Exploring the United Nations 2023 Religion and Mediation Course

Training | June 2023

Through the collaborative effort of the Peacemakers Network, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, CSS/ETH Zurich, and the United Nations Department for Political Affairs (UNDPPA) Mediation Unit, the partners held their annual religion and mediation course with a focus on the Sahel region.

This year’s innovative program was divided in a hybrid format, with an initial three half-day online training, followed by a three-day in-person workshop in Dakar, Senegal. The training consisted of 15 UN mediators focused on the Sahel region and 10 leading experts and practitioners working in local communities in the Sahel region. The course utilized expert guest trainers, peer-to-peer learning and offered a space for more collaborative partnerships to flourish between those working with faith actors and communities and those working within the UN system. A joint reception was held for course participants by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland in Dakhar at the Swiss Ambassador’s Residence.

Group photo of participants at the UN Religion Mediation Course held in Dakar, Senegal.

The Finnish Ambassador to Senegal, Anu Saxén, providing opening remarks at the UN Religion and Mediation Course in Dakar, Senegal.

The Ambassadors of Switzerland and Finland to Senegal providing a welcome reception at the Swiss Residence, with Swiss Ambassador Andrea Semadeni providing opening remarks.

Participant Fanta Kone providing an overview of her group’s mediation process.

The Religion and Mediation Course is a specialized training course developed for mediators, peace practitioners, policymakers, and other individuals working to address conflicts in contexts where religion, tradition, and/or different worldviews have strong relevance. This experience-oriented and interactive learning course aims to advance the understanding of how religion, tradition, and worldviews play a role in conflict resolution, provide tools for analyzing the role of religion, tradition, and perspectives in conflict, and advance familiarity in approaches to mediating and transforming conflicts with the aforementioned dimensions.

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