Pre-conference webinar 5: Building the Road to Peace and Reconciliation in Mali / Construyendo el camino hacia la paz y la reconciliación en Malí/ Construire le Chemin de la paix et de la réconciliación en Mali


Session recordings: Français, Español, English


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

 10:00am – 12:00pm, Colombia time (GMT-5) / Miércoles 10 de noviembre de 2021, 10h – 12h00 (GMT-5) 

À la veille de la fin de son premier mandat de cinq ans en 2018, la Commission malienne pour la Vérité, la Justice et la Réconciliation (CVJR) a envoyé une délégation à Bogota (Colombie), pour consulter la Commission pour la vérité et la réconciliation colombienne (CEV). Les deux pays ont en commun une longue histoire de violence, bien que l’on puisse soutenir que le niveau d’hostilité organisée en Colombie était beaucoup plus élevé, plus meurtrier et plus constant que le niveau de violence au Mali à l’époque.  Cette session offre une vue d’ensemble du processus de paix malien et fournit une perspective sur le thème général, “Le développement en temps de conflits”, du douzième congrès de l’Association internationale d’éthique du développement, qui se tiendra à Medellin au cours de l’été 2022.


Stephen L. Esquith, Professor, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University

Esquith has worked with some of the other panelists dating back to the first decade of this century in Mali, and all of them have worked together as a peacebuilding and peace education team for the past three years.

Introductory note: As the Malian Commission for Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation (CVJR) approached the end of its first five-year term in 2018, they sent a small delegation to Bogota, Colombia to consult with the Colombian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CEV). Both countries had experienced a long history of violence, although arguably the level of organized hostility in Colombia was much higher, more lethal, and more constant than the levels of violence in Mali. On the other hand, Colombia seemed to have been more successful in reaching a peace accord with the primary anti-government forces led by the FARC than the Malian government had been after signing a very fragile peace accord in 2015.  In 2018 the two countries were looking to share ideas and benefit from each other’s recent experience launching their new commissions.

This was not the first time Mali had looked outward for guidance in peacebuilding. In 2013, almost immediately after the coup d’état that had brought down the Malian government and prompted international peacekeeping forces, led by the French, to enter the country, the new Malian Ministry for Peace and Reconciliation invited a delegation from Morocco to Bamako to help craft legislation authorizing the creation of a truth, justice, and reconciliation commission.  The insertion of the word “justice” was very intentional; the Minister for Peace and Reconciliation was adamant that there would be “no impunity” for perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity as part of any peace accord. “Justice” referred unambiguously to retributive justice, not restorative justice with provisions for amnesty. Those suspected of criminal acts of violence would have their cases referred to the Ministry of Justice by the CVJR for possible prosecution.

It took several years for the Malian Commission for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation to form.  But once it did, over its first five years it was able to interview nearly 16,000 victims of violence, dating all the way back to the time of independence from the French in 1961. The CVJR is now launching a campaign to sensitize Malian citizens to the effects of this history of violence, repair the harm done to the victims, and begin the process of political reconciliation. The experiences of other countries such as Morocco and Colombia have been extraordinarily helpful, but the conflicts that have led to violence and that persist today are distinctly Malian and will require Malian solutions.

In December 2019 they signed a Partnership Agreement with the Malian Commission for Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation. The participants of this IDEA panel will focus on different dimensions and challenges that building this road to peace and reconciliation in Mali now face. These include composing clear stories from the testimonies of many victims, engaging local organizations in the process of disseminating these representative stories, and scaling this storytelling project out so that it prompts local dialogues between opposing parties.

Discussant 1:

Dr. Welore Tamboura, Instructor, Institut Universitaire de Technologie, Universite des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako, Mali (ULSHB). Ph.D., Information and Communication Sciences – University Grenoble-Alpes (France), 2016. Sept. 2019 – Dec. 2020 Teaching Assistant, Residential College in the arts and Humanities (RCAH) – MSU

Topic: A History of ethnic conflict in Mali : the case of Fulani and Dogon. Since independence in 1960, Mali has often faced difficulties: recurring droughts and famines, dictatorships, coups d’état, Touareg irredentism, etc. These difficulties weakened the social fabric and the country’s system of governance.This instability has various origins that are both internal and external to the country. These include geography (the Sahel and its climatic constraints), history (decolonisation and the question of African borders), economics (subsistence agriculture), politics (Tuareg irredentism and the gradual weakening of the state), religion (the slow radicalisation of Malian Islam over the last twenty years under Wahhabi influence). As for the external causes, they are notably linked to the fall of the Libyan regime and the arrival of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Thus, different forms of violence have occurred: between civilians and armed forces, between armed forces and insurgent groups, and in recent years between different ethnic groups.

Guiding Questions: Specifically, what are the sources of conflict between Dogon and Fulani villagues?  What roles have jihadists played in inciting violence between these two groups?  What roles have Malian government forces played and also international peacekeeping forces in these inter-ethnic conflicts?

Discussants 2:

Boubacar Garango, June 2010 : Maîtrise en droit privé carrières judiciaires à l’Université de Bamako. Since  2019 : Chargé de Projet (Project Officer) « projet de Protection de l’Enfant Jam 2016-2019 : Assistant de projet (Field facilitator) « projet de Protection de l’Enfant Jam 2010-2015 : Chargé des activités de leadership social et Communautaire, Institut pour l’Education Populaire (IEP) Kati, Mali

and  Moussodjie Dembele, 2008-2010, Bamako (Mali) : Ecole Normale Supérieure. Teacher Training College (2-years post-graduate program in Education). Since July 2016, Institut pour l’Education Populaire (IEP) Kati (Mali) : Regional Coordinator Community Participation in Kati. November 2010 – July 2016, Institut pour l’Education Populaire (IEP) Kati (Mali): English and Arts professor at Ciwara school, Kati.

TOPIC:  Perspectives and implementation of micro-projects focused on peace and social cohesion through community involvement.  We are taking initiatives with all our partners (RCAH, IUT) to create permanent dialogue spaces in 10 villages of Kati where community development issues will be discussed with all components of the population. This work will allow us to further expand the work of the CVJR through the theater forums that will be organized, screenings of certain public hearings and the development of new concepts of conflict management in connection with the efficient management of local resources based on sound and democratic local governance. These new perspectives will also be an opportunity for us to work on new daily indicators of peace that will be shared to be used as references to set up relevant projects in the field of peace and national reconciliation.

Guiding Questions: How should everyday peace indicators be identified in villages in Mali? What resources are needed to host theater performances designed to prompt discussions of everyday peacebuilding? How can resources be raised at the local level to support these discussions and the repair of local institutions?

Discussants 3:

Prof. Julia Bello-Bravo, Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication, Purdue University,  and Prof. Barry Pittendrigh,  Department of Entomology, Purdue University, Co-Directors and founders, Scientific Animation without Borders (SAWBO). Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication, Purdue University, USA & Professor, Department of Entomology, Purdue University, USA

Topic : Scientific Animation without Borders (SAWBO) has a long record of using video animation to disseminate valuable information to solve health and food problems in impoverished societies throughout the world. Peacebuilding poses a new challenge since there is often little agreement about what the problem is, let alone who is most at fault and what reparations ought to be made to victims. Prompting dialogues using innovative technology locally to build a road to reconciliation, unlike prompting discussions about how to implement the most appropriate technology to solve health problems and food shortages, involves a different level of engagement and local participation in the creative process.

Guiding Questions: Could video animations translated into local languages lead the discussion on conflict resolution? Could video animations represent the suffering of the victims through artistic visuals, music, colors, images and narration? Could video animations involve the victim and the perpetrator in the discussion for conflict resolution? 


Mali Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission/
Comisión de la Verdad, la Justicia y la Reconciliación de Malí:
Commission, Vérité, Justice et Réconciliation (Mali): Accueil

Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University

News Article: Peacebuilding through peace education and the arts in Mali 

Institut Universitaire de Technologie (University site, Bamako, Mali)

Scientific Animation Without Borders Video Library (main site) 

Translation of the dialogue in the following animations is available in “CC” and “Settings” of youtube.La traducción del diálogo en las siguientes animaciones está disponible en “CC” y “Configuración” de youtube

Full webinar schedule

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