Second Conference on Non-Formal Dialogue Processes and National Dialogues 16–18 November: Experiences from countries in transition

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland is organising the second conference on non-formal dialogue processes and National Dialogues together with a consortium of NGOs (Crisis Management Initiative, Finn Church Aid, The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission and Common Space Iniative) in Helsinki, Finland, on 16–18 November 2015.

This is a continuation of a conference held in April 2014 which enjoyed wide participation and deepened the understanding of these processes.

This year’s conference will again provide a space for joint reflection and in-depth discussion between practitioners, stakeholders and experts involved in or working with dialogue processes in different contexts. Joint analysis of the developments, trends, best practices and challenges pertaining to informal dialogue processes and National Dialogues, including local and national peace infrastructures and inside mediation, is particularly timely in the current context of strong non-state actors as conflict parties.

The keynote speakers include Mr. Jerry White, Mr. Pekka Haavisto and Shaykh Abdallah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyah.

Mr. Jerry White specializes in building cross-border coalitions and history-making campaigns, three of which led to major international treaties: the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Cluster Munitions Treaty; and the Mine Ban Treaty. He shares in the 1997 Nobel Prize for Peace awarded to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. White is currently the CEO of Global Impact Strategies Inc. and the Executive Co-Chair of Global Covenant Partners.

Mr. Pekka Haavisto currently serves as a Member of the Finnish Parliament for the Green Party (1987–1995, 2007–). Haavisto was the first green minister in Europe, as a Minister for Environment and Development in Lipponen’s first government (1995–1999). He has also recently served as a Minister for Development and State Ownership in the Katainen-Stubb government (2013–2014). He was recently appointed as Foreign Minister’s Special Representative on mediation.

Shaykh Abdallah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyah is one of the leading scholars of Islamic law in the world. Currently, he serves as the The President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. He has also served as Judge at the High Court of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Head of Shariah Affairs at the Ministry of Justice.

The conference brings together experiences especially from Myanmar, Yemen, Somalia and Tunisia. Through the example of these countries, it will be possible to analyse challenging change processes in the midst of respective mediation and peacebuilding efforts.

The overall objective of the conference is to provide a forum for national stakeholders, facilitators and international experts to share and reflect on their experiences from non-formal dialogue processes and National Dialogues in the current changing landscape, particularly in the context of fragile states and other areas affected by fragile conditions.

The conference will explore mediation in different change processes. Local stakeholders will gain insights for the design and implementation of their national and sub-national dialogue processes through comparative case studies, policy options, advice for process design, and participation in international networks.

For more information please contact the Conference Secretariat:

Joel Linnainmäki, Project Manager

Otto Turtonen, Project Coordinator