The topics that we are planning to address in the version 2 full seminar are outlined below.  This is a daunting list – one that will certainly generate “sticker shock” among some participants.   Still, this is a “thinking big” seminar, focused on developing a very broad strategy for a scale and complexity-oriented approach to peacebuilding---one that we think is required for any serious effort to address the “intractable conflict challenge.”  It is expected that most participants will focus primarily on broad overview materials plus more in-depth materials in a few areas where they choose to specialize.
Since we teach at universities that offer semester-long courses, we are thinking in terms of a semester-long seminar, at least for a starting point. We realize that it may take longer than that to cover the essential materials and that a second semester MOOS may be required.

At this point, we plan to address the following topics: 

  1. The Nature of the Intractable Conflict Problem
    1. It is THE problem—as big a threat as climate change, failure is not an option!
    2. The nature and causes of intractability
  2. Introduction to the MOOS format
    1. What this is
    2. How it works
    3. Participation Options
  3. Limits of “Business-as-Usual” Conflict Processes
    1. Business-as-Usual for disputants
    2. Business-as-Usual for Conflict Professionals
  4. An Alternative Approach: Complexity and “Systems Thinking”
    1. Colleagues’ Contributions (including Dugan, Ledearch, Diamond and McDonald, Coleman, Ricigliano, Ury, and Hauss)
    2. Guy and Heidi Burgess’s “take” on this problem: Massively Parallel Peacebuilding.
  5. Massively Parallel Peacebuilding Explored
    1. Complex vs. Complicated Systems (borrowing from Jones)
    2. System Levels (borrowing from Boulding)
    3. Scaling Up
    4. Extending rational models with neuroscientific insights
    5. Ecosystem-based Models
    6. Constructive Confrontation
    7. Precedents for Massively Parallel Peacebuilding
  6. Strategies of Change
    1. Empowering “Power-With” Compromisers so that they can successfully resist the “power over” Machiavellians.
    2. Macro, Meso, and Micro Responses – simultaneously working at the levels of macro-level strategy, meso-level project design, and micro-level conflict skills.
    3. Massively Parallel Approaches – assessment and mapping strategies that enable people to identify and people to pursue the large number of independent but mutually supportive intervention efforts that complex, large-scale conflicts require.
    4. Beyond Crisis Response – reframing the conflict problem as a decades long research and development effort that will, at best, be marked by a steady stream of incremental improvements.
    5. Big Picture Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation strategies that advance the long-term efforts to promote more constructive approaches to conflict (as well as short-term project assessment).
    6. Complexity-Oriented Capacity Building
      1. Scaling up Conflict Education and Practice – Note: all of this was copied from old outline—it was dropped out (I think) from new post list.  Probably needs to be remedied!
  7. Owning the Problem
    1. It’s not just an “over there” problem—peacebuilding at home
    2. Wearing “the other’s” shoes
    3. Empathy and Mirrors
    4. Democracy on the Edge: Partisanship and Winner-Take-All Framing
    5. Human Needs
  8. Cultural Conflicts
    1. The nature of cultural conflicts
    2. Nature vs. nurture: neuroscience and peacebuilding
    3. Beyond the Binary Frame
    4. The Red/Blue Divide in the United States
    5. The Gold/Purple Divide
  9. Justice Conflicts
    1. And Unrightable Wrongs
    2. And Human Needs
    3. The interplay of peace, justice, truth, and mercy
    4. The interplay of power and justice
  10. The Nature and Role of Power in ICs
    1. Sources of Power and Power Strategies
    2. The Power Strategy Mix
    3. The Backlash Coefficient
  11. Moving Beyond Intractability:
    1. Defining Goals
      1. Clarifying goals
      2. Balancing goals
      3. Balancing goals and timeframes
    2. Examining Objectives: Traps and Opportunities
      1. Every trap presents one or more opportunities
      2. We will examine over 20 such trap/opportunity pairs.
    3. Identifying “Make-a-Difference Actions”
      1. Matching actions to goals and objectives
      2. Using conflict mapping to identify “ripe places” for intervention
      3. Insider/Outside Roles
      4. Third Side Roles (Borrowing from Ury)
      5. Levels of Action (Borrowing from Lederach)
    4. “First-Order” Actions
      1. We have a long list.  Examples include:
        1. Promoting understanding
        2. Face-saving, face promotion
        3. Crisis response
        4. De-Escalation
        5. Responding to “unrightable wrongs”
        6. Tolerance, co-existence, and compassion
        7. Constructive confrontation of moral conflict
        8. Mobilizing Expertise; Expert/non-expert trust building
        9. Promoting Integrative Power
        10. Governing “the commons” for the common good
      2. “Second-Order Actions
        1. Match-Making (copying E-Bay)
        2. Diagnostic questionnaire
        3. University/Research reform
        4. Practice reform
        5. Evaluation reform
        6. Funding reform
        7. Media Strategies
        8. Cost Containment
        9. Harnessing Social Entrepreneurship.
  12. Where Do We Go From Here?

Guy Burgess is a Founder and Co-Director of the University of Colorado Conflict Information Consortium. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and has been working in the conflict resolution field, as a scholar and a practitioner, since 1979. His primary interests involve the study and management of intractable conflicts, public policy dispute resolution, and the dissemination of conflict resolution knowledge over the Internet. He is one of the primary authors and creators of the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflicts, and is the Co-Director of CRInfo -- the Conflict Resolution Information Source. Dr. Burgess has edited and authored a number of books and articles, the most recent being The Encyclopedia of Conflict Resolution (with Heidi Burgess, ABC-Clio 1999).