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
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The complexity of many conflicts means that scientific and technical analysis is often essential to adequately understand the costs, benefits, and risks of the many options available.
While experts can identify available options and analyze the likely results of adopting each option, they cannot and should not be responsible for deciding which options is the best or which should be pursued. That decision should be left to the larger society, since it requires the making of value judgements about what kind of society is most desirable.
The making of wise decisions does, however, require that decision makers and the public understand the meaning of the experts' technical analysis. While they don't need to know exactly how the studies were conducted, or how the conclusions were reached, (though that is helpful), they do need to understand in practical terms, the meaning of the conclusions, how reliable, and how credible they are. This usually requires some type of mechanism for explaining technical studies to non-technical audiences.
Possible mechanisms to do this include:
Technical Primers - short, well-written documents (or videotapes) in which credible experts explain what everyone needs to know to sensibly interpret technical studies.
Public Meetings with the Experts -- public meetings in which technical experts with a high degree credibility present the practical implications of their findings and answer questions.
Expert Consultants' Oversight - technical experts who are actually hired to work with the parties to help them better interpret and assess technical studies.
Links to Examples:
Links to Related Treatments
Links to Related Problems
Inability to Deal with Uncertainty
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