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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Establishing personal relationships with people on the other side of the conflict can help lessen many of the problems related to conflict escalation, and can be a forerunner to official negotiations and conflict resolution. By establishing personal relationships, stereotypes are broken down, and people come to see the "enemy" as a real, living, breathing, feeling, caring person, not just an abstract, hostile, evil enemy. Once this change of attitude takes place, mutual understanding and trust can slowly be developed between adversaries. Although the parties still may have divergent interests or unmet needs, they can reach the point where they understand that their problem is a mutual one, and must be solved by cooperating, not competing or trying to destroy the other.
One of the biggest conflict resolution problems is "scaling up" such transformed personal relationships from individual people to the disputing societies overall. Personal relationships between individuals can change rather quickly, but replicating these changes among entire populations is a very slow and difficult process. The more opportunities there are for people to develop personal relationships with people on the other side of the conflict, the better off both sides will be. Citizen exchanges, dialogues, joint projects, sporting eventsany opportunities which can be provided to bring people together in a positive, cooperative way should be encouraged. (Although sporting events are competitive, they have a set of rules which govern the competition that requires fair play and mutual respect. Thus, even such competitive events can be seen as cooperative endeavors as well.)
The only time in which personal relationships can be more harmful than helpful is when the people have a long history of disliking or distrusting each other that they cannot get beyond. For example, Jimmy Carter quickly found that bringing Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin together at Camp David was not productive. After a failed attempt at negotiations the first day, Carter used shuttle diplomacy for the rest of the two week process at Camp David, believing that Begin and Sadat would never be able to work effectively together face-to-face. Yet Carters own strong personal relationship with Sadat and with some of Begins assistants was key to his success.
Analytical Problem Solving
Opening Lines of Communication
Problems with Integrative Power (all)
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