YPC & Inclusive Peace
Virtual Discussion

Event: National Dialogues and Transitional Peace Processes: Issues, Challenges and Lessons from Yemen and Beyond

October 2022

On 12 October 2022, from 17:00-18:30 Berlin

(11:00-12:30 New York; 16:00-17:30 London; 18:00-19:30 Yemen)

The truce in Yemen is facing renewed setbacks after holding fragile for six months. With more conference-style talks between Yemeni stakeholders in the run-up to direct, comprehensive peace talks, what comes after the truce remains unclear, especially in terms of resolving long-accumulated grievances and discussing the future of Yemen. During 2013-2014, the Republic of Yemen convened the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), a process integral to the 2011 transitional peace process set by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative and backed by the United Nations. The NDC was the country’s last extensive nationally led dialogue process. Perhaps because of its collapse, with the country slipping into a regionalized conflict beyond an armed rebellion, the usefulness of the NDC as an experience for future intra-Yemeni dialogues remains largely overlooked, underrated, and exaggerated. At a time when the international community, especially under US President Joe Biden, seeks to “end the war in Yemen”, it is timely to re-examine the national dialogue. 

As part of our Kaleidoscope project, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, YPC and Inclusive Peace want to reflect on the use of the national dialogue as a peacebuilding and reconciliation tool in Yemen, while also drawing on other contexts such as South Sudan, Myanmar, and Central African Republic, where there are parallels, to learn from the past for the future. What are the general challenges faced in national dialogues? How does the institutional design of dialogues shape inclusion/exclusion, the scope of negotiations, bargaining dynamics, and final outcomes? What are the limitations of and realities influencing the institutional design of dialogues, including Yemen’s NDC? Do the processes and outcomes of dialogues affect broader security and peace landscapes in conflict-affected and fragile states? What lessons can be drawn from the past to inform future processes? Are there any good practices that can be drawn on, including from other contexts? 

To discuss, we will be joined by renowned experts in the fields of peacemaking, mediation, and transitional peace processes.

Dr. Thania Paffenholz is the Executive Director of Inclusive Peace, a Senior Fellow at the Center on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, and has over 30 years of experience as both an academic and a policy/practice advisor. She is internationally renowned for her work on and in support of peace and political transition processes worldwide, focusing on mediation and peacebuilding, process design, inclusion, and participation, as well as the conditions under which peace processes produce sustainable outcomes, including by research-policy transfer. In recognition of her overall work, Thania received the prestigious Wihuri International Prize in 2015.

Shatha Al-Harazi is a Political Affairs Officer with the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY) and has nearly a decade of mediation expertise, supporting several UN Envoys with mediating de-escalation, confidence-building and conflict termination measures. Prior to joining OSESGY, Shatha was the Rapporteur of the NDC’s Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation Committee in 2013-2014, having been chosen by the President of the Republic of Yemen as a Youth Delegate. She previously worked with the United Nations Development Program, Resonate! Yemen, and the United States Institute of Peace, among others.

Ibrahim Jalal, a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute’s (MEI) Gulf Affairs and Yemen Program and co-founder of The Security Distillery, joined the Yemen Policy Center as a Research Fellow in 2021. His research examines third-party-led peace processes in Yemen, transitional peace processes, including national dialogues in peacebuilding and reconciliation, the internal dynamics of the conflict in Yemen and proliferation of armed non-state actors within the broader context of Gulf security, and the evolving security architecture of the Middle East. He has consulted with many international stakeholders, including as an Advisor to the Yemen Economic Project with the Overseas Development Institute, the Institute of Development Studies of Sussex University, the United Nations, Saferworld, among others.

Moderator: Dr. Mohammed al-Qadhi is a senior journalist and a political advisor at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Active in Yemen’s journalism community since 1998, he was Yemen’s main contributor to Al Jazeera International at its launch until 2012 and reported from the frontlines of the war in Yemen until June 2019. He contributed in-depth political and security analyses on Yemen to The Economist Intelligence Review from 2000-2012. Mohammed has reported for local, Arab, and international media outlets including Yemen Times, Al-Riyadh, Bloomberg News, The Washington Post, The National, The Sunday Times, Gulf Marketing Review, and The Telegraph, and his broadcast work includes reporting for MBC’s English-language TV channel, DW Radio and TV, France 24, and Sky News Arabia TV between 2012-2020 in Yemen and India.

This panel is based on the latest research produced, respectively, by Thania Paffenholz of Inclusive Peace and Ibrahim Jalal of YPC on national dialogues, including What Makes or Breaks National Dialogues, Inclusive Political Settlements: New Insights from Yemen’s National Dialogue, and Yemen’s Incomplete National Dialogue Conference: Insights on the Design and Negotiation Dynamics.

Register for the event here.

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