Due to Covid-19, working in conflict resolution had to be to some extent reinvented. Huge adjustments needed to be made as conflicts endured and the pandemic also caused new ones. Because of social distancing negotiations face-to-face became even more difficult to achieve. Negotiations going online further limits influence and access of those who already face restrictions to be part of negotiation and/or mediation processes as it is, such as women and minority groups.
Clingendael Academy needed to adapt to this new reality by rearranging their training programmes into online formats and reaching out to diplomats and peacebuilders digitally. Looking back on 2020 Clingendael Academy nonetheless achieved training many women negotiators and mediators, some of them members of the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediation Networks.
Who did we train?
The first training that was offered online to a group of women peacebuilders was to the Libyan Network of Women Peacebuilders in cooperation with UN Women. This training was followed by a training for Yemeni women in cooperation with the Peace Track Initiative. We also provided a number of online trainings to the Women’s Initiatives for Peace in the Donbas(s) over the fall. In October and November we conducted four training sessions for the Arab Women Mediators Network, a network that is established by The League of Arab States in collaboration with UN Women Regional Office for Arab States (ROAS). These highly experienced women diplomats received an online foundational module in negotiation and mediation, focusing on sensitivities and the decisions that have to be made during a negotiation process, procedures necessary for negotiation, and the different kinds of behaviour that parties may display at the negotiation table. Also competences necessary for (women) mediators where discussed as well as discussing what is necessary for women to take part in peace processes. The group perceived the training as insightful and follow-up trainings were recommended.
In November we also strengthened our partnership with the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (FemWise Africa, located within the African Peace and Security Architecture of the African Union). This training was the sixth training of the FemWise members annually since 2015, but the first online edition. This time we organized four full days of training to 25 alumni of the Clingendael African Women Mediation training. As the alumni previously received a two-week training in The Hague, we built on the knowledge they already had and followed-up with in-depth sessions on Dealing with Trust in Mediation and Dealing with Deadlocks. The training days were enriched by their extensive experience resolving conflict.
More trainings for women groups are planned for in 2021.