Building Peace in South Asia
- South Asia
With the support of the Ploughshares Fund, the Bridgeway Group implemented a peace building project between July 2013 and March 2015 aimed at enhancing the capacity of key stakeholders in South Asia to reduce the risks of conflict escalation and create opportunities for more effective dialogue and peace in the region.
Strengthening Peace Constituencies
Through a rigorous training and coaching effort, the project supported the development of local conflict management, leadership and nonviolent conflict transformation capacities. Leveraging video web conferencing and online learning technology, the Bridgeway Group delivered a tailored Executive Learning Program, which trained and educated a network of key South Asian stakeholders on strategic negotiation, adaptive leadership and conflict transformation skills. After an intensive series of 14 expert-delivered webinar training and practicum sessions, the Executive Learning Program provided follow-on coaching sessions in which training participants explored how to practically apply strategic negotiation and adaptive leadership skills, tools and approaches to address real-life challenges and issues in South Asia.
Supporting Dialogue and Collaborative Approaches to Address Conflict
In addition to strengthening the capacity of key voices and constituencies for peace in the region, the Bridgeway Group organized and facilitated a week-long Facilitated Joint Brainstorming and Transformative Scenario Planning (FJ/TSP) Workshop in Istanbul, Turkey that convened a group of 11 experts from New Delhi, Islamabad, Srinagar, the United States, United Kingdom and France to construct and analyze a range of possible scenarios for the South Asian region and jointly brainstorm and develop options to advance peace and stability. The workshop provided a rare opportunity for a group of thought leaders from South Asia to engage in a conversation that truly embraced the uncertainties and possibilities of the complex regional dynamics in South Asia. After examining critical issues that are at the heart of continuing conflict and instability and after jointly developing and considering possible future scenarios, the Istanbul workshop participants took back with them a fuller range of practical steps and possible near-term options to improve the situation and advance the future prospects of a just and durable peace in South Asia.
Centers for Excellence in Negotiation
“You extremely seldom (I had just one case over the past 15 years among hundreds of trainers/trainings) face trainers like Arthur Martirosyan – PROFESSIONAL, with perfect delivery skills and perfect preparedness of the subject matter.
Negotiation skills and building trust (plus communication skills) – this is what our police officers need nowadays-both for public order management and community policing.”
– A reflection from a CEN participant, Political-Military Officer in Yerevan.
In an increasingly interdependent world, seemingly small, local situations, particularly in post-Soviet and Middle Eastern countries, can be flashpoints for international conflict. Without a community of negotiators that have the skills to find common ground and who can advocate effectively to protect vital interests and rights, each of these event has a potentially destabilizing effect on the geopolitical balance throughout the world.
To address this challenge, The Bridgeway Group launched a long-term capacity building program, designed to create Centers for Excellence in Negotiation (CEN) in Armenia, Russia and Ukraine. The most active of the Centers, CEN Armenia supports participatory policy-making, improving results of deliberative processes, negotiation culture change and promoting regional understanding and peace.
Supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the CEN project was part of a long-term relationship that started with the Momentum program aimed at leadership networks development in Eurasia over a decade ago. The Bridgeway Group continues to informally support CEN activities, particularly in Armenia and Ukraine, carrying forward the legacy of the Momentum program.
CEN Armenia program focused on three inter-related objectives:
- Successfully establishing a fully functional CEN Yerevan with three dedicated staff members
- Equipping CEN Yerevan with methodological literature, train the trainer materials and seminal texts on negotiations
- Assisting CEN partners in developing curriculums and materials, in running training programs and in designing implementing applied research projects that contribute to positive negotiation culture change in Armenia
The CEN program furthered the Bridgeway Group’s efforts to institutionalize good negotiation practice, thinking and research in all corners of the globe. Lessons learned from this process have been shared across institutions and, it is hoped, have inspired the creation of similar centers in other emerging democracies.
Ikibiri Coalition Police Armories Project
In 2009, the Bridgeway Group and Ikibiri Coalition formed a partnership to respond to a request from the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura to install police post armories in the urban communes of Bujumbura, Burundi. The project responded to a need to control official police weapons and integrate the police into troubled communities in Burundi. The installation of police post armories provided appropriate facilities for weapons storage. The facilities contributed to heightening the professionalism of the police, provided secure storage areas, and fostered reception areas that had not previously existed in those neighborhoods. The project aimed to increase the effectiveness of the police and link the police with the community in an effort to decrease the level of criminality in the most insecure areas of Burundi.
Completed Program Objectives:
- Installed 38 police armories in the communes of Bujumbura – these communes having the highest rates of criminality in the country.
- Secured 50 percent of the weapons in the relevant neighborhood at any given time by providing appropriate facilities, including the secure armory at police posts.
- Facilitated police, local government, and community cooperation with regards to weapons circulation and appropriate weapons storage through joint training and improved police-community relations.
Culminating Event of The Ikibiri Coalition Police Armories Project
The Police Armories Project culminated on September 23rd, 2011 with a public awareness meeting and celebration in Kamenge commune, Bujumbura. In total, 38 armories and 76 signs were publicly turned over to communal authorities, the local population and the Burundian National Police. The public awareness meeting was well attended and included over 600 community members and approximately 100 police agents. The Director General of the National Police, the Deputy Security-Commissioner for Bujumbura’s Mayor, an advisor to the Mayor and representatives of the 7 Communes of Buterere, Cibitoke, Gihosha, Kamenge, Kanyosha, Kinama, and Musaga all participated in the event. The day ended with a performance of traditional dances, games, reading exercises and other activities on the local soccer field. More than 300 community members helped to celebrate the successful end to this important project and there are high hopes for improved security in many of Bujumbura’s neighborhoods.
The Bridgeway Group conducted an evaluation of the Police Armories Project in the Summer 2012. Learning from that evaluation has informed subsequent Bridgeway Group and Ikibiri Coalition projects. A report on the project can be obtained here.
The World Health Organization
The Bridgeway Group has designed and delivered negotiation and difficult conversations training for a variety of WHO staff worldwide. Given WHO’s needs for both face-to-face delivery and e-learning technologies to reach its desired target audiences, the Bridgeway Group chose to collaborate with the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) in order to maximize program impact. (CBI has developed e-learning modules for UNDP and other clients.) Program training modules included:
- Basic Negotiation e-Learning Course
- 2-Day Advanced Negotiation Workshop
- 2-Day Managing Difficult Conversations Workshop
- Management Overview of Negotiation
- Refresher Sessions
Following the successful pilot of the online learning module developed by CBI, the module became a prerequisite for participants attending the Advanced Negotiation workshops. By the end of the 2-year project, several hundred WHO staff benefitted from the negotiation and communication skills training.
- Geneva and Feld Office Training
The Bridgeway Group recently concluded a two-year contract with UNAIDS in which we offered workshops combining Strategic Negotiation and Managing Difficult Conversations material for UNAIDS staff in Geneva and UNAIDS field offices. The workshop learning was augmented with 12-week email reinforcement campaign and individual coaching by phone and email.