Monthly Archives: August 2018

Conflict Literacy

Conflict Literacy

We need movements resilient enough to navigate the inevitable conflicts that arise when diverse people and perspectives come together to take on the daunting work of ushering in a better future.

Check out this website! It is the beginning of building a resource for have more generative conflicts, inviting us in with questions we can ponder:

  • What are your attitudes and beliefs about conflict?
  • How much stronger could our movements be if we learned how to deal with conflict?
  • What if conflict did not have to slow down our momentum?

I’ve been blessed to have the chance to work alongside an amazing group of people who are building on everything the conflict resolution/transformation/mediation/escalation field(s) have been doing for ages…making it relevant for this generation of change-makers

Conflict Literacy is the idea that if we can read the contours of a conflict, in context, then we’ll be able to assess what’s going on with greater skill, reflect deeply, respond with integrity and power, learn from the situation as we practice disagreeing without dehumanizing.

Conflict can flatten people – they can become a single identity, a single position.  Our work is to ask each other questions, check our assumptions, move toward complexity, give people the opportunity to be known for the many parts of themselves and all that they care about. This is part of living out the fullness of our diversity.   -John Sarrouf, Essential Partners

Amen to that! I know I’ve been flattened before. And have flattened others. As we pop and stretch back into our powerful, curvy, asymmetrical shapes, the Conflict Transformation Fund is here to help with grants to seed and spark the progressive movement’s appetite to get better at addressing conflict!

We don’t need to be down on ourselves if we feel like we’re in more conflicts. There are higher amounts of interaction between people, in multiple venues, than ever before. And more people alive due to nonviolent efforts to reduce conflict “resolution” through violence, means there are more people around to still have conflicts with! While the typical post-1880 (telephone era) face to face interaction has gone down, other types of interaction have increased. Barber shops & beauty salons, internet verbal, internet visual, internet forums, in-person public, spiritual, conferences, conference verbal calls, blogs, conference video calls, webinars, televangelism/TV broadcasts reach far because of cable, newspapers (I can get the Chicago Sun-Times here though I’m not in Chicago). So many places for there to be potential conflict. But fear not! Lean in!

Here are the current 10 core competencies to help us out…developed in conversation with over two dozen diverse scholar-practitioners in this field. I’ve really found them useful, let me know if you do too, or if you have suggestions/feedback!