November 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The tenth regional training programme to enhance conflict prevention and peacemaking in Africa concluded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in early November. The group of forty-one participants, the largest ever, consisted of mid to senior level officials of African Ministries of Foreign Affairs, as well as other key government departments, such as the Office of the President or Prime Minister. UN missions working in Africa have also sent their staff.  Thanks to the support from the United Nations Development Programme UNDP/UNITAR Project: Support for the Implementation of the Peace and Security Agenda of the African Union Commission, the programme could also invite an increased number of staff from the African Union Commission and regional economic communities, as well as officials of the AU Peace and Security Council member states.

The participants discussed sources of conflicts, explored the spectrum of conflict-handling mechanisms and elucidated conflict transformation.  Hands-on practice was conducted on negotiation and mediation equipping the participants with enhanced and crucial skills in these important areas. Latest trends from the Darfur peace process and from the work of the United Nations Office for West Africa, as well as good practice in integrated peace-building and the involvement of women in peace and security were shared by the senior-most United Nations officials.    Participants also visited the African Union Headquarters where they were received by the Peace and Security Department team led by Director El-Ghassim Wane and where informative briefings were provided on continental early warning, post conflict reconstruction and the African Peace and Security Architecture.

Photo: Professor Hizkias Assefa engaging with officials in the training on reconciliation.