Conflict Frontiers Massive Open Online Seminar (MOOS) Syllabus - Spring 2018


Listing of Seminar Topics 

All posts can be found here or you can sign up to receive them on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Alternatively, you can get an email compliation of each unit by signing up for our newsletter.

A Note about Post Order:  We should note that this list is inherently linear, but this set of ideas is not linear. Rather, it is a web.  We have (as usual) had a very difficult time deciding what to post first, what later, what toward the end.  Conflict, and particularly complex systems, are very much chicken-and-egg affairs--everything relates to everything else.  So we will be presenting a lot of different ideas up front, and then circling back to them over time as we explore earlier ideas further and present related ideas that need to be linked to something that came before.  On this page we present the posts in a "Table-of-Contents" order, meaning from the first to the last.  The Conflict Frontiers Blog has the same posts, but like all blogs, lists the most recent post first.

Other Notes: 

  • The MBI Overview and Unit 1 are the same in this seminar and the Fundamentals Seminar. Starting with Unit 2, the two seminars diverge.
  • The dates shown are the dates that these posts will be (or were) sent out on social media.  However, all through Unit 4 are available here, now.  We are now starting to work on Unit 5, and will post those posts here when they become available as well. 

Moving Beyond Intractability Overview

Unit 1: Understanding the Intractable Conflict Problem

Unit 2: Pushing the Frontier: the Limits of Business-as-Usual Approaches

Unit 3: Introduction to Complexity and "Systems Thinking" -- Theoretical Antecedents

  • Developing a Systems/Complexity Paradigm -- An introductory look at a developing new paradigm for peacebuilding: using systems thinking and complexity analysis -- April 3, 2018
  • Dugan's "Nested Theory" of Conflict -- Conflicts exist in many levels at once - seeing these helps you see the entire conflict system. -- April 4, 2018
  • Lederach's Pyramid -- Leaders at three levels of society all contribute to peace, but those at the middle-level are often the most effective. -- April 6, 2018
  • Lederach's Big Picture of Conflict Transformation -- Lederach's circle of conflict transformation shows how to design change processes that work. -- April 7, 2018
  • Diamond and McDonald's Multi-track Diplomacy -- Diplomats are not just officials, but include 9 different types of people--all contributing towards peacebuilding. -- April 8, 2018
  • Ury's "Third Side" -- Everyone can play at least one of Ury's 10 "Third Side" roles--even the disputants themselves. -- April 10, 2018
  • Coleman's "Five Percent" Part 1 -- Peter Coleman says intractable conflicts are formed by powerful "attractors" or seemingly inescapable traps. -- April 11, 2018
  • Coleman's "Five Percent" Part 2 -- Different from linear approaches, Coleman says intractable conflicts can still be tamed by 3 steps. -- April 12, 2018
  • Ricigliano's SAT model -- Complex conflicts require complex responses: the SAT and PAL models are linked approaches for doing just that. -- April 13, 2018
  • Hauss's "New Paradigm" -- Intractable conflicts are "wicked problems" that need an entirely new paradigm to deal with, says Chip Hauss. -- April 15, 2018

Unit 4: Moving Toward a Complexity-Oriented Paradigm

Unit 5:  Massively Parallel Peacebuilding (MPP)

  1. Massively Parallel Peacebuilding – Introduction
  2. Constructive Confrontation - Parts 1 and 2
  3. Keys to Making MPP Work
  4. Precedents for MPP
  5. Complexity-oriented Capacity Building 
  6. Ways of Knowing and Learning
  7. Learning and Teaching in Different Settings
  8. Institutional and Structural Capacity Building

Unit 6: Owning the problem

  1. Starting at Home
  2. Mega Worry How Bad Could It Get 
  3. Routine Worry: Why We Can't Fix Anything (Again and Still)
  4. Background: Peacebuilding at Home and Abroad - Part 1
  5. Peacebuilding at Home and Abroad Part II: "Wearing the Others's Shoes"
  6. US Focus/International Applications
  7. Open Goals and Accountability
  8. Meta-proposal for the Field
  9. Further Ownership Issues
  10. Examining Our Own Assumptions: What We Don't See and Talk About Does Hurt Us.
  11. Compassion and Empathy
  12. Building and Using Mirrors
  13. Beyond the Binary Frame

Unit 7: Examining US Politics

  1. Red/Blue Cultural Divide
  2. The Role of Culture in Conflict
  3. Constructive Responses to Cultural Differences
  4. Neuroscience and Cultural Lag
  5. The Gold/Purple Divide Parts I and II
  6. The 2016 Presidential Election
  7. Unmet Human Needs
  8. Mirror: Cosmopolitan Meritocracy/Distributional Conflict
  9. Mirror: Cosmopolitan Progressive Cultural Values
  10. Mirror: Government/ Blank Industrial Complex
  11. Mirror: Environmentalism
  12. Mirror: Trump supporters
  13. Mirror: Business Excesses/Caveat Emptor Values
  14. Fighters and Compromisers
  15. Divide and Conquer Strategy
  16. Power Strategy Mix (reprise)
  17. Backlash (reprise)
  18. Legitimate and Illegitimate Power
  19. Justice in the Red/Blue/Gold Divide
  20. The many elements of Democracy and Avoiding Dystopian Tyranny
  21. Partisan Structures
  22. Partisan Frames

Section II: Moving Beyond Intractability: Defining Goals, Objectives, and Make-a-Difference Actions

Unit 8: Exploring Goals

  1. Exploring Alternative Goals
  2. First Focus: Violence-limited Societies
  3. Big Picture Prequel
  4. Distributional Goals
  5. Moral Goals
  6. Identity Goals
  7. Type I and Type II Cultural Issues and Conflicts
  8. Constructive Responses to Cultural Differences
  9. Security Goals
  10. Justice Goals
  11. Peace Goals
  12. Forgiveness Goals
  13. Lederach's "Meeting Place" - Balancing Peace, Justice, Truth, and Mercy 
  14. Distinguishing Core Goals from "Astroturf Goals"
  15. Visioning

Unit 9: Examining Objectives: Traps and Opportunities

  1. Section Introduction
  2. Framing traps and opportunities
  3. Identity and Characterization Framing
  4. Win/lose, Competitive & Into-the-sea Framing
  5. Power Frames
  6. Spoilers  
  7. Risk frames
  8. Process frames
  9. Bad Communication
  10. Misunderstandings
  11. Cognitive Dissonance, Confirmation Bias, and Sacrifice Trap
  12. Narrowcasting and Media Bias
  13. Propaganda and Disinformation and "Alt-Facts"
  14. Cultural Blinders
  15. Bandwidth Stereotype Problem
  16. Fact-Finding Problems (Introduction)
  17. Confusing Facts and Values
  18. Risk and Uncertainty
  19. Distrust of Science/News/Facts/Experts
  20. Analysis Paralysis, Certainty Trap, Ilnumeracy, QED Syndrome
  21. Escalation 
  22. Escalation Spirals
  23. Riding the Tiger
  24. Polarization
  25. Ineffective Negotiation and Decision Making
  26. Ineffective Negotiation
  27. Ineffective Agreement Implementation
  28. Ineffective Governance
  29. Market pathologies
  30. Mission creep

Unit 10: Make-a-Difference Actions - Principles

  1. Identifying First-order and Second-order "Make-a-difference" Actions
  2. Implications of the "Massively Parallel" Approach - Simultaneous Micro, Meso, and Macro Efforts
  3. Use of Mapping to Identify "Ripe Places" for Intervention
  4. Beyond Crisis Response: Working in the Short, Intermediate, and Long-term Simultaneously
  5. Matching Actions to Objectives
  6. Avoiding
  7. Grabbing Opportunities
  8. Forming Coalitions
  9. Insider and Outsider Roles
  10. Third Sider Roles
  11. Large-Scale Actions
  12. Defining  "Good Governance" 

Unit 11: "First-order" Actions

  1. Empowering “Power-With” Compromisers So That They Can Successfully Resist The “Power Over” Machiavellians.
  2. Mirror Building, Compassion, Pragmatic And Principled Empathy
  3. Face-Saving Actions
  4. Crisis Response
  5. Rumor Control
  6. Tolerance and Coexistence
  7. Constructive Confrontation of Moral Differences
  8. Community-Building Actions
  9. Expert/Non-Expert Trust-Building
  10. Islands Of Collaboration Within Conflict
  11. Ripeness, Compromise And Interest-Based Bargaining
  12. Fighting Fair/Referees
  13. Peacekeeping
  14. Nonviolent Direct Action
  15. Implementing "Good Governance"
  16. Election Reform And Monitoring
  17. Market Reform to Limit Fraud
  18. Market Reform to Reduce Inequality
  19. Market Reform to Limit Tragedies of the Commons
  20. Peacebuilding Social Entrepreneurship

Unit 12: Second-order Actions - - Peacebuilder Mobilization Strategies

  1. Review Of Difference Between First-Order and Second-Order Actions
  2. Match-Making (E-Bay Approach)
  3. Diagnostic Questionnaires
  4. Social Movement Organization
  5. University Reform
  6. Peacebuilder Support
  7. Mobilizing And Legitimizing Expertise 

Unit 13. Second-order Actions - Capacity Building 

  1. Section Introduction - Second Order Capacity Building
  2. Media strategies
  3. Traditional Education and Training
  4. Identity-Group Training
  5. Cross-Fertilization Opportunities and Events
  6. Cost Containment
  7. Big Picture Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation 

Unit 14: Where Do We Go From Here?

  1. Section Introduction: Where Do We Go From Here?
  2. Things Individuals Can Do
  3. Things Grassroots Leadership Can Do
  4. Things Mid-Level Leadership Can Do
  5. Things Elite Leaders Can Do
  6. Things The Conflict-Resolution and Peacebuilding Field Can Do

Conflict Frontiers  Spring 2017 Syllabus