Beyond Intractability
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A new place to explore and discuss ideas for moving beyond the complex intractable conflict problems that so threaten human society.

Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess


First, a Personal Invitation and Welcome from the MOOS project's Co-Directors, Guy and Heidi Burgess.

A MOOS is a "Massive Open Online Seminar." Unlike "MOOCs," which are online courses with set content, testing, and certification, our MOOS Seminars are designed to foster a very large-scale, high-level exploration and discussion of the tough problems that lie at the frontier of the peace and conflict field. The seminars offer:
  • No Cost access to quality essays and videos on more constructive strategies for dealing with the biggest conflicts of our time;
  • Multi-Level materials with items of interest to both experts and newcomers to the peace and conflict field;
  • Flexible Timing Options that allow people to integrate participation into their busy schedules; and
  • Large-Scale Participation with the ability to span boundaries that commonly divide those working on various aspects of the intractable conflict problem.
Intended Audiences: We are aiming at four different types of participants: 
  • Conflict Resolution and Peace Professionals--Scholars and Practitioners--who are concerned about the state of conflict in the US and the world who would like to see our field do more.
  • Students - Graduate and Undergraduate -- in Peace, Conflict, and related Social Science fields.
  • Advocates, Activists, and others involved in conflict who do not think of themselves as "peace and conflict professionals" 
  • The General Public --people who are not in this or a related field, but who are concerned about the growing conflict in the US and abroad and want to learn more about the challenges we face and ways everyone can contribute towards solutions. 
For more information see our Quick Introduction to the MOOS project and our Detailed Overview.

MOOS content can be accessed in a variety of ways:
  • The largest number of options are available here (on the MBI-MOOS homepage) where you can access all the MOOS Seminars (see above, right) as well as Blogs with the Core MOOS Discussion Posts and the Supplemental Materials (see directly right). 
  • The same materials can be accessed from the left side of the main Beyond Intractability homepage and BI's right column.  
  • You can subscribe to the Core Posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In by using the links below to friend, follow, or connect with the "MBI-MOOS" on these sites.


  • Alternatively, you can use the second second set of links below to  friend, follow, or connect with "Beyond Intractability" and receive both the Core Posts and the Supplemental Materials,


More details about all of these options is available on the Content Access Page.

We hope that many users will not only read the MOOS posts, but also contribute to the discussion.  While it is possible to comment on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In, we hope that most people will use the Discussion Forum on the actual MOOS pages instead.  That will keep the discussions in one place so that they are easier to follow.

In order to prevent spam and inappropriate posts, we ask contributors to obtain a free username and password from BI or MBI and to log-in before they post. 

More Details about how to contribute to the discussions is found here. 

The MOOS is the latest project of the University of Colorado, Conflict Information Consortium's Intractable Conflict  Program – a 25 year series of projects directed by Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess.

In addition to providing a solid basis for the MOOS Seminars, these projects also provide MOOS participants with an extensive collection of supporting resources and knowledge bases, including:

The Seminars offered by the MOOS project will (when fully implemented) offer a variety of specialized opportunities for exploring and discussing a variety of intractable conflict-related topics. They include:
  • Semester Seminar – A comprehensive semester-long exploration of a broad range of intractable conflict-related topics; 
  • "Brown Bag" Seminars – A series of short seminars, each focused on particular problems and ideas for addressing them. Topics to be determined, but likely ones include:
    o   US Politics (particularly, right now, the upcoming elections)
    o   The battle between fighters and compromisers
    o   Complexity-oriented peacebuilding
    o   Responding to terrorism
  • Key Ideas – Videos or essays explaining (in 5 minutes or less) key ideas that everyone working in the peace and conflict field should (but may not) know.
  • Conflict in the News - A final "seminar" highlights and reflects on the many intractable conflict-related stories that are appearing in the news.  (This material also appears in the Supplemental Materials Blog.)

The initial, "Beta" version of the project is being put together on an extremely limited budget.  To continue, we need your support and Financial Assistance.

In order to get us through the Spring/Summer 2016 Beta Test and Major Fundraising phase, we need to raise at least an additional $10,000 during the Spring of 2016.  Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  Tax deductible contributions can be made through our account with the University of Colorado Foundation.  Please Donate what you can.  

Additional Support: We would, of course, appreciate any fundraising assistance and advice you may be able to provide.  

For More Information: Please feel free to Contact Us for more information about Beyond Intractability, the MOOS project, and how you might be able to help.

The Intractable Conflict Challenge is as urgent and serious a threat to human society as as the much more widely discussed problem of climate change.  But intractable conflict underlies the problem of climate change, plus much, much more: For instance, it underlies the problems of:
  • Violence – civil and international war, terrorism, and crime;
  • Tyranny – violent oppression;
  • Anocracy – failed states;
  • Plutocracy – soft tyranny of gross inequality and economic domination; and
  • Tragedies of the Commons – the inability to make wise and equitable decisions to protect the social, economic, and environmental commons.
The MOOS project is part of an effort to get more people working on (not just complaining about) these and other deep-rooted and challenging intractable conflict problems. 

The seminars take a scale and Complexity-Oriented Approach to society-wide, intractable conflict that focuses on:
  • Scaling-Up – traditional, table-oriented approaches so they can literally reach millions;
  • Decentralization – networks of independent efforts that operate in the absence of hierarchical central planning
  • Specialization– fostering a large number of specialized roles, each focused on a different aspect of the problem; and
  • Social Learning – accelerating the learning curve in ways that build grassroots capacity.
The goal is to foster a very large number of massively parallel efforts to address the many aspects of the intractable conflict problem.

As it is added to the system, all MOOS content is chronologically posted on one of  two blogs:
  • The Core Posts Blog – contains all of the core seminar posts and discussions.
  • The Supplemental Materials Blog – contains additional materials, gathered around the Web, that further illuminate aspects the intractable conflict problem and potential solutions. 

Moving Beyond Intractability Massive Open Online Seminar
Copyright © 2016 Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess

Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess, Co-Directors
Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado
UCB 580, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0580, (303) 492-1635,


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