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


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One common problems in deep-rooted, intractable conflicts is that the disputants tend to de-humanize each other, viewing the other side as less than human and thus deserving inhumane treatment.

One of the keys for conflict transformation is to humanize people on the other side--to get people on both sides to realize that the opponent is, indeed, human, that they share the same values, the same emotions, the same feelings that their own side does. If mothers can be brought together to talk about their children, if men can be brought together to talk about their families or their jobs, people will quickly find out how much they have in common with people on the other side, and how surprisingly "human" the other side seems. Once this is discovered, it becomes much harder to inflict violence on the people who have, in a sense, become friends.


Links to examples of humanization efforts:

Ruth Heimburg -- Extremists versus Police -- A Tragedy for All
This is a story about a conflict between the police and an extremist group in the U.S.  One of the factors that led to the tragic end to this story is the dehumanization that took place on both sides.  Had efforts been made to humanize each sides' view of the other, Heimburg suggests, a very different outcome might have occurred.
Harold Saunders--Prenegotiation and Circum-negotiation: Arenas of the Peace Process
Saunders describes four stages of the peacebuilding process. All involve efforts at humanizing the opponent, replacing negative stereotypes with more accurate understandings of the opposing group, and searching for common values between groups.
David Brubaker -- Reconciliation in Rwanda: The Art of the Possible
One of the main causes of the tragedy in Rwanda was the dehumanization of each side by the other.  In this article, Brubaker reflects on the need to reverse this trend and to humanize each side in the eyes of the other.
Christopher Young--The Role of Media in International Conflict
Just as the media can escalate a conflict, it can also assist in de-escalating conflicts by showing stories that humanize all the disputants, emphasizing their good qualities and commonalties with each other.


Links to Outside Information on Humanization:

U.S. Institute of Peace--Sino-Tibetan co-Existence:   Creating Space for Tibetan Self-Direction

U.S. Institute of Peace--Religion, Nationalism, and Peace in Sudan


Links to related approaches:

Trust Building


Finding Common Values


Prejudice Reduction Programs


Links to related problems:


Out-Group / Enemy Image

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