“The best weapon is to sit down and talk”
– Nelson Mandela
The International Center for Dialogue and Peacebuilding at Bdote will provide a physical site and professional environment conducive to dialogue, mediation, and advanced learning. It will host leaders from government, international organizations, business, and civil society to dialogue and take action around drivers of and solutions to conflict — providing a space for building sustainable local, national and international peace and security.
The Center will prioritize conflict prevention and peacebuilding, supporting and advancing work on: early warning, disarmament; poverty; non-partisan democracy assistance; climate, water and food security; empowerment of women and girls; indigenous issues, including the Dakota/Nakota/Lakota nation, and the promotion of youth led civic engagement.
The Center will be located at “Bdote” — sacred and historic ground known to the Dakota as the ‘confluence of two rivers’ or ‘the meeting place’. Bdote extends outward from the confluence of the Mississippi River (‘Haha Wakpa’) and the Minnesota River (‘Mni Sota Wakpa’) and stretches as far as Bde Maka Ska, near what is now Uptown Minneapolis.
According to origin stories of the Bdewakantunwan Dakota (one of the Seven Fires of the Dakota Oyate), the point where the two rivers come together, the Bdote, is the center of the earth and where the Dakota people originated. For centuries, long before the arrival of Europeans, Bdote was meeting grounds for indigenous from other nations and as a site to resolve internal conflicts among the Dakota.