Peace cannot be achieved when there is no space for dialogue. This is a basic principle of diplomacy that is true at all levels. WPDI’s mission is to provide spaces for dialogue in all places, however remote they are or entrenched their conflicts may seem to be. The point in organizing these dialogues is to be in tune with local realities and to take all the time necessary to listen to everyone.
This is why Community Dialogues are mostly conducted by our peacemakers. They are insiders who have intimate knowledge of local situations and can gain the trust of local populations and leaders more easily than external actors. With the skills and tools we provide them with, they are therefore uniquely positioned to mediate conflicts and seemingly intractable issues that have plagued relations among communities for years. Besides this work having to do with actual conflict, Community Dialogues also have preventative and educational purposes. In some circumstances, peacemakers have realized that some key human rights issues – such as gender-based violence – must be addressed in a given community and have taken action to address them.
Our peacemakers work to achieve a multiplier effect. For this, they will ensure that their dialogues are attended by local influencers whom they invite to disseminate the results of the Community Dialogue among their constituencies back home. Another key tool to foster peace is local radio. When they set up a Community Dialogue, our peacemakers will often hold talk shows on local channels to introduce their work and present the results they have gained.
A Community-Wide Impact
By promoting openness and transparency in the resolution of conflicts and challenges, dialogues prove instrumental for building resilience and self-confidence in communities. By conducting Community Dialogues, WPDI’s youth peacemakers are also able to strengthen their presence into their communities. This, in turn, reinforces the ownership of our programs on the ground and, therefore, their empowering effect.