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
Telecommunications Based Communication
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Efforts to improve communication are often limited by the fact that good communication
takes time. There are many instances in which it would be desirable for the parties and
constituency groups to engage in lengthy conversations, yet they do not have the
time to do so. Nor do they have the money to travel the distances they need to in order to
talk face-to-face as often or as extensively as they would like.
Telecommunication technologies can, in large measure, reduce these problems by
providing efficient mechanisms of communication which are very quick, easy to use, and
inexpensive. While they are not face-to-face, and therefore are not as personal as a
face-to-face conversation, electronic communication is far better than no communication at
all, which is often the alternative. By encouraging greater communication,
telecommunication can improve interpersonal and intergroup understanding which is likely
to increase the constructiveness of the overall conflict. Specific areas in
which the electronic media can make important contributions include:
- Videotapes. Important speeches and even negotiation sessions can be
easily and inexpensively videotaped and then shared with people who are unable to
attend the sessions in person.
- Radio and television broadcasts. These broadcasts allow very large
groups to witness negotiations, public hearings, another important events to determine,
for themselves whether or not their interests are being accurately included in the
discussions. (Often, however, negotiations are better conducted privately, with media
coverage reserved for the end.)
- Electronic mail and fax machines. The ability of e-mail and fax
machines to deliver messages across the planet in a matter of seconds makes effective
international communication possible.
- Web sites and Internet search engines. The ability to find Web sites
with the Internet search engines such as Excite, AltaVista, or Yahoo make it much easier
for parties to recruit allies on a national and international basis. It also helps
advocacy groups get their message out to the general public.
- Internet-based telephony. The Internet can also be used to transmit at
vastly lower cost, conventional telephone calls.
- On-line training programs. On-line education and training programs
(like this one) make it much easier to disseminate information about new and more
effective ideas for dealing with conflict problems.
These are just a few examples. The potential of these new technologies is expanding
almost daily, and the global reach of the technology is spreading rapidly as well.
- Links to Examples:
- Information Technologies Can Help
- This is a summary of a conference on "virtual diplomacy"--diplomacy carried
out through or assisted by telecommunications--held by the U.S. Institute of Peace.
The full text of the article summarized can be found at U.S. Institute of Peace PeaceWatch -
Links to Outside Sources of Information on This Topic:
- Designing Effective Action
Alerts for the Internet
- This article describes how to get people to work for your cause over the Internet.
- Managing the Community
Impacts of Large Scale Development: A Participative Approach by Desmond M.
- This paper summarizes the main elements of the participative social impact assessment
and management program commissioned by Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited for the greater
Gibsons, British Columbia community. Cable television and phoned-in questions and
comments were a major part of this public participation effort.
Communications: Lessons from Interventions in Africa
- This article discusses the use of a variety of telecommunications technologies to
enhance the work of peace keepers, NGOs providing humanitarian assistance, and others
working to restore peace and security in Africa.
- Diplomacy and Conflict
Resolution in the Information Age
- This site contains all the conference papers from the United States Institute of Peace
conference on Virtual Diplomacy which focused on the use of telecommunications to improve
diplomacy and conflict resolution.
Links to Related Approaches
Opening Lines of Communication
Links to Related Problems
Lack of Communication
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