On 10 April, ACCORD was pleased to host Dr Alejandro Bendana for a stimulating discussion on the current situation in Somalia. Dr Bendana holds an extraordinary political and academic background as a Harvard graduate, former Secretary General of the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry and Ambassador to the UN, founder of the Centre for International Studies in Managua, and now the Programme Manager for the Rule of Law and Security within UNDP Somalia. As a professional in the field with such extensive experience, Dr Bendana offered a valuable external perspective on methods of conflict management to the staff of ACCORD. His recent work in Somalia provided the basis for his presentation entitled, "Which Way to Peace with Justice in Somalia?"
Historically, Somalia has been beset by violent conflict, and continues to struggle with this issue today. Dr Bendana's insight into areas of improvement for peacemaking in the country contributed to the development of staff perspectives and the advancement of ACCORD's efforts in long-term conflict scenarios in Africa.
During the seminar hosted by ACCORD's Knowledge Production Department, Dr Bendana provided an overview of the shortfalls of state and international peacekeeping interventions that have occurred throughout Somalia's history post-Cold War. He challenged many long-standing assumptions of the way in which conflict should be dealt with, and raised new mechanisms to be considered. One example was to place emphasis on the value of internalising conflict management and involvement of local actors – a strategy that is often overlooked and underutilised. Following his presentation, ACCORD staff members were able to pose questions and hold discussions on the issues raised.
Dr Bendana's critical analysis of previous and current strategies that have ultimately not facilitated greater stability, security, or peace in Somalia provided issue areas and solutions for organisations, such as ACCORD, to take into consideration in its on-going conflict transformation work.