Newsletter # 26 -- Apr. 18, 2019
About Moving Beyond Intractability Newsletters
Important information about the Newsletters, sign-up procedures, links to past newsletters, and strategies for overcoming possible delivery problems is found at the end of this Newsletter.
Site Redesign and the Constructive Conflict Statement:
We apologize for the long delay between newsletters. We have been working on a site redesign, which we recently posted, along with a set of new materials which we think better highlight why intractable conflicts are so important, how they are being ignored, and what we regard as a promising and realistic new strategy for doing something about it.
While Beyond Intractability has long been focused on these topics, we thought that, in these increasingly turbulent and dangerous times, it would be helpful to more clearly highlight the nature of the intractable conflict challenge (and the purpose of our website) on the homepage. So the new home page leads with three simple statements--each connected to a short essay:
- Destructive Conflict is the Most Serious Threat to Our Common Future
It ruins personal lives, prevents us from solving common problems, and underlies dystopian trends toward authoritarianism, chaos, and large-scale violence. More…
- Conflict Problems Are Extraordinarily Multifaceted and Complex
Successfully addressing the many challenges posed by destructive conflict will require a large-scale effort that mobilizes the full range of human ingenuity. More...
- We All Have a Role to Play In Promoting More Constructive Conflict
While it won't be easy, we all have to find the time and do what we can to help this effort (which means learning to distinguish what helps from what doesn't). More…
These ideas also form the core of what we are calling the "Constructive Conflict Statement." which we are beginning to circulate for comments and suggestions. We are hoping to strengthen the statement and then send it out in the hopes of attaining many (100s or perhaps even 1000s) of co-signers. We will then seek to publicize the statement as widely as possible, in an effort to get much more attention paid to the trap people around the world are falling into --in respect to destructive intractable conflicts.
Currently, the Constructive Conflict Statement is explained in a series of four interrelated documents:
- Invitation to Participate -- A quick overview of the idea with an explanation of the many different ways in which one can get involved. Our goal is to foster a broadly collaborative effort that that would encourage and strengthen a wide range of efforts to promote more constructive approaches to conflict.
- Statement Summary -- An abridged two-page "executive summary" for those who want a quick overview of the main ideas.
- The full Constructive Conflict Statement -- A complete (9 page) explanation of all of the key points that we are trying to raise with the Statement.
- Moving Beyond Intractability Annotated Version of the Full Statement that goes into detail on the many complex issues that were raising by linking to applicable materials from the Moving Beyond Intractability and the underlying Beyond Intractability Knowledge Base.
Please check out at least the invitation and/or the statement summary (or the full statement if you have the time), and let us know what you think -- either privately or publically on our discussion board.
As is true for all the other MBI discussions, we require discussion participants here to sign up for a free user name and password, which helps us weed out bots, spammers, and other destructive participants. The sign up is not automated, so while we will make every effort to respond to your request for a username and password quickly, it will not be instantaneous.
In addition to giving us ideas for strengthening the statement, please let us know if you would be willing --in principle-- to be a signatory to the final statement. (We realize that we can't ask folks to sign something that will change, but if you are in general agreement, please let us know, and we will send you the revised statement, asking for your "official endorsement" as soon as it is ready.) Also, please let us know about any related, ongoing efforts that pursue complementary goals, as well as any other ideas you might have improving the way in which society handles difficult conflicts.
We want to emphasize that we do not see the Constructive Conflict Statement as just a Beyond Intractability project. Rather, it is an effort to help to catalyze a much more broadly-based effort to dramatically expand efforts to address intractable conflict-related problems. Its success depends on the willingness of people to get involved.
Other Site Changes
In addition to the changes to the home page, we have also restructured the Conflict Frontiers Seminar and are in the process of restructuring the Conflict Fundamentals Seminar. Both seminars were getting pretty long and unwieldily, so we have changed what had been referred to as "units" to individual seminars within the over-arching Conflict Frontiers Seminar, and we have added related materials from the Conflict Fundamentals and Things YOU Can Do to Help Blogs into each of the smaller Conflict Frontiers Seminars to supplement the videos that were created specifically for Frontiers.
We have also enlarged the Conflict Fundamentals Seminar from 8 "units" to twenty sub-seminars, and have gone ahead and populated each of those sub-seminars with existing BI Knowledge Base Posts--even if we have not yet inserted the "Current Implications" which we had been inserting for earlier Conflict Fundamentals Seminars. We will be inserting those, as well as related materials from Frontiers and Things You Can Do in the coming months.
Select BI-In-Context Posts
We have been continuing to send out BI-in-Context Posts at the rate of one or two a day, ever since the last newsletter. There are therefore far too many to list here. If you are interested in seeing the full list of BI-in-Context Posts that have been sent out, go to the BI-in-Context Blog which lists them all.
The public understands that society is in trouble. What's missing are proposals for fixing things that everyone can support. Looking to the Future, Public Sees an America in Decline on Many Fronts 04/15/2019
From a Middle East perspective, a look at complex factors that may alter current trends in the not too distant future. Beware the Mideast’s Falling Pillars -- 04/14/2019
A well-documented Edsall article looking at our slide toward "lethal partisanship." No Hate Left Behind -- 04/11/2019
From the Dalai Lama and the conservative American Enterprise Institute, an argument that we really can do something about hate. The Dalai Lama and Arthur Brooks: All of Us Can Break the Cycle of Hatred -- 04/02/2019
A persuasive argument that goes against the conventional wisdom on the primacy of the Shia/Sunni divide. The Middle East’s Great Divide Is Not Sectarianism -- 04/02/2019
A really excellent and quite in-depth article exploring the complexities of exploding urban violence in Baltimore. The Tragedy of Baltimore -- 04/01/2019
Opposition to the hate-mongering of immigrants requires finding equitable ways of addressing immigration's tough issues. If Liberals Won’t Enforce Borders, Fascists Will -- 04/01/2019
Some serious proposals on the critically important topic – limiting the dynamics that spread hate online. Counteracting Hate and Dangerous Speech Online: Strategies and Considerations -- 03/27/2019
A hopeful look at how restorative justice can help us limit mass incarceration and constructively deal with violent crime. Reckoning With Violence -- 03/25/2019
For those interested in the psychological complexity of conflict, look at the biology of "us versus them." This Is Your Brain on Nationalism -- 03/21/2019
A question worth seriously considering now, before it's too late--is the US headed for another Civil War? In America, Talk Turns to Something Not Spoken of for 150 Years: Civil War -- 03/19/2019
A look at the dangerous implications of the US INF Treaty withdrawal and a nuclear strategy that doesn't think things through. Trump Accidentally Just Triggered Global Nuclear Proliferation -- 03/06/2019
An eloquent argument that conflict resolution-related skills should be at the top of the curriculum. Stop Calling Them Soft Skills; They're Essential Skills -- 03/05/2019
Weave – an interesting initiative of the Aspen Institute to cultivate and document a culture of compassion. Weave: the Social Fabric Project -- 03/03/2019
About the MBI Newsletters
Every two weeks or so, we will compile the new posts from the Frontiers Seminar, the Fundamentals Seminar, the Things Everyone Can Do to Help Blog, and the Beyond Intractability in Context Blog into a Newsletter that will be posted here and sent out by email to subscribers. You can sign up to receive your copy on our Newsletter Sign Up Page and find the latest newsletter as well as all past newsletters here on our Newsletter page.
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