Why diplomatic dialogue?
In addition to its world-renowned executive education programme, the GCSP also actively facilitates diplomatic dialogue. Drawing on our inhouse expertise and widespread global networks, we facilitate inclusive, discreet dialogue to support Track 1 actors and processes, and to inform Track 2 actors (“decision shapers”) with a view to generating creative and policyoriented approaches to addressing security challenges, defusing tensions, and building trust and confidence.
The GCSP Dialogue activities take several different forms:
- Discreet consultations / shuttling;
- Customised events and meetings
Dialogue “The GCSP Way”
The GCSP emerged from the 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Geneva, where the two leaders discussed their countries’ diplomatic relations and the Cold War arms race.
That meeting revealed the need to strengthen expertise in the field of disarmament and international security. Accordingly, Switzerland took the initiative to design an executive training programme for government officials from around the world, which not only facilitated exchanges among experts and practitioners, but also enabled unique networking opportunities across political divides. These were the building blocks of what would become “The GCSP Way”, and led to the creation of our Centre. Its mission would be to promote peace and security by facilitating international cooperation.
The GCSP provides a safe space where stakeholders and interested parties can discuss difficult issues, incubate new ideas, and consider all points of view on a particular issue. By facilitating dialogue, the GCSP helps to reconcile opposites, break down barriers, challenge assumptions, and encourage creativity in tackling international challenges. Our impartial approach to dialogue, combined with our location in the heart of the “international peace capital”, Geneva, make us a sought-after venue for private diplomacy.
We are a neutral third party with no stake in any particular outcome – except enhanced security. As such, we can convene non-likeminded states (and associated interlocutors) who would otherwise be unwilling or unable to engage directly and constructively at the official level.
Examples of our diplomatic dialogue work
The GCSP’s diplomatic dialogue engagements span a broad array of initiatives, such as geopolitical talks between global powers and dialogues on regional security challenges, and support to existing peace processes. We work with dialogue participants to develop creative options that can be translated into policies which, in turn, improve the prospects of peace and security.
Our dialogue processes benefit from our access to a wide global network that, among others, includes 9,600 professional alumni of GCSP courses and visiting Fellows, together constituting a community of decision makers and decision shapers that is known for its influence. To inform our dialogue tracks, we draw on GCSP’s in-house expertise on themes that are increasingly critical to international security, including cyber warfare, artificial intelligence, climate change, disarmament and others.
Chambésy Roundtable on European Security
Together with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the GCSP hosts a dialogue process involving relevant international organisations, senior officials and experts that focuses on addressing the complex security challenges in Europe and working towards a cooperative security framework. This process has, among others, allowed bilateral discussions between representatives of NATO and Russia on ways to de-escalate tensions, providing a dialogue space for Track 1 actors while official formats are currently blocked.
Zermatt Roundtable Process on NorthEast Asian Security
In partnership with the Swiss FDFA, the GCSP convenes a Track 1.5 dialogue process that enables open and informal exchanges among the countries of North-East Asia, with a view to facilitating contacts among actors with little or no communication channels, improving understanding, identifying ways to reconcile diverging interests, and thereby helping to enhance peace and stability. The question of an “End of War Declaration” on the Korean Peninsula – an issue recently discussed between the parties – had earlier been extensively debated at the Zermatt Roundtable.
Syria and Global Security project
The GCSP convenes representatives and experts from several key states that are invested in efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict. Through discreet exchanges between well-connected Track 2 and Track 1.5 actors regarding their respective countries’ positions and expectations, this project has assisted Track 1 actors to cultivate fresh ideas for peacemaking and postwar state building. Learn about the Syria Transition Challenges Project.
Eastern Mediterranean Initiative
The Eastern Mediterranean Initiative (EMI) is an inclusive dialogue platform for collective reflection and action that brings together experts – academic and former officials alike – from littoral countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, along with third country observers. Initiated by the GCSP as a track II dialogue in 2020, it intends to contribute to fostering a conducive environment for the resolution of conflicts and the advancement of a sense of common regional interests and purpose. Members of the EMI agreed on a Framework Document that outlines the vision and goal of the initiative. The GCSP provides substantive and logistical support to the EMI and acts as its secretariat.
For further information on the EMI, please contact [email protected]
The GCSP as a part of the OSCE network
Being a part of the OSCE network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions, the GCSP is often involved in joint Dialogue events. The Centre is involved on a regular basis in the ongoing security dialogue within the OSCE framework. In partnership with other institutions the GCSP runs seminars and roundtables helping different actors to achieve a shared vision of a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian Security Community. For instance, the GCSP and the Russian Academy of Sciences have jointly co-organized a roundtable on “the role of the OSCE in the European Security Architecture: Challenges and Opportunities”. This roundtable brought together experts from Russia, United States, Switzerland and Europe in assessing the effectiveness of the OSCE mechanisms of crisis prevention and conflict resolution.
The GCSP is also engaged in a number of delicate dialogue processes that are handled with strict confidentiality. To find out more, please contact www.gcsp.ch/contact
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