Conflict Fundamentals Seminar/Blog
As conflicts have been heating up and becoming both more destructive and intractable, many of our friends who are not in the conflict resolution field have been asking me "what can I do?" or "What can be done to defuse the deepening level of distrust, hostility, and even hate that we see growing daily in the United States and elsewhere around the world?" We created the Conflict Fundamental seminar series -- along with the "What Everyone Can Do" Blog -- to try to help answer that question.
These seminars go into more detail than the Blog, presenting the core knowledge from the conflict resolution and peacebuilding fields---knowledge that is, to a large extent, considered a "starting point" for our more advanced Conflict Frontiers Seminar Series. These posts, which cover both "normal" conflicts and conflict resolution processes as well as complex intractable conflicts, are also likely to be of use and interest to students of conflict resolution and peacebuilding as well as a more general audience.
As of March, 2019, the Fundamentals Seminar has been re-organized and expanded. It now has twenty units, covering introductory concepts, and then a deeper examination of typical conflict problems and solutions, or at least ways of addressing such problems constructively if "solution" to too high a goal. Posts in the first five units are mostly ones that were in the earlier seminar. The units after that are new. Right now they are primarily populated with BI Knowledge Base essays. We will soon begin adding "Current Implications Sections" for these, which is what we had done previously when we included Knowledge Base materials in the Fundamentals Seminar. But we decided linking to the original essays in the interim was still useful. Current Seminars include:
- Seminar 1: Understanding the Problem of Destructive Conflict
- Seminar 2: Core Concepts
- Seminar 3: Conflict Assessment and Mapping
- Seminar 4: Core Conflict Elements
- Seminar 5: Conflict Overlay Factors
- Seminar 6: Parties
- Seminar 7: Framing
- Seminar 8: Communication Pitfalls and Corrections
- Seminar 9: The Abuse and Use of Real and "Fake" Facts
- Seminar 10: Escalation and De-Escalation Processes
- Seminar 11: Procedural Problems/Solutions
- Seminar 12: Power- It's Uses and Abuses
- Seminar 13: Exchange Power and Negotiation
- Seminar 14: Collaboration and the Power of Working Together
- Seminar 15: Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes
- Seminar 16: Culture and Conflict
- Seminar 17:Unrightable Wrongs and Reconciling the Past
- Seminar 18: Developing an Attractive Common Future
- Seminar 19: Promoting Good Governance
- Seminar 20: Peace Processes
See syllabi for the entire seminar series with a list and short descriptions of all posts.
Channels of Communication
When channels of communication between hostile actors close, risks of destructive conflict raise substantially.
Even if the misunderstandings do not cause conflict, they can escalate it rapidly once it starts.
We take it for granted, but so much can go wrong with our communication. In conflict, care is essential!
Cognitive dissonance can escalate or de-escalate conflict depending on how it is used.
Victimhood has a dual nature—people can be both ashamed and proud of their victim status at the same time.
There are four ways to participate in the Conflict Fundamentals Seminar:
- Visiting: You can simply drop into the Seminar's blog or the Syllabus Page, reading as your interest and time allows.
- Following: You can sign up to follow the core seminars (of which this is considered one) or all the seminars and blogs on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or through the MBI Newsletter.
- Give Us Feedback: We have discontinued our formal discussions due to lack of participation, but we still hope to hear from you via email. We will be posting any thoughts we receive on a feedback page (with or without attribution, as requested). So please send your comments on posts you find interesting!
- Contribute: We also welcome suggestions of other topics for this seminar and information about your work that relates to this effort overall.