What role does dialogue play in improving global governance and fostering peace?
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” — Albert Einstein
This quote perfectly sums up the very essence of dialogue, how it can improve global governance and foster peace. Dialogue and mutual understanding lay the foundations for collective actions, no matter how big or small. This is as true for local communities as well as governments and international organisations. Where dialogue is hampered or absent due to distrust, tensions and conflict prevail over cooperation and common strategies for global governance.
Of course, it would be naïve to think that dialogue always results in consensus and peaceful agreement. Nevertheless, even dialogue for the sake of knowing, and perhaps understanding the other side’s opinion is already an improvement to many conflict situations. Connecting parties or adversaries to talk openly, promoting mutual understanding and facilitating the initiation of a dialogue at eye level can often be the first step for a more trusted relationship, which eventually can lead to better cooperation — and peace. Even if it remains the first step of many, it should never be underestimated.
Nonetheless, dialogue is not only crucial for those who disagree — even those who are committed to the same cause often operate on their own and thus stay behind their true potential for change and impact. The Paris Peace Forum therefore wants to provide a platform where global governance initiatives can come together for a joint dialogue, testing their governance solutions to today’s global challenges, connecting with likeminded stakeholders and helping them to advance, strengthen, and improve their efforts.
“Talk to each other and not about each other” was not just the motto of the Körber Foundation’s founder, Kurt Körber, but has remained the guiding principle of our work. We stand for a dialogue that helps to overcome national, political and religious borders, and for open, sometimes challenging, but always respectful discussion. It is this spirit that we want to inject in the Paris Peace Forum, where we hope to connect people, initiatives and institutions that are committed to a more peaceful future, and initiate a myriad of dialogues.
Views expressed in this publication are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paris Peace Forum.
Nora Müller is Executive Director International Affairs of the Körber Foundation and Vice President of the Association “Forum de Paris sur la Paix”.