9th BMW Foundation Global Table

Responsibility, Trust and Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Societies


04-07 May 2017, Bogotá

Civil wars undermine and destroy the population’s trust in the state and its institutions as well as the trust between individuals. Post-conflict societies are fragmented, fragile, and prone to violence. For them, stabilization also means conflict prevention. In order to secure long-term peace and prevent new conflicts, it takes more than restoring rule of law (e.g. separation of powers, an independent court system) and rebuilding the country.

Coming to terms with a conflict solely by legal means quickly reaches its limits. Therefore, the concept of “transitional justice” has been pursued since the 1990s. Its central aim is to allow a divided society a process towards security and peace. This includes finding and establishing elements of truth, acknowledging and prosecuting injustice and crime, making reparations, and preventing the repetition of injustice and violence.

Post-conflict societies, however, often take a critical view of this approach. There are complaints that the international community promotes “one-size-fits-all” concepts, while the situation on the ground is frequently characterized by the conflicting demands of developing stability and coming to terms with the past.

Our Goals

The 9th BMW Foundation Global Table, to be held in Bogota, Colombia, in partnership with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, seeks to examine factors that are important to lead post-conflict societies into a peaceful future. It facilitates an open dialogue to develop frameworks for collaboration between local, regional, national, and international actors. It explores possibilities for reconciling former conflict parties, taking responsibility for committed atrocities and government failure, and building trust in each other and the state.

As a starting point for the discussion we will look at three examples: Colombia, where a peace accord with the FARC rebels has just been reached; Guatemala, where UN-supported peace negotiations and a 20-year-old agreement have not been able to bring peace to the country; and Rwanda, where rule of law, political and social transformations, and reconciliation projects were to open the way to a peaceful future, but where the genocide of Tutsi and Hutu 20 years ago has been brushed under the carpet.

About the BMW Foundation Global Table

The BMW Foundation Global Table engages decision-makers from Europe, the United States, emerging and transition economies in a strategic dialogue across sectors and generations. The second cycle of the BMW Foundation Global Table focuses on identifying new mechanisms for implementing an efficient governance framework. It features five Global Tables alternating between Europe and an emerging or transition economy and will conclude with the 2nd Berlin Global Forum in November 2017.

Our partner for the 9th BMW Foundation Global Table in Bogotá is the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, which supports states to develop or strengthen national mechanisms for the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities through education and technical assistance. The Auschwitz Institute’s programs are carefully designed by experts in the field of genocide prevention to provide comprehensive training for policymakers and forge networks of cooperation across the globe.