The Promise and Perils of National Dialogue

2017. Author: Katia Papagianni and The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Are national dialogues the appropriate tool for both conflict resolution and political transformation? What can be the consequences for processes pursuing both objectives simultaneously? This publication points out that peacemakers need to have realistic expectations about the extent to which national dialogues can contribute to ending conflicts and to launching political transitions. Dr Papagianni argues that, while national dialogues constitute practical tools to strengthen and legitimise deals which have already been struck, they may be less suitable for developing elite-level trust and a commitment to dialogue when neither of these have been established. She concludes that a failure to clarify whether a national dialogue is intended to resolve concrete disputes or promote political transformation can lead to overly ambitious agendas, inefficient decision-making mechanisms, and a lack of flexibility in the process, all of which can prevent national dialogues from being successful.

  • Dialogue Process
  • Research/Lessons Learned
perils dialogue

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