Even with the establishment of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2000 – an international body mandated by the United Nations to raise awareness about and discuss indigenous issues – and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 and ratified by member states, no formal discussion has been held at the international level on the traditional systems of conflict resolution and the various roles traditional rulers and indigenous leaders play in preventing, managing, mitigating, mediating or resolving conflicts and promoting a culture of peace both at the grassroots and national levels.

The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation believes that an international conference on the Traditional Systems of Conflict Resolution is highly needed at this crucial time in world history. The traditional rulers are the custodians of peace at the grassroots level, and for a long time, the international community has ignored them and their wealth of knowledge and wisdom in the areas of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. It is high time we included the traditional rulers and indigenous leaders in the discussion on international peace and security. It is high time we gave them the opportunity to contribute to our overall knowledge of conflict resolution, peacemaking and peacebuilding.

By organizing and hosting an international conference on the traditional systems of conflict resolution, we hope to not only begin a pluri-disciplinary, policy, and legal discussion on the traditional systems of conflict resolution, but most importantly, this international conference will serve as an international forum where researchers, scholars, policy makers and practitioners will have an opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from the traditional rulers from various countries around the world. In turn, the traditional rulers will discover emerging research and best practices presented by scholars and practitioners at the conference. The outcome of the exchange, inquiry and discussion will inform the international community on the roles and importance of the traditional systems of conflict resolution in our contemporary world.

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