The European Institute of Peace hosted 18 young political leaders from Armenia and Azerbaijan to participate in a spirited negotiation simulation exercise.

The leaders from the Caucasus region were invited to Brussels by the European Parliament’s Mediation Support Service to meet with several high-level EU figures and attend seminars and trainings on how to build solid democracy and sustainable peace.

The EIP hosted a session in which the delegates engaged in a mediation simulation exercise in which, in the context of an ethnically diverse country without good integration policies, unresolved grievances lead to violence. A peace deal was ultimately achieved between the rebel delegation and the government authorities, supported by the UN and taking into account the voices from civil society, who were present at the table as observers.

The exercise was designed and specifically tailored to get the group thinking about political issues from different levels and perspectives. It also served to expose participants to a snapshot of dialogue and mediation techniques on how to prevent and resolve conflict.

This was the fourth event of this kind that the EIP hosts. In November 2016, 18 young political leaders from Palestine and Israel participated in a negotiation simulation exercise where separatist tensions were fuelled by rivalry over natural resources. In July 2016, participants from Libya, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia and Morocco participated in a similar session, combined with break out groups in which leaders discussed perspectives on democratisation, good governance, inclusion and political transitions. In April 2015, EIP hosted 12 young political leaders from Sudan, who discussed the issues of political pluralism, tolerance of others, peaceful consensus building, reconciliation and conflict resolution as a means of developing a culture of peace.