Single-Text Agreements

Paul Wehr

Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Colorado

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

The next step is the single text agreement where you draft from the suggestions of the mappers of what could be done to resolve it. You draft an agreement, a set of rules of communication for example, rules by which people agree to behave in the future. It could be as simple as don't email someone, go and talk to him or her. Because part of the conflict was all of these aggressive emails going back and forth, but people afraid to confront one another face to face. The communication was just horrible. The tension level was very high. Here were two people, who's offices were side by side, who weren't really speaking to each other in the halls, and they would get back to their computers and they would cuss each other out electronically. So communication was a major part of this agreement in other words, how were going to communicate with one another.

The first draft of this agreement went out, and I solicited critiques on this, what would you not accept, what was possible and so forth. We went through another four drafts of that single text agreement until we finally got to a point where we could say, ok, I think this is good enough, I could sign this, I could put my name to this. So we got everyone in the same room, the agreement for every single party to sign on to it and I brought along a bottle of champagne. I had a toast, and a peace signing session. That was about five years ago. And that agreement has held. To this day I see one of the principle conflicting parties quite often at the recreation center and I ask him how it is going, and he says fine, so that's a high point.