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Global Conflict Resolution Methods: Brief Overview

Global Conflict Resolution Methods: Brief Overview

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this lesson, the learner will have perspective on the range of traditional and contemporary conflict resolution processes worldwide.

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Video Transcription

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People have been using conflict resolution methods for centuries, and today we're learning from some of these traditional methods and applying them to our contemporary processes. I'm Marlene, and I'd like to talk with you a little bit about that today.

So the field of conflict resolution is dynamic, constantly changing. Interveners and researchers are continually learning new things about how to improve processes, introduce new processes.

And some of these processes are really based on traditional conflict resolution methods. I'd like to talk about three of them with you today.

This first one here is ho'oponopono, and that is a traditional Hawaiian conflict resolution method. It's much like what we would call family group conferencing. And it's really based on an ancient Hawaiian belief that illness really is linked to breaking spiritual laws and things need to be set right in order for a person to be healed.

So extended family members would come together to make right broken family relations. It was thought of as a sort of mental cleansing. And they would do this through discussion, through prayer, through repentance, restitution, and forgiveness.

So we use a lot of these same principles that come from the ancient practice, this ancient Hawaiian practice, now in our juvenile justice system. So this is just one example of how these principles are not new, but we are learning from them and using them today in our contemporary processes.

This second method here, Somroh Samruel, comes from Cambodia. And this is really like conciliation process at the village level in Cambodia. And it has proven to be very effective, particularly in conflicts that involve villagers who don't really want to go to the high court.

It's also been very effective in cases of domestic abuse against women, domestic violence against women. So the elders come together and practice a form of conciliation at the village level. So we've learned from that process as well and adapted some of those processes into our conciliation methods.

This last one here, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, may sound familiar to many of us because of what happened in South Africa. Probably that is the most familiar process based on the Truth and Reconciliation. This happened after apartheid when not busy Bishop Tutu was asked to actually chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission because of all the human rights abuses that happened under apartheid.

And people were actually brought together for public hearings to speak about the wrongdoings and to speak about their experiences. And each side listened to one another. It was an enormously healing experience in that country, in South Africa.

Now, South Africa is not the only place that has held truth and reconciliation commissions. There was one in the Sierra Leone, following their 11-year civil war, as part of the peace agreement there. They conducted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and this started in 2002 and went through 2004.

It started by getting statements from people around the country, going into the entire country and getting statements from people. That was followed by public hearings, and they actually made a final report to the United Nations Security Council where they named perpetrators and give recommendations for the country moving forward.

There's also an example of a truth and reconciliation commission happening in Canada. In Canada, they have set out to do this because of what happened with native peoples, the Aborigine and the Inuit, who were brought to residential schools in the last century. Oftentimes their parents objected, didn't want this to happen, but the children were taken and put in residential schools, many times forbidden to speak their native language or practice native customs.

So this is seen as a human rights violation. And as part of the restitution and making things right, the Canadian government is putting together the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to make public in Canada what happened and to make restitution.

So these are three examples. The first two here are more traditional examples that have been around for centuries. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a relatively new form of conflict resolution but which is being wildly practiced by countries or cultures who have had a systematic abuse of either discrimination or of power within the country.

So thank you for joining me in this tutorial, and I look forward to next time.

Terms to Know

A traditional Hawaiian conflict resolution method.

Somroh Somruel

A traditional Cambodian conflict resolution process similar to village-scale conciliation.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

A conflict resolution process intended to bring understanding and address past events in countries or cultures with a history of systematic conflict or discrimination.