On April 10, in our International Conflict Resolution class, Ms. Byambakhand Luguusharav, a SIRPA alumna and a researcher at the Institute for Strategic Studies, gave us a lecture about what mediation is, how Mongolia can contribute to maintaining peace and security by playing a role of mediator in the region in the case of Ulaanbaatar Dialogue.
Mediation is a complex process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. There are two types of mediation: official and unofficial. Official mediation is often conducted at governmental levels, whereas unofficial mediation includes non-governmental organizations.
Our guest speaker talked about Mongolia’s efforts of becoming a mediator in its region, as Northeast Asian countries have conflicts and mistrust with each other due to historical reasons, and as Mongolia is a nation with friendly relations with all these countries, Ms. Byambakhand told the importance and opportunities of Mongolia as a mediator.
One of the efforts is the Ulaanbaatar Dialogues on Northeast Asian Security. This year in early June, the dialogue will be held for the 6th time. The dialogue will be held among researchers and policymakers to strengthen security, cooperation and trust among the Northeast Asian countries.
After the presentation was done, students had a brief chance to ask questions. One of the questions was about why we would benefit from mediation if we end up spending so much financially, for instance ASEM Summit, and the actual outcome is invisible? She answered by saying that it gives small states the opportunities to talk to powerful states, which otherwise we couldn’t do. Also, based on Switzerland’s experience it can boost our economy too. Thirdly, and most obviously, our reputation in international community will increase. The second question was about what we’re holding us back to become a mediator country. The answer was financial limitations. Mentioning the cases of Switzerland and Norway, the governments of mediator countries allocate sufficient amount of budget to the mediation efforts.