MBI actually consists of a set of interlinked seminars. The two primary seminars cover what we see as foundational knowledge and frontier-of-the-field knowledge. A secondary set of shorter seminars focus on particular specialized topics. All of these are described more below.
The Conflict Frontiers Seminar
This seminar will be made up of a large set of videos and some essays, most 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 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 day 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, which we used to call the "Key Ideas" 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 videos and 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. 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.
These are a series of short seminars, each focused on particular problems and ideas for addressing them. Topics to be determined, but likely ones include:
- US Politics (particularly, right now, the upcoming elections)
- The battle between fighters and compromisers
- Complexity-oriented peacebuilding
- Responding to terrorism
This isn't a seminar, really, but we have been posting, and will continue to post on the Supplemental Materials Blog, stories drawn from the news that illustrate particularly well either the nature of the intractable conflict problem, and/or responses to it. We will draw some of these posts into the other seminars, while others will remain "independent."