16 October 2018
Conflict transformation has been described as “a complex process of constructively changing relationships, attitudes, behaviours, interests and discourses in violence-prone conflict settings. Importantly, it also addresses underlying structure, cultures and institutions that encourage and condition violent political and social conflict.” (Berghof, 2012) It implies “a deep transformation in the institutions and discourses that reproduce violence, as well as in the conflict parties themselves and their relationships. It corresponds to the underlying tasks of structural and cultural peacebuilding.” (Ramsbotham et.al. 2011) To many, it is a significant comprehensive step beyond conflict resolution as it targets the root causes of the conflict by transforming issues, contexts, structures, group and personal behaviors and attitudes, while ensuring the sustainability of peace through proper implementation of the transformative processes. The roles of all stakeholders including civil society actors are important in ensuring the success of this process. Civil society actors especially are in a good position as they empower the people at the grassroots level to contribute to cultural and structural peacebuilding throughout the process.
Southeast Asia has seen the existence of various types of conflicts. This panel will focus on some of these conflicts including a particular conflict termed as “protracted social conflict” or PSC by Edward Azar and which possesses the following ingredients as among the sources of conflict – communal contents, deprivation of human needs, governance and state’s role, and international linkages. Questions will be asked in regards to how these conflicts have been addressed and transformed. The panelists, including the moderator, are all experienced Peacebuilders and Conflict Transformers working on the ground on various conflict issues in the region including in the Southern Philippines/Bangsamoro area, Southern Thailand/Patani, as well as Ambon and Aceh, in Indonesia. They will reflect upon their personal experiences in transforming these conflicts situations by addressing the following questions:
- What is the most important aspect of conflict transformation?
- How do we transform relations and structures of relations between conflict parties?
- Is institutional transformation necessary for peace?
- What is the role of civil society organisations in this process?
- What are the major challenges that we have to face in this transformation process, and how do we overcome them?
Professor Dr. Kamarulzaman Askandar, Universiti Sains Malaysia and SEACSN;
Malaysian Representative to the Advisory Board of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR)
- Guiamel Alim, Chairperson, Consortium for Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), Philippines
- Chalida Tajaroensuk, Chairperson, People’s Empowerment Forum (PEF), Thailand
- Ichsan Malik, Chairperson, Ichsan Malik Center (IMC) & National Defense University, Indonesia