- Helen Keller
Strengths and Limitations
We, the developers of this system, are perhaps not the best people to describe its strengths and weaknesses. Our users are perhaps best able to do that, and we hope you will by sending us comments on both. Nevertheless, some things do stand out:
The strengths of this system are the people who have been involved and the volume of material they have assembled and created for this site. Several hundred leaders of the field have been involved in this project so far (see the Participants List), and we hope that once more people learn about this, they will become involved, too. So there is a tremendous amount of wisdom and experience reflected on these pages.
Another strength was the team of people at the University of Colorado who helped us put this site together. They assembled a staggering amount of material, wrote it up in essays, linked it as additional resources, coded it so it would show up in the right place, and created the database and website into which all of this was placed. These people are named and acknowledged further in the Staff List as well.
Perhaps the biggest weakness of this site is that it was written primarily by Americans. We did have quite a few participants from other countries in the original contributor list*, and many of the Americans have extensive international experience, but to those who claim that this is primarily a U.S. project we have to agree.
At least initially. Most of the Kroc students from Notre Dame are not Americans, and they have now contributed a substantial volume of the material -- especially the case studies, but some of the theoretical essays as well. Our goal with the new system is to make this into the international site we have always wanted it to be--where users from around the world will be able to easily contribute their views, ranging from comments on the materials currently posted, to writing new materials. As an example of how this might work, we have recently collaborated with The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University to put together a special project on Genocide Prevention which is being built with considerable input from members of the ICGLR in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. We hope to develop a lot more collaborative projects like this one, which can quickly "internationalize" this site far beyond what was possible originally.
One other weakness is that as big as this is, it is missing a lot of material. The amazingly heartening fact is that we know a tremendous amount about how to deal with these conflicts more constructively. The sticking point, we believe, is not knowledge, but knowledge dissemination and knowledge utilization. We need to teach this knowledge to people in all walks of life, all around the globe. Lack of knowledge is not what keeps these conflicts intractable; what does is lack of hope. We hope that this website can give the hope -- and the knowledge -- to help people find a way out of the messes they are in. And we hope many of you will help us make this website better.
The other weakness is that most of the articles (theoretical and practical essays particularly) were written in 2002-2003 and posted in 2003. As we have described in the "What's New" section, this is the final area of work that we are hoping to tackle over the coming months.
*Olympio Barbanti from Brazil, Deborah Shmueli, Julia Chaitin, Joel Peters and Daniel Bar-Tal from Israel, Jacob Bercovitch from Australia, Mari Fitzduff from Northern Ireland, Paul van Tongeren from the Netherlands, Juan Guitierrez from Spain, Leopoldo Artilles and Nelson Espinal-Baez from the Dominican Republic, Leo Smythe from Ireland, John Katunga from Kenya, Gachi Tapia from Argentina, Evenlin Gerda Lindner from Norway, Fen Hampson and Michelle LeBaron from Canada, Angela Khaminwa from Kenya, Sanda Kaufman from Hungary and Israel (though currently living in the U.S.), Andrea Bartoli from Italy (though currently living in the U.S.), and Mohammed Abu-Nimer, an Arab-Israeli (currently living in the U.S. as well).