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

Insider-Partial Mediation

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Insider-partial mediation is mediation that is done by a person who is already involved in the conflict (thus, someone who is an "insider"), and, at least to some extent, is aligned with one side or the other (hence, someone who is "partial").

This type of person differs from the traditional mediator in the dominant North American mode of mediation, which calls for a neutral, impartial mediator. However, many societies in the two-thirds world feel more comfortable with insiders as mediators, as they know the situation better, are more easily trusted, and will stick around to make sure any settlement is implemented, unlike outsider neutrals, who usually leave to go home or go on to their next case. Thus outsiders may not be as invested in the success of the mediation as an insider might be, nor are they present to help resolve any difficulties that develop in the implementation as often as insiders are.

The key to the success of insider-partial mediation is the stature of the person mediating. They must be someone who is known and respected by all parties to the conflict, and someone who is trusted to be fair, even though they are associated with one side or another. Oscar Arias, former President of Costa Rica, is one well-known example of an insider-partial mediator who helped create the Esquipulas agreement to end the Central American wars in the 1980s.


Links to Examples of insider-partial mediation:

John Paul Lederach --  Central American Conflict Resolution
This article discusses the Central American approach to conflict resolution, including insider-partial mediation.
John Paul Lederach -- Who Mediates in Developing Countries?
This short article also discusses the Central American approach to mediation, supplementing the information in the previous article.
Clem McCarthy -- Conflict Resolution In Northern Ireland: Reconciling Form and Substance
This is a short article about a Northern Ireland peace process that was carried out by insider-partial mediators, rather than outsider-neutrals.
John Paul Lederach -- From War to Peace
This is an article about the Persian Gulf War. This war might have been avoided, Lederach asserts, if the U.S. would have recognized the legitimacy of the "insider-partial" approach to mediation.


Links to Related Approaches:

Utilize a Skilled, Credible Third Party



Links to Related Problems:

Integrative System Does Not Exist or Is Very Weak

Third Party Not Effective or Credible

Communication Problems

Trading Power (Negotiation)

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