Conflict Frontiers Seminar Series & Blog
This seminar series takes a complexity-oriented approach to examining frontier-of-the-field issues related to difficult and intractable conflicts. After examining why "business-as-usual" conflict resolution approaches aren't working, we explore the nature of complex systems and the implications of that for conflict analysis, engagement, and intervention. Adopting an approach which we call "massively parallel peacebuilding," we suggest a new set of ideas that can be used by disputants and third parties to more effectively address intractable conflicts in the U.S.and worldwide.
We examine the nature of intractability and why business-as-usual conflict resolution approaches don’t work well for these kinds of conflicts. A big part of the reason is the complexity and scale of these conflicts—which makes traditional “table-oriented” approaches (such as negotiation, mediation, dialogue, and problem-solving) less successful (they just can't involve enough people). After exploring the implications of complex systems on conflict analysis and intervention, we suggest a complexity-oriented approach to intractability which we call Massively Parallel Peacebuilding (MPP).
The second part of the seminar series fleshes out what this means and how it can be applied, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. We examine the goals and objectives of MPP, and traps and opportunities intractable conflicts provide for MPP. We then examine what we call "first-order make-a-difference actions" which are actions intended to directly alter the course of the conflict, and second-order actions. which are those intended to overcome the obstacles to successfully taking the first order actions—lack of capacity and cost being two examples. We end with a discussion of how to move forward and apply these principles in “the real world.” All of this is done in over 100 short videos (with transcripts) plus supporting materials from other BI sections (Things You can Do to Help, Conflict Fundamentals, BI Knowledge Base, and BI in Context.
Seminars in the series currently include:
- Topic Area 1: Scale, Complexity, & Intractability
- Topic Area 2: Massively Parallel Peacebuilding
- Topic Area 3: Authoritarian Populism
- Topic Area 4: Constructive Confrontation
- Seminar 9: Constructive Confrontation
See the Syllabi for the entire Frontiers Seminar Series with short descriptions of all posts.
Quick links to the four Frontiers Seminar Series for major topic areas: Scale, Complexity, and Intractability, Massively Parallel Peacebuilding (MPP), Authoritarian Populism, and Constructive Confrontation as well as the MPP Action List with a comprehensive list of things that need to be done to address the intractable, problem.
Bridging the Theory/Action Gap: One Key to Improving the Effectiveness of Efforts to Strengthen Democracy
If democracy scholars and democracy actors knew more about each others activities, they could both do more to strengthen democracy.
Conflict Frontiers Seminar 8b--The 2020 US Election – What Happens When We Have an Election That Both Sides Absolutely Positively Can't Afford to Lose?
Conflict Frontiers Seminar 8c--The Biden Transition – Saving Democracy and Biden’s Challenge to the Conflict and Peacebuilding Fields
“Bad-Faith” Actor Tactics
We need to better understand how to see and avoid the many traps (and sinister cons) that are dragging us into ever more destructive conflict.
Types of "Bad-Faith" Actors
Like the vulnerable US football players, we need better ways to protect ourselves from destructive efforts to undermine our ability to work together.
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