Strike when the iron’s hot: American trainers give tips on conflict resolution

Third-party intervention can sometimes aggravate a situation.

Express June 29, 2011


The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in collaboration with the Sustainable Peace And Development Organization (SPADO) is training a select group of individuals on ‘conflict resolution and mediation skills’ in Karachi.

Two senior American programme officers, Nina Sughrue and Linda Bishai, from the USIP’s International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding academy are imparting the training.

The group includes judges, lawyers, religious leaders, NGO and human rights activists, Citizens-Police Liason Committee members, security analysts, university teachers, journalists and community and welfare organisation workers.

The objective of the programme is to work with organisations and individuals that are working towards peace in their countries and communities.

The training builds nonviolent dispute resolution knowledge and skills. Some of the topics that have been discussed already in the three-day workshop that began on June 28, includes conflict analysis, communication, dialogue, negotiation, mediation, reconciliation and problem solving.

The participants were told about the role each member from different segments of Pakistani society could play in managing a conflict and prevent it from turning violent.

Different scenarios and case studies were presented, including an example from Swat where recently the military operation was conducted against extremists.

The trainers stressed the importance of dialogue and gave tips on mediation techniques. They also discussed scenarios when possible intervention by a third party in a conflict could aggravate a matter and stressed how waiting for the right time to act was equally important.

This particular capacity-building exercise began in 2009 when the USIP and SPADO ventured into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to develop a network of Pakistani facilitators.

Three training workshops with this group were conducted there and this is the first time that the trainers have arrived in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2011.


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