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Home > International Relations > Conflict Resolution in an Asymmetric Multi Lateral World > Causes of Conflict in the Developing World - Francis Stewart

Conflict Resolution
in an Emerging Multi Lateral World

Peacebuilding in War-torn Societies
Seminar Organised by
Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR)
Center for Conflict Resolution (CECORE)
14 November - 3 December 2004, Entebbe, Uganda

Course Co-directors: Ms. Gudrun Kramer, Ms. Stella Sabiiti
[Full Report in PDF]

Executive Summary

The Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) and Centre for Conflict Resolution (CECORE) in co-operation with Network of African Peace-builders (NAPS) organised its eight Peacebuilding in Africa (PiA) seminar. This year's seminar entitled "Peace-building in War-torn Societies" took place at the Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda from November 14 to December 3, 2004. The seminar was sponsored by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA)

The overall purpose of the seminar was to enhance a policy-related discourse combined with training workshops on conflict resolution/transformation aiming at the elaboration of relevant peace-building activities in the greater Great Lakes Region.

To achieve the overall purpose, 40 participants were selected to create a diverse group of professionals from 16 Africa countries that were interested and active in peacebuilding. Special attention was also given to qualified female candidates to ensure gender balance.
Similarly, faculty were drawn from an international group of experts with the majority coming from Africa. The faculty expertise reflected the combination of approaches to peacebuilding including, inter alia, humanitarian assistance, the role of gender in peacebuilding, trauma healing, role of culture and religion etc.

The methodology included workshops, lecturers, case studies, working groups, exercises (including simulations) and readings. Participants were given the opportunity to present case studies and share their experiences in peacebuilding.

Overall achievements of the seminar included:

• The exchange of experiences and ideas among participants of various professional backgrounds;
• The development of professional skills in analysing the basic causes of conflicts and the art of conflict transformation;
• Understanding the multifaceted approach to peacebuilding in war-torn societies including the role of gender;
• Inter-ethnic/cultural understanding;
• Networking and the enhancement of relations between and among the representatives of various professions within the Great Lakes and across Africa;
• The inclusion of more active members into the Network of African Peacebuilders (NAPS);
• The creation and dissemination of recommendations for peacebuilding activities in the greater Great Lakes Region.


Background of the seminar

The seminar on Peacebuilding in War-torn Societies described in this report took place at the Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel from November 14 to December 3, 2004. The seminar happened against a background of the current and ongoing conflicts and tensions being experienced in the greater Great Lakes Region and the various challenges faced as a result. The region, linked in many ways through language, history and culture is also a region in which the security of a country has tremendous impact on the security of its neighbouring countries. One need only reflect on the interstate tensions and conflicts between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo; the large flow of Burundian refugees to Tanzania or even the issue of armed cattle rustling that is common in the region as examples of the urgent need to support and enhance peacebuilding efforts in the greater Great Lakes.

The seminar, therefore, aimed for a comprehensive and multifaceted approach to peace-building. It provided a platform for experts of different professional backgrounds to discuss and analyse the root causes of the problems experienced in the region and to develop mechanisms to positively transform the situation on the ground.

Seminar objectives

The overall purpose of the seminar is to enhance a policy related discourse combined with a training workshop on conflict resolution/transformation aiming at the elaboration of relevant peace-building activities in the greater Great Lakes Region.

The specific objectives of the three-week seminar were to:

• Provide state-of-the-art conceptual, theoretical and practical training in peace-building to individuals and career professionals who are looking to upgrade their skills and knowledge or to acquire new skills and perspectives in this area;

• Advance knowledge and an understanding of peace-building related issues and mechanisms, in relation to the African experience;

• Increase the pool of qualified peace-building experts to contribute to conflict resolution/transformation in Africa;

• Strengthen peace-building capacities of African institutions;

• Encourage joint initiatives and further strengthen the growing Network of African Peace-builders (NAPS);

• Encourage an understanding and acceptance of partnership between national and regional actors and international efforts to bring lasting peace;

• Reflect trends and causes of violent conflicts and document already existing peace-building efforts in the greater Great Lakes Region;

• Elaborate precise and specific recommendations for peace-building in the greater Great Lakes Region.

Participants and Resource Persons

The seminar was attended by 40 participants representing a wide range of professional backgrounds including lawyers, civil society representatives, diplomats, government representatives, journalists, military officers and ex-combatants, professors and researchers.

The participants came from 16 African countries across Africa namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Similarly, seminar resource persons were international experts and practitioners mainly from Africa with diverse experiences in the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Each faculty provided the participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to critically analyse root causes of conflict as well as develop concrete proposals for peacebuilding and conflict transformation.


The methodology employed in the seminar included interactive lectures, presentations, participant contributions, workshops and simulation games. During the third week, participants grouped together to develop recommendations for conflicts in the greater Great Lakes Region. The seminar consisted of the following phases:

Week 1: Basic Concepts of Peace-building

Week 2: Peace-building Approaches and Activities

Week 3: Integrated Approaches for Peace-building: Elaboration of Recommendations for the Great Lakes Region

Recommendations were made for the following:

• Sudan Conflict

• Interstate Conflict: Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda

• The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Conflict

• Conflict Transformation in Burundi

• Northern Uganda Conflict

• Karamoja Conflict (Uganda)

• Ethiopia/Eritrea Border Conflict

The recommendations were presented at a press conference during the closing of the seminar by the participants. These results were also presented in local newspapers and radio stations.

Workshop on the Art of Conflict Transformation
By Ms. Gudrun Kramer and Dr. Wilfried Graf

Participants were asked to analyse and discuss the phases for conflict transformation as a guide for developing recommendations for peacebuilding activities in the greater Great Lakes Region. The following diagram and questions were used for conflict analysis:

Phases and Dialogue for Conflict Analysis and Conflict Counselling

Phase one: What are the goals of the conflict parties? Challenging our assumptions

1. What is the conflict about?

2. How did the conflict occur? - History of the conflict including omissions and alternatives in the past.

Phase 2: what are the "legitimate" and "illegitimate" goals of all conflict parties?

3. How will it continue, if the human basic needs are not fulfilled? - Prognosis of the future (negative).

4. What is the conflict really about? - Diagnosis of the past.

Phase 3: What is an overarching formula for transformative negotiations/mediation?

5. What are the solutions respecting the human basic needs of all conflict parties? - Visions for the future.

6. What are the next steps? - An Action Plan/Therapy for the present.

What is peace?


Peace is the creation of possibilities to transform conflicts by peaceful means Structure-oriented:

Peace is not only the absence of direct violence (negative peace), but also the absence of structural and cultural dimensions of violence (positive peace)

In short: Peace is power symmetry and equal satisfaction of basic needs of all parties concerned. Basic Needs defined as: Identity, Freedom, Survival and Wellbeing

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