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Non-Official Dialogue Experience in Conflict Settlement

  • المركز الإقليمي للوساطة والحوار
  • Monday, 06 April 2015

The Arab countries are suffering from many conflicts that are being interfered with too many factors. the most important of the problematic issues of this status is the escalating possibilities of the uncontainable violence outbreak, despite the huge need for the contributions in dealing with these Phenomena either by studies or by interventions, the contributions are not up to the level of practical dealing which led to escalating these conflicts without any real contributions neither on the level of interpreting or intervention. While the nature of the special studies of this matter and its ties to the Arab-Israeli conflict has a role in the resistance against it from the Egyptian academics as a symbol of naturalization, which resulted in the lack of interest in it, to the extent that there is not even one department for peace studies in the Egyptian universities.

The need to apply and test this knowledge and produce some of it to match the nature of the local problems that concern the conflicts of the social, religious and political nature arose with the development of the international peace studies and multiple modern theoretical and applied entrances to deal with the conflicts.

 The concerned parties with the conflictsettlement

The state

The state is considered the most important party of the conflicts settlements cases, either in legal way settled by law or norms through non-official interventions, it's important to mention that the state is the most important of all actors.

 Ministry of Interior

This ministry is publically perceived as the most important and effective body to take an action. This perception has led to nearly identifying the concept of the ministry with the concept of the state in a very inseparable way inside the public mind. The ministry is regarded as one of the most operative parties addressing conflicts positively or negatively, to which either success in resolving a problem or the reason behind unsettled conflict is attributed.

 Ministry of Local Development

In this context, the term “governorate” is defined as a part of the state administrative structure managed by the Ministry of Local Development. The governorate comes the second out of the most crucial actors that are resolving social disputes in coordination with the Ministry of Interior. Further, It is considered a vital part of the state because of being the most direct and capable body dealing with the public, with their diversity and with their differences. On that level, the relation between the Ministry of Interior, which is represented in security directorate inside each governorate, and the governorate is establishing a strategic alliance that is made continuously on the aim of purposeful coordination to settle serious disputes and to address present crisis.

 Judiciary

In terms of networked actors addressing social disputes, Judiciary occupies the third place for some structural and objective reasons – it represents the real and disciplined form of justice system and law enforcement. A part from the letter, the law is spiritually adjusted to flexibly face social problems, the non-criminal cases in particular. Most Judges in this sense pronounce decisions based on conventional provisions in order to either commute a sentence, or to drop all sentences considering that such a decision embodies a kind of reconciliation. As shown in figure (1), the relation between this entity and the Ministry of Interior is not firm for some legal consideration relevant to the authoritative neutrality of the Judiciary.

 Civil Society

It is still impracticable to define the impact and range of the civil society. The reason returns back to the yet-to be existed “civil entity” that is able to define its structure and objectives in line with the state. However, that fact never relegates the role of two important actors – the Church and Al-Azhar, that are acting through organizations and institutions having somewhat of independency. In other words, the social society, to which the state is tending, is Al-Azhar, the Church, development and charity associations, as well as youth initiatives.

 Al-Azhar and the Church

Both entities are the most important actors dealing with social disputes, namely the ones having religious dimensions. They are, hence, called as the first-placed religious institutions representing the identity of all Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

Although they have coordinated and formed joint communities, which perform coordinative roles and field interventions to stop religiously dimensional problems, their relation gets oscillated for some circumstances related to action time, place, and context. Such oscillated relation may signal to a non-established serious dialogue between the two parties.

Although they have a relatively large impact, their joint action and coordination have not established an institution or permanent mechanism for addressing this problem. Thus, Sufi groups with all its historic and social profoundness remains the most influential actor dealing with social problems- they are always having the blessings of Al-Azhar.

 Development and Charity associations

Despite of being a modern experience, it is directly addressing social problems. However, it desperately lacks normal leaders’ confidence, which could be gained through charity associations. Moreover, it is still impracticable to coordinate between the two parties, since each considers the other endangering its existence and practices in the social service community.

Such associations miss many chances for sustainable development and poverty elimination for the lack of real knowledge concerning cultural and social hampers of the development process.

However, nothing could belittle all efforts – which are in need to improvement, exerted by similar organization and institution acting in the field of conflict settlement.

 Youth Initiatives

Since the first wave of January 25th Revolution, many initiatives and youth movements have been emerged for settling dispute directly or indirectly by means addressing problems consciousness and development.

These initiatives are distinguished by motivated and devoted human forces, while it is denounced because of its non-recognition of the future generation, lack of financial resources and poor knowledge of required skills and social reality. This negative side is reflected by disagreement with classic social leaders or conventional institutions.

 Societal Forces

Vertical societal forces, like family or tribe, are of the oldest components that are acting in and affected by the society. Moreover, leaders born of such component are of the most active actors in social dispute settlement.

Although summoning great importance, it lacks making coordination and having objectives. Therefore, it falls into problems related to intra-competition, or mixing the political objectives with the social ones.

 Points of Weakness and strength for Intervention Dialogue

Societal components focusing on these crucial cases fail to have dialogue channels, which is a failure wasting and mostly hampering many efforts. At this point, research centers should play the biggest role to spread shared knowledge and have the ability to open the most effective dialogue channels so as to develop a joint agenda and objectives.

 Strategy

Absence of strategy comes in the second place. It mainly depends on having a sustainable plan and serious dialogue, since the strategy approved should be a true property for all discussion parties. Thus, academic partners’ role is to develop a common misunderstanding and draft scalable concepts in association with the networked leaders of this process.

 Coordination

If strategy’s nature requires a little number of actors, the process of actors’ fusion and strategy empowerment, in order to become a cultural habit, is done through a process of organizational coordination. This process can be made by civil society organizations and research centers under the state supervision. It aims at reaching one consensual objective and a societal invariant – it is “the employment of peaceful means in solving disputes and in achieving justice between parties for the good of the whole nation and its components”.

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