Corridors is an initiative that aims to foster dialogue and cooperation between societies affected by protracted conflicts in the post-Soviet space and beyond. We develop and implement projects that enhance knowledge transfer and create new opportunities for direct people-to-people contact across the conflict divide. In a cross-regional framework, we strive to facilitate cooperation between academic and civil society stakeholders to revitalise dialogue between communities. Corridors aims to enhance awareness and understanding of the context and dynamics around protracted conflicts in specific regions and on an international level. Corridors is designed using a cross-thematic approach, linking capacity building and cooperation in the field of higher education with dialogue activities in an innovative way.
April 2018, knowledge transfer and awareness raising workshop with the OSCE Network.
Civil society dialogue initiatives can provide new positive impulses to support ongoing peace processes and create opportunities for direct exchange on lines of conflict. However, there are numerous structural, social and political barriers in protracted conflicts that limit the scope and effectiveness of dialogue initiatives. Therefore, new ideas and concepts are needed to find ways to bypass these barriers and to develop new and more inclusive spaces for dialogue. The workshop "Cross-regional and inter-sectional dialogues: Developing new approaches to support bottom-up peace initiatives" was devoted to this goal. From 15 to 18 April, we carried out the workshop together with the Tampere Peace Research Institute and the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. This event is part of the project "Cross-Regional Corridors of Dialogue" witin the framework of the OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions.
More than 20 representatives from academia and civil society from Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia, Azerbaijan/Nagorno-Karabakh, Moldavia/Transnistria, Finland and Germany attended the three-day meeting. Together, the participants evaluated past and ongoing dialogue processes and identified best practices and lessons learned. Based on their extensive experience, participants developed new ideas for inclusive dialogue processes. Also, the workshop provided a space for cross-regional dialogue and knowledge exchange between representatives of local civil societies and international structures. Participants made it clear that civil society dialogue processes must produce tangible results for societies affected by conflict. Together, the participants identified a better exchange between local civil society and international actors, the strengthening of civil society capacities through joint educational programmes and the consolidation of the cross-regional dialogue process as essential goals.
Further concrete steps towards achieving these goals have already been initiated. Based on the results, the organisers will draft an OSCE Network Report, which we jointly presented with the participants to international actors in Vienna this autumn. Also, Corridors is organising a summer school for students and young graduates from Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus this September. This summer school aims at strengthening youth capacities in the regions affected by protracted conflicts.
November 2018, Corridors knowledge exchange at OSCE Network workshop in Vienna: Sebastian Relitz presented our concept, experience and practical outcomes during the two-day OSCE Network workshop "Cross-Regional Corridors of Dialogue: Developing a Complementing Track for Transforming Long-Standing Conflicts". During the workshop, various OSCE officials, international civil society stakeholders and academics discussed the recent experience and future opportunities of dialogue facilitation.
Oktober 2018, Corridors workshop on peace and conflict studies at the University in Suchum/i: During the intensive three-day workshop, the 13 very active students got lectures on the fundamentals of peace and conflict studies and training in the theoretical and practical tools of conflict analysis. The students exercised the knowledge and skills they gained, within case studies from different world regions and applied it to their own conflict setting.
August 2018, Corridors dialogue and project development workshop in Weingarten (Germany): The main aim of the four-day workshop was to develop new virtual and physical spaces for joint learning in the field of youth and education. The group of academics and civil society stakeholder from Chisinau, Tiraspol, Odessa, Kiev, Nalchik, Suchum/i and Tbilisi developed a project that will combine joint distance learning, capacity building, and direct people-to-people exchange in the field of peace and conflict studies.