Aung San Suu Kyi and Bono joined Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre this week to discuss the role of dialogue in countries in transition during the tenth Oslo forum retreat of conflict mediators.
The video of the opening session, which was exceptionally made public this year, is available at http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/ud/lyd_bilde/nett-tv-2/oslo-forum—suu-kyi.html?id=685558 (courtesy of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
Following a welcome by Dr David Harland, Executive Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), which co-organises the forum with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Støre opened the panel discussion. Drawing on the examples of peace actors from Nelson Mandela to Aung San Suu Kyi, Minister Støre underlined that “dialogue is the strategy of the brave”.
Aung San Suu Kyi and Bono highlighted the importance of dialogue and of maintaining a genuine desire to find “common ground” to ensure that transitions moved in a positive direction. In reflecting on her own experiences, Ms San Suu Kyi emphasised that “the best way to bring about change is through non-violent peaceful means, through establishing a tradition of dialogue and consensus.”
“The wounds that are opened up by violent conflict take a long time to heal,” she said, “and while the peaceful way might take longer, in the end there are fewer wounds to be healed.”
Bono also reflected on key turning points during Northern Ireland’s troubles and the importance of dialogue in that context.
The opening plenary marked the beginning of two days of frank discussions – from 18 to 19 June 2012 – around the theme of this year’s forum: ‘Negotiating Through Transition’. The forum, the 10th in the series, brought together more than 100 peacemakers and mediators, who discussed a range of issues including: Afghanistan and the influence of its neighbours in shaping its future; the growing concerns around the situation in Sahel; challenges to the two-state solution in the Israel/Arab peace process; the Arab Spring ‘second wave’, in particular the role of mediation in Syria and Yemen and the internal dynamics of negotiating transitions in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia; recent developments in the Philippines; and reform and peacemaking in Myanmar.
The Oslo forum is a global series of informal retreats involving actors who are engaged in peace processes around the world. It is widely acknowledged as the leading international network of armed conflict mediation practitioners, and regularly convenes senior conflict mediators, high-level decision makers, key peace process actors, analysts and experts from a variety of institutional backgrounds.
A summary on the Oslo forum 2012 will be released in the coming weeks.
For more information on the Oslo forum or the HD Centre, please contact Ms Flore Brannon by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: +41 (0)22 908 11 30.
SOURCE: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
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