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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Conflict theorists often use three terms--peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding-- that are easily confused. Peacekeeping means keeping people from attacking each other by putting some kind of barrier between them. Often this barrier is made up of neutral soldiers--peacekeepers--from the UN or a group of neutral nations. The soldiers do nothing to settle the disputant's differences or help negotiate a peace agreement--they simply keep the two sides apart.

Peacemaking is the process of forging a settlement between the disputing parties. While this can be done in direct negotiations with just the two disputants, it is often also done with a third-party mediator, who assists with process and communication problems, and helps the parties work effectively together to draft a workable peace accord. Usually the negotiators are official diplomats, although citizens are getting involved in the peacemaking process more and more. While they do not negotiate final accords, citizen diplomacy is becoming an increasingly common way to start the peacemaking process, which is then finalized with official diplomatic efforts.

However, peacemaking is not the final step in the peace process. As both the situations in the Middle East and Bosnia so well demonstrate, it takes more than a peace accord to bring peace to a region. The peace accord is just a beginning, which must be followed by long-term peacebuilding--the process of normalizing relations and reconciling differences between all the citizens of the warring factions.

Techniques of peacemaking vary greatly and are beyond the scope of the material we can present here. However, the fundamental techniques used include negotiation, mediation, official and unofficial, or "track two" diplomacy all of which are described in more detail in other sections.


Links to Examples of Peacemaking:

Mediating the Oslo Accords on the Middle East
This is a brief description of the peacemaking role played by Norway, which facilitated the negotiation of the peace accord between the Palestinians and the Israelis in 1995.
Chester Crocker -- Lessons on Intervention
This article examines the pros and cons, as well as the "hows" of international diplomatic intervention in ethnic conflicts.
William Zartman and Saadia Touval -- International Mediation in the Post- Cold War Era
This article examines international mediation, investigating (among other things) why and when official diplomats decide to act as mediators in other countries' disputes (and how well this works).
A Conversation On Peacemaking With Jimmy Carter  
This article describes the successful Track One diplomacy that occurred at Camp David when Sadat and Begin negotiated the Israeli-Egyptian peace accords.
Harold Saunders -- Prenegotiation and Circum-negotiation: Arenas of the Peace Process
This article describes four phases of the peace process from official peacemaking through unofficial peacebuilding and discusses the relationships between them.
Jay Rothman -- Conflict Management Policy Analysis
This is an account of official diplomacy between Israel and Egypt following the Camp David Accords.
David Morris -- Keeping but not Making Peace: The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
This article compares peacekeeping with peacemaking and illustrates how sometimes peacekeeping can deter peacemaking.
David Stuart -- United Nations Involvement in the Peace Process in El Salvador
This article discusses the peacemaking process in El Salvador.


Links to Outside Sources of Information on Peacemaking

Information on Peacemaking Efforts Relating to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict from the UN

Peacekeeping, Peacemaking, and Human Rights, by Cedric Thornberry, former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Deputy Chief of UNPROFOR in ex-Yugoslavia.

Peacekeepers?   Peacemakers?  Women in Northern Ireland 1969-1995  - INCORE Publications and Papers Occasional Papers

US Institute of Peace Special Report-The U.S. Contribution to Conflict Prevention, Management, and Resolution in Africa

Michael N. Nagler Peacemaking through Nonviolence


Links to Related Techniques:



Principled Negotiation


Official (Track One) diplomacy

Citizen Diplomacy


Links to Related Problems:

Escalation Problems

Illegitimate or Excessive Use of Force

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