Workshop syllabus

One of the distinctive contributions that conflict transformation makes, is to recognise conflict for what it is: an everyday phenomenon of life wherever humans interact. This approach does not in any way deny the harm that conflict can do but suggest that conflict often reveals underlying problems that need to be addressed to keep the system of relationships dynamic and strong. It suggests that conflict is often an essential mechanism for change and growth. It is possible to work with conflict in a way that enables people to address the causes, and to repair relationships that have been weakened by anger, fear or even hatred generated by conflict. The way you respond to conflict makes the difference between it becoming a force for destruction or catalyst for constructive change.

The range of option for intervention is huge, but whatever vantage point you are coming from, it is likely that dialogue, negotiation, mediation, or a combination of these, will be your approach of choice. We will explore some of the challenges of transformative approaches to dialogue and mediation, practice some skills, develop strategies, and will reflect on their potential and limitation in conflict transformation. The highlight of the workshop will be summing up of the learnings into a practical application in a simulation exercise.

The scenario and roles will be based on the real examples from Alert’s practice, and you will have an opportunity to play a role, weather a party in the conflict, a government representative, an aid worker, or a mediator. Learning from experience will give you more in-depth understanding of the perspectives of parties in the conflict, and skills and approaches needed to reach an agreement.

Instructor's bio profile

Vesna Matović is Head of Peacebuilding Training & Learning at International Alert. Vesna is an experienced peacebuilding and conflict transformation specialist with more than 20 years’ experience as a consultant, facilitator, mediator, analyst and trainer on conflict and peace issues. Previous to International Alert she worked with Responding to Conflict and Nansen Dialogue network. Vesna holds a doctorate in Psychology and worked as a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and educator on issues of trauma and stress in conflict contexts.