The Conflict Information Consortium has been involved in online learning for a long time. But our reason for creating the current set of seminars is set out in two essays.
- One, entitled The Intractable Conflict Challenge, expands upon the Conflict Information Consortium's Mission Statement explaining how we believe that societies' inability to effectively deal with intractable conflict is the most important challenge of our time.
- The second, entitled The Complexity-Oriented Approach, explains how today's intractable conflicts are complex (as opposed to either simple or complicated) and why that requires a whole new, complexity-oriented, rather than "table-oriented" approach to dealing with them.
These ideas are then used as the backdrop to the materials presented in the Moving Beyond Intractability Seminars and Blogs.
The Conflict Frontiers Massive Open Online Seminar (Formerly called the MBI-MOOS)
This seminar is made up of a large set of videos and some essays, written by Heidi and Guy Burgess, which detail our thoughts on the nature of intractable conflicts and how they must be treated differently than more tractable conflicts if they are to be successfully dealt with. Though we will certainly be pulling in ideas from many of our colleagues, the vast majority of this material will be our own ideas which we haven't had the time to publicize for many years. If we were working in another era, or were more traditional people, these ideas would be put into a book. But given our interest in online education, we are choosing instead to write our "book" online--in very short installments-- which will "fit" into social media and be accessible to even the busiest people if they are interested. We will be releasing one to two posts a week for several months, until we have covered the topic reasonably thoroughly. We will then start over again, adapting, adding to and updating the ideas with input from others as we proceed.
We hope this seminar will be of interest to advanced students in the field (MA and Ph.D. students) as well as conflict professionals--both scholars and practitioners--and professionals in "allied" fields such as human rights, development, complexity science, etc.
The Conflict Fundamentals Seminar
This seminar presents the core knowledge from the conflict resolution and peacebuilding fields, that is, to a large extent, considered a "starting point" for our more advanced Conflict Frontiers Seminar. The Fundamentals Seminar is made up of a few videos and more Beyond Intractability essays that cover the largely "settled knowledge" in the field, for example a description of negotiation strategies, approaches to dialogue, the importance of human needs in conflict, etc. Each of the BI essays that are used in the Conflict Fundamentals Seminar is supplemented with a new, "Current Implications" section which shows how the ideas in the original essay apply to current events. A few of the videos (for instance the first few) are sufficiently important to be included in both seminars, but most of the material is different.
This seminar, we expect, will be of primary interest to people unfamiliar with the conflict resolution field, or those just starting to study it.
The Moving Beyond Intractability Blogs
In addition to these two seminars, MBI is made up of five blogs.
- The ""Beyond Intractability in Context" blog reposts articles (and videos) made by others that illustrate, add to, or sometimes challenge the key points we are trying to make in our other two seminars.
- These are usually sent out every day sometimes twice a day. We hope they will be of interest to just about everybody who looks at MBI!
- A What Everyone Can Do Blog, has very short ideas about things that everyone (not just leaders or "important people") can do to improve intractable conflicts, linked to other BI and MBI materials that provide more details.
- A Colleague Activities Blog which highlights related work that our many colleagues are doing.
- A Conflict Frontiers Blog, which is the same as the Conflict Frontiers Seminar, but is structured like a blog, listing posts from most recent to first (The Seminar itself lists them from first to last.)
- A Conflict Fundamentals Blog, which is the same as the Conflict Fundamentals Seminar, but it also structured like a blog, listing posts from most recent to first (The Seminar itself lists them from first to last.)