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.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Step-by-Step De-Escalation (GRIT)

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One approach to de-escalation is GRIT, an approach developed by Charles Osgood.   In his original writing he said it stood for "graduated and reciprocated initiatives in tension reduction; later he simplified this to gradual reduction in tension.  The basic idea is that disputant can initiate de-escalation by making a small, unilateral (one-sided) concession to the other side, and at the same time, communicating a desire or even an expectation that this gesture will be matched with an equal response from the opponent.  If the opponent does respond positively, the first party can make a second concession, and a "peace spiral" is begun.  If the first initiative is ignored, Osgood suggests that it be followed by a second--or even a third--attempt.  These concessions should be designed to build trust, but should not be terribly costly (materially or strategically), nor should they suggest weakness.   However, they should indicate a willingness to transform the conflict to a more cooperative and less adversarial approach.

Anwar Sadat's trip to Jerusalem in 1977 was one example of GRIT at work.  Before his trip, hostility and suspicion between Egypt and Israel was very high, and several wars had already occurred.  In 1977, Sadat announced that he wanted to visit Jerusalem to increase trust and to diminish tensions between the two nations.  The trip cost him very little, while it greatly improved his image in Israel and with its allies, and led to the historic Camp David Accords a year later.


Links to more examples of GRIT :

Louis Kreisberg -- Starting Negotiations
This essay discusses alternative approaches to GRIT, assessing what types of concessions are most and least effective.
Bruce Hemmer -- Bottom-up Peace Building in Bosnia
This is an example of step-by-step peacebuilding at the grassroots (or local, citizen) level.  Rather than attempting gradual de-escalation between leaders, these peacebuilding programs sought to slowing increase trust between citizens through the development of common activities. 
Jeffery Rubin -- The Timing of Ripeness and the Ripeness of Timing
This article suggests that GRIT is one way to create "ripeness."
Tony Armstrong -- "Introduction" from Principles of Icebreaking
GRIT to most of the examples of international rapprochement (or "icebreaking") discussed in this book.
Tony Armstrong -- Principles of Icebreaking
This is a summary of the full book (the earlier example was just a summary of the Introduction).

Links to Related Approaches:

Treating Escalation Problems (all)

Conflict Transformation



Links to Related Problems

Escalation (all)

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu