On the 4th of June, Forward Thinking and the House of Wisdom hosted an online discussion with Professor Alain Lempereur with a number of Palestinian public intellectuals and public figures. The aim of the meeting was to explore how insights from the literature on conflict resolution could be applied to Palestine and assist in breaking the current diplomatic impasse.

Professor Alain Lempereur is a professor and director of the Conflict Resolution and Coexistence Programme at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Over the last 25 years Alain has conducted consultative missions and training for several international organisations including UN agencies, NGOs, and national governments on conflict reconciliation.

Alain delivered the workshop based on his experience in conflict mitigation. He drew on examples from other conflicts and civil rights movements to explore what lessons could be applied in the Palestinian context.Alain discussed the principles of non-violent action, outlining the pre-conditions that are required before effective negotiation between conflicting parties can take place. The purpose of non-violent action is to create such a tension that requires a response from the opposing party.

Participants explored how the lessons from Alain’s discussion could be utilised in the Palestinian context and whether lessons from the past were helpful. It was recognised that the circumstances and context of every conflict are different, therefore there are few direct lessons that can be taken. However, there are core insights that are transferable.

Participants highlighted the challenges facing Palestinian activists today, including disillusionment at previous failed negotiations, how to mobilise youth engagement and how to engage international allies distracted by other crises.