FEATURE | 4 May 2022

Berghof Foundation new member of the Working Group on Peace and Development (FriEnt)

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The Berghof Foundation complements the Working Group with additional competencies in conflict research and peacebuilding.


State and non-state actors often lack the space to exchange ideas and learn from each other. However, this is particularly important when it comes to critically evaluating and learning from peace operations or military missions such as the one in Afghanistan. The Berghof Foundation joins the Working Group on Peace and Development (FrieEnt) to help shape a forward-looking exchange between state and civil society on peacebuilding. The Berghof Foundation shares its membership with the Platform for Civil Conflict Transformation, a network of civil society peace organisations in German-speaking countries.

FriEnt is an association of governmental organisations, church development agencies, civil society networks and political foundations. The working group stands for joint learning and creates space for critical reflection between state and civil society to discuss current peace and development policy challenges on eye level. The aim is to help shape agendas and political processes on this basis and to further develop and strengthen peacebuilding. In dialogue with its members and international partners, FriEnt pools experiences, peace and development policy expertise and advice across actor and policy fields.

Shaping the future together with FriEnt

Beatrix Austin, head of Conflict Transformation Research, represents the Berghof Foundation on the Working Group's steering committee. Speaking about a shared vision, she says, "We thoroughly aligned our viewpoints and issues in the run-up to the collaboration and are convinced that together we can successfully lead the field of peacebuilding and development into the future. From climate change to digitalisation and anti-corruption to transitional justice, we can act jointly here."

A special feature of the working group is that each FriEnt member sends one staff member to FriEnt to ensure close interaction between FriEnt and its members. As a team member delegated jointly by the Platform for Civil Conflict Transformation and the Berghof Foundation, Nina Strumpf will represent the two organisations in the FriEnt team. It is important to her to enable a controversial exchange and look at topics such as digitalisation or integrity and accountability from different perspectives and to bring peace issues onto the political agenda.

In order for state and civil society actors to face current peace policy challenges in a constructive and conflict-sensitive manner, dialogue spaces through networks and cooperation must be strengthened. This allows different actors to resolve complex and dynamic conflicts through talking to each other and understanding each other, which are crucial for successful cooperation in crises.

In addition to the Berghof Foundation and the Platform for Civil Conflict Transformation, the following organisations are members of FriEnt: Bread for the World, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ), the Catholic Central Agency for Development Aid/Misereor, and the Civil Peace Service Consortium.

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Florian Lüdtke
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