South & Southeast Asia
At a glance
BPS supports “insider mediators” in the ASEAN and SAARC regions with the aim to help establish a critical mass of persons, who are committed to ending and preventing violence, striving for a just and sustainable peace and have the capacity to engage with disputing parties to overcome enmities, build trust and solve concrete problems.
South and Southeast Asia are regions of dynamic socio-economic development. Nevertheless, these regions are also shaped by tremendous disparities between the growing middle classes and the majority of people in poverty, and by a high degree of ethnic and religious plurality.
The conflicts from Afghanistan to the Philippines reflect the uneven development between and within countries as well as their different political histories. Historically shaped by struggles for independence vis-à-vis outside domination and interventions, many of these countries are now facing internal challenges by a majority of people who feel excluded from economic progress and political participation and by minority groups who feel marginalized or suppressed given their ethnic or religious identities. Additional challenges are created in the context of globalization, the rivalry between the big powers in the region and the unequal control of and access to natural resources. Finding constructive ways of responding to a multiplicity of conflicts is one of the key challenges for the countries belonging to the two regional organisations of ASEAN and SAARC.
At the same time, within the region, there is an impressive capacity and huge potential to transform these conflicts into opportunities for inclusive nation building, for mutual respect, tolerance and joint learning and for promoting a new pan-Asian spirit of sustainable development and peaceful coexistence. This transformation needs leaders and agents of non-violent change from all spheres of life. Of particular importance are persons who have the experience, commitment, status and social skills to hold the fabric of societies together, engage in mitigating conflicts and support peace processes. We call them “insider mediators” and remain convinced that they are crucial interlocutors for overcoming violence and building a just and sustainable peace.Top
Supporting insider mediators
To be as effective as possible, our support of insider mediators is focused on a small number of country cases. Nevertheless, we promote the exchange and joint learning beyond the regions of South and Southeast Asia. We are aware that the effectiveness and legitimacy of insider mediators are closely linked to the position of respect that they hold within their societies as well as their knowledge of traditional and indigenous methods of conflict resolution. We are also aware that their capacity to build bridges between the requirements of democracy, good governance and the rule-of-law on the one side and the respect for traditional values and expectations on the other are crucial for their success. We see our engagement with insider mediators in Asia as a unique opportunity for mutual learning and as an inspiration for the worldwide dissemination of constructive ways of conflict resolution such as principled negotiation, mediation and dialogue facilitation.
Our work includes engagement with and support of individuals and teams of insider mediators in the form of joint analysis and strategic planning workshops, peer advice and exchange programmes, seminars centred on issues relevant for the respective country and skills trainings.
|Insider Mediators: Exploring Their Key Role in Informal Peace Processes||Mediation||Mason, Simon||2009|