Senior Government Officials Participate at Workshop on Strategic Communication and Conflict Resolution
Sana’a, Yemen's Prime Minister Office, in cooperation with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its Emergency Capacity Development Facility (ECDF) project, held a one-day workshop in Sana'a on the Role of Strategic Communications and Conflict Resolution in Transitional Processes.
The event was attended by senior government officials, in charge of political analysis, good governance and media outreach at the Presidential and the Prime Minister offices and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. The aim of the workshop was to train participants on the use of practical tools of communication and crisis management to support decision-making processes and foster the participants' sense of government's need for improving accountability, transparency and credibility. The workshop, which is the first in a series of events that the Prime Minister Office is intending to convene, was led by Dr. Rawhi Afaghani, UNDP/ECDF Strategic Communication, Conflict Analysis and Resolution Specialist.
UNDP Senior Country Director Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez emphasized in his opening remarks the importance of strategic communicant in Yemen and the Middle East, adding that the failure of many peace processes around the World can be attributed to the failure of communication. Mr. Gonzalez explained that conflict-affected states are often characterized by a legacy of little or no interaction between government and society, a lack of trust in government and unrealistic expectations on the part of the population of what the government can achieve. He reiterated that in this challenging context the Government of Yemen requires employing innovative and effective tools of communication to convey the right messages to the Yemeni people.
One participant explained that this workshop helped him understand the importance of his role at the Prime Minister Office, adding that it built his confidence and capabilities to play a positive and effective role as senior government officials during the transitional period. Another participant stated that the workshop amplified my sense of responsibility as a government official towards the current period, while another added that the concepts of strategic communication and conflict resolution that acquired at the workshop gave me new and innovative tools to analysis the current crisis context in Yemen.
Mr. Ali Al-Sarari, Media Advisor to the Prime Minister and member of the National Dialogue Conference, who attended the event, praised the workshop as a first step toward effective cooperation and communication between media and political departments at the Presidential and the Prime Minister offices. He spearheaded an initiative during the workshop by inviting senior staff members from the two offices to meet on a bimonthly bases to coordinate strategies of communication with the Yemeni people.
Dr. Afaghani, on his part, underlined that the ultimate goal of effective strategic communication is achieving a paradigm shift in the government communication processes from information dissemination and public relations to active conversation between the citizens and the government. He added that Strategic communication will help the Government of Yemen open channels by which people's expectations, which tend to be great in a post-conflict and transitional context, can be managed adequately to reduce the possibility of grievances and frustrations among citizens, which often result in violence.
Mr. Roberto Paganini, Chief Technical Advisor of Emergency Capacity Development Facility project, UNDP-Yemen
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