The CSS Blog Network

Mediation Perspectives: Small Steps to Peace

Dekha Ibrahim Abdi. Photo © Emma Leslie

This article was originally published by ETH News on 8 March 2019.

Many small, local steps may lead more sustainably to peace than big dreams of the perfect state. This principle lies at the heart of an innovative approach to conflict mediation developed by a Kenyan mediator and an ETH researcher.

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Mediation Perspectives: Peacebuilding Updated

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.

Summary of a presentation given by Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground, at the ETH Workshop on Religion in Swiss Peace Promotion, organized by Culture and Religion in Mediation (CARIM) at CSS ETH Zurich

What worked in the past will not automatically work in the future. We need to update and diversify our peacebuilding approaches. In our current context, this includes a greater emphasis on engaging with religious-political actors with constituencies, even if their worldview is very different to our own.

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Mediation Perspectives: The Political-Technical Interaction in Ceasefires

Christmas Truce 1914. Image courtesy of Wikipedia/A.C.Michael/Illustrated London News

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.

If something is purely political, it becomes fuzzy as there is no clear, objective “right or wrong”. If something is purely technical, with many objective “rights and wrongs”, it becomes boring as there is nothing to debate or shape. Things become fascinating when the political and technical interact. Ceasefires that aim to stop violence are important because they can save human life, but they are also intellectually intriguing because of the way political and technical dimensions must interact if they are to be effective.

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Mediation Perspectives: Challenges to the Multi-Track Approach – Insights from Syria

Image courtesy of ColdSmiling/Pixabay

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.


This blog aims to shed light on some of the challenges facing the multi-track approach to mediation through the example of Syria. The multi-track approach refers to undertaking peacebuilding efforts at different levels and interlinking them where useful in order to reach sustainable peace. The concept has regained attention as numerous states suffering from conflict have failed to maintain long-lasting peace despite signing peace agreements at the national level. However, the implementation of the multi-track approach has rarely been tested through evidence-based research. This piece aims to raise some questions aimed at critically examining its application.

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Mediation Perspectives: Integrating Religion into Conflict Analysis

Image courtesy of cms-archiv/pixabay.

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.

A new guide published by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) aims to help peacebuilding practitioners integrate religion into their conflict analysis and program planning. In this blogpost the authors offer a brief introduction to the guide.
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