Is the only responsibility of a mediator in armed conflict to end violence, or is it instead to prepare a society for its long-term needs?

This short paper attempts to reconcile these apparent contradictions by drawing on more than ten years of the HD Centre’s own practical peacemaking experience and the highly acclaimed academic works of others, as well as interviews with some of the world’s most eminent peacemakers at the Oslo forum in June 2010. The challenge for the mediation profession is to reconcile the seemingly opposing demands upon them.

The paper exposes current weaknesses, such as inadequate briefings for mediators and consultations among those engaged in peacebuilding; potential issues to watch out for, such as trying to solve too many problems at once (mission creep); and proposes realistic options to help get the job done.