Non-governmental Organizations Role in Mediation…International Experience

With the complexity of local conflicts and the extension of its factors, dynamics, and repercussions to the community structure, unofficial key players (including NGOs) has an increasing role in different stages of conflicts. Those roles are not limited to decreasing the magnitude of the conflict, either through relief or humanitarian procedures, their role extended rather to two fundamental fields, mediation and peace building, especially at the grass root level to provide sustainability of peace in post treaties phase.

The involvement of NGOs in these two fields reflects the shift in local conflicts’ nature, which renders its resolution a more complex maneuver that is beyond the official channels (i.e. intervention of countries and official governmental organizations). This is because conflicts express a number of cultural, societal, economic, and identity disputes; thus it is not limited to power or wealth any more, which gives NGOs more presence in the process of conflict resolutions. NGOs can contribute in structural changes that address conflicts’ roots through dialogue, and endorsing coexistence values among different identities, in the framework of “peace building”.

Africa represents a long history of experiences with complex conflicts that go deep to the societal core, which makes it a fertile soil for NGOs experiences especially in the field of mediation and peace building, like for example, Carter Center, Sant’Egidio, International Alert, Search for Common Grounds, etc.

Consequently, presenting those examples that reveal lessons learnt, whether positive or negative might represent a platform for developing unofficial key players’ role in the MENA region that experience similar conflicts with prolonged societal dimension that is beyond the country’s capacity to address. This is especially true in post revolutions phase, so it desperately needs an efficient pattern of partnerships with civil society organizations to tackle those conflicts and decrease its magnitude.

To reach this assessment, this paper adopts conflict transformation perspective as an approach that is more developed in dealing with conflicts of split communities, which is different from managing and resolving the conflict. This perspective involves an array of activities that not only aiming at putting an end to the conflict, but also encouraging structural changes that addresses the conflict roots, like peace building (dialogue, mediation, contribution to peace treaties and monitoring its implementation). It also helps raise awareness about peace and justice issues, human rights, deepening mutual dependence of key players in the conflict; which turns the latter concept from a negative to positive concep


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