Conflicts Forum is an international charitable organisation that uses the experience and connections of its two co-directors, former diplomats from US and the UK, to facilitate dialogue between political Islam and the West.
Conflicts Forum regards Islamist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah as self-identified agents of political transformation in the region, that need to be engaged with and listened to, and aims to challenge « Western misconceptions and misrepresentations of the region’s leading agents of change ». Forum has thus focused its methodology on face-to-face dialogues and advocacy: for example, in 2005-06 it organised a series of informal dialogues between policymakers from US and UK, and Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan, as well as a series of dialogues on economy between Middle Eastern and Western economists and business people.
Its advocacy work includes interviews and presentations at think tanks and policy institutions, as well as face-to-face meetings with policy-makers in US, UK and Europe. It maintains an online archive of articles by its staff, advisors and associates. In partnership with a number of other policy think tanks, it is currently engaged in a project to develop « more inclusive and legitimate approaches to transforming the Middle East conflict ».
Conflicts Forum combines a high degree of professionalism with the courage to go beyond the accepted political boundaries of its government. « Talking with terrorists », i.e. the perceived enemy at a particular moment, is essential in peace work, as is the informed lobbying that goes with it.