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
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Reconciliation is the ultimate goal of peacebuilding. It occurs when disputants develop
a new relationship based on apology, forgiveness, and newly established trust. Mennonite
peacebuilder John Paul Lederach describes reconciliation as "a meeting ground where
trust and mercy have met, and where justice and peace have kissed." Thus,
reconciliation involves all four processes. It brings people together, enabling them to
grow beyond the past to re-establish a normalized, peaceful, and trusting relationship in
Obviously, reconciliation is a very difficult and slow process. Lederach points out
that it usually takes just as long to get out of a conflict as it takes to get into one.
So for conflicts that have been going on for decades or centuries, reconciliation cannot
take place in weeks or months--perhaps not even in a few years. It will take many years,
perhaps decades or centuries, to fully recover. Yet progress can be made, and even
incremental steps can have tremendously beneficial effects.
Reconciliation programs can take many forms. Analytical problem solving workshops or
dialogue processes can help build trust and a sense of forgiveness and mercy. If they lead
to wider structural or behavioral changes they can also contribute to the re-establishment
of justice and peace. So can processes such as the South African Truth and Reconciliation
Commissions which have formalized the process of apology and forgiveness. Most efforts at
citizen diplomacy and grassroots peacebuilding--which brings "ordinary" citizens
into a process of trust-building and cooperation with former enemies--contribute to
reconciliation over the long term.
Links to Examples of Reconciliation Programs:
Note: Quite a few articles are listed below. However, many more of the articles
available in this material also cover reconciliation processes as well, as the entire
program is designed to facilitate reconciliation, and thus, most of the article deal with
this in some way. Users are urged to browse the full article list for other items, in
addition to these, that spark their interest.
Transformation by Heidi Burgess and Guy Burgess
- The set of articles available at this location describe John Paul Lederach's concept of
conflict transformation, discuss its components (peace, justice, truth, mercy, and
reconciliation, and describe how these relate to peacebuilding).
Thomas Princen--Quaker Mediation in Sri
This article describes an interview with Quaker mediator Joseph Elder on his mediation
and reconciliation work in Sri Lanka.
Dennis Sandole and Hugo van der Merwe
--Brezhnev visits West Germany, 1972.
This short piece describes the reconciliation that took place between Soviet leader
Brezhnev and West Germany's Schmidt in 1972 (regarding World War II).
Dennis Sandole and Hugo van der Merwe --
Unilateral forgiveness proves ineffective in Nicaraguan political conflict
This is a very short counter-piece which illustrates that sometimes forgiveness fails to
Bruce Hemmer -- Bottom-up Peace Building in
This is an article about reconciliation efforts in Bosnia
Tim Cooper -- Keeping the Peace or Making
Peace?: A Mediation
This is a short article on gang conflicts in the U.S. It illustrates the difference
between peace-making and peacebuilding or reconciliation. The point is that short term
settlements (peace-making) are not the same as long term reconciliation, and can, at
times, even short circuit the reconciliation process.
Wanda Lofton -- Systematic Forgiveness: A
Possibility for African Americans?
This short article discusses the possibility of reconciliation between whites and blacks
in the U.S.
Sustaining Peace in Angola
This article discusses the processes necessary for reconciliation to succeed in Angola.
South Africa's Bumpy Road to Democracy
This article describes how reconciliation has been pursued in South Africa.
James Notter -- Theory, Practice, Success, and
Failure: A Journey of Learning in Cyprus
This article describes reconciliation efforts in Cyprus.
- Accounting for War Crimes in Cambodia
- This article describes the issues discussed during a conference on war crimes in
Cambodia. One of the major issues is the question of what can be done to bring about
reconciliation with the past.
- Kraybill, Ron
-- "The Cycle of Reconciliation"
- Kraybill describes his theory of the reconciliation cycle, drawn from his work in South
Africa. Reconciliation is a long-lasting process that goes through several stages.
It does not erase the past, but paves the way for a new future relationship based
on risk taking, trust-building and the reclamation of identity.
- Lederach, John
Paul. "The Meeting Place"
- This article describes the relationships between peace, truth, justice, and mercy, and
how they all interact to yield reconciliation.
- Trudy Govier -- The Ethics of Forgiveness
- Grover describes reconciliation and forgiveness between victims and agents of Stasi
spying in the former East Germany.
- Estrada-Hollenbeck -- Understanding
- This article looks at forgiveness as one element of reconciliation. The author explains
how narratives can be used to generate both.
- David Brubaker -- Reconciliation in Rwanda:
The Art of the Possible
- This article looks at what is and isn't possible to do to achieve reconciliation in
- Religion and Reconciliation in Bosnia
- This article examines the steps which are needed to attain reconciliation in Bosnia.
- Pamela Aall -- Nongovernmental Organizations
- This article describes the role of NGOs in
peacebuilding and reconciliation programs.
- David Stuart -- United National Involvement in
the Peace Process in El Salvador
- This article describes peacebuilding and reconciliation programs in El Salvador.
- Stephen Ryan--Peace-Building and Conflict
- In this chapter, Ryan discusses alternative peacebuilding strategies including
forgiveness and reconciliation. Ryan discusses the benefits--and the problems with
the reconciliation approach.
Links to Outside Sources of Information
- Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP)
Information and Resource Center
- This center has a number of useful full-text articles on the use of mediation to produce
reconciliation between victims and offenders--both violent and nonviolent.
- Papers on Restorative Justice
- These papers from the Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies of Fresno Pacific
University take a Christian view of forgiveness and redemption.
- NGOs and the Peace
Process in Angola--United States Institute of Peace - Special Report
- This article reviews the obstacles to reconciliation in Angola and suggests methods that
might be used for overcoming those obstacles. Similar approaches can also be applied
in other countries with divided populations.
Leaders Support Minority Rights- US Institute of Peace
Cooperation Agreements in Bosnia
Links to Related Approaches:
In a sense, all of the solution strategies in this program are related to
reconciliation in one way or another, but the integrative
strategies are particularly closely related.
Links to Related Problems:
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