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Monday, 25 October 2021

International conference \ Between concepts and reality–How to deal with armed groups in transition phases of violent conflict?

On 11 and 12 November 2021, BICC conducted its annual international conference “Between concepts and reality – How to deal with armed groups in transition phases of violent conflict?” (online).

Participants of BICC's annual academic conference (online via Zoom)

Around 100 international academics in peace and conflict studies, policy makers, practitioners, and diplomats investigated the guiding question of the conference how the international community can best support national, regional and local actors to encourage combatants to lay down their weapons and return to civilian life. Dr Mark Speich, State Secretary for Federal and European Affairs and International Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, opened the conference with a welcome speech. Together with him, the participants agreed that in order to develop a fresh thinking in engaging (former) combatants in different conflicts around the world there is a need for all actors to think "out of the box".

Although being online, the conference intended to be as much interactive as possible. So, on 11 November breakout groups discussed "Specific challenges: Where do armed groups go?" in  three parallel sessions:

\ Incorporating armed groups into the security sector (DRC, Mali, South Sudan)

\ From armed group to political party (Colombia, Northern Ireland)

\ Integrating former combatants in the civilian business sector.

On 12 November, again three breakout sessions discussed "Wider contexts" and experiences from

\ reintegrating refugees and internally displaced persons

\ countering and “deradicalising” violent extremists

\ programs in community violence reduction and weapons and ammunition management.

The final panel of the conference, "Main insights and outlook" brought together Kees Kingma, Consultant, Jaremey McMullin, University of St. Andrews, and Clemens Hach, German Federal Foreign Office.

You can find an outline and the programme and cvs of its active participants of the conference here. A conference documentation will be published soon.

 

Conrad Schetter opened the conference on 11 November 2021

 

Dr Mark Speich, State Secretary for Federal and European Affairs and International Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, gave a welcome speech