Expert Interviews

In its training activities, the Mediation Support Project works with the most experienced mediators. We thereby collect their knowledge and insights on security issues, process, micro skills, and other topics related to peace mediation. Watch the movies below and enjoy the inspiring and thought-provoking insights of Lt. Gen. Lazaro K. Sumbeiywo (Rtd.), Meredith Preston McGhie, Laura Davis, Ben Hoffman, Irene Santiago, Ameet Dhakal, Laurie Nathan, Jeremy Brickhill and Mohamed Suliman.


Lt. Gen. Lazaro K. Sumbeiywo (Rtd.): Perspectives from a Chief Mediator.

Questions by Simon Mason (CSS/ETH Zurich), filmed in Fall 2016.

Short description of video clips with Lt. Gen. Lazaro K. Sumbeiywo (Rtd.)
  1. What is at the heart of mediation?
  2. What do you see as the key role of a chief mediator?
  3. How should a chief mediator deal with international donors and observers?
  4. What is important about funding mediation processes?
  5. How do you help intransigent, stuck parties achieve peace?
  6. What are your insights from working with Kofi Annan?
  7. What can you tell us about Concerned Citizens for Peace?
  8. Can you tell us about Dekha Ibrahim Abdi?

Further Reading:
Lazaro Sumbeiywo (2009) “To be  Negotiator: Strategies and Tactics” CSS Mediation Resources, (English and Indonesian)

The mediator’s perspective, An interview with General Lazaro Sumbeiywo, CR ACCORD 16, 2006

Waithaka Waihenya (2006), “The Mediator, Gen. Lazaro Sumbeiywo and the Southern Sudan Peace Process”, East African Educational Publishers


Meredith Preston McGhie on Integrating Topics and Actors in Peace Processes.

Interviewed by Simon Mason (CSS/ETH Zurich) on 12 June 2015 in Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland.


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Short description of video clips with Meredith Preston McGhie
  1. Added Value of NGO Mediators: potential comparative advantages of NGOs in the role of mediators.
  2. Lessons from the 2007/8 Kenyan Election Crisis Mediation: the importance of having complementary goals and of feeding civil society’s perspectives into a track 1 process.
  3. Supporting Local, Insider Mediators: what international actors can offer in insider mediation processes.
  4. Designing Inclusive Processes: key questions to help determine an inclusive process design.
  5. The Importance of Context Knowledge: process design and the identification of interests behind positions as two areas where contextual knowledge is particularly important.

Laura Davis on Transitional Justice in Peace Mediation.

Interviewed by Valerie Sticher (CSS/ETH Zurich) on 16 May 2014 in Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland.


To select from one of the movies listed below, press ‘play all’ and then click on ‘playlist’ at the top of the screen. You will then be able to choose from a list.

Short description of video clips with Laura Davis
  1. The Peace and Justice Debate: the role of mediators with regard to transitional justice questions.
  2. Addressing Justice Questions in Peace Processes: reflections on transitional justice and the impartiality of a mediator.
  3. Universal Laws and Norms in Peace Processes: how to balance international and local laws and norms in a mediation process.
  4. Gender Inclusive Transitional Justice: reflections on gender questions in transitional justice and dealing with the past.
  5. Peace Agreements and their Impact on Transitional Justice: why it is necessary to look beyond justice provisions, especially also at security arrangements.

Ben Hoffman on How to be a Helpful Mediator.

Interviewed by Valerie Sticher (CSS/ETH Zurich) on 15 May 2014 in Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland.

To select from one of the movies listed below, press ‘play all’ and then click on ‘playlist’ at the top of the screen. You will then be able to choose from a list.

Short description of video clips with Ben Hoffman
  1. Need for Mediation Skills: why it is important for diplomats or mediators mediating in a track I conflict to learn the basic skills and structure of mediation.
  2. Facilitative and Directive Approaches to Mediation: reflections on the perennial question of when to be facilitative and when more directive in your mediation approach.
  3. Dealing with Negative Energy and Stress in Mediation: ways to deal with the negative energy and stress mediators often face when working with parties in conflict.

Irene Santiago on Women in Peace Processes.

Interviewed by Anna Hess (CSS) on March 7 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland.

To select from one of the movies listed below, press ‘play all’ and then click on ‘playlist’ at the top of the screen. You will then be able to choose from a list.

Short description of video clips with Irene Santiago
  1. Women’s Participation in Peace Mediation: the importance of women participating in peace mediation and specific challenges to women participation.
  2. Advice to Women Negotiators: Based on her own experience in the Mindanao peace process in the Philippines, Irene Santiago shares her insights as to what makes women`s participation relevant and influential in peace negotiations.
  3. UNSCR 1325 – From Policy to Practice: the challenges of the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans.
  4. No Peace without Women – 15th Anniversary of 1325: Highlighting the role of women in peace processes, Irene Santiago talks about plans for 2015 to celebrate 15 years of UNSC 1325.
  5. Gender Sensitive Mediation: why gender sensitive mediation is important and what it looks like.

Ameet Dhakal on the Role of the Media in the Peace Process in Nepal.

Interviewed by Valerie Sticher (CSS) on January 25 2013 in Bali, Indonesia.

Short description of video clip with Ameet Dhakal
Role of the Media: Ameet Dhakal, former editor-in-chief of Nepalese Newspaper “Republica”, elaborates on the role of the media in the peace process in Nepal.

Laurie Nathan on Process Design, Inclusivity, Mediation Skills, Security and Justice.

Interviewed by Simon J A Mason (CSS) on March 18 2009 in Stalden i.E., Switzerland.

To select from one of the movies listed below, press ‘play all’ and then click on ‘playlist’ at the top of the scrren. You will then be able to choose from a list.

Juggling Complexity
  1. Design of peace processes: The Role of international com­mu­ni­ties, donors, other stakeholders, divisions in the par­ties, local population, and spoilers. Laurie Nathan ela­bo­rates on the potential of process design.
  2. The role of third parties: Laurie Nathan on comparative roles of UN, AU, states or NGO mediation: How to combine autho­rity and flexibility.
Inclusivity
  1. Causes and implications of exclusion: What are the reasons and implications of excluding parties from peace processes? Laurie Nathan reflects on the example of Hamas (Middle East), the Janjaweed (Darfur), the parties in Burundi, the ANC (South Africa), RENAMO (Mosambique).
  2. Mediator’s options with inclusivity: What can a mediator do, when parties exclude other parties? Laurie Nathan on the Doha Darfur peace process.
Mediation Skills
  1. Fostering empathy: How to translate demands into a pro­cess? Understanding underlying needs, interests and fears. Laurie Nathan reflects on the examples of South Africa and Israel/Palestine.
  2. Dealing with ‘no’: What to do when the parties say no, when they set preconditions? Laurie Nathan on the use of the “single text method”, experts coaching, use of advisors, technical options, working groups, shuttle diplomacy.
  3. Personalities in peace mediation: The characteristics of mediators and negotiators: Are there any differences and commonalities?
Security risks and fears
  1. Understanding violence: What is violence, what is the role of mediators in intractable conflicts? Laurie Nathan on the im­por­tance of security arrangements in Darfur.
  2. Vulnerability: What are security risks and fears related to peace agreements? How to mitigate those risks? Laurie Nathan elaborates on the role of third parties.
  3. Protect our people: Laurie Nathan illustrates the Go­vern­ments’ fears of security arrangements in peace agree­ments through the case of Darfur.
  4. Loss of leverage: How to deal with the parties’ fear of loss of leverage when negotiating a cessation of hostilities? Laurie Nathan reflects on the case of Sudan.
Peace and Justice
  1. Amnesty, peace and local ownership: How to approach the “no amnesty, no peace agreement” position? Laurie Nathan argues that local ownership was key in South Africa.
  2. External pressure and international justice: What is the use of pressure to push parties to negotiations? Laurie Nathan reflects on the role of human rights advocacy, international tribunals, the ICC and the use of sanctions in Darfur.

Further Reading:
Laurie Nathan (2006), No Ownership No Peace – The Darfur Peace Agreement.


Jeremy Brickhill on Security Arrangements in Peace Processes.

Interviewed by Simon J A Mason (CSS) on May 5 2009 in Einsiedeln, Switzerland.

To select from one of the movies listed below, press ‘play all’ and then click on ‘playlist’ at the top of the scrren. You will then be able to choose from a list.

Short description of video clips with Jeremy Brickhill
  1. Three phases of security arrangements: Security ar­range­ments can be subdivided into three phases. Jeremy Brickhill locates negligence with regard to the middle phase, where parties would need more time to test the water and build confidence.
  2. Security arrangements as strategic entry points in me­dia­tion: Security arrangements are often seen as ‘technical add ons’ in peace processes. Jeremy Brickhill argues that this is mistaken and that security arrangements lend themselves as entry points for direct talks in an early stage and as confidence building measure.
  3. The roles of civil mediators and military experts: Jeremy Brickhill identifies a need for more training in security ar­range­ments for mediators. At the same time, mediators must know when to approach actual military experts that may discuss technical issues with the parties.
  4. State building is not peace building: Jeremy Brickhill points at practical problems and misconceptions of western policy makers, such as the equation peace building = state building.
  5. Different levels of ceasefires: Jeremy Brickhill describes promising initiatives at the local level that complement the western top-down approach in peace negotiations.

Further Reading:
Jeremy Brickhill (2007), Protecting Civilians Through Peace Agreements – Challenges and Lessons of the Darfur Peace Agreement.


Mohamed Suliman on Conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Interviewed by Simon J A Mason (CSS) on October 31 2009 in London, UK.

To select from one of the movies listed below, press ‘play all’ and then click on ‘playlist’ at the top of the scrren. You will then be able to choose from a list.

Short description of video clips with Mohamed Suliman
  1. What are the causes of conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa?
  2. How are traditional and governmental conflict resolution mechanisms applied?
  3. What are the shortcomings of western property rights when dealing with conflicts in the Sahel Region?
  4. How do conflicts change over time? Escalation, relaxation, and the importance early intervention.
  5. The emergence of identity related conflicts in sub-saharan Africa.
  6. What are the options for mediators in identity related conflicts?
  7. What can you expect from capacity building in peace processes?
  8. Why is security so important during mediation and what do you need to take care of?

Further Reading:
Mohamed Suliman (1997), The Inversion of Ethnicity from Perception to Cause in Violent Conflicts – The Case of the Fur and Nuba Conflicts in Western Sudan.


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All video clips were produced by the Mediation Support Project, a joint project of the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich and swisspeace, Bern, initiated and funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs