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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Escalation can be limited by focusing on the future more than on the past. There is nothing that anyone can do to change the past. Hurtful and destructive acts will, forever, be part of history. However, there is a great deal that the parties can do the change the future. If they choose to do so, the parties to serious conflicts can calm down and collectively imagine the kind of relationship that they would like to have in the future. They can then develop a plan to build that relationship.
Many of the techniques offered in this training program are much more effective when they are primarily used to build a more desirable future relationship. Approaches to conflict which focus primarily upon assigning guilt and punishment for past misdeeds are much less likely to build a positive future. Instead, they tend to replay the most destructive parts of the confrontation over and over again in a way which continually reinforces past hatreds and animosities. Focusing on the future is the only way to start a new (and better) relationship.
Still, the past must be addressed and "put to rest" or be closed in some way. It is, after all, the source of the conflict. One of the biggest dilemmas regarding the ending of past wars is whether the victors should forgive their opponents and grant amnesty for their "crimes," or whether opponents should be criminally prosecuted. Both approaches has their benefits and their costs--yet the goal of each is to put the past in the past, to enable all sides to move ahead to a more positive and constructive future relationship.
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