Oslo Forum – 15th annual international retreat of mediators and peace process actors in Oslo, Norway, 13-14 June 2017

More than 100 of the world’s most prominent mediators of armed conflict and actors involved in peace processes will come together in Oslo, Norway from 13 to 14 June 2017, to discuss peacemaking challenges and share their experiences at the 2017 Oslo Forum.

The Oslo Forum, which this year celebrates its 15th anniversary, is organised jointly by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), a Swiss-based private diplomacy and conflict mediation organisation. The two-day retreat brings together senior conflict mediators, major actors in peace processes, key decision-makers and eminent thinkers on an annual basis to reflect on current peace processes and to strengthen the practice of conflict mediation internationally. The event also seeks to function as a ‘laboratory’ where participants can explore innovative approaches to peacemaking and test their assumptions.

Distinguished participants this year will include Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission; John F. Kerry, former United States Secretary of State; Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa; Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Founding Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation; Jeffrey D. Feltman, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs; as well as the Foreign Ministers of Iran, Kenya, Indonesia, Sudan, Jordan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, and Croatia, in addition to other high-level representatives.

The overarching theme of the 2017 retreat will be ‘Peacemaking in a new era of geopolitics’. Participants will explore how growing regional and international competition between powerful states is influencing conflict resolution efforts globally. In particular, they will discuss the prospects for mediation processes in environments increasingly shaped by geopolitical rivalries, how mediators can avoid becoming pawns in a bigger chess game, and what may be done to encourage an alignment of great power interests for the sake of peace.

The retreat will feature panel discussions, situation reports and lectures by world-leading experts. It will offer those attending the opportunity to reflect on a variety of peacemaking topics, including:

• Challenges to, and chances for, reconciliation in a post-ISIL Iraq;
• Reflecting on a revived reconciliation agenda for Somalia;
• Regional interests and influence in Syria;
• Diplomacy in the age of WhatsApp;
• Progress on the path to peace in the Philippines;
• Putting peace into practice in Colombia;
• Stability under threat in South East Europe;
• National dialogues as a peacemaking tool; and
• The dilemmas posed by the popular validation of peace agreements.

The Oslo Forum was first held in 2003 and is now regarded as the leading international forum for, and network of, mediators and actors in peace processes. Alongside the annual global retreat held in Norway, the Oslo Forum Series also features regional retreats in Asia and Africa.

The informal and discreet nature of the gatherings – held behind closed doors – offers a unique opportunity to bring key experts and peacemakers together to engage in frank exchanges on often sensitive conflict issues. The retreats aim to improve international mediation practice by facilitating open exchanges and debates among mediators as well as providing informal networking opportunities and space for conflict parties to advance their negotiations. The Forum has contributed to improving understanding of peacemaking issues and mediation practice worldwide.

Attendance at the Oslo Forum is by invitation only and the Chatham House Rule applies throughout the event. However, interviews may be arranged with those attending on request.

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For more information on the Oslo Forum, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) or to arrange an interview, please send an email to pr@hdcentre.org.

Media enquiries for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be addressed to Ms Marte Kopstad by email at mlko@mfa.no, or by phone on +47 995 22 026.

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