Exploring the Potential of Cross-Regional Dialogue Platforms in Protracted Conﬂict Settings
by Dr Sebastian Relitz Vadim Romashov Dr Élise Féron Dr Marko Lehti – [ Journal of Dialogue Studies Vol 9 ]
AbstractProtracted conflicts like those in the South Caucasus and Moldova stand as examples of the limits of international peace-building practices in addressing conflict transformation in various ethnic-marked conflicts, and in promoting reconciliation across the deep divides that these long-standing conflicts have generated within and among societies. A major challenge to supporting the transformation of protracted conflicts is that the conflict settings have been solidified as a new normality, and the polarised division between neighbours and within societies has been institutionalised. To address these challenges, we conceptualise cross-regional dialogue as a third-party facilitated process that brings together actors from various protracted conflict settings thus ensuring a greater diversity of opinions and societal standings. Cross-regional formats of dialogue, in our view, provide a space for suspending the dominant mutual antagonisms and for creative thinking about new horizons for the shared future. They enable participants and organisers to break away from the problem-solving paradigm as well as from the bilateral format of dialogues concentrated on one conflict, and thus they can be seen to provide safe spaces for dialogue in the midst of protracted conflicts.