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 Research Consortium, University
of Colorado, USA
Analytical Problem Solving
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This is an approach to highly deep-rooted, intractable conflicts that uses
social-psychological analysis to identify the fundamental human needs that underlie the
conflicts and hence hold the key to resolution. Typically, carefully chosen disputants
from all sides meet with a panel of conflict scholars in a week-long workshop. The
scholars help the disputants work together to analyze the fundamental sources of conflict,
focusing especially on unmet human needs (such as identity, security, or recognition).
After identifying these needs, the participants try to develop approaches for
restructuring their societies in a way that meets the needs of all sides simultaneously.
Sometimes a one-time event, other problem solving workshops occur in a series, several
months apart. Typically, these workshops involve unofficial representatives of each group,
rather than official diplomats. The advantage of this is that private citizens can often
take risks and think more creatively than officials who are tied to particular
pre-approved approaches. Often these "track two" discussions, as they are
called, are designed to pave the way toward future negotiations, though in some cases,
"track two" discussions and formal ("track one") diplomatic
discussions occur simultaneously. In either case, the goal of the track two discussions is
to develop new approaches for dealing with difficult problems, which can be suggested to
the formal negotiators who can then take the official steps to approve and implement them.
Links to Examples of Analytical Problem Solving
Notter -- Theory, Practice, Success, and Failure: A Journey of Learning in Cyprus
- This is a short description of an analytical problem solving process implemented in
R. Mitchell -- Track Two Triumphant? Reflections on the Oslo Process and Conflict
Resolution in the Middle East
- This article discusses the contributions of analytical problem solving workshops to the
success of the Oslo Negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. A
longer discussion of the same issue is found below by Herbert Kelmen.
C. Kelman -- Informal Mediation by the Scholar/Practitioner
- This article describes the assumptions underlying analytical problem solving and
describes a typical workshop.
- Jay Rothman -- Conflict Management Policy Analysis
- This is a description of a boundary dispute between Israel and Egypt which was resolved
with arbitration. Rothman discusses how analytical problem solving might have
yielded a more satisfactory outcome.
John Paul Lederach -- Structure: Lenses for the Big Picture
- This article discusses how problem solving workshops fit into the set of peacemaking
activities that can help reduce the threat of armed conflicts.
- Paul Wehr--Reality Reconstruction Workshops
- This is another example of an analytical problem solving approach.
- Jay Rothman--Resolving Identity-Based
Conflict: In Nations, Organizations, and Communities
- Rothman's ARIA approach is similar to the analytical problem solving process. This
summary gives a good overview of that approach as it has been applied in a variety of
Azar and John Burton - International Conflict Resolution,
- This is a summary of a book which discusses the analytical problem solving approach to
international conflicts. Note: this summary was originally written for a project on
environmental conflicts, but it is even more applicable to this material.
- Burton, John W.
"Conflict Resolution as A Political Philosophy"
- This article discusses the difference between dispute settlement and conflict
resolution, between politically "realistic" approaches to conflict and problem
solving approaches to conflict.
Herbert, "Interactive Problem-Solving: A Social-Psychological Approach to Conflict
- These two articles describe Kelman's approach to analytical problem solving.
Joseph. "The Healing Function in Political Conflict
- This article describes the apology and forgiveness that must occur before conflicts can
From Confrontation to Cooperation
- This book describes four approaches to conflicts--the positional
dialogue approach, the activist approach, the problem-solving approach, and the human
relations approach. The problem solving approach is basically analytical problem solving
and is superior, Rothman demonstrates, to the other approaches for a number of reasons.
Links to Outside Sources of Information
Facilitating Problem Solving in
Internationalized Conflicts by AJR Groom in the New Zealand Institute for Dispute
- John Burton - Conflict
Resolution:Towards Problem Solving
Links to Related Approaches
Links to Related Problems
Confusing Material Interests With Fundamental Human
and Excessive Use of Force
Denial of Identity
Denial of Other Human Needs
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