LIBERIA: CONFLICT RESOLUTION TRAINING
IMTD’s involvement in Liberia has consisted of training the country’s diplomats in Conflict Resolution in 2008-2009.
In 2008-2009, IMTD’s Director of Training, Dr. Eileen Borris, was invited twice to Liberia by the foreign minister H.E. Olubanke King-Akerele to give training programs in conflict resolution, multi-track diplomacy and forgiveness in the healing of wounds from mass murder.
She presented a workshop at two International Colloquium’s on “Women Empowerment, Leadership Development, Peace and Security,” in Monrovia, Liberia followed by a week long training program in multi-track diplomacy and trauma healing. The first training program was sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Foreign Service Institute, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia, the J. Oliver Duncan Psychological Association and the UNDP. The second training was mainly attended by women supporting grassroots organizations who were very excited to have skills in conflict resolution and multi-track diplomacy and to have a hand in rebuilding Liberia.
IMTD’s involvement in West Africa began in the mid-1990s in partnership with the Carter Center The initial focus was on facilitating dialogue among Liberians, beginning in 1993, when the Carter Center invited IMTD to work with them as part of The Consortium for Peacebuilding in Liberia. In 1994, Ambassador McDonald, along with three other conflict resolution experts from the Consortium, facilitated a problem-solving workshop for Liberians in Akosombo, Ghana. At the end of their time together, the nine Liberian participants – who represented all of the parties involved in the civil war – agreed to form the Liberian Initiative for Peace and Conflict Resolution, or LIPCORE. They also agreed that shortly after their return to Monrovia, they would begin calling on faction leaders and the international players in the country. Their message would be: “We have learned to communicate with each other and to work together for peace. Why don’t you follow our approach?” The Consortium held its second training in 1995 in Abijan, Cote d’Ivoire, and expanded the original group to 19. Much of this problem solving workshop focused on introducing key procedural concepts into the peace process.
In July 1996, then-President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana asked the Carter Center to send a team to Liberia to restart the peace process, which Ambassador McDonald. On July 10 of that year, the team flew to Accra, Ghana, and held discussions with political leaders from Liberia and surrounding countries. Ambassador McDonald and others then went on to Monrovia, where they spent three days meeting with and learning more about the participants from the 1995 workshop.