Video: Women faith-based mediators: Innovation through tradition?

Faith-based women mediators play an important role in conflict transformation, but they also face specific challenges. Faith-based women mediators play an important role in conflict transformation, but they also face specific challenges. Photo © Berghof Foundation

Watch our online panel discussion on the role of women in faith-based mediation.


Women faith-based mediators play an important role in conflict transformation, mediation and dialogue processes around the world. However, the mostly secular international peacebuilding and mediation support structures have only recently discovered the potential of their oftentimes traditional roles for innovation in dialogue processes, as well as their specific needs and challenges. That is why tailor-made support to women faith-based mediators has been rather limited so far.

At the event, we discussed with female mediation experts from around the world the specific innovation potential of women faith-based mediators, as well as the challenges and opportunities which come along with external support for faith-based mediation and dialogue practices.

Peacebuilding or mediation resources targeting women mediators, on the one hand, are mostly developed under a secular paradigm that tends to not recognise the role and contribution of religion in mediation processes. On the other hand, resources targeting faith-based mediators are often tailored to reach men due to the fact that donors favour supporting actors in institutionalised, often male dominated settings, and especially those in leadership roles. Some women might also feel poorly represented by the term “faith-based mediator” as they are immersed in an intrinsically religious environment. Therefore pointing out the religious basis of their work carries little to no significance to them. In addition, when female faith-based mediators receive external support, their role as women within society and as mediators can become politicised, and might itself turn into a subject of conflict.

Religious traditions also tend to be structurally male dominated. This is one of the challenges that female faith-based mediators face while they try to establish themselves in critical positions during mediation processes. But they are also presented with opportunities based on them being faith-based and women, such as a certain level of trust they often enjoy from their communities.

Women faith-based mediators: Innovation through tradition?

Tuesday, 18 October 2022
14:00 - 15:30 CEST (ics, ical)
Online event via Zoom


Panel discussion with:

  • Laura Anyola Tufon, North-West Regional Coordinator of the Commission on Justice and Peace at Diocese of Bamenda
  • Dr. Sarah Bernstein, Executive Director, Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue
  • Betty Bigombe, Ugandan Ambassador to Malaysia
  • Hind Kabawat, President and founder of Tastakel Women Organization & Adjunct Professor and Director of Interfaith Peacebuilding at Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict, George Mason University
  • Palwasha Kakar, Interim Director Religion and Inclusive Societies, United States Institute of Peace

Moderated by Dr. Carla Schraml, Advisor Negotiation and Mediation Support, Berghof Foundation.


About the event

This event was organised by the Berghof Foundation and the the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers.


50 Years Berghof Foundation

The Berghof Foundation marked its 50th anniversary in 2021. The special event series we were holding throughout the year to reflect on past and current peacebuilding successes and challenges, is continuing in the year 2022. 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 more on our website and sign up for our newsletters or follow us on Twitter to stay up to date about our anniversary programme.

Please note that the event will be recorded using the cloud-based recording tool within the Zoom.us platform (using cloud servers based in the U.S.), to be published on the Berghof Foundation’s website and social media channels for external communications purposes. You can find the Berghof Foundation’s data protection notice here. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Berghof Foundation's Data Protection Officer (data.protection@berghof-foundation.org).

Media contact

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