Day one will explore inclusion and how leaders, regardless of age, gender, nation or sector, need to work together to build genuine inclusion for all – including those who are marginalised and those for whom traditional structures may be hard to reach.

On day two, Fellows will look at what sort of leadership is needed to bring lasting change, as well as reflecting on how together we imagine, develop and sustain a peaceful and inclusive future.

The 2017 Hammamet Conference will explore

Inclusive societies and positive peace

The culture of peace is not simply the absence of war (what leading scholar of peace studies Johannes Galtung describes as “negative peace”). Fellows will consider the conditions for “positive peace” – restoration of relationships, the creation of social systems that serve the needs of the whole population and the constructive resolution of conflict. That in itself does not mean the absence of all conflict – within a positive peace there is a recognition of the creative potential of conflict as well, and that where conflict occurs, it can be managed in a constructive way. But it does mean the absence of violence.

How can a multiplicity of actors support what Hamber and Kelly (2004)[1] articulate as “a shared vision of an interdependent and fair society… [a] just, equitable, open and diverse society”?

1325 to 2129 – The voice of women

UN Security resolution 1325[1], from 2000, stated (among other things) “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution”. Over a decade later, resolution 2129[2] reaffirmed the objective to “increase its attention to women, peace and security issues in all relevant thematic areas of work on its agenda, including in threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”. Yet the voice of women is often absent from the formal negotiating space. Women are also marginalised, or not taken seriously, in their communities when warning of signs of extremism. Evidence shows that increased violence in the home or the community can be an early warning sign of greater unrest, but again, it is often ignored.

How can leaders ensure that women are able to play a meaningful role during and following times of conflict? 

Nothing about us, without us – the voice of youth

Matilda Flemming, leading coordinator at the United Network of Young Peacebuilders, has noted that: “Young people alone by no means have the answers to the challenges the world and communities around the world are facing. Neither do older generations. By bringing together the vision of young people today, and the experience of older generations, new answers to challenges are created.”[1] Yet young people are rarely involved and supported as agents of change in building peaceful communities and supporting democratic governance and transition.

How can we forge links between older and young generations to support shared approaches to building better societies, in which both older and younger people have a stake? 

Cohesion and reintegration

A society that is socially cohesive could be said to promote trust, reject exclusion and create a sense of belonging for all members. Many communities across North Africa and the UK are faced with the need to reintegrate former combatants, with the challenges that need brings to trust and social cohesion.

Globally, it is estimated that 40,000 foreign fighters from around 110 countries have gone to fight in Iraq and Syria. Justice and intelligence responses will be needed to address the issue of returnees, but these will need to be tempered by more community-led responses, particularly in the case of younger returnees.

How can leaders and policymakers balance the need to protect communities and deter others from joining militant groups with the desire to support and re-integrate ex-combatants into the community and allow them to be part of a new future?

Decentralisation, participation and accountability

Decentralisation distributes political and economic power more broadly, with a desired outcome of increased ability to meet the needs of the local populace, particularly the poorest or most disadvantaged. Decentralisation can be of economic decision making, such as on investment, or in justice provision or other services traditionally provided from the centre. Whatever the sector, the expectation is that accountability is enhanced because local representatives are more accessible and accountable for their policies and outcomes.

Many believe that decentralisation has further benefits in empowering people, allowing them to be active participants in decision making at a local level, and enabling them to bring about positive change. While the literature is not conclusive, there is evidence of a relationship between decentralisation and democracy, with the former able to strengthen the latter.


How can we rethink how services are provided to ensure they are truly accessible, accountable and inclusive? What are the conditions needed, locally and nationally, to be successful?

Leadership for peaceful and inclusive societies

In 2003, Nelson Mandela said: “Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.”[1] Today’s leaders, in politics, civil society, business or other spheres, can wield greater influence than ever due to the ease with which their actions, or inactions, are shared around the world. For them to exercise “morality, integrity and consistency”, do we need to rethink what we mean by leadership? Philosopher Robert K Greenleaf suggested ‘servant leadership’ as one route, saying: “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid”, servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”[2]


How can we encourage the leadership needed to build the peaceful and inclusive societies we desire? 

[1] At the British Red Cross Humanity lecture, Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, London, England, 10 July 2003

Building social and political trust

Political trust – when citizens appraise the government, institutions and leaders as efficient, fair and honest – and social trust – citizens’ confidence in each other as a community – are two sides of the same coin. For a society to thrive, both must be nurtured. The interplay of social and political trust is even more crucial for countries emerging from a time of challenge or conflict. Yet across the globe trust in political institutions is low, and societies are unequal and fractured.


How can leaders across all sectors of society support a culture of trust? 

Arts in the aftermath of crisis

There is growing recognition of the contributions of arts and culture to peacebuilding. The arts compel, rather than coerce, people to think differently, to connect and engage in new ways, and to recognise shared pasts and imagine new futures. Cynthia Cohen (2005) notes: “The arts and cultural work can be crafted to contribute to coexistence and reconciliation – both by facilitating the necessary learning about self and other, and by nourishing and restoring the capacities required for perception, expression, receptivity and imagination…all of these forms can help former enemies come to appreciate each other’s humanity, mourn losses, and empathize with each other’s suffering and navigate the complexities of remorse and repentance, letting go of bitterness and forgiveness.”[1]

How can cultural practitioners from North Africa and the UK help us to reimagine ourselves and our societies, and through doing so support a transition to a better future?