This week's blog post deals with the role that models and theories should play in peacebuilding, especially for practitioners. Rather than developing theory for theories sake, use of theories of change embedded in systems models can make a world of difference.
Systems mapping is a key skill in conflict analysis and resolution. Unfortunately, we rarely explain why it is to our students. As a result, they often see constructing those diagrams as a waste of time. So, here is a quick introduction to why and how we use systems maps to understand the way a given conflict evolves and then how we could go about doing it.
For the book Doug Irvin-Erickson and I are writing, I was looking for an example of a state of the art peacebuilding project we could build a chapter around. It didn't take us long to settle on a decade-long project that John Paul Lederach helped lead for the McConnell Foundation in Nepal.
Using Improv to Work With Those We Disagree With In his class, Doug Irvin-Erickson gave his grad students an assignment half way through the short summer semester. He broke them into teams and asked them to make presentations to the class on how peacebuilding and human rights overlapped—or didn’t as the course may be. Because I had had to miss the previous class, the students had decided that I would serve as a discussant and respond to each project. During the course of the semester, we had mostly focused on how the two fields differ. Human rights advocates focus on rights that they assume to be universal and innate—and all too often denied by the powers that be. [...]