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.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page
This section skips the general introductory information and formal course materials and goes directly to sections of the training program which deal with the diagnosis and treatment of particular conflict problems. If you find the material presented in the questions or the answers to be confusing, or if you want to learn more about the constructive confrontation approach to intractable conflicts, go to the "theoretical approach" section to learn why the information is organized as it is, and how the approach presented here differs from other common approaches to conflict problems.
The links below take you to lists of common conflict problems. Read through this list, selecting those problems that you are interested in. By clicking on an item, you will see a list of typical problems related to that topic. Each has a brief description, but more information is available by clicking on the particular problem title. When you do this, you will receive: 1) a more detailed description of the problem; 2) links to actual examples of the problem; 3) a list of possible solutions to the problem; and 4) links to closely related problems. You will get a similar list of choices if you go to the solution list for a particular problem. In this case you will see a list of possible solutions or treatments for each problem along with a two sentence description. When you click on a solution you will receive: 1) a more detailed description; 2) examples of how the solution has been implemented in an actual conflict situation; and 3) see a list of other problems that this solution helps deal with.
The problems, solutions, and examples offered here are not intended to be a complete list of available approaches for dealing with these problems. Rather, we see them as things to think about and a starting point which the parties can use to develop their own creative solutions. We plan to continue to add new ideas to this system as time and funding allows. If readers have an idea to contribute, click on the "contact" button on the bottom of any page--we want to hear from you!
The problems in these problem and treatment lists are divided into three parts. The first part involves problem definition--defining what the conflict is about (framing), who is involved, and what the context of the conflict is (scoping). Without an accurate understanding of the people and/or issues involved and how the conflict relates to other situations (past and present) it is very hard to confront any conflict in an effective way.
The second part looks at complicating factors that often make conflicts worse than they really should be and make them difficult to handle constructively, even if one takes care of all of the problems discussed earlier. These complicating factors include communication problems, fact-finding problems, procedural problems, and escalation.
The third part involves confrontation strategies. People involved in conflicts can do one of two things. They can withdraw from the conflict, or they can confront it in some way. When they confront it, they are trying to influence the situation in a way which will benefit themselves. They may do so by using force; they may try to trade or negotiate; or they may try to persuade the opponent to change his or her attitudes and/or behavior voluntarily (using what we call "integrative strategies"). Sections address each of these three fundamental approaches, as well as combination strategies which combine two or more of these fundamental types of approaches (force, exchange, or integrative strategies).
The munu short cut page also contains a side-by-side listing of problems and treatment options.
There are many ways to use this resource. You may skip around from link to link reading only those topics that are of direct interest to you or relevance to your immediate situation. This enables you to "customize" the information you receive to match your interests and needs. Or you may go straight through, reading most or all of the information on all of the entries. While this takes much a longer time, it gives a much better overview of the nature of intractable conflicts in general and how they can be approached in more constructive ways.
To simplify programming, it is often necessary to go back to the previous screen to get the menu of other choices. To do this use the "go back" arrow on your browser. You can also use the menu bar if you selected it at the opening screen.
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