International Mediation Networks

Mediation networks are a relatively new and rapidly growing phenomenon. They can be seen as another manifestation of the growing global recognition of the need to go beyond approaches aimed only at “stopping the guns” towards processes that can help foster sustainable inclusive peace.

In recent years, the conflict mediation field has seen the emergence of a substantial number of international mediation and mediators’ networks. All of them connect mediation actors, but they vary in terms of geographical scope and the nature of their membership – they may bring together mediators and mediation support actors from governments, non-state entities, or religious actors. Some focus specifically on bringing together women mediators.

This project – funded by a grant from the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation – examined why so many new mediation networks are emerging, the context and reasoning behind these networks, and the assumptions they are based on. Work on the project was carried out in 2018 and 2019.

Research objectives

The International Mediation Networks research project sought to create the first mapping of existing international mediation and mediators’ networks, and to outline their different mandates, composition, activity areas, and goals. The aim of the mapping was to enhance clarity in the field of mediation and reveal overlaps and potential for synergies between the different networks.

The project also sought to understand the context and reasoning behind the formation of these networks, examine the assumptions upon which they are based, and provide insights into the rationales, aims, and hopes of mediators, funders, and mediation professionals in relation to this emerging phenomenon.


The project used a combination of primary and secondary research: direct participation in and observation of the networks’ activities and semi-structured interviews with members, founders, and affiliated individuals of various networks were combined with background research.


International Mediation Networks Project: Observations and Food for Thought

This paper summarises findings from the International Mediation Networks research project and offers food for thought for mediation networks’ development and institutionalisation.

January 2019|Thania Paffenholz, Alexander Bramble,