Date: Thursday, 16 June 2022, 12:30 pm
Location: Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, Französische Strasse 32, 10117 Berlin
Moderated by: Leonie Schaefer-Osthues, Senior Project Manager, Robert Bosch Academy
  • Andrew Gilmour, Executive Director, Berghof Foundation
  • Pierre Hazan, Senior Advisor at Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue; Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy
  • Kirsten Meersschaert, Executive Director, International Alert Europe


Since the end of the Cold War, mediation in armed conflicts has become a regular tool in conflict resolution. Mediators intervene to help prevent conflicts, conclude ceasefires, deliver humanitarian aid, evacuate populations, and end conflicts.

The development of mediation occurred in the broader context of the Pax Americana. This liberal peace paradigm links peace to the re-establishment of the rule of law, representative democracy, free markets, and development; it was embodied in the establishment of institutions, mechanisms, policies, and a global (criminal) justice system. In response to the 9/11 attacks, the liberal peace paradigm also incorporated the concept of counterterrorism and the classification of terrorist groups and individuals who would be isolated, criminalized, and prosecuted.

With traditional actors in mediation – the United Nations and states – theoretically prohibited from engaging in dialogue with alleged terrorist groups or war criminals, this task has been delegated to private mediation organizations, which find themselves in a double bind. On the one hand, a peace process, by definition, needs to integrate the belligerents. On the other hand, mediators are in theory subject to norms requiring the exclusion of actors who are listed as “terrorists” or are allegedly responsible for international crimes.

This discussion will take stock of the liberal peace paradigm and its impact on peace processes in a world that is no longer governed by the Pax Americana. Recent armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and now Ukraine indicate that dealing with the “devil” is unavoidable in the absence of consensus on basic norms or an alternative peace paradigm that considers the dilemma, dynamics, and opportunities of a changing geopolitical landscape.

A light lunch will be served.

Registration for this event is closed.