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
by Paul Wehr
Opening Page | Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page
Parties in conflict generally have two types of goals: first, a preferred future--conditions, relationships, needs met--and then, what they would like their opponent(s) to do to bring that future about. African Americans in the 1960s, for example, wanted at least a desegregated society with equal rights if not an integrated one. To do conflict well, at least cost and harm, one's preferred future must be carefully sketched out near the outset of conflict. That future may change somewhat throughout the conflict, but one should begin with a reasonably clear image of it. In the process of imaging that preferred future, a conflict party may discover that its goals are not as incompatible with the opponents' as earlier believed. Of course, they may discover the opposite as well.
Interests and Values Clarification
One's interests are generally shaped by what one needs. For example, every person and group needs to be secure...food, shelter, safety from attack, and so forth. One's values are related to needs and interests but they are not the same. Values are those standards of goodness, rightness and preference that one believes in. Values are shaped by beliefs. The preferred futures of parties in conflict are comprised of both interests and values. Their goals in the conflict are shaped by those same interests and values. Clarity of interests can be achieved internally, by each conflict party on its own. There is much to be said, however, for clarifying interests cooperatively with the other side. Being clear about one's own interests in a conflict is usually helped by having your opponents clarify theirs as well. It is important to be clear about what it is you want your opponents to do that would bring about your preferred future. What must they do and how can you make it more likely they will do it?
Values are more difficult than interests to clarify. It seems that what a conflict party wants is less difficult to know than why they want it. Our values underlay our interests and are thus less visible. We have to hunt harder for them. Yet values are at the core of most conflict. Awareness of them is necessary for clarifying the preferred future we ask our opponent to help us create.
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