Coexistence Program Director Facilitates Coexistence Workshop in Liberia

February 29, 2008

liberiaCynthia Cohen, executive director of the Coexistence Program, traveled to Liberia last week to facilitate a workshop on "Transitional Justice, Reconciliation, and Coexistence" co-sponsored by Coexistence International at Brandeis University (CI) and regional partner Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD).

This was the second capacity-building workshop of CI-CDD's joint project on Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding in West Africa, which explores the relationships and linkages between coexistence and transitional justice in the West Africa sub-region.

The workshop was convened in Monrovia, Liberia, and attended by approximately 20 individuals representing civil society and intergovernmental organizations from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Burkina Faso. Also attending was Liberia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Olubanke King Akerele, a Brandeis University graduate. Participants covered such topics as the challenges of the transitional justice process currently underway in Liberia, lessons to be learned from completed processes in neighboring countries, and policy recommendations for these processes to be more sensitive and conducive to coexistence and inter-group relations. Participants "were very intrigued and positive about the idea of strengthening inter-group relations through post-conflict justice processes," said Cohen.

The policy recommendations from this workshop will be compiled into a report by CI and CDD and presented to the Liberian government on behalf of the workshop participants. Participants will also become part of the informal WANT (West African Network of Transitional) Justice, managed by CDD, where they can cooperate with like-minded individuals in order to advocate for the implementation of these policy recommendations in their countries.

A full report will soon be available on www.coexistence.net.