The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) is a Swiss foundation that makes grants to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
Modus Operandi, the institute for research and training in conflict analysis and transformation created in Grenoble in 2006, conducts research and dispenses training in view of diffusing a constructive approach to conflict. Conflict is perceived as a phenomenon inherent to life in society and an opportunity for change: it is because conflicts emerge and are expressed that we become aware of certain needs, certain types of injustice, discrimination and suffering.
Without denying its destructive character when expressed violently, conflict is understood in its widest sense: as a space in which positions of power, in particular, are challenged, potentially paving the way for social transformations. Initially, Modus Operandi focused on studying political strife and armed conflict in two regions of the world: southern Africa (primarily South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe) and central Asia (ex-Soviet Union, Afghanistan and Iran). Modus Operandi then became interested in conflict and the importance of conflict transformation in central Africa (DRC, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Burundi) and West Africa (Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali). The institute also began to examine local conflict--in the city of Grenoble itself--as it became clear that there is an increasingly urgent need to reflect on and talk about conflicts closer to home--conflicts that stimulate, shake up and disturb French society. Issues related to urban violence and asylum seekers in Grenoble have provided windows through which Modus Operandi has been able to test its analysis tools.
In doing so, Modus Operandi has helped set up multi-actor networks (university researchers and associations) particularly through People’s universities, critical geopolitical meetings, radio workshops with the exiled and ‘act for peace’ workshops.
Modus Operandi works as part of a network which includes academic researchers, civil society organisations and practitioners from both the public and private sectors.
The institute has strong ongoing collaborative and/or financial partnerships from associated researchers, partner organisations and funding organisations.
The main objective of Modus Operandi is to diffuse a constructive approach to conflict. The idea is this: analysis and action are required to resolve conflictual situations and, ultimately, avoid violence. Modus Operandi helps give actors in the field the conceptual tools they need to think out the conflict. Conflict is a commonplace and complex social phenomenon; it is also part of a dialectic and as such must not remain unexamined.
Conflict analyses lay the groundwork for actions to be undertaken to transform the underlying causes of conflict. The goal of this constructive approach to conflict is to break free of short-term actions, which are often security-oriented, and envision the social transformations that are the only way to eliminate the violence engendered by conflict.
On an operational level, the institute hopes to develop the capacity to act on violence when it arises and to prevent the emergence of violence, by increasing the number of practitioners capable of developing conflict analysis and imagining locally suitable responses.
In general, the institute also wants to make the French-speaking public aware of the concept of transformation of--and by--conflict, by linking analysis to action and theory to practice.