Facilitating dialogue between Filipina and Colombian women

Usually, when one hears about a “European tour”, one’s thoughts turn to rock bands in noisy, smelly buses. The Conciliation Resources European Tour is a somewhat different animal, consisting of women peace process actors rather than guitar players and disseminating a variety of experiences and lessons learned from two different peace processes. The mandate of Conciliation Resources (CR) is essentially to provide resources and act as a facilitator for actors working for solutions to violent conflict. Among its activities is the facilitation of dialogues and exchanges between actors with different experiences or working in different conflict scenarios. Both in Colombia and the Philippines, CR has facilitated the coming together of women with diverse backgrounds with not much in common other than their gender and their involvement in peacebuilding activities. In 2011, CR organised an exchange between 10 women from each of these two countries. The aim was to learn from their differing approaches to addressing conflict situations that have a number of similarities, and the women’s experiences of relative successes, failures and lessons learned. Now, four of these women make up the CR European Tour, speaking to interested audiences about their experiences as peacebuilders and of dialogue with other women peacebuilders with very different identities, statuses and priorities. On May 16th 2012 PRIO hosted the Oslo leg of the CR European Tour, in co-opoeration with NOREF and the Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS). An audience composed of researchers, activists and practitioners in the field of peace and women’s rights listened to a self-reflective, nuanced and interesting set of accounts from the panel, and participated in a further exchange of views, arguments and experiences drawing on the vast expertise present in the room.