PEACE  BUILDING  AND  CONFLICT-SENSITIVITY  PROGRAMING

We work with different local and national peace processes and with UN bodies involved with peace building.  We facilitate dialogues and political negotiation, support the engagement of women in political negotiations, develop conflict mapping and conflict sensitivity analysis, and facilitate local mediation. We also provide support and a variety of training modules for peace initiatives and local stakeholders.


Our services in this field include: 


Research & Analysis 


Scenario Development 


Advice


Stakeholder Engagement 


Capacity Building 


Monitoring & Evaluation

Related Works

Year:  2022 - 2024

Client:  UN Women 

A research, facilitation, and outreach project aims to empower Syrian women in peace processes by enhancing the Women’s Advisory Board's capacity, expanding outreach to women leaders, and developing research for evidence-based policies on women's issues in Syria.

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Year:  2022 - 2024

Client:  Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

A project aims to improve track 1.5 and 2 negotiations in the Syrian peace process using a digital tool for dialogue facilitation. The project focuses on scenario simulation and consensus building among political actors and mediators, producing policy papers to facilitate peacebuilding. The project targets local and national reconciliation, emphasizing early recovery.

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Date:  9 July 2024

An article explores the Syrian Constitutional debate, highlighting the tension between identity and citizenship. It argues that both principles are essential for a cohesive state, discussing religious and linguistic diversity, and illustrating how respecting identity and guaranteeing equal rights can coexist within a constitutional framework.

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Date:  25 June 2024

The Syrian refugee crisis is a complex issue entangled in political, economic, and social challenges. With no immediate solution in sight, stakeholders either lack the will or capability to address the crisis. Political agreements and localized solutions are crucial to improving conditions and facilitating refugee return.

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Date:  20 June 2024

An article discusses the challenges of "reconciliation" in Syria, critiqued as synonymous with surrender. It advocates for an inclusive, Syrian-led dialogue addressing justice and integration issues, essential for preventing further fragmentation and fostering national unity under the complexities of current political and social divisions.

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Date:  04 June 2024

The Brussels conference marked a shift towards early recovery in Syria, focusing on empowering communities and revitalizing the local economy. This approach requires leveraging local resources, changing donor mindsets, and fostering new local leadership. Effective early recovery hinges on balancing humanitarian aid, political reforms, and practical, inclusive solutions for long-term stability.

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Date:  25 May 2024

An op-ed argues for reconciliation in the Arab region, both within states and with external neighbors, to end internal conflicts and begin true reform for stability. It critiques the prolonged conflicts fueled by political naivety, external influences, and lack of mature political dialogue. The piece calls for embracing community recovery, rule of law, and democratization through dialogue and reconciliation, rather than awaiting external intervention or victory in conflicts.

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Date:  19 March 2024

An article examines the unintended humanitarian impacts of sanctions and the phenomenon of overcompliance, highlighting the challenges it poses to non-sanctioned entities, particularly in conflict zones like Syria. It emphasizes the need for a nuanced approach to mitigate these impacts, advocating for clearer guidance and dialogue between sanctioning bodies and affected stakeholders.

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Date:  05 March 2024

An article explores the impact of gender dynamics on societies at war to derive a deeper understanding of how the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda can reflect its focus on women to shape a more nuanced analysis of conflict drivers. Analyzing territories from a gender lens, it argues for a more nuanced approach to peace negotiations to address the complex dynamics of conflict.

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Date:  13 February 2024

An op-ed discusses the imminent youth bulge in the Arab region, pointing to past unrest and highlighting the complex interplay of factors like governance, economic crises, and demographic shifts. It stresses the urgency for regional actors to de-escalate conflicts, foster economic-security cooperation, and improve governance to mitigate future crises. 

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Date:  14 November 2023 

At the "Structured Chaos" webinar, experts including Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj discussed not-for-profits in conflict zones, focusing on Syria. They explored the economic impact of these organizations, emphasizing the need for a shift towards sustainable development and recovery, and critiqued current aid models for their focus on short-term relief.

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Date:  12-13 July 2023

In preparation for the Rome MED conference, we participate in a regional meeting titled "Track II: Exploring Positive Measures for A Sustainable Solution in Syria," focusing on developing strategies for US and European engagement on Syrian policy. Key discussions included minority issues, regional priorities, and leveraging Arab rapprochement with Damascus for a constructive approach.

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Date:  30 May 2023

We participate in the "Peacebuilding in a Changing Risk Landscape" Expert Group Meeting, held on May 30, 2023 and organized by ESCWA, focused on risk interplay in the Arab region, discussing risk assessment and prevention strategies, with emphasis on conflicts, climate change, and governance, reflecting on the World Bank report "Pathways for Peace”.

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Date:  10-14 July 2022

At the 24th International Symi Symposium in Greece, we discuss the impacts of the Ukraine war on Syria.  We highlight the country’s dilemmas; aligning with Russia and financial dependence on Iran. And we emphasize constitutional debates and link development aid to human rights progress.

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Date:  5-7 October 2020

At the high-level virtual conference "The Elders in conversation on women in mediation in the Arab world," held in Wilton Park, UK, over 60 participants discussed the critical role of women in Arab peace processes. Key themes included addressing systemic gender inequalities and enhancing women's roles in high-level mediation.

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Date: 11 March 2020

How can Europe improve its approach to Syria?  Three paradigm shifts are needed: supporting decentralization within Syria, modifying European funding strategies, and redefining benchmarks for transformation.  A shift from short-term solutions to long-term, sustainable support is crucial for addressing Syria's escalating crisis and averting broader regional instability.

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Date:  25 February 2020

In an interview with Felm, Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj emphasized the need for community-based aid and cooperation in Syria, moving beyond traditional material support. He highlighted the importance of community capital and shared inspiring examples of communal initiatives fostering unity and peace. 

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Date: 18 February 2020 

At the PRIO seminar in Oslo "Shifting Paradigms: Moving Forward in Syria," Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj explores deep economic structures, the transformation of the political economy, and possible realistic perspectives to enhance peace efforts in Syria.

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Date: 28 January 2020 

In Episode 18 of Jointly Venturing, Scott Leckie and Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj discuss the Middle East's crises, including conflict, poverty, climate change, and potential famine. They emphasize the urgency of regional solutions and explore how world citizenship concepts could lead to a more stable and prosperous future for the region.

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Date: 30 October 2019

Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj addresses the UN and Constitutional Committee reflecting on the devastation of the Syrian war, emphasizing the need for unity, pluralism, and equal rights. He focuses on recognizing diverse representation, building a strong, law-abiding state, ensuring societal participation in governance, fair political economy and local development. Mr. Hallaj urges collective responsibility to stop the war and draft a constitution that lays the foundation for peace and a better life, recognizing the urgency as lives continue to be lost.

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Date: 22 November 2018

The Middle East faces a 'perfect storm' of socio-political and economic challenges post-Arab Spring, with a looming youth bulge, inadequate infrastructure, and environmental issues. Conflicts like in Syria exacerbate the situation, necessitating collaborative political strategies and careful reconstruction efforts to prevent further instability and economic hardship in the region.

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Date:  21-22 November 2018

Our expert participates in the Policy Planner’s Forum on Strategic Stability in the MENA in Rome, discussing critical issues like the future of the Iran deal post-U.S. withdrawal and the endgame in Syria. The event, part of the 2018 Rome MED, aimed to foster dialogue for regional stability.

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Date:  April 2017

Publisher:  Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

A paper examines land conflicts in Myanmar and Syria, highlighting their role in broader societal issues and conflicts. It advocates for a systemic approach in national dialogues and peace agreements, emphasizing the use of existing legal frameworks and the development of new legislation and local reconciliation infrastructures.

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Date:  March 2017

Publisher:  New England Journal of Public Policy

An article analyses the evolving geopolitical landscape in Syria post-Vienna Accords and UN Security Council Resolution 2254. It highlights the challenges in resolving the conflict, emphasizing new geographic realities and governance structures. The focus is on how territorial control by various actors has fostered radicalization, impacting the Geneva process.

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Date: 24 March 2016

The Ash Center hosted a conversation with Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj to discuss the challenges of the Syria peace talks in Geneva, emphasizing how local governance, war economy, and new geographic realities shape diplomacy. He highlighted the need for understanding local dynamics and a bottom-up approach to support the fragile Geneva talks.

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Date: 10 March 2016

Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj discusses the complex nature of the Middle Eastern conflict, emphasizing the multifaceted rise of ISIS in Syria. He highlights the need for a new governance model beyond the traditional nation-state system, urging Europe and the international community to engage realistically and ethically for long-term stability and prosperity.

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Date:  May 2015

Publisher:  Clingendael  &  NOREF

A paper examines how Syria's conflict has created a war economy, where warlords and groups like ISIS finance their operations through illicit activities. This economic dynamic undermines peace efforts, suggesting a need for strategies beyond political arrangements to address war profiteering and rebuild livelihoods.

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Date: 21 April 2015 

An article examines the historical and socio-political dynamics in Syria, highlighting the evolution of national identity and societal aspirations. It critiques the legacy of colonialism, internal power structures, and advocates for inclusive dialogue to establish a balanced, representative national framework, focusing on local democratization and reform.

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Date:  April 2014

Publisher:  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland

A paper provides a detailed analysis of the Syrian conflict, emphasizing its complexity and the importance of understanding diverse local and historical factors. It highlights the need for a nuanced approach involving Syrian stakeholders for effective peacebuilding, considering the interplay of various social, political, and economic forces.

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Date: 18 November 2014

An interview highlighting the detrimental impact of identity politics and external funding on Middle Eastern societies, advocating for stronger intra-regional connections and a move away from oversimplified narratives. It underscores the necessity for comprehensive strategies in conflict resolution, emphasizing the limited effectiveness of humanitarian aid alone in fostering long-term peace and development.

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