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Bologna Peacebuilding Forum 2024

Peace Mediation at a Crossroads

15-17 May 2024

The topic of the sixth edition of the Forum:

Peace mediation has profoundly changed over the last two decades in terms of actors, approaches and legitimacy. While the role and leverage of the United Nations have diminished, some regional entities, such as the Arab League and the European Union, have acquired more space. Besides, a plurality of state actors have aspired to be recognised as credible and effective peace brokers, such as Turkey or China, enriching a grouping that in the past was largely composed of European states such as Norway and Switzerland.

At the same time, peace mediation has increasingly become a proper professional field, with its own diverse community of researchers, experts, and practitioners. Different forms of mediation support guide and underpin the work of mediators, while different states and regional organisations increasingly rely on specialised mediation support staff and services, conduct mediation-oriented training and nurture mediation rosters.

Against this backdrop, the Forum will provide a space to analyse these transformative dynamics with particular attention to the opportunities offered by multi-track and inclusive mediation. As mediation is a discrete job that is often conducted out of the public eye, the Forum will provide a rare opportunity for a frank and open debate involving different stakeholders. Inclusivity certainly involves the role of civil society organisations, of women and youth. Still, some marginalised groups receive even less attention and the engagement of critical groups such as violent extremist actors is easily left out of the debate. Practical approaches which prioritise and include all members of society, from local grassroots actors to higher officials, are therefore central to creating sustainable peace processes. The Forum will also discuss how digital technological innovation in mediation and peace processes can facilitate reaching marginal groups but it also represents a critical issue.


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