Retreats

A SERIES OF MEDIATION RETREATS

The Oslo Forum series aims to facilitate a frank and open exchange of insights by those working at the highest level to bring warring parties together to find negotiated solutions. Oslo Forum retreats are carved around a topical and challenging agenda, which relates concretely to the concerns mediators of armed conflict face on a daily basis. As practitioners are reluctant to publicly discuss and reflect their experiences given the politically sensitive nature of their work, all Oslo Forum retreats are subject to Chatham House Rule and take place in a uniquely informal ambiance.

 

Annual global retreat

The annual global gathering of conflict mediation practitioners in Oslo is the centre piece of the Oslo Forum series. Each year in June, this global retreat convenes senior conflict mediators, high-level decision makers and other major actors in peace processes. The annual global retreat offers an opportunity to draw on comparative and innovative approaches across regions and institutions for a comprehensive overview of mediation experiences, challenges and opportunities.

Regional retreats

Participants at the Oslo Forum 2004 suggested an interest in looking at conflict mediation from a regional perspective. From this was born the concept of regional mediators' retreats that would enable mediators and other senior peace process actors to assess the prospects and pitfalls for conflict resolution in the context of their particular region. Like the global retreats, the regional retreats are organised by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) with the support of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but draw on strong regional partners; such as the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore, the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation in Tanzania and the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) in China.

 

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Oslo Forum 2012
18-19 June 2012, Oslo

Over one hundred of the world’s eminent senior mediators and peace process actors attended the 2012 Oslo Forum, sharing practical experiences and engaging in lively debates on current peacemaking practice and mediation trends. Participants included the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; lead singer of U2, Bono; Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre; Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt ; Myanmar’s Minister of Industry, U Soe Thane; President of the International Crisis Group Louise Arbour ; and Head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in the Philippines, Teresita Quintos Deles.

Background Material
 
Disclaimer
The following background papers have been prepared specifically for this retreat and reflect events until the end of May 2012. They are intended to provide insights from peacemakers, researchers and legal experts, and they do not represent the positions of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
 

Background Paper - Mediation after revolution in Libya

Background Paper - The politics of intervention

Background Paper - Peacemaking in Myanmar

Background Paper - Can Nigeria’s internal contradictions be mediated?

Africa Mediators' Retreat 2011
23-25 November 2011, Zanzibar, Tanzania

The Africa Mediators’ Retreat 2011 took place from 23-25 November in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It was co-hosted by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation.

The forty two participants included representatives from the African Union,the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and other regional organisations as well as governments, and African and international NGOs. Forty per cent were women with a wide range of experience as mediators, human rights defenders, diplomats, and in community-based approaches to peacemaking.

The retreat as a whole presented an opportunity for a sober stock-take of the complexity of the conflicts, and post-conflict transitions, underway across Africa. Participants engaged with seriousness and frankness facilitated, in part, by the informal atmosphere within the retreat. They did not shy away from acknowledging the challenges ahead but they left Zanzibar with some new ideas, having had some good conversations – even arguments – and pleased to have had an opportunity to reconnect with their peers and to lay the groundwork for new partnerships. 

Meeting Report

The Africa Mediators' Retreat meeting report includes an executive summary of the retreat and a short report reflecting the discussions held in each of the sessions.

Oslo forum | Africa Mediators' Retreat 2011 Meeting report

Oslo Forum 2011
21-23 June 2011, Oslo

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue co-hosted the Oslo forum 2011 from 21 to 23 June in Oslo.
The ninth of its kind, the forum was a unique opportunity for senior third-party conflict mediators and other key peace process actors to share their experiences, identify challenges and reflect on their own and others’ practice in a discreet setting and informal atmosphere. 

Background Material

Views from Participants

Life as a Peacemaker: A frank conversation with Haile Menkerios, George Mitchell, Joyce Neu, Kieran Prendergast with comments and reflections from Mohagher Iqbal and Neles Tebay.  See interview.

Session briefs

The following session briefs were prepared especially for this retreat
and reflected events until the end of May 2011. They were intended to provide
a non-analytical background to guide and inform discussions, and they did not
represent the position of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Afairs.

As spring turns to summer: Opportunities for peacemaking in the Middle East and North Africa

Côte d’Ivoire: Old threats, renewed conflict

Track II Mediation: Unpacking the process, exploring the potential

Getting organised against organised crime: A major challenge for mediators

Talking to the Taliban : Topics for peace

Comprehensive support for peace processes: The case of Sudan

Asia Mediators' Retreat 2010
2-4 November 2010, Hanoi, Vietnam

The Asian Mediation Retreat 2010 has taken place in Hanoi, Vietnam from 2-4 November 2010. The Retreat was cohosted by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, in cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. The Asian Mediation Retreat 2010 is the fourth regional retreat in Asia as part of the Oslo forum series.

 

Meeting Report

The Asian Mediation retreat 2010 meeting report includes an executive summary of the retreat and a short report reflecting the discussions held in each of the sessions.

Oslo forum | Asia 2010 - Meeting report

Oslo Forum 2010
15-17 June 2010, Oslo
The Oslo forum 2010 brought together 90 mediators and peace process actors to consider current challenges in mediation. Participants closely examined current conflicts in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iraq, as well as cross-cutting issues such as transnational militants, fragmented conflict parties, and gender-sensitive peace processes. Participants were also invited to challenge their assumptions on a variety of mediation topics in a series of short and provocative debates.
 
The forum was particularly notable for the presence of different types of mediators – both state and non-state – leading to interesting discussions on the opportunities and challenges these different mediators bring to resolving conflicts.  There was much optimism about the potential for synergies between new and traditional mediators, though there was also concern about a lack of coordination between actors.
 
A recurring theme throughout discussions was a questioning of the focus on securing peace agreements over a focus on the quality of the process. Many stressed the importance of patience in peace processes, and in particular the necessity of dealing with difficult parties and issues, even if this delayed clinching an agreement. Participants examined the implications of this in Afghanistan, Kenya, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Liberia, and the Philippines. In contrast, there was concern expressed about the slow pace of negotiations in Sudan and Iraq, and the risk that not reaching agreements would lead to renewed violence.
Background Material

Views from Participants

Life as a Peacemaker: Said Djinnit, Graça Machel and Hassan Wirajuda share their personal views on peacemaking. See interview.

Session briefs

The following session briefs were prepared especially for the Oslo forum 2010, and were designed to give a non-analytical background to guide and inform discussions.

Background and timeline of Aghanistan

Background and timeline of Iraq's Disputed Territories

Background and timeline of Sudan

Militants without borders?

Dialogue despite division: Securing agreement with fragmented parties

Violence in transitions of power: Democratic catalyst or power grab?

 

Meeting Report

The Oslo forum 10 meeting report includes an executive summary of the retreat and a short report reflecting the discussions held in each of the sessions.

Oslo forum 10 - Meeting report

Pages

Updates

Understanding fragmentation in conflict and its impact on prospects for peace
Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham highlights a number of key findings about fragmentation and conflict, and the role of mediation in fragmented conflicts. Drawing on a range of contemporary and historical examples from global conflicts, the author examines the consequences of fragmentation for...

2017
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