Our best hope is that everyone will gain the strength for reconciliation to create the basis for sustainable peace.​

In our vision, the leaders of this world are strong and reflective
for the acknowledgement of what has happened and for the responsibility that results.

Root Cause Peacebuilding Approach

Support for fair and sustainable peace by dialogue and collaboration.

Essential Authenticity

There is much endeavor by the world community to contribute to a more peaceful world.

We have great capacities for negotiation and facilitation of peace processes, but empathic dialogue is typically neglected. There are many different interests and positions, but the parties involved are individual human beings and all belong to the human family and must be considered and respected as such without prejudice and hidden interests.

A sustainable peace can only supported with a convincing, authentic inner attitude.
Civilian, independent, neutral and all-party dialogue facilitators are an urgent requirement.

Not obvious underlying conflict cause

Although many European states and global superpowers do not currently confirm active involvement in warfare, there are many unresolved conflicts in their ancient and recent past that affect world peace nowadays and are the underlying reason for many current local conflicts.
A significant example is the insufficiently processed colonialism.

Dealing with the Past

Reflective Acknowledgement

The necessity and principles of dealing with the past are beyond dispute.
The consequences of repression and rejection are also well known.
In order to resolve conflicts, the underlying truths must be mutually recognized.
In this context, different views are natural and permissible.

This absolutely necessary realization is still widely denied, although it is obvious and expertly recognized. There is no excuse for this long overdue acknowledgement and it cannot be stopped. The longer it is postponed, the more we, and in fact the entire world community, will pay for it.

Fear of taking Responsibility and its Consequences.

Yes, in the context of colonialism, the demand for financial compensation will come up very quickly.
This is not surprising and must first be coped with. On the other hand, the victims and those affected have had to wait a very long time. There will also be internal critics. But all obstacles and inconveniences cannot and must not stop this process.
The individual ego problems, also camouflaged as “state interests” are present, but may no longer hinder. Just because many do not like to hear this and it is not easy, truth cannot be stopped.
We pay now already all far too much for it, these costs and the wasted energy we can let flow meaningfully into the well-being of the humanity and the nature for a livable grandchild-suited world.

Guilt and Shame

In the context of postcolonial times, feelings like guilt and shame indicate something to us. But we have to deal with them ourselves, they must not prevent us from dealing with the past. That is individual responsibility.
Viewed differently, the feared loss of prosperity is only fair compensation for the exploitation on which our prosperity is largely based.

Guilt and shame are deep-seated feelings broadly rooted in society.

Young children use the induction of these feelings in their parents as one of their most effective tools of asserting needs and interests.

Although the behavior is no longer adequate for adults, these feelings are still easily triggered in themselves unconsciously. The avoidance strategies against these well-known feelings start early and are usually permanently latent and preventive. This massively prevents the approach to coming to terms with the past and the assumption of responsibilities.

Focus on emotional Reappraisal

Historical reappraisal in society and especially in schools is a very important aspect of the “Right to Truth”, but it must be complemented by emotional reappraisal.

The “Right to Truth” is one side, on the other side there is the necessity of listening, it is almost an obligation.

The emotions are deep, subliminal and partly unconscious. But they do not disappear by themselves and have an effect on the next generations.
This reappraisal is extremely important and has an inward aspect and an outward aspect. We have to work on the feelings of guilt and shame within ourselves.

Processing in the outside world exists in the context of current conflict parties and past victims and aggrieved parties.
Outwardly, we connect empathically with the conflicting parties and / or the victims and the injured or their descendants. We listen, acknowledge, regret and mourn without denying or justifying, without a but.

Emotional reappraisal continues after acknowledgement and is an important prerequisite for Reconciliation and a component of the “Measures of Non-Recurrence”.
But unfortunately, this is exactly what is usually neglected.

Empathic political Act of Reconciliation

The act of acknowledgement must be visible and appropriate for all parties involved.
The authenticity lies in the inner honest attitude.
For global issues, especially colonialism, public acknowledgement at the highest possible level in front of the entire world is necessary.
This is inevitable and can not be stopped, but unfortunately also the biggest problem for those responsible.
The lasting impact, on the other hand, is more significant than any financial restitution.
This does not mean that reparation must be limited to words.

Symbolic emotional Acts of great Significance

The Warsaw Genuflection

An example says more than 1000 words.

The term Kniefall von Warschau, also referred to as Warschauer Kniefall, (both German for "Warsaw genuflection") refers to a gesture of humility and penance by West German Chancellor Willy Brandt towards the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The event took place on December 7, 1970, in Warsaw, Poland (which was then part of the Eastern Bloc), during a visit to a monument to the German occupation-era Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. After laying a wreath, Brandt unexpectedly, and apparently spontaneously, knelt. He remained silently in that position for a short time (half a minute), surrounded by a large group of dignitaries and press photographers. Brandt had actively resisted the early Nazi regime, and had spent most of the time of Hitler's reign in exile. The occasion of Brandt's visit to Poland at the time was the signing of the Treaty of Warsaw between West Germany and Poland, guaranteeing German acceptance of the new borders of Poland. The treaty was one of the Brandt-initiated policy steps (the 'Ostpolitik') to ease tensions between West and East during the Cold War.

Foto: Imago Images / Sven Simon

Coexistence - Reconciliation - Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a very powerful word. Behind it there is a lot that is completely right and gives us a direction and shows us the North Star. Forgiving is extremely difficult for very many when the wounds are very heavy and deep. When in the closest personal environment your loved ones were taken from you and in addition the imagination of the circumstances are hardly bearable, then even reconciliation is a tough challenge. Then reconciliation in itself is a great challenge and the path of peaceful coexistence is the next viable way. We don’t have to lose sight of the great vision of forgiveness, but we don’t have to dwell on it at the moment.

The Apology

Apologizing with the demand for acceptance and forgiveness does not work. This is a pathetic attempt to wash its hands of the affair. The authenticity and timing of an apology matters.
The acceptance of an apology is decided by the victim alone, this can never be demanded.
There is too much talk about it, just do it when it is honest and appropriate. Reflective acceptance is in any case an indispensable prerequisite, and it is precisely this that is generally lacking.

Peace starts now!

It always start in the here and now. At every moment we have the choice of direction.
Let’s do not turn people into objects and treat them like objects only.
Professional negotiation is one side of the coin, but it is primarily about interests and positions. The interests of the facilitators are not necessarily excluded.
Let us care more about people and let us go deeper with an empathic dialogue in order to discover the real causes.
Let’s include all parties, because they are the owners of the conflict and they also know the deeper root causes, even if on the surface competition dominates on which we are all conditioned.
Let’s move away from competition to cooperation and dialogue, and work together for a better world.
Dialogue does not mean chitchat, nor does it mean hard-nosed negotiation.

Dialogue – Cooperation

The dialogue does not only refer to conflict parties but is also important internally for the facilitators.
The cooperation starts at the very beginning with a dialogue within the facilitator teams.
This will then have an authentic and collaborative impact on the systems being supported.

System Change - Sowing the Seeds

Systems don’t change at the push of a button, they don’t change overnight, but we can change the direction now. It is all processes, also with us humans where the change begins. Some processes go faster some slower. This also depends on the timing. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Václav Havel could not choose the century or the decade of time. They all acted in their now and sowed the seeds of consciousness development that influenced the whole world. Sowing and making it flourish.

Entry Points for sustainable Pathways to Peace

At the grassroots level of the population with people-to-people contact, the so-called Track 3, there are many remarkable and successful projects by many authentic and committed volunteers and NGOs.
Where there is a lot of development potential is with the top level influencers, the actors on Track 1 and Track 1.5. Here lies the challenge to get in touch and to convince that in the end we are all in the same boat.
How do we bring the focus on willingly contributing to the welfare of the human family?
How do we bring the focus to willingly contribute to the well-being of the human family on the multitrack level.
Is power, money, fame and recognition really everything?

Steps for Peace Image-Video - Friedensfabrik (in German only)