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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All societies have their own traditional ways of managing and resolving conflicts, although these can cease to operate effectively in times of severe or protracted conflict. By re-establishing or empowering the traditional methods, or creating new methods if the traditional methods really can no longer work, progress toward conflict transformation can often be made.
One traditional conflict managing institution, for example, is the church. Often churches can play a conflict-moderating role, helping people to see the common humanity among disputants, and the need to make peace with "the enemy," a belief which is common to many religions. Although some religious leaders believe the church should stay out of the political arena, if they do get involved in a conflict moderating role, they can often be quite influential.
The church can also encourage the extended family to engage in conflict management, a role families have traditionally performed in most societies in the past. The same is true for communities, through both the social and legal systems.
Sometimes, conflicts change the nature of the society so significantly that new conflict management or resolution structures must be developed. One example is in the former Soviet states and other Soviet satellite countries. Once communism was abandoned, new, democratic political and legal structures needed to be established, which were very different in structure and procedure than what had gone before. This situation poses a very difficult problem, as the society must get a working system in place very quickly, usually without having a plan or the knowledge base necessary to do that. While approaches can be copied from other places to some degree, every society is different, and things that work in one place may not work in another. Therefore, dispute resolution systems need to be designed very carefully, taking into consideration the social needs the system is supposed to fulfil and the constraints present in the local situation which will determine how those needs can best be met.
Links to Examples of Empowering Traditional Conflict Management Institutions or Establishing New Ones:
U.S. Institute of Peace --Rwanda After the Genocide
U.S. Institute of Peace--Legal Help for Rwanda
U.S. Institute of Peace--Why Peace Agreements Succeed or Fail
U.S. Institute of Peace--Police Are Critical to the Peace Process
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