Constructive dialogue with non-state armed groups is hugely important – to prevent, mitigate or resolve violent conflict. But it is equally challenging and variable in terms of the context, actors involved, purpose of such dialogue, and the means by which it is achieved. On 15 March 2017, Conciliation Resources and the Center for Empathy in International Affairs hosted a roundtable discussion involving 21 mediators, peacebuilders, experts and officials to consider the role that empathy can play in helping to establish and sustain dialogue with non-state armed groups. This note, drafted by CEIA Director Matt Waldman, summarises the key points made during the course of the discussion.
Roundtable participants included individuals from or affiliated with a range of institutions, including Conciliation Resources, the Center for Empathy in International Affairs (CEIA), Chatham House, Concordis International, the Rift Valley Institute, Saferworld, the University of Kent, the University of Edinburgh, and the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.