided the trainers with many invaluable insights.