Our best hope is that everyone will gain the strength for reconciliation to create one 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.

There will only be peace if it is wanted.

 Until then, we are condemned to treating symptoms.

(Clemens Huchel)   

Executive counselling for political leaders who have a serious interest in peace.
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Root Cause Peacebuilding Approach

Human-centered peace research
Support for fair and sustainable peace by dialogue and collaboration

Essential Authenticity

There are many different endeavors by the world community to contribute to a more peaceful world.

We have great capacity for negotiation and facilitation of peace processes, but empathetic dialogue is usually neglected.

All actors involved are individual human beings and all belong to the human family.

As such, they must be valued and respected equally without prejudice.

Support must not be guided by a specific underlying economic or power-political interest.

Sustainable peace can only be supported by a convincing, authentic inner attitude.

Civilian, independent, neutral, and non-partisan dialogue facilitators are urgently needed.

Not obvious underlying Conflict Causes

Although many European states and global superpowers do not currently confirm active involvement in warfare, there are many unresolved conflicts in their 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 Recognition

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 and assessments are normal and permissible.

It is only about facts and facts.

Even if this is very difficult, it is not a reason to refrain from doing so.

Although this is known in principle, there is a lack of basic willingness among offenders.

There is no excuse for this long overdue acknowledgement and it cannot be stopped.

There is no excuse for denying this long overdue acknowledgement.

The truth is known and does not need to be redefined.

It cannot be stopped but only suppressed.

The longer it is postponed, the more we, as the entire global community, will pay for it.

Fear of taking Responsibility and the associated Consequences

Former colonial powers are naturally very quickly confronted with demands for financial compensation.

This is not surprising and must first be coped with. On the other hand, it should be noted that the victims and those affected have had to wait a very long time to be listened to at all.

There will be internal critics and resistance. But all obstacles and inconveniences cannot and must not stop this process.

The “Interests of the State” are often brought to the forefront of the defense, which focus on the preservation of the state’s own prosperity and future access to resources.

Predominantly, the real willingness for compensation or giving back is in principle not an option at all in the Eurocentric attitude.

Just because many do not like to hear this, the truth cannot be stopped.

The suffering is great and the wasted resources we can use for the wellbeing of humanity and the preservation of nature, for a world worth living in that will remain for our grandchildren.

Focus on emotional Reappraisal

Historical analysis in society and especially in schools is a very important aspect of the “Right to Truth”.

This alone is not enough and must be accompanied by emotional reappraisal on both sides.

On the side of the victims, it is about regaining dignity and healing old wounds.

Perpetrators need this emotional inner peace in order to enter into dialogue with victims in an authentic, honest and responsible manner.

On the one hand, it is about the disclosure of the deeds and, on the other hand, about the recognition of the suffering.

The emotions are deep, subliminal and mostly unconscious. What we know is that they do not disappear by themselves and they affect the next generations.

This reappraisal is extremely important and has an inner and an outer side. We have to work on feelings of guilt and shame within ourselves, but also in society as a whole.

Outwardly, we connect empathically with the conflicting parties and / or the victims and the injured or their descendants.

We listen, acknowledgement, regret and mourn without denial or justification, 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, a vision at the end of the road like a North Star.

Many people find it very difficult to forgive, especially when the pain is great and the wounds are very deep.

When one’s loved ones have been taken from one in one’s closest personal circle, and in addition the idea of the circumstances is hard to bear, even reconciliation is a hard challenge and the path of peaceful coexistence is the next most viable path.

We must not lose sight of the great vision of forgiveness, but we need not dwell on it at the moment.

The Apology

An apology with a demand for acceptance and forgiveness does not work. This is a pathetic attempt to wash one’s hands of the situation. It depends on the authenticity and timing of an apology.

The acceptance of an apology is decided solely by the victim, this can never be demanded.

There is too much talk about it, just do it if it is honest and appropriate. A reflected honest apology is a mandatory requirement in any case, and this is what is usually lacking.

Peace starts now!

It always start, in the here and now. At every moment we have the choice of direction.
We should not objectify people and treat them only like things.
Professional negotiation is one side of the coin, but it is primarily about interests and positions.

The interests of facilitators and their organizations are not necessarily excluded.

We should care more about people and have an empathetic dialogue so that true causes are named.

Let’s involve all parties, because they own the conflict and know the root causes, even if competition dominates on the surface, to which we are all conditioned.

Let’s shift from competition to more cooperation and dialogue and work together for a better world.

Dialog is not synonymous with chit-chat, but it is also not a tough negotiation. Dialogue opens up spaces for mutual understanding and trust.

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 direction now. These are all processes, also with us in the people, there 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 the here and now, sowing the seeds of consciousness development that influenced the whole world. They sowed and allowed them to flourish.

Entry Points for sustainable Pathways to Peace

Where there are the real interpersonal contacts and relationships, at the grassroots level of the population, on Track 1, there are remarkable and successful projects by many authentic and committed volunteers and NGOs.

There is a lot of development potential among the top-level influencers, the players on Track 1 and Track 1.5.

The challenge is to connect with these people and convince them that in the end we are all in the same boat.

How can we focus on willingly contributing to the well-being of the human family?

How can we emphasize this at all levels?

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