Conflict Resolution Program, University of Denver
Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003
This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).
Q: You mentioned that that experience is really powerful at the moment and then it gets diffused over time. What other obstacles to your work have you encountered over the years?
A: Obstacles other than diffusion?
Q: Yeah, I suppose you might call it the re-entry problem.
A: You know, I think this is like one of the Gordain??? knots for our field. We have these experiences where people get new insights into the other's thinking, maybe finally understand the perspective of the other and what's motivating them. Then maybe that will help you then to frame how you could approach this in a way that you could try to achieve what you want to achieve and also address their concerns. Then you make all these great connections and build networks. Why is it that then it doesn't seem to go very far? I think that there are impacts. I think that in fact we can document that there are impacts. We've seen how people after the fact have used those networks to check information, for example.
One story that I can mention from the Israeli-Palestinian workshops is that after we brought these Israeli and Palestinian women together in Cambridge, they went back home and while they were on the airplanes, 400 Hamas supporters were expelled from Israel into southern Lebanon. It was a big crisis and lots of misinformation was coming back and forth from both sides. We know that these women called each other up and said, "Is this really what's happening over there," and kind of fact checking and rumor checking to try to keep things from escalating. The networks that they establish actually can have those kinds of uses. I think that the networks also have uses in the sense that they build a network of people who have talked to each other. If you were an Israeli official that was working on some problem related to the peace process or even some problem like water service delivery or something. Having parties that have had opportunities to develop networks with people on the other side, you have the ability to say, "Well I know so and so over on the other side. I respect him or her as a person and I think you can get the straight story or I think you may be able to get them to help you figure out who to talk to that then can help you move whatever this issue is forward." You see that in any kind of setting, how networks can really help overcome things.