Training for African women mediators
29 Nov 2016 - 16:25
Source: Clingendael Academy

Clingendael trained a new group of 20 women mediators from across Africa, all of them selected by the African Union. This training followed the first edition held in 2015, developed by Clingendael after its capacity building missions in collaboration with the South-African Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DIRCO).

Negotiation and mediation skills

Their knowledge and skills regarding negotiation processes were trained through interactive simulation workshops. This training was followed by looking at conflict resolution from the perspective of a mediator who facilitates the negotiation process among the conflicting parties. Various trainers of the Clingendael Institute, e.g. Ron Ton, Tim Masselink and Judith van den Boogert trained the group by self-assessing their negotiation styles and by simulating various cases such as a diplomatic negotiation on Kosovo.

Women in peace talks

By equipping this group of women mediators with the proper skills, they will be more likely to be able to play a successful role in mediating national, regional and communal conflicts. Between 1992 and 2011 women only made up 2% of mediators and 9% of negotiators in official peace talks. That is why Mara van der Meer presented a session on situations where aversion is encountered towards the (female) mediator. In addition, the training offered ample room to learn about models for inclusivity in peace negotiations.


The skills training sessions were complemented with practitioner meetings, in order to optimally relate lessons learned to practical realities:  

  • Prof. em. Cees Flinterman, who has served as a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) from 2003 to 2010, lectured the participants on the treaty of women.
  • The only woman in the Northern Irish peace processes that led to the Good Friday Agreement in Belfast (1984), Monica McWilliams shared her experiences. Never having met any Protestant boys until she was 18 years old, she had expected them to be the devil himself. However, “they turned out to be just as boring as Catholic boys”..
  • H.E. Zolile Magugu, former ANC chief representative (1991-1994), shared some negotiation lessons from South Africa: the transition process after the fall of Apartheid and beyond. It led up to the question of transitional governing bodies (TGBs), that Clingendael trainer Evelien Borgman illustrated by case studies on Liberia, Cambodia and Iraq.

Training Facility "Negotiation as a Conflict Resolution Instrument"

Funded by the Department for Stabilisation and Humanitarian Aid of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Training Facility "Negotiation as a Conflict Resolution Instrument" aims to equip negotiators and facilitators around international (peace) negotiation tables with techniques that enable them to achieve the best results. As part of this training facility, Clingendael has also trained groups of mediators from across Africa, ECOWAS and the ASEAN region in The Hague.

Clingendael Academy always seek new opportunities to cooperate with partner organisations and trainers/experts in international negotiation. Please contact one of the course coordinators for more information.