Each year, thousands of events take place all around the world to celebrate the International Day of Peace. These events provide an opportunity to inspire and empower communities to remember once again the importance of peace and to motivate ourselves to work towards achieving sustainable and just peace.
To mark the International Peace Day, the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS ) joined hands with the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies(BFCS) and the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES ) to organize a panel discussion focusing on “Making Peace Processes Work: What Roles for Third Parties?” The discussion was held on 21st September, 2007, in Colombo, with the participation of a group of eminent panelists amidst a distinguished gathering.
Those attending the event were academics, members of the civil society and the media from different background, thus contributing to the discussion presenting diverse perspectives.
The panelists were Dr.Rifaat Hussain (Executive Director-RCSS), Dr.Rama Mani (Executive Director-ICES), Chair – Dr.Norbert Ropers, (Director-BFCS), Mr.Rajpal Abeynayake (Chief Editor-Lakbima News and Veteran Journalist), Mr.Amal Jayasinghe (Bureau Chief- AFP- Sri Lanka and Maldives) and Mrs. Shanthi Sachithanandam (Executive Chairperson – Viluthu).
The UN- regional office based in Sri Lanka was represented by Mr. Omar Noman, Chief of Policies and Program.
The panelists focused on the significance of the UN initiated peace day and the role of UN as a third party in resolving conflicts; the roles third parties can play and have played in Peace Processes, their mandates, possibilities and limitations; the multiplicity of actors from the UN and other INGOs to individual states and independent, private institutions.
Responding to the numerous issues raised by the audience the panel also addressed dilemmas of impartiality and neutrality as well as perspectives on how the potential of third party involvement can be improved.