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 The strategy:
from Empowerment to Dialogue

By "Empowerment" we mean strengthening internal and external peace-constituencies.

By "internal conditions" we mean:
- deeper and stronger awareness about its own role
- stronger determination in approaching dialogue and/or reconciliation process
- higher capacity to focus on needed strategies
- higher capacity to find tools for implementing strategies
- raising the know-how level
- increasing human resources, logistics and economic means

By "external conditions" we mean:
- higher political and social visibility
- deeper trust within population
- acknowledgment by conflict actors as “interlocutors”, social and/or political
- better communication with other actors/peace-constituencies
- better communication with conflict's parts
- internationally recognised role

The empowerment of peace-constituencies is extremely important to promote the first dialogue phase that we call confidence building. Confidence building measures are:
- prejudice deconstruction
- analysis of true conflict causes
- acknowledgment of the "enemy" as a complex actor
- acknowledgment of a common history/culture/tradition
- acknowledgment of counterpart as interlocutor

Only later we can obtain:
- dialogue
- multiethnic activities

Confidence-building activities, in turn, promote popular diplomacy action, and are the first step in a diplomatic process called “from below”, accomplished in the following phases:
- confidence building (incipit)
- war consensus destruction (pars destruens)
- peace consensus building ("internal" pars costruens)
- preparation of parallel peace agreements ("external" pars costruens)
- dialogue with governments at all levels (public "pars costruens")

It should be noted that popular diplomacy actions often concentrate on only one of those phases for several years, and quite often face violent opposition from both political and military segments within the conflicts. Nevertheless, experiences of the last demonstrate that civil society in countries of conflict need and count on international civil societies and that without this support many conflicts would have been far worse.





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