Peacebuilding tends to focus on underlying interests - supporting conflict parties to identify which issues are of most concern to them - and to find solutions. Having watched cumbersomely slow peace processes in the Balkans and in the Caucasus, rather than facilitating problem solving dialogue, I prefer the Bakhtinian approach of a continuous discussion that helps the parties to become more aware of their own views and to expand their future horizons and understanding.
Conflict is an inherent part of human interaction and our societies. What is important is that there are peaceful structures and habits in place to deal with any type of conflict that may occur.
In a serious conflict situation antagonism is human and cannot simply be solved away, but rather what is essential for achieving peace is the transformation of an enemy that one wants to destroy into an adversary whose ideas we combat but whose right to defend those ideas we do not put into question. The aim of democratic politics is therefore to transform antagonism into agonism, i.e. to bring about a conflictual consensus. Chantal Mouffe, 1999
I share Professor Marko Lehti’s argument that the major obstacle to conflict transformation is not antagonism as such, but antagonism without dialogue. In my dialogue lectures and training courses that I have given over the years, I underline that dialogue should refer to ongoing discussion processes that do not resolve themselves after finding a common ground. A rather technical “problem-solving” oriented perception of ideal peacebuilding does not fully grasp how important it is to create sustainable platforms of continuous dialogue that may not always find solutions to problems but help to identify the problems in a peaceful setting. Sometimes a regional setting provides better opportunities for discussions compared to bilateral dialogue that may easily be stalled.
At the moment in an EU funded project I am coordinating support towards South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova. After the project is officially launched, more information will be on the project website. In this team leader position I can follow my interest to provide my research-based knowledge and experience to support conflict transformation, dialogue and mediation processes. I pay special attention to ensuring that the processes we support in the project are participatory and inclusive. You can always contact me at tanja.tamminen(at)diacoord.com
My core team in this project:
Anna Moghilda, who comes from the Republic of Moldova and has over 13 years of work experience in the public relations sector and in organising different types of events in the Republic of Moldova as well as in difficult and hostile environments like the Horn of Africa. Her passion is to engage and provide her support, knowledge and experience to people who face challenges. Ms. Moghilda was previously in charge of designing and implementing awareness raising campaigns for UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, for international organisations and governmental institutions. She also managed an international public relations agency and worked as a Communication Team Leader for the EU Delegation to Moldova. Ms. Moghilda coordinated communication and visibility campaigns for almost 100 EU projects, several of which were implemented in hostile environments and aimed at conflict transformation. She has a proven track record in organising peace conferences for cross-border communities, large-scale events at national and international level with the participation of multiple stakeholders, national and local authorities, civil society, community groups, and mass media.
Dimitri Saramonow, who comes from the Federal Republic of Germany, is finishing his Master’s degree at the University of Tartu. His background is in international relations and management, with Bachelor’s degree at the University of Erfurt. He has extensive experience in the planning and implementation student conferences and study events from smaller to larger events of up to 500 participants having been in charge of logistics, finances, background material writing, chairing panels, teaching and organising study trips. Mr. Saramonow was the head of logistics in the first ever National Model United Nations Germany (2019) conference and has been involved in the implementation of up to 10 other similar international events and conferences.
Since my studies of International Relations in Tampere University and especially my Erasmus exchange periods at the Panteion University in Athens (1998) and University of Vienna in Austria (1998-1999), I have been interested in conflicts on the European continent. I saw the effects of the Albanian pyramid crisis of 1997 and the Kosovo war in 1999 as Albanians had to flee towards the neighboring countries. I wrote my Master thesis on the 1997 crisis in Albania and my Doctoral thesis handled border issues in the Southern Balkans (incl. Kosovo).
While working as a Balkan expert in the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (2005-2007) in the Western Balkans Unit to prepare the Finnish EU Presidency, my portfolio included all regional processes from visa facilitation, EU-Western Balkan Ministerial Meeting to CEFTA free trade negotiations. I observed the plans to reform the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe and the establishing of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).
My research on regional cooperation can be read e.g. at Anatoli 1/2010: La coopération régionale en Europe du Sud-Est and Cross-border cooperation in the Southern Balkans at Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 4/2004.
I also followed closely the Ahtisaari-led negotiations on Kosovo status that led to the proposal of supervised independence. After the Kosovo declaration of independence in 2008, I joined the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. I served twice as a seconded expert in EULEX Kosovo and after 2011 was involved the EU facilitated dialogue process as EULEX gave technical support for the implementation of the different agreements reached.
In between Missions I worked as a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs directing a research project on mediation. I also was trained by FBA on dialogue and peace mediation. Our project provided policy relevant advice to Finnish MFA preparing first action plan on peace mediation and hosted policy discussion around the idea of establishing the European Peace Institute. We also published two reports, in the first one (p. 45-52) I focus on EU’s proactive tools, the second that I edited focuses on EU’s peace mediation capacities. EU had recently published its first Concept on Mediation and Dialogue (2009). Recently Tyyne Karjalainen published a follow up report ahead of the newest EU concept (2020) and Council Conclusions on peace mediation. We published a joint article focusing on EU role in the unresolved conflicts of post-soviet space.
In addition, to policy relevant research, I have given mediation and dialogue training, e.g. several times at the OSCE Dialogue Academy for Young Women from Kosovo and Serbia annually organized at the Peace Castle, Burg Schleining, Austria. Between 2015 and 2017 I directed a Research Team on Frozen Conflicts in the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg, Germany. Together with my team members we implemented DAAD funded projects to facilitate dialogue between participants across the dividing lines in the post-Soviet space. I hosted Helga Schmid as our keynote speaker in our Annual Conference discussing policy advice related to unresolved conflicts, spoke at the German MFA organized conference on OSCE as Peace Mediator as well as in the sideline events of the Hamburg Ministerial meeting. I facilitated the first dialogue week in Spindelhof, Regenstauf. As part of my engagement in the OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions we contributed a research paper advocating for cross-regional dialogue to the 2016 OSCE Network Project on “Protracted Conflicts in the OSCE Area: Innovative Approaches for Co-operation in the Conflict Zones“.
Dialogue activities were continued by Sebastian Relitz and Corridors, funded by DAAD and German MFA in the last years to foster “Dialogue through Cooperation” between societies affected by protracted conflicts in the post-Soviet space. Professor Marko Lehti directed a follow-up project “Cross-Regional Dialogues” within the OSCE Network. While my dialogue initiatives were in good hands, I moved to the EU Advisory Mission in Ukraine, where I led the Planning, Coordination and Cooperation Department.
Do not hesitate to contact me at tanja.tamminen(at)diacoord.com