in conflict resolution as an established process has grown
over the years. Conflict resolution courses, institutes and
workshops deal with techniques for solving family disputes,
community unrest, employee dissatisfaction, workplace tension,
school disputes, minority participation in society and strife
among nations. While there are many approaches, no single
way has emerged as most effective in terms of avoiding destructive
action, violence or the use of force. However, all approaches
have some tactics in common: talking about the issues, focusing
on areas of agreement in the initial stages of discussion,
negotiating concessions on each side and arranging for continuing
the many organizations involved in conflict resolution, the
UN is one of the foremost. Ralph Bunche, as depicted in the
film Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey, believed in
and worked very successfully at resolving international conflicts.
The film serves as a fine introduction to conflict resolution
in general and to the efforts of many people and organizations
to find effective ways to reduce tension and help people live
together in peace and harmony.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION: A WORLD VIEW
up the film Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey with
a study of the theory and practice of conflict resolution
around the world. Plan a two-week study that leads students
to investigate organizations that are promoting conflict resolution
to settle disputes among regions, nations, ethnic groups and
discussing the film and general principles of conflict resolution,
give the class a research assignment that will involve: identifying
organizations that are promoting conflict resolution, understanding
their approaches, and collecting information on specific interventions.
The emphasis should be on solving disputes among regions,
nations, ethnic groups and within families.
the class into several teams and explain that each team will
use the Internet to identify organizations that are advocating
the use of conflict resolution techniques to solve disputes.
Ask each group to go to Columbia
University's Conflict Resolution Journal website, and
read some of the articles to gain a better understanding of
how conflict resolution strategies are being used.
out the following list adapted from the links section of the
Conflict Resolution Journal's homepage or develop your own
list. The Fund for Peace website has a vast array of potentially
useful links and that site could be used as the take off point
for this activity. Also the Carter
Center website provides information on ongoing conflict
Fund for Peace, a nonprofit organization, promotes
education and research on global problems that threaten human
survival, and proposes practical solutions.
Brigades International (PBI) is a unique grassroots
organization that explores and implements nonviolent approaches
to peacekeeping and human rights support.
OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION ORGANIZATIONS
Research Consortium or Conflict
Resolution Information Source is a program of research,
education, and application on all four of the University
of Colorado's campuses. The Consortium is currently focusing
on four substantive areas: Environmental and public policy
dispute resolution, international conflicts, evaluation
of dispute resolution practices, and application of computers
to conflict resolution. Their Web site provides a description
of the services, links to other sites as well as research
on conflict resolution.
Conflict Management Group (CMG) is a Cambridge based
organization Conflict Management Group (CMG) creates opportunities
for peaceful change by helping people work together to manage
their differences. The group seeks to expand the use of
conflict resolution techniques train individual in their
use in order to save lives, strengthen communities, promote
human rights, support the growth of civil societies, and
foster economic development.
Program on Nonviolent Sanctions and Cultural Survival (PONSACS)
studies situations of conflict in order to better understand
their nature and the capabilities of nonviolent actions
in support of human rights and civil liberties.
Peace and Conflict Studies journal
is designed to discuss various issues in peace research
and conflict analysis. It publishes articles which deal
with the environment, social change, grassroots movements,
poverty and hunger, alternative economic development, human
security, non-hierarchical world order, economic equity,
nonviolence, disarmament, cultural studies, feminine views
of peace, green politics, critical pedagogy and conflict
sites to teams or let the teams choose one or two sites that
they want to visit. Explain to students that they should fan
out to other sites from the links sections of each organization.
International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI is
an independent international institute for research into
problems of peace and conflict, especially those of arms
control and disarmament. It was established in 1966 to commemorate
Sweden's 150 years of unbroken peace. The Institute is financed
mainly by the Swedish Parliament. The staff, the Governing
Board and the Advisory Committee are international.
Friends Service Committee Peace Education Web site.
University's Center for Global Peace Web site provides
information on the university's Conflict Resolution program,
transcripts of their lecture series and links to other conflict
Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). PRIO is an
independent, international institute in staff, audience
and perspective. It was one of the first centers of peace
research in the world, and is Norway's only peace research
center. The site provides links to PIRO's research, resources
and other conflict and peace related sites.
teams time to conduct their research and discuss their progress
along the way.
with the teams as they develop their presentation.
each team a 5-10 minutes time slot in class to share their findings
with others in the class. Develop a list of the different types
of strategies employed by each group. Encourage the class to
find commonalties among the various approaches.
the effectiveness of the organizations' efforts to resolve disputes
among regions, nations, ethnic groups, and within families.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION AT HOME
many people think of conflict resolution in relation to solving
disputes among nations, the strategies that have grown up
around the process over the years can also be used to solve
family disputes and local problems in the school or community.
This activity builds on the ideas used by Ralph Bunche to
negotiate among disputing parties through fact finding, negotiating
and evolving mutually acceptable resolution of hostilities.
The activity focuses on identifying a human relations issue
in the school or community and trying to bring about better
understanding, if not a reconciliation, between the parties
to the conflict.
viewing the film Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey
and discussing Bunche's philosophy of peaceful conflict resolution,
ask students to identify an issue in the school or community
that they would like to investigate and try to help resolve.
a procedure for fact finding, discussing the issues, negotiating
between parties and reaching agreement. You may want to propose
a step-by-step process and discuss it with the students. Or
you may want to work with them to evolve a process after some
investigation of possible approaches.
step-by-step process is defined in Dudley Weeks' 1992 book
The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution
(Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles). The 8 steps in Weeks'
you prefer to have the class develop its own process, you
could ask students to go the Conflict
Resolution Information Source's website, and build
on the suggestions offered in the "Conflict Checklist"
the process has been defined, help the students undertake
their mission to solve the problem or, at least, improve
communication among competing interests. Caution them
to "Do no harm" and to be open with all sides.
Develop a timeline for carrying out the process and keep
a watchful eye on the execution of the plan.
the process has been completed, debrief the students, evaluate
the procedure and discuss using the strategies in daily activities.
THE ARAB/ISRAELI CONFLICT: HOW WOULD YOU SOLVE IT?
Bunche: An American Odyssey deals with the history of
the Arab/Israeli conflict in the Middle East, the hostilities
that arose with the establishment of the State of Israel and
the successful mediation of armistice agreements between Israel
and 4 Arab nations.. The problems in this area continue today
as the Palestinians and Jews engage in violent acts against
each other, on an almost daily basis. While the film gives
some of the historical background of the discord, this activity
leads students beyond the film. It will provide an opportunity
for them to investigate the issues at the center of the conflict,
gain an understanding of the points of contention on each
side and attempt to find a peaceful settlement to this long-lasting
problem. [You may want to choose another conflict, such as
Kashmir (India/Pakistan), Cyprus (Greece/Turkey), North and
South Korea, Cyprus, or the Congo (Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda
and Democratic Republic of Congo), as the focus of this activity.]
Show the film and focus on Ralph Bunche as a mediator. Raise
questions, such as:
were both sides in the Arab/Israeli conflict willing
to discuss the issues with Ralph Bunche?
personal qualities did Bunche exhibit that led competing
sides to trust him?
2. Summarize the discussion
of the questions and develop a list of some of the principles
and personal qualities that make for effective mediation.
Show again the section of the film that depicts the Partition
of Palestine, the formation of the State of Israel, the first
Arab/Israeli War and the Suez Crisis. Identify the conflicting
points of view on each side and how the conflict was diffused.
Ask students to give their opinion on the problem and why they
think it continues to be such a difficult situation.
4. Explain that the class is going to investigate the problem
and see if they can find a way to resolve the impasse. Give
an overview of the other parts of the activity:
group of students will investigate the Arab/Palestinian
group will investigate the Israeli view,
student will play the role of Ralph Bunche as mediator
group will present its position to the mediator, who will
help the two sides identify compromises that will resolve
students will write a letter to Secretary of State Colin
Powell to share the best compromise ideas they have come
Choose the student to play the role of mediator. Divide the
rest of the class into two groups. Assign one group to research
the Arab/Palestinian point of view and one group to research
the Israeli point of view. Ask the mediator and each group to
use periodicals, reference works and the Internet to find information
about the issues -- the claims, points of contention and any
previous attempts at mediating the conflict. The
UN website provides good background information.
Go to the site and click on text version. Choose the "Peace
and Security" heading and then select the "Question
of Palestine" section.
Work with the mediator to help her or him gain a general understanding
of the issues and with the groups to help them sort out the
issues and prepare their arguments.
7. Ask each side to present a summary statement of their position
to the mediator as the other side listens.
8. Begin negotiations between the sides with the student role
playing Ralph Bunche identifying the sticking points and developing
a list of compromises on the points of contention.
9. Bring the negotiations to conclusion with the class arriving
at four or five possible compromise solutions.
10. Propose that the class write a letter to Secretary of State
Colin Powell outlining some of their ideas for resolving the
State Department Building
C Street, NW
dear Mr. Secretary,
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