Facilitating political dialogue to strengthen democracy

NIMD team member, and Dialogue theme lead, Dr. Violet Benneker was interviewed in the recent edition of the Leidraad magazine of the University of Leiden. When asked about her PHD research in combination with her work at NIMD – she answered the following.

With NIMD, we facilitate political dialogue to strengthen democracy in different countries worldwide. We support politicians to engage with each other to see how they can work together for the good of their community or country.

In this regard, I can draw on my PhD research on how political dialogue can contribute to developing human rights in a country. That focused on Jordan but is generally applicable. I apply the lessons I learnt through my research to practice.

Our dialogue work is becoming increasingly difficult, though. In the last four or five years, you can see that democracy is coming more and more under fire. Authoritarian regimes feel empowered by this. In some countries where we were proud of our successes, and new democratic policies got off the ground, we have had to significantly change our goals. Now, in some cases, we are already happy if we are able to get political leaders together under the radar for trust-building. Yet, I still feel I can make a difference. This work means a lot to me; my research came from wanting to raise an important issue.

To read Dr Benneker’s book Patchwork compliance: political dialogues about contested human rights head here. To read the full Leidraad article (in Dutch) head here.

Our Dialogue Work

At NIMD, we believe that democracy starts with dialogue; that dialogue has the power to foster the trust, collaboration and consensus that form the foundation of a respectful democratic culture. Through our five signature dialogue interventions, we facilitate a range of initiatives, from political party dialogues to multi-stakeholder dialogues that gather diverse groups with a stake in the political process. Each of these aims at bringing people together across divides to work towards the common good of the country. Find out more about our approach to dialogue at https://nimd.org/what-we-do/dialogue/.