Video: Panel discussion on constitutions and peace processes

Watch a video of our event on constitutions and peace processes, which also launched a new primer on the topic.


Update, 15 February

This event took place on 28 January 2021. You can watch a recording of the event below.

We extend our thanks to the panelists, speakers, and audience members who participated in the proceedings.

Join our next event on 25 February: Climate Change Impacts on Conflict

Constitutional issues lie at the heart of many intra-state conflicts. In widely differing circumstances, constitutional issues played a dominant role in peace processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, the Central African Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nepal and South Africa, among many other parts of the world.

And yet, mediators and constitution makers seldomly acknowledge the obvious link between peace processes and “constitution making”. There is much need for dialogue on this link, with questions such as: What are the ways in which constitutional issues may arise at different stages of a peace process? What are the pressing challenges when constitutional change for the long term is undertaken in a peace process, including those regarding its timing, progression, scale and design?

The Berghof Foundation and the UN Mediation Support Unit would like to invite you to an online event including a panel discussion among renowned mediation and constitution experts on the above questions and much more, and the launch of the publication Constitutions and Peace Processes: A Primer.

Constitutions and Peace Processes

Thursday, 28 January 2021
4:00-5:30 pm CET/ 10-11.30 am EST (ical, ics)
Online event via Zoom | Language: English


With regards to inclusion: unlike peace agreements which are made between warring parties, the constitution belongs to ‘we the people’. As such, it is a critical opportunity to take the discussion over the form the new state will take beyond the elites, and to the mass population.Bintou Keita

Opening remarks
  • Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs – Department of Peace Operations
  • Heike Thiele, Director for Civilian Crisis Prevention and Stabilisation, German Federal Foreign Office
Background and key insights of the publication
  • Luxshi Vimalarajah, Senior Advisor, Mediation and Development, Berghof Foundation
Panel discussion and open questions
  • Barney Afako, Lawyer and expert on transitional justice; Senior member of the Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisers, United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
  • Nicholas Haysom, United Nations Special Adviser
  • Christina Murray, Senior member of the Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisers, United Nations Department of Political Affairs; Professor Emeritus at University of Cape Town
  • Marie-Joëlle Zahar, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Research Network on Peace Operations at the Université de Montréal
Closing remarks
  • Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary-General, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
  • Andrew Gilmour, Executive Director, Berghof Foundation
  • Melinda Crane, Chief Political Correspondent Deutsche Welle TV, TV-Producer and Journalist

In my opinion, both fields of expertise should take more advantage of each other’s know how. And what is most important: a more intense collaboration will result in better peace agreements, better constitutions and a longer-lasting, more sustainable peace.Heike Thiele

More about the event

This event marks the culmination of a collaborative project between the Berghof Foundation and the Mediation Support Unit in the Policy and Mediation Division of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its primary objectives were to explore the many ways in which constitutional issues arise in peace processes and to suggest key considerations for conflict parties, mediators and constitution makers as they address them. Read the field studies and thematic papers that, among others, informed the development of the Primer.

50 Years Berghof Foundation

The Berghof Foundation is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021. This event marks the beginning of a series of events we will hold throughout the year to reflect on past and current peacebuilding successes and challenges. The events will identify and look at trends in order to develop tactics that will ensure our efforts towards sustainable peace together with our partners remain effective in the years to come. Find out about our anniversary programme on our website and sign up for our newsletters.

Media contact

Florian Lüdtke
Media and Communications Manager
+49 (0) 177 7052758
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