sexta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2012

The third side


This week we filmed my boss giving a message to some of our clients. He always gives some inspirational messages and the speech of this week really touches me because of these words – MEDIATING CONFLICTS IN MIDDLE EAST.
I don`t know why I`m really passionate for wars and for studying conflict zones. It`s not that I like seeing people fighting or in conflict. On the contrary, I wanna  understand the real reason why they are fighting for and how they can reach an agreement. In most of these conflict situations the DIFFERENCE is the point of discussion and disagreement. How tough is to see the different as another option or as a possibility or as another point of view.
Going back to the speech of my boss, he was telling about negotiation and he mentioned Willian Ury who is a Harvard teacher that has been involved in mediating conflicts for more than 20 years. He wrote a book called The third side whose aim is to teach how to negotiate in different situations ranging from family discussions to Middle East conflicts. In this book he explains that conflicts doesn`t have two sides, as we usually think, but they have three sides. One side has the A point of view, the other side has the B point of view and the third side is the people that are surrounding these two sides and that could help them in the resolution of the conflict. For instance, when we have a conflict between couples, one side is the husband, the other side is the wife and the third side is the family, the neighbors, the children that are surrounding these two sides and that can see the conflict as a whole, from a general perspective and that can help in the negotiation. This is a broader and profoundly perspective of conflicts and it teach us how can we reach a consensus taking into account what is essential for both sides.
According to Willian, conflicts can be escalated in 4 stages, latent tensions; overt conflict; power struggle and destructive violence.  When you are trying to understand or interfere in the conflict, firstly you should identify in which level it is and then you can think about the best strategies to overcome the situation. The characteristics of the first stage, latent tension, are frustrated needs, poor skills and weak relationships. In order to PREVENT the conflict in this situation you should deal with these problems. For frustrated needs you require someone who can understand the needs of that community which can be love, respect or even material things. Moreover this person called by Willian as a provider try to help people in conflict to have access to some of these needs that is lacking. The provider is an example of a role that can be assumed by someone with the aim to prevent conflicts. Willian defines 11 roles that can be important in the resolution of a conflict.

TO PREVENT  A CONFLICT (latent tensions) we need: provider, teacher and bridge builder
TO RESOLVE A CONFLICT (overt conflict) we need: mediator, arbiter, equalizer, healer
TO CONTAIN A CONFLICT (power struggle) we need: witness, referee and peacekeeper

You can check a little bit about his thoughts in his speech in a TED TALK.


I`ve also discovered that Willian is the founder of the Abraham path which is a route of walking and cultural tourism following the footsteps of Abraham across the Middle East. For more information about this movement, visit its website: http://www.abrahampath.org/about.php.


Let`s celebrate and spread peace in our surroundings!

SOURCES: http://www.thirdside.org/ - http://www.abrahampath.org/about.php - http://www.prx.org/pieces/52763-peacemaking-from-the-third-side-peace-talks-rad

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