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Dispute culture. Mediation and conflict transformation in crisis areas

Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 7 pm

Conflicts are good; As long as there is room for dialogue. They generate social momentum in private and public life. Every democracy is a constructive cultivation of conflict. But some conflicts are so complicated, deadlocked, or even dangerous that the conflicting parties can see no way out. For centuries, mediators have had to act as neutral intermediaries between the two fronts and find a balance between their conflicting interests and needs.

Martino Gamper, Nichelino Base Alpha, 2010-2013, Turin, Italy

© Les Nouveaux Commanditaires

The demand seems to be growing: today, everything between marital crises and civil wars engage droves of mediators in politics, business, and civil society, working to bring about peace as best as they can. But how do they actually do it? The profession is discreet and complex. It thrives on empathy, psychological insight, and tactical instincts. Mediation also requires professional tools. And above all, it requires trust. That’s the crux of the matter: How is trust formed?

And what happens if conflicts cannot be “solved?” What if only circuitous routes lead to this destination? Or if nobody knows what this destination is like? If a quick fix would only be a new problem? Often, the art of mediation finding the unknown, frequently through an open and perhaps risky process that no one can foresee.

That's what this evening is all about: transforming the challenges and potentials of hot and cold, warlike, crisis, and everyday conflicts, and the reality of those involved. Broadening the concept of a common ground. Finding a new hypothetical, which often seems intangible in conflict situations, and which one must first discover.

One could say that conflict transformation, in this sense, moves closer to being an art form. When it comes to envisioning the unthinkable, finding new languages for old problems, giving the rifts between people and worlds their appropriate form and legitimacy, then artistic methods are not far away. Art as conflict transformation in crises and even in crisis regions—is this conceivable?

Panel discussion with:

Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans-Joachim Gießmann, Executive Director of the Berghof Foundation

Dr. Nicole Rieber, Project Manager in the field of Digital Peace Education at the Berghof Foundation

Prof. Dr. Angela Mickley emer., Conflict Management, Peace Education and Ecology in the Department of Social and Educational Sciences at the FH Potsdam, Head of Continuing Education Mediation at the FHP in cooperation with Konflikthaus e.V., Research/Development on Crisis Intervention with Social Focus, Dealing with the Past, Reconciliation. Co-Speaker of the Platform Civil Conflict Management

Mechthild von Schwerin, mediator, landscape planner, artist

Moderation: Alexander Koch, Director of Neue Auftraggeber

In German

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