OTPIC Officially Retired
As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.
The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.
Citation: Mitchell, C. R. "Track Two Triumphant? Reflections on the Oslo Process and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East." ICAR Newsletter. Fall 1993, V. 5, No. 6. Pp. 8, 12.
The Oslo Process was a major success and a classic example of Track Two diplomacy, including all major components of the theory. It was a long-term process with adequate time spent on building trust between all the parties involved in negotiations. It was not public and maintained a high level of confidentiality. The third party facilitation was performed by a neutral mediator, Norway, which did not have any self-interests in the conflict and was not powerful enough to impose its decisions on the parties. What was different about this case was that the process took place simultaneously with official negotiations which started in Spain and later moved to the USA, as opposed to the widely supported notion of Track Two diplomacy preceding the official negotiations.
Mitchell believes that the Oslo Process is not a unique example of success of Track Two diplomacy and that there were other attempts made in the Arab-Israeli as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts which deserve recognition. He names a few of them. Since 1949 Quakers were facilitating communication between Arabs and Israelis by mediating and organizing conferences and meetings. Similar activities were undertaken by foreign and local scholars. Since the 1970s, Herbert Kelman of Harvard has been working on bringing Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiation table by conducting problem-solving workshops. Some of those who participated in these workshops were later involved in the Madrid negotiations. Other examples constitute what has been called "citizen diplomacy". In 1988, an American Jewish group from the Center for Peace in the Middle East headed by Rita Hauser "extracted from" Yasir Arafat a statement in which he recognized the state of Israel and "a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" and condemned terrorism (p. 8).
Mitchell emphasizes the need to examine those not so "successful" cases as well as the definite success of the Oslo Process and come up with better theories on the time of "ripeness" of conflict for resolution and the types of intervention strategies appropriate for different conflict conditions. Thus the Oslo negotiations provide hope for transformation of the Middle East conflict toward resolution and represent a valuable case for analysis of peace-making processes.
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