DPI Online Roundtable, ‘The Role of Women in Conflict Resolution’, 15 July 2020

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On 15 July 2016, a diverse group of women met in Ankara for DPI’s roundtable meeting exploring women’s participation in peace and resolution processes. Despite the extraordinary circumstances of that time, participants were unanimous in their desire to continue with the meeting, which proceeded as planned. Speaking at the time, the women participants said “The best answer to the coup attempt is to continue to discuss peace.” Four years on from that day, on 15th July 2020, DPI once again brought together a diverse group of women from across Turkey’s many constituencies and bridging political divides to participate in a roundtable meeting discussing the role of women in conflict resolution. We were delighted to be joined by two speakers who both shared their own experiences of involvement and inclusion of women in peace processes. Rosa Emilia Salamanca, Executive Director of Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE) discussed her role in strengthening the participation of women in the Colombian peace process, from grassroots and civil society initiatives through to formal negotiation processes. Katia Papagianni, Director – Mediation Support and Policy, HD Centre shared with participants her knowledge and expertise of the motivating factors and practices of women contributing to dialogue and resolution processes during the most challenging times. A rich and varied question and answer session enabled participants to engage with both speakers on topics ranging from what uniting factors there are for women overcoming societal divides to work for peace and how hope can be instilled even during the most difficult of times. Participants also discussed the practical ways in which women contributed positively to the Colombian peace process as well as the continued need to drive increased women’s participation in such processes to be able to work towards long-term sustainable peace. The meeting provided a valuable platform for this group of diverse, committed and influential women to engage with two expert speakers on the experiences of women’s inclusion in conflict resolution processes, particularly during the course of challenging times. We were also delighted to be joined, virtually, by some of our donors and international experts from DPI’s Council of Experts. The RT forms part of a larger series of activities planned in the context of the project: “Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey”, supported by the EU and the Norwegian government.