Members Convene in London for 10th Advisory Group Meeting

Advocacy, inclusivity and the Network strategy were among the main themes covered during the 10th annual Advisory Group Meeting. Participants from around the world gathered in London from 9-11 May to enhance the strategic role of the Network to serve religious and traditional peacemakers.

(9-11 May 2019 | London, United Kingdom)

Knowledge was shared, synergies were found and relationships were built.

Approximately 60 Network members from around the world were graciously hosted at Westminster Church House in London for the 10th Network Advisory Group Meeting (AGM). The annual AGM provides an opportunity for Network members to reflect on the activities of the Network and its future trajectory as well as to meet and network with like-organizations.  This AGM is particularly significant for the Network as it built upon previous AGM’s and the collaborative work of the Network and its partners to discuss the Network strategy.

Under the wonderful –and entertaining – guidance of Ms. Michela Perrone, President and Strategic Facilitator at MMP Associates, members spent the first day in breakout sessions to discuss, identify and analyze the Network’s role as an international actor and to brainstorm its key areas of focus. The topics of these sessions included the Network’s membership structure, inclusivity and thematic areas of focus, including: advocacy, capacity building, research and networking.

Members discuss the role of the Network

Day two of the AGM focused specifically on inclusivity, a component that must be reflected in all activities of the Network – as guided by SDG16.  This session provided an opportunity for all members to analyze inclusivity within the Network as well as to share their organization’s good practices. Participants echoed their desire for the Network to serve as a match-maker between entities and actors for the purpose of advancing inclusivity efforts as well as to continue the inclusivity working group.

While the AGM is a time for a reflection of the Network’s activity and its future projections, it is also a time for friends, collaborators and colleagues from around the world to network, share information and comradery.

The multiple practical and substantive recommendations received at the AGM will guide the Network Secretariat’s work in 2019 and contribute to the development of a strategic plan. As concrete next steps for 2019, the strategy development process will continue with the recommendations and suggestions received at the AGM in May 2019. As part of this process, the Network must ensure inclusivity in all of its functions. A second AGM will be convened in late 2019 to discuss and review the drafted Network strategy with the intention of implementing the strategy in 2020.

The Network would like to thank its members for their participation and contributions in the discussion and overall development of the Network strategy. It would also like to recognize Islamic Relief World Wide and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their support in the 10th Advisory Group Meeting.

How is the Network strategy process being conducted?

The call for a Network strategy has been amplified since its inception in 2013.  Strategic discussions were propelled forward after the 2018 AGM in Stockholm; the process began with hiring Ms. Michela Perrone, strategic facilitator from MMP Associates, to guide the discussion and planning of the strategy. Under Ms. Perrone’s guidance, the Network has embarked on a strategic journey to specify the role of the Network and to further understand its role to serve its members and peace actors.

The first step in the process was to convene a Steering Committee to guide the strategic assessment process. Committee members were recruited to include a cross-section of perspectives and experiences including members of the Secretariat, Core Group and Advisory Group.

A Briefing Book was developed as an initial step in the strategic process. The briefing book is a culmination of Network activities and projects since its inception. Data is the book was collected from: Developmental Performance Evaluation of the Network, “Network Strategic Planning Input Survey,” meeting reports from past Advisory Group Meetings and the Network’s 2019 Resources Mobilization Plan. All members of the Advisory Group meeting received a copy prior to the AGM to guide the meeting discussion.

The inputs from the Advisory Group Meeting will be used to inform and direct the drafting of a Network strategy. Over the summer, the Steering Committee and MMP Associates will collaboratively draft the Network strategy. An additional Advisory Group Meeting will be convened at the end of 2019 to discuss and approve the draft strategy.

23 May 2019