Beyond Intractability
Topical Audio Interview Segments from the Beyond Intractability Project


  • Bob Hughes describes how mediators sometimes have to do community organizing first in order to have someone with whom to mediate.


  • Complementarity and networking are common words in the field of conflict resolution. Often, the assumption is that everyone is doing their part for peace and the sum of all the efforts will add up to peace. Mary Anderson, of the Collaborative for Development Action (CDAinc), suggests, however, that there need to be more explicit linkages among the various peacebuilding efforts.

  • Complementarity and networking are common words in the field of conflict resolution. Often, the assumption is that everyone is doing their part for peace and the sum of all the efforts will add up to peace. Mary Anderson, of the Collaborative for Development Action (CDAinc), suggests, however, that there need to be more explicit linkages among these various peace initiatives.

  • Wendell Jones, an Ombudsman at Sandia National Lab, talks about approaching human conflict as a complex adaptive system. He suggests that the kinds of systems that thrive and adapt successfully are the ones that employ both cooperative and competitive strategies. When conflict develops, this affects the whole system. Intervenors cannot simply divide the conflict into separate components and work on each of these pieces separately. Understanding and addressing conflict dynamics requires a more holistic and integrative approach.

  • How do interveners deal with the messiness of reality when trying to make assessments of incredibly complex conflicts? Larry Susskind, co-director of the Public Disputes Program at Harvard Law School, says that by keeping his methodology simple, straightforward and transparent, he is able to cope with the complexities that arise.

  • One characteristic of most intractable conflicts is that they are highly complex, with many parties, issues, interests, needs, and often many intervenors and conflict resolution processes going on at once. Effective transformation or resolution requires parties (both disputants and third party intervenors) understand what is going on, who is involved, and how their efforts fit into the conflict system as a whole.

  • Louis Kriesberg describes the complexity of conflicts, explaining that many people are interacting in many different ways and every individual CAN make a difference.

  • Ron Fisher, of American University, reflects on the complexity of peace practice, as well as the importance (and difficulty) of understanding the extent of one's own role and expertise, and how they intersect with the roles and expertise of other people.

  • Mari Fitzduff, the former Executive Director of Irish conflict resolution organization INCORE, and now a professor and the Director of the MA Conflict and Coexistence Programme at Brandeis University, tells how one bad experience had a long-lasting effect.

 

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